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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

It’s okay to not be okay

“Maybe it's okay if I'm not okay” lyrics from Maybe it’s Okay by We Are Messengers.

A few yesterday’s ago, we were broken, isolated, guilt-ridden, full of shame, embarrassed, lost, directionless, and misguided. Drama was like a magnet to us. Misfortune was omnipresent. We were full of alcohol and void of hope. We had relationship, health, spiritual, and legal troubles – all at once. We were not okay.

Today, we are in a constant state of repair, much more at peace as we lean on honesty, free of guilt and shame, prideful in a healthy way, strong, and optimistic. Confidence has replaced fear, and a decent physical condition has returned. We now possess a spirituality that is the glue to our recovery. Relationships have healed, and we share our newfound hope as our purpose.

Still, with a significant transformation of mind and body, we are left short of okay. We accept this position, understanding that okay may never be attained. Maybe it's okay if we are not okay.

What we know today is that the pursuit of progress moves our needle. That fulfillment is found in the endeavor and not in the end game. That one day in effort is better than a thousand spent stagnant.

Today's post focuses on committing to connections as it is through connection that we found recovery and through recovery that we found growth and through growth that we moved toward healing. We became more okay with each micro-move.

The five areas of focus laid out below have helped us over time. They are as important to the senior as they are to the freshman. They are critical for newcomers to sobriety and essential maintenance for the old-timers who have some sobriety under their belt. The emphasis on connection has kept us safe from ourselves and balanced on life's plank.

Connect with ourselves

The need to understand oneself while desiring to create a meaningful life screams from within every human being. Why am I here? Why do I do what I do? Why do I do what I don’t want to do? What is the point of it all? What is my purpose?

Self-discovery is at the root of 12-step recovery. We couldn’t fix the drink problem if we didn’t correctly diagnose the patient. Clarity, through abstinence, was but the first step. We had to dig deep to uncover what made us who we are. We had to come to terms with the experiences that made up who we became and embrace our strengths and weaknesses to bring us to who we want to become.

This bond must be thorough and built on utter honesty lest we lapse due to partial perspective. We found that once we recognized ourselves fully, we embraced where our feet were planted, within an arm's length of okay.

Connect with others (Community).

The community aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was, for us, a stretch at first. We had lived as a village amongst ourselves in the reigning days of our abuse. We were living a self-created scenario that found us the producers, writers, actors, directors, stagehands, and ushers of our tight universe. We saw no value in camaraderie, fellowship, or companionship. It stunted our buzz and exposed our flaws. No value.

It is not okay to be alone in a creation that thrives on communion, and there is no better example of the power of group than what is found in the rooms of AA. We only needed to look past the imperfections in any cluster setting to find the ultimate supportive environment.

We have found that the group is there when we need them; when we don’t, we are there for the next guy. That is the way it works. The lights are always on.

Connect with a counselor (aka Sponsor).

There is much to unpack here but stick with us as we cathartically pitch the power of a solid sobriety sponsor. A certain magic happens when two people are focused on the same objective. Most often, growth is recognized by both parties. While burdens are halved, encouragement is doubled—the ultimate win-win.

Yoked with the right sponsor, one gets a bundle of the following benefits: support, mentorship, a non-judgment setting, a coach, teammate, accountability, backing, practical advice, a teacher, a listener, joint responsibility, unconditional acceptance, a trainer in our corner, understanding, shared experiences, a cheerleader, a helper, relatability, and pure, raw-and real love.

All of that with no expectation of compensation. No quid pro quo. It is a simple yet complex selfless act there for the taking.

There is little risk as there is no contract to sign. No long-term commitment. If it isn’t working for us, we move on until we find what was described above. We are left with few objections to giving the connection our all in the promise of proven success.

Connect with a power greater than ourselves.

The textbook (the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous) teaches us that our sobriety is based on our spiritual condition. Our connection to a being with power greater than any man becomes the most important link we need to pursue.

One of the most appealing attributes of AA is that there is no demand that any specific definition or concept of a “higher power” be adhered to. All perceptions and beliefs are welcome, as the relationship is personal and not universal.

The point is not “what” but that “there is” be the guiding principle. Once we had privately settled, we could work to connect.

The relief that came once we understood that we were not the center of the universe was a magnificent byproduct of our journey – and one we did not see coming.

We are good as long as our higher power is okay.

Commit to deeper connections.

Once we established our connections, we moved to deepen their root systems. Working feverishly to build upon what had been created, we held determined to grow closer to okay.

This commitment comes with bumps in the road. There are times we stall on the side of the road, and even days we roll backward. But, we keep our eyes on the gauges and trust that if we care for the process, we will reach our destination – somewhere just short of okay.

“If I didn't know what it hurt like to be broken Then how would I know what it feels like to be whole”

lyrics from Maybe It’s Okay by We Are Messengers.


Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a podcast #32 titled “"Sponsorships" in Sobriety - What / Who / How / Why / Etc”, The session dropped on 11/10/2021 Click here to hear the podcast.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash


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.


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