How free do we want to be?
We hold the key to freedom, though sometimes we don't realize we are the key keeper.
12-step recovery, the program that has changed our lives, can be simple to some and complicated to others. We find ourselves peering from both vantages. The complications are self-imposed in our case as we tend to over-dissect the elements that make up an effective recovery.
We now understand that overcomplicating was a defect we had long before we showed signs of alcoholism. We believe that the tendency is inherent in most humans. We fret about the outcome regardless of the facts. We project the destination despite our current direction. We expend our energy on controlling scenarios beyond our sphere of influence.
We chase the elusive, all the while manufacturing a foundation of fallacy. In short, we allow head trash to blur the simple wonders for our taking.
The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection -- AA Big Book page 60
The 12 principles of recovery are acceptance, hope, faith, courage, honesty, patience, humility, willingness, brotherly love, integrity, self-discipline, and service. Relatively straightforward and attainable as stand-alone efforts. Where things tend to get complicated is in our prioritization and our desire to achieve perfection in all these areas of our lives. More often than not, we set ourselves up for failure - at best, we will struggle with our self-expectations.
We have found that focusing on developing our pillars of wellness, mental, physical, social, financial, spiritual, environmental, and vocational, all the while interdependently applying the principles the best we can, tends to move us closer to the us that we are most comfortable with.
Complicated? We think not. As a matter of record, it is far less complicated than the lives we used to live. That life was built on irresponsibility, manipulation, lies, selfishness, laziness, judgment, anger, arrogance, and impatience. We found a way to juggle all of those quality (sarcasm included) attributes seamlessly into each day of our negative existence.
When we find ourselves sober, we find that we are absorbed in the positive. We strive to serve, not to be served. We find ourselves developing, not deteriorating. We tend to love, not hate. We stand on truth. We are proactive, not reactive. We greatly appreciate forgiveness, as we have so been forgiven. We become more lucid and less rigid.
When we find ourselves sober, we realize that we have adopted the principles of 12-step recovery into each next step, integrating them into our each next breath.
Perfection is not the goal. A better version of ourselves each day is our objective. When we find ourselves sober it is not the drunk us that we compare ourselves with, but the us of yesterday that is our comparative benchmark – are we better today than yesterday(?) is the standard.
May we see that we have the wherewithal to use the tools that we have learned to unlock the future we deserve.
The key belongs to us. Turning it requires action.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast #132 "Finding Myself Sober - with Dean Anderson, Author" ... the episode dropped on 10/4/2023 Click here to hear the podcast.
A special shout out to Dean S. Anderson and his book, “Finding myself Sober”. We found this tool to be as powerful as it is simple in application. Highly recommended for anybody curious or on the path to recovery. We received no commission from this endorsement; we are only trying to positively impact one person at a read.
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.