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!
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 12 step program, AA, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Big Book, fellowship, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, self-development, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.