I’ve been sober for 6 years 4 months now, and I would like to “Share” some of my experience and knowledge of the journey so far.

When I arrived in AA I was on bail from the Crown Court, and I was uneducated, had no employability skills or experience, and was in a real bad way, emotionally & mentally. I felt lost, afraid & alone, and couldn’t stop drinking.

I was offered the solution to my life problems in AA, and I followed the process through. As the result I had a spiritual awakening, and was transformed. Within a few months I was recovered from my alcoholism, and was set on a path to a new life.

Quickly I engaged back in with society, and set out on a pursuit for education. 4 years later, I graduated from university with a full education. I found part-time employment whilst at Uni, and engaged with full-time work after graduation.

All through College & Uni, I stuck to my 12 step programme, rigorously. I never let up on the spiritual programme of action, which had saved my life, at all.

I was very active in my meetings, step 11 fellowships, and fully engaged with education. I was on firm spiritual ground, and life was amazing.

The Big Book warns us about complacency and resting on our laurels, and that we are heading for trouble if we do.

As time has gone by, life has filled up- I have got more responsibilities in my life, the longer I have been sober. I got a girlfriend 2 years 7 months ago, and have found full-time employment with increasing demands and responsibilities.

Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements. (BB pg. 13-14)

From my own experience I can see how I have started to ease up on the rigorous programme of action. The Power of my spiritual experience transformed me utterly, and has enabled me to get to where I am today, and I must never forget where I have come from.

The pamphlet “Is there an alcoholic in your life?” talks about a bridge to normal living and I can testify that that is my experience now. I’m no longer an outcast, living on the fringes of society. I’m a respectable member of society, a law-abiding citizen! A Graduate, an employee, a boyfriend, I’m a busy productive person, living a good quality of life.

However, I must never forget that I am an ALCOHOLIC. I’m a recovered alcoholic, a member of A.A.
As time has gone by, to my own shame, I have seen myself slowly, but surely ease up on the spiritual actions of A.A. I have eased up on what has gotten me to where I am today. I can see in hindsight how I am beginning to get complacent.

I have by no means, stopped doing A.A. I still have a home group, a sponsor, a service position, I still have all my AA literature, I go to meetings, share, try to pass on the message to newcomers and all the essential stuff, but not to the level I used to!

My daily programme of action has started to ease up; not spending much time on my morning quiet time, not doing my inventory regularly enough, not speaking to my sponsor regularly enough, not helping newcomers as eagerly as before, lack of quality step 11. I can see the complacency creeping in to my life!

We are not cured of alcoholism; we have a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

I suppose I do feel like I am cured, and that I am okay now. Because my life is stable, and things are fine. However, I am still very much in infancy, in terms of long-term sobriety. I hear of people of all stages in their recovery, relapsing back in to active alcoholism, people 10 years and more drinking again, because they thought they were cured, that they were ‘okay’.

It helps a lot to be in a strong home group with activists, because they keep me keeping on at times. I thought that I was above people because of my spiritual awakening, that I was head & shoulders above the rest. But I know now the real test, is the test of time. To maintain our programme over the long haul!

I am still very very inspired, and A.A.-orientated, but life has crept in. I must continuously make a new resolves, to redouble my efforts, and strive to do more 12 step A.A. action, to practice the spiritual principles in all my affairs.  

I really can see how I have become complacent, and I know I must treat this very seriously, lest, ultimately, I pay the price with a spree.

I love A.A. and what it has done to my life, and above all I aspire to be a good A.A.

I have written this article to raise awareness on the subject of complacency, and to spur myself on to get back to the heights I have known, to stop being lazy with my programme, and getting too much in the ‘comfort’ zone.  Because overall, I know with conviction, that the 12 step spiritual way, is the only real rewarding way for me!

Jamie, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth, May 2012