How many of us recall first seeing all those simple slogans scattered across tables and posted on the walls of the Rooms when we first came around? I remember thinking (I’ve lost count how many times others have shared this) hows that gonna help! Now I know their simplicity is matched only by their power, the power to change!! When I first came into the Program I knew I needed to stop drinking and drugging, but change? Well that never crossed my mind. Just straighten out, put the booze down and everything will magically fall into place. I can now understand why I thought that back then, I was very sick and my thinking was totally screwed. As time passed and I came to understand that, I believed once again that everything would magically fall into place simply because I could say “Im in the Program, Im working the Steps!” – Im still a little sick and my thinking will always be a work in progress, but Im getting better.The Steps are not what I first thought. It never ceases to amaze me the way they adapt and change as I change with them. How my understanding of them differs after each period of growth I experience, usually after some brief (though it never feels brief at the time) visit from that “old friend” who goes by the name of Emotional Pain. A teacher or/and a mirror – what’s he gonna do!? Ive Came to Believe that he is only a messenger and I need to hear the message. As uncomfortable as that can be at times, it never serves me well to ignore it – “the courage to change the things I can.”
So Easy Does It… But do It! That one sort of got my attention after my first relapse, and boy was that a ride! Again the message is so simple but powerful, though very contradictory to my default setting. Its all or nothing with me, full speed or stop! I wanted to know why the Program had “failed me!” I had to go right back to The Doctors Opinion – the good Dr Silkworth clearly states that we suffer from an obsession so powerful we are compulsively driven to continue to the bitter end. I laugh now when I hear those who think we are weak willed, let them try blowing their brains out with a hairdryer!
That obsession goes with me today, not for drinking (at least not for these 24 hours), but in other aspects of my life. Im conscious of it now and try on a daily basis not to run with it! It was the same with the Program! I heard the words “Work the Steps”, but whether consciously or subconsciously I ignored the words “Live the Program“. I wanted it all straight away and I was going to work hard and obsessively. Then when I burned out the illness won out and I was drunk. “Few indeed were those who, so assailed, had ever won through in singlehanded combat.”
I needed the experience of others (still do), and that doesn’t happen overnight. The Second Step is a gradual process. We all give freely of what we find, but receiving it takes time and practice – Take it Easy, but Do It! The Third Step asks me to make a Decision to turn everything over to something Greater than myself, whatever that thing is I no longer drive myself crazy trying to understand It. I just understand well enough Im experiencing a journey, one Im not in charge of, Im not the one driving the bus and that suits me fine. Its a big world with a hell of a lot of people on the ground, my plans don’t have the priority I once imagined they did – “You want to hear God laugh? Tell him your plans!” That’s no excuse to sit back and sloth, on the contrary I work hard. Its just now I understand my life to be about doing the next right thing in whatever situation presents, giving it 100%. But also its down to how graciously I let go of things not meant for me at that point in time. We all have goals and aspirations, I know the right ones will be be fulfilled as long as I stay on the path.
Something I read recently – “When your willing to stop been an expert on life, you open yourself to magic, you let life be the teacher and humble yourself as the perpetual student. That’s when the real fun begins!” I can identify with that, that has been my experience. I had to take my foot off the gas, slow down and become teachable. Easy Does It!
I love life recently and that’s beautiful, Im enjoying recovery massively. Its given me the freedom to explore options, something I never had during my drinking. Ive opened my eyes to new gifts and reacquainted myself with long forgotten old ones. No longer am I driven by Insane emotions (not in this 24 hours). Thats not to say I don’t play with them from time to time, but I recognise them as upstarts. Im no robot but Im aware good or bad, emotions are beyond my power to control.
When I returned to my role as an outreach worker after a spell working in a rehab I looked forward to this very day, a new project started. Not totally dissimilar to the previous one but with a new angle and better resources, so I new that would inject some fresh positivity. Welcome new faces added to what is already an amazing team, you could feel the excitement in the room as our manager gave a overview presentation on how things are going to work. The press turned up and photos were taking and it was real nice. But instead of buying into the excitement I just allowed myself to enjoy watching the others experience it, thats joy for me. Inner peace beats any extreme emotion even the ones commonly seen as good, they are hooligans to me and I enjoy them too much. Even the bad ones; Unmanageability!
Im very grateful for my job and everything the Organisation has done for me (to much to mention here). Ive had better paid jobs, some of them good, but would still find myself chopping lines of cocaine in the toilet just to get through a Monday morning. Thank God its not like that today! But I always need to remind myself this job I do was put in my path, it had nothing to do with me, certainly wasn’t in any of my plans. It still kind of baffles me (in a cool way) how I landed there. I know now that there are no coincidences in recovery, even though it seemed like I was machine gunned with them at Rock Bottom. Who knows were the Journey will take any of us? I stay Honest, Open Minded and Willing, it’s HOW it Works… If you Work It, and remember Easy Does It but Do It!
Another day Clean and Sober thanks to something Much Greater than myself that I choose not to understand!
“I’m not like a 12-step Nazi, but rain or shine, that’s gotta come first for me” – Steve Jones, Sex Pistols.
“All my life Ive been like a doubled up fist… Pounding, Smashing, Driving – Now Im going to loosen these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them” – Tennessee Williams.