As I Worked Through The Steps I Became Willing To Believe
I know today what makes me an alcoholic is the inability to stop, control or moderate how much I drank. As with the fatal allergy and the obsessive and progressive nature to the illness, the consequences of my drinking got worse and worse, in the end it was hell! To top it off my life sober, dry drunk, deep in the spiritual malady with untreated alcoholism, was as bad or worse! I was restless irritable and discontented. I could not be comfortable in the world sober. I didn't like people, everyone seemed to piss me off. I was riddled with fear, guilt, shame and paranoia. My head would race out of control (he said this, she said that and so on.) I thought I was going mental. I'd reached that jumping off place it describes in the big book, I could not do life drunk or sober!
I arrived in Alcoholics Anonymous, sceptical but desperate for a way out. There friendly people shook my hand and told me in their shares, how they were once like me, drunk and sober, and from working the 12 step programme their lives had changed and they had recovered. I got a sponsor, a big book and started doing the simple suggestions I was given. One was to pray on my knees to a power greater than myself, which was odd at first but I knew there was no power in me, I was hopeless and I started to get hope. As I worked through the steps I became willing to believe in a power greater than myself, or God of my own understanding. I handed my will and life over to that power or conception of God and by now the obsession to drink had gone. I did a moral inventory and took responsibility for my defects and was willing to have God remove these things on a daily basis. I wrote down all the people I'd hurt and starting to make amends, clearing away the wreckage of my past. Through doing this stuff amazing things started to happen in my life. As I said the obsession to drink left me, my perception of the world changed, my life got better and better and I recovered from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. I've had a change of thought and attitude or spiritual awakening. I am a different man today. I've been given tools to do life sober; happy, joyous and free with sponsorship being fundamental. I know I don't have a direct line to God and my sponsor's guidance is so important and there's no closer way to God than working with the still suffering alcoholic.
Today I live on the last three steps (the maintenance steps.) One of these is step 11; sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand him; praying only for the knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out. Today I use the serenity prayer when needed. I meditate, plan and review my day every morning and evening (reading from pages 86-87.) When I pray, I pray for inspiration and strength to help others, to try to do God's will for me and ask for forgiveness where I've done wrong. I've read some fantastic meditation books which I've loved like Sadhana; A way to God by Anthony de Mello and Joy of Meditation which gave me loads of easy meditation tips. Plus other great and inspiring books. I love my quiet time today, a half hour concentrating on my breathing sensations, body sensations, listening to sounds or to peaceful music etc can be so effective, especially after a heated bit of step 10 (which can be like doing step 5 again.) From working the steps and finding a Higher Power miracles have happened in my life. The more I try to get closer to that power the better I am, the better I feel. More patient, tolerant, and relaxed. More peace of mind, gratitude, happier and contented. It helps to slow things down in the hustle 'n' bustle in the real world today at work, at home and in AA, and to be a better example for the newcomer.
Nick D, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth, January 2011