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Sobering Thoughts

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Thanksgiving Everyday

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, thank you, that would suffice.”                                                                                        Meister Eckhart

The blossom of all Sobriety is gratitude; the stem a willingness to ask for help and the ability to stand in the “sunlight of the spirit.”  It is not until I ask for help that I am planted firmly in the soil of Recovery.  When I ask for help and thank my higher power, daily,  I grow into the person I am meant to be not the person my disease dictates.  Even on a day when my bloom has faded or I have lost my luster, I still see the beauty of the process.  So today I say thank you for all gifts that are heaven sent.

The Promises of Giving

I came to Alcoholics Anonymous a broken man.  Through the willingness to do the work and the grace to accept a spiritual solution to my problem, I have been made whole again.  It never occurred to me that I would reap the benefits of a great harvest though they were promised me from my earliest days Sober.  I am grateful for all the promises offered to me throughout the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, but specifically the 9th Step promises repeated below.

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” 

I am so thankful that my sponsors encouraged me to remain as vigilant to my Recovery as I had been to my drinking.  I remember Ed F. saying, “how many hours a day did you spend on a bar stool?,” to remind me that I must make Recovery as much a part of my day as was my drinking.  This is what is meant by “painstaking,” I now realize.  I was,and I am, continually “amazed” by the life I have today as the result of working the Steps.  As a result of the “psychic change” my glass is truly half full at all times.  And it was not by accident.  The conscious decision to turn my “will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him,” has allowed me to get honest, which has allowed my deficits to become assets.  It would never have occurred to me that the damage and despair of my early life could become the sustenance of my life today.

 

The miracle of Recovery is that by giving away our time and energy, sharing the pain and suffering of our Alcoholism, we are promised a life of purpose and usefulness.  God, thank you for chosing me and giving me a chance to serve you.  Amen.

Make A Wish

I remember so clearly those early days in Recovery when I wished I could stop drinking.

As the Big Book says:

“It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more.  How can they rise from such misery, bad repute and hopelessness?  The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you.  Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come.  The age of miracles is still with us.  Our own recovery proves that!”

These words from the founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous explain so much.  I did wish and then come to see, through the example of Sober people, that I could have recovery too.  Little did I know that a wish was actually a prayer.

True Grit

When I hear the phrase true ambition, rightly or wrongly, my mind hears the words true grit.  Now I have never seen the film of the same name, but love the word grit – defined as firmness of mind or spirit.  Rarely have I met an ambitious person who does not have a certain amount of grit.  However, as a man whose name literally means courage, it was not until I joined the Recovery community and began to work these progressive steps that I actually learned what grit really means: an “unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.”    It has been my experience that you cannot get Sober unless you face your hardships. When you stare down the past past without regret, you come to a deeper understanding of the dangerous paths you have walked.  In retrospect this sounds relatively easy to do, but it was not.  When I am in a meeting the reminders are ever-present that pride and courage rarely co-exist; in almost every share you hear people trying to surrender their pride, by asking for help, so that courage can take over.  Despite the number of years I am Sober, my ego still tries to hang on to things.  It is not until I get humble (humility defined as knowing who you are in the moment and knowing you need a higher power), that I find courage.  It is not until I make that 3rd Step decision to “turn my will and my life over to the care of god as I understood him,” that I even recognize my own ambition.  Today I know that with God’s grace I can find my true grit.  I am grateful, as Bill W. said so well, that my “true ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.” It is, in fact, only during times of service to others that the dark corners of my past are illuminated and my true self revealed.

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