We sat defeated. With heads buried in our hands, the darkest of darkness prevailed. Only our willingness to pry open our eyes, to seek out any glimmer of hope, saved us from death itself. With light shed on the truth of our plight, we used what was left inside us to surrender. Our hearts knew we needed help, and our lips declared that deep desire. With little energy, we leaped on the backs of professionals, family members, and doctors eager to assist. They carried us through the critical early days of our recovery. They led and we followed. We are forever grateful.
Once somewhat strengthened by support and able to stand independently, it was time for us to do what it took to get healthy. This would require force beyond our capabilities. This we know because of the thousands of failed attempts we have had in a quest to do it our way. Our promises were sincere, but our capacity to execute them by means proved futile. To find victory over alcohol, a new plan with new players would be required.
Our fortune changed when we were introduced to the 12-step recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Our lives changed when we stopped teaching and started learning. We found life through death. The comfort we had relentlessly pursued had found a home in our souls.
This transformation did not happen overnight. The get healthy phase takes time.
Realignment requires effort and patience. Mistakes and heartache will pave the path. The right plan and the right people are the essential bases for good health.
Growth happens through pain. Real renovation is messy and demands a determination to see us through the discomfort that comes with the project. We needed to learn to break through the pain barriers to reap the rewards promised. Getting healthy is hard, but we guarantee it is worth it.
Once we get through the get healthy period, we are on to the stay healthy part. Staying healthy involves getting healthy and more of it - more people, more plans, more learning (growth), more effort, more surrender.
When we get sick, we go to the doctor. When things are complicated, we go to a specialist.
When we need help, we ask. Once our eyes are opened and we become aware of our surroundings, we see support situated around us. Just as we thrive when we serve, others yearn to assist.
Failure to tap into the education and experience of others could lead to a letdown in recovery. Help can be found inside and outside the walls of AA. One needs to ring the bell for service – so ring the bell!
A solid blueprint is vital for an effective build. A finely detailed map aids a successful journey.
Getting healthy and staying healthy involves following a proven method of restoration. Each detail of a new build is laid out in the literature sanctioned by AA. It is not our plan that we follow today but THE proven program AA offers.
Health also consists of plans for growth in all areas of our life: physical, spiritual, financial, relationships, mental health, service, emotional, creative, personal development, and self-care.
We invest in ourselves, pursuing and absorbing all we can in an attempt to attain peak performance while accepting that we will not always accomplish our aspirations. At times, we misstep or get lazy. Some days, we forget to take our pills. We don’t stop the whole program, we don’t double down, we simply pick up where we left off.
This is where the rubber meets the road. The whole thing works if you work it. We are left with decisions that need to be made and actions required for good health. All the best plans without execution are only plans. Nothing more.
When we prepare for the day, we need to have a plan and a checklist to make sure we accomplish tasks that move us closer to our desired goals. Then, we move through the day executing – understanding that things will change and that we will have to reset our expectations and projected assignments. We learn to live in a dynamic world, trusting our true north while maintaining a static approach.
Our first step in this journey was a step of surrender. At that moment, we gave up the fight. That started our trip to the once elusive place of peace.
The good news for us is that surrender is not a one-and-done proposition. The power of the principle applies beyond that first moment. Continual surrender delivers immediate impact in every instance of use.
We have surrendered to people, plans, and our ego. We have surrendered to a power greater than ourselves, turning over our will, and have found what we were looking for all along.
We leave with a plea to ourselves and the reader of this post: embrace the moments delivered by each breath of this precious life. Live in the moment. Let go of what is holding us back. Expect the unexpected. Seek advice – and follow it. Please keep doing what we know is right. Get self-aware. Stay accountable to somebody. And most important, take a healthy pride in each day you succeed in your quest for a better life.
Get healthy – stay healthy.
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.