Recovery is Action
We “wished” to get clean for years. Countless “wants” resulted in constant failures. Good intentions evaporated into repeated collapse. Well-thought-out strategies delivered ineffectiveness. We prayed, promised, committed, and recommitted. For us, nothing worked – until it did.
It turned out that there was a solution to our drink/drug problem; all we had to do was to do something about it.
The point of no return.
We started at the end; we had come to the close of ourselves and cried out in desperation for a cure. We looked our foe square in the eyes and proclaimed it the victor. In short, we gave up. We gave up the fight.
There was no strategic plan, no foresight. We began at the beginning. Square one found us broken and hopeless. We were void of direction and empty of confidence.
We looked for help, and help came.
We would like to tell the tale of how we looked to God, and God shot down a lightning bolt, and our life transmuted instantly. That is not our story. What we did do was turn to another human for any guidance they could gather. We turned to family, friends, our doctor, clergy, and frankly, anybody who might have the answer.
Recommendations came fast as those in our circle had been waiting for this moment. They knew longer than we did that help was needed and they were prepared to assist. Detox, medical treatment, counseling, rehab, and outpatient care filled out a list that was consistently topped with the referral to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
For an organization that does not promote, AA has brand recognition and cache on the street. Most of the population have heard the success stories and are quick to refer to the group for those struggling with alcoholism.
We testify that we are grateful for the suggestion. The introduction to AA stepped us closer to a complete transformation of mind and body.
Faith without work(s) is dead.
We were presented a book, a textbook (the big book, titled “Alcoholics Anonymous”), upon arrival to the rooms of AA (locations where AA “meetings” are held) We were told, and have come to agree, that the transcript lays out step-by-step (pun intended) roadmap to a life recovered of the strain of addiction.
“BUT” the manuscript calls for action, and though they are framed as suggestions, they are, in fact, instructions, a play-by-play guide to recovery.
It is here that we find ourselves at another crossroad; do we walk through this guide half-heartedly, or do we approach it with the same vigor that we approached our addiction? Do we accept half-healthy?
We had to come to grips with the reality that in this life-or-death condition, half-measures would not suffice. The book called for specific action, and if we desired a revolution of the heart, we would need to follow the direction of the book precisely.
There is not just one action (abstinence) that is required for a complete revitalization, but many actions – all of which are spelled out in detail in the first 164 pages of the “big book.”
When this journey began, we pleaded to be cured of alcoholism for the rest of our lives, not just for a day – though we gratefully settle for each day. We proclaimed that we would go to any lengths to achieve sobriety. We did not know what that would entail. We have since learned that to be fully recovered is possible as long as we do the work.
Effective healing is a science, not an art. The 12 steps of AA are clear and precise, and for our condition, following the guide to the letter is what has left us treated for many yesterdays.
There are no time-outs on the road to recovery. The program of AA is a never-ending loop. Heal, help, repeat. A relentless pursuit of progress is the underlying aim.
Understanding the text is simply the starting point. Applying the practices and principles is where the rubber meets the road.
We work our recovery because we have tasted life-victory – and we want more!
“They (the promises of a better life) are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them” page 84 of the “Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous”
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast titled “Bonus Drop - Paul's Story - Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope”….The podcast dropped on 9/26/2021. 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.