I remember the days I went without drinking.
They were their own horror. Usually I was trying to prove I could. And I could! I remember twice I went 40 days without drinking.
I also remember some helpful people told me I didn’t need AA to get or stay sober. Maybe they didn’t.
But, without the program, I remember that white-knuckling abstinence worked for a season; like me giving up booze for Lent. But, in that period of abstinence, I didn’t spend time probing how I got to where giving up drinking could be a huge sacrifice – bigger than giving up bread or deserts.
Or, why I thought God would be impressed if I did stop drinking.
AA’s helped me become willing to probe; since their goal was never perfection, but progress.
With the program, I remember that while living without drinking
and making a meeting was hard, they weren’t a horror.
I guess I was more curious about what sober would feel like than I was trying to prove I could get through a day, a week, or a month without drinking.
But I also remember I was still trying to prove something. At the back of mind, maybe it was to prove I really didn’t have a problem with alcohol.
Then, maybe after a month or so in the program, I remember my hearing improved. By then, I had added conversations with my sponsor, more meetings and working the steps; living without alcohol I felt . . . better.
It took me almost a year to get over some cravings. Sidebar: I probably ate too much ice cream – but it kept me off Ezra Brooks and Myers Rum!
It took a while, but eventually I heard:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves . . . (The Big Book, Chapter V, page 58)
Then I understood
that living sober was not about proving I could, but being rigorously honest with myself about my drinking — nobody else’s.
That – being rigorously honest about my drinking with myself and my sponsor – has not been a piece of cake. Sometimes still, after so many years sober, my capacity to lie to myself about something startles me.
The God of my understanding, whom I call Christ, shines light on the steps I want to skip, or have stumbled over.
Nobody in the fellowship of AA has ever yanked my membership privileges when I am a jerk. Nope. They give sympathetic suggestions, usually totally getting why I am off the beam.
In their own way, they hold up a mirror of what recovery can be. While I am free to use what I can, and leave the rest, they suggest it is good to remember that
Alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God; may you find Him now.
Thanks for reading what is good for me to remember! Here’s to remembering nothing is so terrible today that a drink won’t make worse!
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful