Sobering Thoughts

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Many Gifts



It is easy to get caught up in “stuff” during the holiday season.  I try to remember that gifts are symbols to represent something deeper, on the inside, invisible to all around us. These are great paradoxes that we want external validation when we need internal, that we want to see God when we must know and believe.   How lucky we are to have a Recovery program that reminds us of all the real gifts we receive when we live a Sober life.  Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, understood this:

“Is sobriety all that we are to expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning; it is only the first gift of the first awakening. If more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on. As it does go on, we find that bit by bit we can discard the old life – the one that did not work – for a new life that can and does work under any conditions whatever.”

Even the greatest Spiritual teachers have learned that the teacher and the student are one, living in the balance of reciprocal joy.




It is a time when many of us are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas as we busy ourselves with family and friends.  I sat this morning looking at the ornaments on the tree and read my twelve and twelve.  Here is the passage from the twelfth step (I have taken out the word God) that exemplifies what I strive to be:

True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory… Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated or alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in the scheme of things – these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, not heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition is no what we thought it was.  True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly… For it is only by accepting and solving our problems that we can begin to get right with ourselves and the world about us.

As a sober man, each time I work a Step, I receive a small gift in the form of piece of mind.   May each of you this season, pick up the real gifts of a Sober Christmas, and work the twelve Steps of Recovery.  There is no greater gift, no matter what you believe, than becoming the man or woman you want to be.


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