A lot of adults in many cultures in this world have not gone for any extended period of time without alcohol since their teenage years and for many this is a happy crutch, able to control with ease and drink for pleasure. For others who are heavy drinkers or binge drinkers, unhealthy amounts are consumed in short periods of time but stopped to resume daily life and business until the next drinking session begins. There are alcoholics who have no off button when it comes to drinking and often end up in complete oblivion or black out on a regular basis, people that have lost control over their drinking. Unless, like me, who has complete abstinence from alcohol, chances are every person falls into one of those categories.
I try to remember to be mindful of what I put after the extremely powerful word duo of “I AM.” That becomes my life experience. I Am… what I decide I am. Actually the way it works is that: I Am what I believe I am, no more, no less. If I want to know what I truly believe about myself, the clues lie in my results, situations, and circumstances. That’s the good news and the wake-up-call news. Those clues tell me what I currently believe to be possible or not for me.
As you may know, the “idea” of New Thought Sobriety was inspired by the beautiful blending of two teachings: Metaphysical spirituality and twelve-step recovery. If you are an adherent of both, you know what a gift this fusion is. We spoke to someone recently who couldn’t quite see the compatibility between the two. His rationale went something like this: 1. Many people come to New Thought on the road to self-improvement. 2. Many people come to AA out of desperation or by court order. 3. These are two completely different mindsets. Would it have sounded judgmental to say his claim was a gross generalization? It probably would have, so we didn’t come right out and say it. Instead, we went looking for other people’s opinions on the matter because, well, we do love us some research!
I have a friend – well, he’s Bob, a social media friend. We’ve never met. Wouldn’t know him if I bumped into him on the street. We sometimes chat via a meditation app, both part of a subgroup called “Friends of Bill and Dr. Bob.” Clearly we have things in common. Beyond the obvious, he led a 12- Step group in his community. I led a Recovery Consciousness group in mine. We shared notes and support. We both got sober later in life when our kids were older. His daughter recently hit some snags while getting her ducks in a row in the college application process. I had zero advice to share even though both my kids graduated from college and both are living their lives, for which I am proud and grateful.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges people face when committing to a 12-step program is the “God part.” It is often the case that we feel let down or forgotten by God, or that God has somehow favored others over us. The freedom to define a Higher Power for ourselves is liberating. As we are encouraged to align with a God of our understanding, we begin to see the light in a very real way. But what about atheists and agnostics? There are those who are perfectly comfortable not believing in God or questioning the existence of “a Power greater than ourselves.” And yes, they get sober, too…
We moved into our home about 2 ½ years ago. A potentially cozy and very lived-in dwelling in a––shall we say––“mature” neighborhood. As I gazed into the backyard, my mind’s eye saw a beautiful, lush, and fragrant oasis, with flowers infusing vibrant splashes of color among the trees and shrubs. A perfect blend of cool shade and bright sun, invitingly serene and full of life. My human eyeballs told a different story. There were more dirt spots that grass, and the sparse grass that existed was dried out and hay-like. The fence was rickety, and the back porch had holes.
Sometimes you forget just how important it is to have confidence in yourself until the moment you need it most. For many battling addiction, years of substance abuse has eroded all traces of self-assurance and makes recovery seem like an impossible goal. There comes a moment where the next step is either the sober path or deeper addiction — and you have to feel certain about your choice. We recently spoke to a few people in addiction recovery who explained that confidence isn’t just helpful in the process, but necessary. Here are a few of the insights they shared with us.
Gary C. always had time to sit with a friend, particularly a Friend of Bill. He wanted his fellows to know there is a way out of the abyss. Sober for 22 ½ years after banging around on the streets of Hollywood where he grew up – and not the movie star, glamorous side of the block – he spoke at AA meetings. He attended AA conventions, and men’s retreats. He served breakfast at these events. He washed dishes afterwards. He did whatever was needed. He connected with newcomers and old-timers.