M(3), 3/7/16: There Is A Solution (even if you think there’s not)


I hope your Monday is as filled with Springtime hope as mine is… we are looking to hit 70 degrees this week in my part of the world!

Today we read chapter 2 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (colloquially referred to as The Big Book), entitled “There is a Solution.”

A chapter that is chock full of hope, “There is a Solution” breaks down misconceptions of what an alcoholic is and isn’t.  More importantly, however, the chapter provides optimism for those who feel like they are out of options in terms of quitting drinking.

We had a large group this morning, and a lot of different viewpoints on what stood out most in the chapter.  The first gentleman to share talked about how he related to the notion of giving up alcohol first, personal growth second.  He was directed to our 12-step program years ago by a therapist who told him, in no uncertain terms:  no real growth will commence without first giving up drinking.  He found that to be true for him.

Another attendee related to the open-ended concept of spirituality that is laid out in the chapter.  There is no one definition of a Higher Power.  Each individual’s conception is unique and personal, and all versions are welcome.  He was able to commit fully to our fellowship because there was no “one right way” forced upon him

Another woman found most compelling the image that we are like survivors of a shipwreck:  we come from all walks of life, and would likely not fraternize under regular circumstances.  But because we all share a common peril, we relate to one another, and we celebrate together the victory that is freedom from the obsession to drink.

Another regular talked about the miracle involved in Atheists entering our program and finding their way to a Higher Power.  Even if that Higher Power is nothing more than the power found in the group itself, that discovery is enough to give them a foothold in the program.  No matter which way you go about finding a power greater than yourself, be it within conventional religion, unconventional spiritual practice, or the simplicity of using the 12-step group as your higher power, the ultimate goal is the same:  self-transcendence.  Finding your way out of egocentric thinking and into thought of how to help another.

A newcomer to the meeting talked about the power of one alcoholic helping another, and the magic that happens as a result.  How many of us try for years to find our solution in the office of a therapist or doctor, only to find that we don’t believe they understand what we’re going through?  But the minute we are able to connect with someone who’s experienced the same thoughts and feelings that we’ve experienced… that’s where the miracle begins!

What stood out most for me in today’s reading was something I actually read out loud:

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. -Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 25

While this is a fact that is true for me, I wish the paragraph would add a little footnote:

You won’t know this up front!

There was a newcomer to this morning’s meeting, 6 days sober.  Whenever that happens I automatically read with my mind in newcomer mode.  I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that when I read those words at 6 days sober, I would have been obstinately resistant to the concept.  And I was/am a Theist… I can’t even imagine how an Atheist newcomer would treat that paragraph!

My point in my share this morning is that some miracles that take time and patience.  Some miracles you can only see in the rear view mirror.  Sobriety is often exactly that type of miracle:  you get started without any real sense of permanence, or even belief that any good will come of it.  You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you’ll give any idea a go.

That’s all you need to get started, really and truly.  You don’t need to be committed to sobriety forever, just for today.  You don’t need to believe in God, just that you are willing to consider practicing some open-mindedness somewhere along the way.  You don’t need to commit to anything, just inclined to listen to the suggestions of others who have what you want.

If someone told me at 6 days sober that I’d be doing any of the things I’m doing now, 4 years later… well, you know how that sentence ends!

Today’s Miracle:

My miracle for the day is the reminder of how grateful I am to have suspended my disbelief just long enough that it became belief!




Posted on March 7, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. If there ever was a primer for early sobriety, this is it. Don’t come with expectations. Nothing is clear upfront. Some miracles can only be seen in the rearview mirror (and may be further away than appears).
    You hit it square on with this one, amiga!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. One thing I love about meetings is how people see things completely differently, and we can all still be right.

    Last meeting a guy said when he was new he was told by an old timer. “I don’t know what God is, but I know it’s not me”.

    My first thought is, no…God IS ME. We are all god. All love and all light.

    But that’s what works for me. For me, that is the basis of connection, of light, of love and of sobriety.

    His basis is different. Neither of us is wrong.

    Open minds hear what they need.


    Liked by 3 people

    • And I love the acceptance you practice in knowing the different things work well for different people. I would say that is the biggest stumbling block of 12-step practice… the idea that my idea is right (therefore yours is wrong), and/or “I don’t like that guy’s program (therefore 12-step is not right for me).

      Both of those things held true for me in active addiction, that’s for sure. Another miracle of sobriety!

      Great comment, Anne, thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Completely love how your title and post point out that we don’t have to have everything figured out right now. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and hard to see far enough ahead to have faith there is a solution. Looking back it always feels obvious, which does help the next time an impossible (seeming) thing comes along. I’ve happily become a fan of one-day-at-a-time because it’s simple and true and applies to every area of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That opening quote is so me. And I have to agree with searching for all kinds of answers from all kinds of things and when I found “my story” being told through sober blogs things started getting better. Thanks, Josie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well then we share multiple things in common, I laughed out loud at the opening quote, it is soooooo me!

      It’s so hard when you’re just starting out, to understand how best to take the suggestions that work for you and leave the rest. And I’m so glad that you were able to hear your story… that’s usually when the magic happens!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know I thought I had to have it all figured out when I was new, too.
    And even now, I don’t have it all figured out!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow it was like I was in the meeting with you. Thanks for that. My meeting sked got a wrench thrown into it this weekend.
    It’s important to add qualifiers that won’t dissuade certain newcomers. I hit a wall with someone I worked with recently because he simply refused to pray. I tried all angles, conceptions, and he came to me saying he refused to try it. I was at a loss. I told him no hard feelings but because I sponsor by the book (which is how I am sponsored) a prayer is required. Don’t know if you have any thoughts on that but I’d love to hear them if you do…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad I could provide a virtual meeting for you 🙂

      The prayer avoider is a tough one. I believe you did the right thing in saying you were unable to sponsor, since you can only teach what you know. My only advice would be to guide him towards someone who might approach sponsorship a bit differently. There are as many ways towards sobriety as there are people on the journey; surely he will find someone who speaks in a way he can understand.

      And of course, continue to be there for him, even if you can’t officially sponsor him. That’s the most I can think of, though I will run it by my friends in the program and see if they’ve got any better advice!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This may well be one of my favorite posts you’ve written. Or maybe I’ve been gone (school) that I’ve missed hearing your voice in recovery. LOL. Darn… I missed your anniversary. Happy 4 years. I remember when you started. How cool is that!

    It’s so nice to know we can define our ‘higher power’ we can take our life and create it one day at a time. These are no longer words to me, but deep and meaningful axioms.

    For today I will continue to believe. Love you darling. Me

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa, and I believe yours is this month, so happy anniversary to you… 12 years? I could be off on that, but either way, I think of you often and wish you well in your new ventures. Heard your fabulous podcast over at Buzzkill, and am excited to hear how your new journey progresses!

      Liked by 1 person

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