AA slogans are useful tools for complicated people to understand a simple program of recovery. They are powerful tools, too, when we remember to apply them — to ourselves.
AA abounds with slogans– tools to grab hold of; either to guard against a slip, or boost me out of my comfort zone. One I heard recently was God took the mess I was making of my life, and gave me a message.
What’s my message? You don’t ever have to feel this bad again.
It took a while to sink in, to understand, and to practice, because other slogans, like a leopard can’t change its spots, created dissonance.
But, I am not an animal.
I am a human being created in the image of God, and have been given the freedom to choose which message to receive.
One of the best messages I finally heard was God’s. Breaking through my deafness He offered: I will help you.
However, recovery isn’t always happily ever after. We mess up; sometimes badly.
Messing up doesn’t back off God.
He was willing to touch lepers, heal troubled souls, and restore sinners.
His business is not to punish our failures, but to offer a key out of the jails we keep checking into. (Matthew 11:28) And He rises to show us compassion. (Isaiah 30:18)
Now, the God of my understanding didn’t just zap me into recovery, taking away the desire to drink, or, making me impervious to alcohol’s power over me. Nor did He magically solve all my problems. Neither has kept hard times away. But, He has never left me alone in good times, or not so good times.
For all the good days in my recovery, there are days I want a drink; there are days when I behave so badly, you’d think I’d been drinking!
That’s where reading Chapter 5 in the Big Book – again – helps. I hate the opening: Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
What path am I on, anyway?
Usually the one where I avoid working the steps.
Thank God, He not only allows U-turns, He knows all the safe, reliable off-ramps from my way to nowhere worth going. Off ramps are another name for slogans– the attitude adjusting tools — that keep me on track.
What’s more, He has firm grip on me, and you, if you like. (Psalm 37:23-24)
Recovery, then, is a continuing concurrence with the question an AA member recently asked.
How is it, the worst thing that ever happened – being a drunk — became the best thing ever—being sober?
Keep coming back, dear reader — thanks for your time!
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful
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