Living by slogans seemed silly:
- easy does it
- first things first
- live and let live
- but for the grace of god
- one day at time
- let go and let god
But slogans are an integral part of recovery programs. They drove me nuts – so sophomoric! (As if I were living my life on a grown-up, wise plane.)
Growing up in an alcoholic home, I missed the common sense lessons the above slogans summarize. Who has time to think, when reacting to somebody else’s drama? Reacting was the only learned response I knew!
I did not know how to throttle back, prioritize, or give breathing room to anybody else. Nor was I much good at giving over control of my life to any “god.”
So, because I could not “fix” the alcoholic in my life, I finally decided to seek help from Al-Anon; it was as if I had walked into a beginner’s class on growing up. I had to learn a wholly different way of living, making choices, and relating to others. I began to see I did not understand what familiar words meant – like resentment, projection, and denial.
And I learned a brand-new word: co-dependency.
At first, it seems like a fine word, which describes living mutually dependent and supportive of one another, right? But, folks in Al-Anon helped me see that the real definition meant the dysfunction in my family of origin enabled me keep making dumb choices.
Drinking became my escape valve, early. When I drank, I became the person I wanted to be ~ for a bit.
However, coming into contact with the Fourth Step, I perceived that co-dependency, resentment, projection, and denial were not working for me any more. I became willing to look at how I was choosing to drink.
About the same time, a neighbor invited me to a Bible study. For months I had no idea how a study in the Old Testament, in Kings and Chronicles and the Minor Prophets particularly, had to do with me, a non-Jew. And then I read Joel, specifically 2:25.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.
I knew something had ravaged the barns of my life, perhaps because of my own drinking. That God could restore the destruction, well, that amazed me. And it gave me the courage to keep exploring elements of my fourth step, because the power greater than myself, just might be real and reliable.
Gradually, I saw the slogans were simple reminders of important spiritual and practical truths . . . and that it was time to turn my life over to the care of God as I was coming to understand Him and His will through Scripture study. In time, I discovered His will for my life was to admit my alcoholism, do something about it, and move out of my sophomoric decades.
But I am far from “graduation” – every day is an opportunity to resign as General Manager of the Universe, and live and let live, one day at a time.
Unbeing dead isn’t being alive. ~e.e. cummings
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. ~Frederick Buechner
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” ~Erma Bombeck
Love in Christ,
Sober & Grateful
Source of Title ~ That’s What Faith Must Be