Listen, Watch and Do It!
“The voice of God out of a human mouth.” Franz Kafka, Diaries, December 20, 1913
My recovery is different this time. I have been in and out the rooms of a 12 Step program since 2004. I have had some sobriety, but I always went back out to do more research to see if I am a real alcoholic. I don’t think I’ve conquered sobriety; I just understand now what was missing. I was not willing to go to any length to get sober. In recovery I have been asked before, “Will you go to any length to get sober?” When I was in enough agony, I thought I would do this, but I had not experienced enough pain, discomfort or situations unacceptable to me to get sober. I came back to the rooms of my program after experiencing a progression of misery. I relapsed this last time May 2015 after 17 months of sobriety. Five months later on October 30 I reached my bottom. Deep down I knew that I didn’t want that pain, and I knew I would not survive another bottom, but I still just wanted it to happen without doing any work. What disease makes you work your ass off to keep it in remission? Where was my magical pill or treatment to cure me of this? I finally realized what my problem had been. My higher power and my program of recovery are the treatment for my disease. In recovery, sharing our experience, strength, and hope with other alcoholics is our sole purpose in helping each other. Last night a fellow brother in sobriety shared his experience, strength, and hope. Before doing time in Riker’s for drugs and stealing cars another alcoholic shared with him the keys to sobriety and what a life of sobriety can bring. He knew he could stay in pain or get out of pain. He was willing to do what it took even when he was serving his sentence. He has been sober for 26 years. As this fellow alcoholic spoke, I realized how the core of his story is my story. We both couldn’t stop drinking, and our alcoholism progressed to a point where we were miserable. All the other factors are just different colors to paint our narrative. The factors in the equation are the same. Today I am staying sober because I am willing to go to any length to do so. God has spoken to me through other alcoholics since 2004, and my higher power is continuing to do this. I am now willing to do the action. My program of action is doing what other recovering alcoholics are doing and listening to their suggestions and acting on them. Each day 1. I get up and thank God for keeping me sober. 2. I work the 12 steps. 3. I read my recovery materials. 4. I go to a meeting. 5. I talk to my sponsor and other recovering alcoholics. 6. I don’t drink. 7. I help another alcoholic. 8. When I retire at night, I thank God for keeping me sober. I do all of this while meeting my other family and work obligations. I do not shirk any responsibilities. This time it is as simple as this for me; I desire to live a sober and fulfilled life. I know to do this I must do the work. I don't question it; I just do it. I am willing to do whatever it takes. If I have to get up earlier, if I have to go to meetings even when I don’t want to, if I have to talk to a suffering alcoholic instead of doing something fun, if I have to clean the meeting room before a meeting or clean a toilet, I will do it because this is how other alcoholics are doing it to stay sober. I will follow in their footsteps to keep the fellowship going.
(A footnote to this story is that this man has now recently completed graduate school. Also, this week I have heard an architect, a professional hairstylist, a union worker and someone in the entertainment industry and we all share the same factors in our equation.)