Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny
I thought the phrase an odd one, when I first read this chapter. Trudge having laborious overtones, it did not seem to fit with the general tenor of being catapulted into a fourth dimension, the best is yet to come and a life becoming increasingly more wonderful as time passes! A friend, with a 1930’s dictionary said, that at the time the book was written trudge would have had a different connotation – it would have then meant to walk with expectation. Which seems far more in keeping with the optimistic tone of the book that has helped keep me alive, sane and sober for over sixteen years.
Yet there are still days when it does seem more of a ‘trudge’ as we use the word! Some days when I just ‘put in the foot work and get through the day’, everyone has those days. But that is precisely why the discipline of my AA routine is so important. There are certain things I have always done – and would be hard pressed to explain why, if anyone was ever daft enough to ask. I always make my bed before leaving the house in the morning, I have my coffee after I have showered and dressed for work, never before. There is no importance attached to this routine, it is simply the way I have always done things – but there is another routine which is vital – the one that save my life sixteen years ago and the one that keeps me alive and well today.
I wake up every morning and read my big book, then I have my quiet time – my chance to meditate and reflect on the day ahead, the opportunity to remind myself of my intention to be of ‘maximum service to God and my fellows’. I then pray, on my knees for freedom from self-will and a sober day, and study the Just for today card; a quick review of my gratitude list – lest I forget just how fortunate I am – and then I am good to go!
Any nutritionist will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it sets you up for the day ahead, well my ‘suggestions’ are my spiritual sustenance – they are essential if I wish to maintain my recovery.
When I return from work I quickly change and take my dogs for a walk – routine you see – for I know that were I to sit down and have something to eat the poor dogs would miss out on their walk as I would not have the energy to go out again! The same principle applies to my bedtime routine. I look back and constructively review my day – what could I have done better, was I impatient, intolerant or inconsiderate? I then do my step ten and own my part in whatever is playing on my mind and I focus on how to put it right. I also add any ‘good’ things that have happened that day to my gratitude list. Sometimes ‘good things’ has a very broad and frankly weird interpretation; Did that awkward man in my office give me the opportunity to practice grace under fire, did the boy-racer allow me to show patience, tolerance and maturity? Sometimes it really is a genuinely heart warming event – like being thanked for a job well done or complemented on the way I handled a difficult situation.
Then I get down on my knees again and thank God for a sober day, this is also my time to offer prays for friends, family, loved ones and those against whom I am harbouring a resentment. It is hard to pray for the health, happiness and success of someone who has seriously hacked you off but hey – it works! It means I get a true perspective on my life and I offload all of those small, silly mole hills that can soon become a mountain in the mind of alcoholics. Then I go to bed and I sleep – and that maybe a small thing to those other, normal people but for me it is a major achievement. So many nights spent awake with resentments and half-baked, mad plans for revenge, whirling around in my mind. Well not anymore, those days are behind me, now I sleep the sleep of the just.
Once a week (it was daily until I had completed the programme) I ring my sponsor just to check in and there is often very little to say but it is part of my routine and it means that on the day the sky does fall in I know exactly who to call. It is also the time to share dreams, schemes and future plans and to be told whether they are mad, bad or occasionally good ideas! I also make sure I am in touch with other alcoholics and that the telephone call concentrates on their day and how they have been, not just me, me, me!
Throughout the day I have the serenity pray to help me and I can always ask for God’s help when I think I may be about to lose my temper and tell some poor unfortunate what I really think. Despite all of this I am still too impatient, far too intolerant and much, much too quick to anger. Why can’t you all just do as I say? The suggestions help me be a better human being that is all. No sainthood yet nor ever! But I know that as I trudge the road of happy destiny I am gradually, slowly becoming the person God always intended me to be.