Broken yet Repairable
Something was wrong with our wiring. The check engine light glared from our dashboard, and we weren't even alarmed. We were in trouble, yet we could not muster an ounce of care. We didn't fit into society, and wouldn’t attempt to fit into ourselves. Natural reactions of guilt and shame were void in our spectrum. We acted shallow because we were shallow, failing to open the hood and go deep to diagnose the problem. We assumed that everybody shared similar defaults and damage. In short, we lived an alcohol/drug fantasy that warped what was reality.
Cars don’t fix themselves, nor do humans, without awareness, assistance, and commitment.
Start with the end in sight.
A model car kit comes in a professionally presented box. The components to construct are contained within the box; however, the cover depicts the final product and serves as the builder’s guide. The representation on the wrap is the goal desired.
Admittedly, we were quite unsure of what sobriety would look like for us. As we did not think we could go a short number of hours in abstinence, the picture of life without alcohol was a stretch. This is where we turned to those who had shaped a fulfilling existence through working a solid 12-step recovery program. We identified elements we craved from many as we attended and participated in AA Meetings.
A picture of success slowly took shape for us as we modeled others and did the work they did, for ourselves. For us and many we have encountered, the image turns into something we never expected. Almost always, the life we earn is far better than the original vision.
The point is to have a final figure in mind while allowing for enhancements as they unfold.
Dust off the manual
Models come with instructions, automobiles a manual, and when in doubt, YouTube has a how-to video. And, not to be outdone, Alcoholics Anonymous has a textbook that provides a step-by-step (pun intended) guide to better living.
The importance of understanding the book's contents cannot be understated. And though understanding is essential, following the instructions to the letter represents the difference between success and failure. At least, this has been our experience and what we have witnessed first-hand in hundreds of cases.
Going to the repair shop
Back in the day, there used to be a Midas repair shop on every corner. Today, on almost every corner, an AA meeting is hosted. The only requirement for attendance is a desire to stop drinking. No appointment is needed, and there are no dues or fees.
We had to ask ourselves the question: why try and fix the problem all on our own when there was a place to go for assistance that was affordable and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
There is something special that happens in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. There was something there for us, and we believe there can be something there for everybody. It is a place to go to heal and grow. Others are in the waiting room, some with more problems, some with less – all with purpose.
Choosing the right mechanic
As each car is unique, many mechanics specialize in specific treatments. One would not take a vehicle needing transmission service to a break specialist. Similarly, every human is unique and has learned to be led by a specific pattern. Some are taught passively, and some require aggressiveness. Either way, the mechanic becomes the most important guy in the room when restoring a problematic condition.
We were suggested to choose our mechanic wisely, not quickly. We were counseled to find somebody we could connect to, somebody we felt confident would follow the instructions in the repair guide.
We were told we should not seek a friendship but rather a teacher-student relationship. We have entrusted our lives to this person, and our sobriety (restoration) need be their priority.
Join the car club.
We become who we hang with. In our drinking days, we hung out with drinkers. In our courting years, we magnated to those who sought courting. When we sought to tinker with cars, we found a community of like-minded tinkerers.
The “fellowship” of AA can be a lifeline to enhanced living if we allow it to be. The village supports and inspires us when we immerse. It can start with a simple text and lead to fulfilling moments that A) remind us of where we have come from and B) confirm where we are headed.
We knew something had to change. The brotherhood/sisterhood of AA became the conduit to the change we sought.
To achieve optimum performance, preventative maintenance is almost always suggested. Cars can be tuned up and engines augmented on an ongoing basis. Likewise, one’s recovery path can be bettered through constant monitoring and continual improvements in thoughts and behavior.
Steps ten through twelve direct us to remain keenly aware of our doings, improve our spiritual condition, and serve the next guy in the waiting room. In the end, we become the mechanic for somebody else while constantly keeping our engines running smoothly.
One closing note: Our spiritual state is the gasoline and oil required for operation. An engine can be maximized and repaired but will not function without the necessary fluids. Our recovery is based on our spiritual condition. Fact.
We are getting it right – one checkup at a time.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast titled “Halloween Bonus Drop: Peggy's Story - "I Didn't Like Me..” The podcast dropped on 10/31/2021. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.