M(3), 9/22: The Payoff
I’ve had a sudden and paralyzing attack of procrastination, and it’s hindering my ability to write this post!
As it is the fourth Monday of the month, our reading selection at this morning’s meeting was the first half of the final chapter from the book Back To Basics. The book details how newcomers to the AA program went through the 12 steps of recovery back in 1946, when the Fellowship was still in its infancy. Today’s reading focused on steps 10 and 11:
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step 11: Continued to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out
Steps 10, 11 and 12 are often referred to as “maintenance steps,” actions to be done every day for the rest of our lives. The opening of the chapter talks a great deal about the rewards and blessings that come from having completed the first 9 steps, and the psychic change that would have taken place for the alcoholics who have earnestly done the work that has advanced them to step 10:
Congratulations. You are the ones who are in the process of experiencing the personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism. -pg. 112, Back To Basics
As I read the chapter this morning, I wondered to myself: have I experienced the personality change of which they speak? This self-inquiry immediately brought me back to a moment I had the day before. For the sake of brevity, I will generalize the moment as an unexpected confrontation. Those who know me and/or read regularly know that I am not good with anything that smacks of confrontation, and this was pretty black and white in its nature. How I reacted in the moment would be difficult to say, as my brain felt frozen for the entire incident (which is my typical reaction to stress, my brain always chooses the “flight” option in fight or flight). That said, the issue only lasted a few minutes, and everyone left cordially (enough), so I suppose it safe to say I handled things passably.
The bigger issue (well, one of them, anyway) was how I internally reacted, which was: Not Well. By the end of the remaining time I had to spend in the environment the confrontation took place, I felt physically ill. I drove home distracted, which bums me out, because I should have been paying closer attention to my son, who was travelling with me. I could not shake it off entirely for the rest of the evening.
What does this have to do with today’s reading? It occurred to me, as I considered the situation: this was how I lived my life in active addiction. There was always drama of some sort: either I was angry at one person, or trying to justify my side of an argument with someone who was angry at me, or stressing out about getting caught in a lie, or stressing out about creating the next lie… you get the picture. Every. Day. Of. My. Life.
I am so grateful I don’t have to live that way anymore. I am so grateful that I am not filled with the anger and resentment I saw displayed yesterday. I am so grateful I have a husband in whom I can confide, friends in the Fellowship who will listen, and friends in the blogosphere who will read, and empathize. I am so grateful to be sober, and to have that “psychic change” which sounds entirely hokey but is, in fact, true!
The mental changes that recovery has brought me, and enabled me to see the miracles in even the darker situations.
Posted on September 22, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step, 12 step program, 12 steps, AA, Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, fellowship, God, Higher Power, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Sobriety, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.