“Do you feel lucky..? Well?..Do ya Punk!?!”
I have one message for my complacency. That that would like to ease up on AA, stop coming to my home group. That which finds recovery a bit too much ‘this’ or ‘that’ or not enough of ‘whatever’.
“Do you feel lucky..? Well?..do ya punk!?!”
My illness has a 44 Magnum pointed straight at my head and I need to address this complacency with the baseball bat of reason.
Outside the sanctuary of recovery I’m a sitting duck. I’ve lost count of how many drinking buddies/acquaintances have been picked off – through a variety of exits. ‘The quick exit’ – stabbed, beaten to death etc, ‘The sudden decline’, their health rapidly declining – the next moment, “oh, did you hear so and so died!?” And “The living death”…the relentless Groundhog Day of alcoholism with or without ‘wet brain’, with the exquisite loneliness, fear and deep inner dejection.
During recovery we encounter hurdles and walls where we feel fed up and resentful at needing to do our suggestions, service and meetings, forgetting that emotional ups and downs are just a part of life and that these feelings always go away anyway. (It's worth bearing in mind that for non-recovering alcoholics its usually a “hundred shades of down”!)
So often, we can have a memory bypass to how good recovery felt, the release from despair and the strength of the rope of recovery. Some unfortunates decide to go it alone and some of these have died as we have witnessed. We have also witnessed that those who continue to trudge onwards – come rain or shine – are able to surmount life's heartbreaks, setbacks and woes with dignity, and are able to grow from these. Furthermore they are able to appreciate and realise the good times and opportunities that also inevitably come our way with gratitude and some measure of humility, without an implosion of ego or going on some insatiable mission. Someone observed that without peace / serenity there can be no true happiness.
For alcoholics to have any quality of life (or any life at all!) we need to live by spiritual principles – not just for a good photo opportunity but for the rest of our lives. To be honest, for an alcoholic like me, there are times when living by spiritual principles can be a pain in the arse..plain and simple! I’m a deeply flawed being. So, I occasionally need to tap into my Step 1 – the 44 Magnum pointed at my head.
Conversely and most of the time, when I do tap into my spiritual principles/maintenance steps/meetings etc, I quickly remember that I’m on a good deal – I get out far more than I put in. I have an abundance of quality-time where I’m able to enjoy my work (unheard of before recovery) and have some really nice leisure time.
Cynics have often said, “ah..these spiritual principles..God..its all pie in the sky when you die”. We can say, “no, its steak on the plate while you wait…"
Sean, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth