I asked for tips to maintain sobriety, serenity and sanity recently – and an AA friend offered one. They had been through life’s wringer, caring for elderly family – losing their mom, and more duties to other family who were ill. Their days were not their own; their business suffered; and their sanity and sobriety were tested. When a nightmare shook them awake, they declared, “I am so over it!”
My situation, while nerve-racking has not been anything close to theirs. So I asked: Can you tell me what it is?
Their answer: “Feeling I am responsible for everyone’s well-being, but not my own.”
It’s funny – in our conversation, she said she’d finished her 12th step, and I confessed this move had positioned me smack dab on the 1st Step!
My friend, who does not believe in God, finally accepts recovery’s primary principle: Take care of yourself. I, who do believe in God, hadn’t been taking such great care of myself, nor practicing these principles in all my affairs!
My friend and I were on similar paths shaped by differing duties, obligations, and responsibilities – any one of which could become an excuse to drink. Listen for the similarities. And learn!
Today, In God’s Care quoted George Bernard Shaw, a sharp observer of human foibles.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.
Bad things happen, and they hurt. But alcohol will not change the bad things – neither will overeating, squandering money, pornography, or cutting. I have come to believe I can change, if not my circumstances, than me. I believe this because God changes people, if not their circumstances.
My friend said they can’t hand things over to a God they don’t believe in . . . but they can let go of the things that are scaring them to death at night, and wearing them out during the day. Resigning as ruler of their world, even if it is just for today, is a good first tip to maintain sobriety. And that’s why I am working Step One!
Friendships flowering from the common goal of maintaining sobriety are not just a beautiful thing, but a life sustaining gift. They are worth developing and tending!
I know I have to let go of more and more each day . . . I believe I am letting these things go into the hands of One who will not drop anything I hand over.
God will help me handle the uncontrollable events of today. Through acceptance, I can change my feelings at any moment — even right now. (In God’s Care)