When I first stopped drinking, I was unaware that it could be possible to enjoy things without alcohol or drugs. The alcohol was the centerpiece of any event I attended, and procuring it or making sure it was available was the first order of business. How wonderful to know that my full sensory enjoyment of simple things has magnified so much more than anything I thought was fun in my blurry, boozy haze of pseudo fun.
When I first stopped drinking, I felt naked and afraid without a glass in my hand. I actually thought I was overly conspicuous, and it warranted an explanation. At first, I shifted to sparkling, spritzer-like things with a twist and a straw. My sponsor told me she just orders diet Coke. That didn’t seem right. Over time I have actually become comfortable with water, sparkling water, or even nothing at all!
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.
So much symbolism in this holiday, and at this time of year for those of us in recovery. Long days to live life to the fullest… Independence Day for our country – it’s a birthday – take a chip, USA. Some of the freedoms we hold dear in recovery are ideals, concepts, and things we strive for – which is also true for us as a country… progress not perfection. But today and this month, let’s honor the freedoms we have created for ourselves – and that is MUCH to celebrate!
10 Contrary Actions for Life’s Day-to-Day Experiences: Give someone a compliment when feeling envious or less-than… Take some deep breaths instead of speaking out in anger at someone… Engage in visualizing living the life of your dreams instead of engaging in “morbid reflection” based on personal conditions, world events, or bad decisions in the past… Lead a conversation about possibilities, ideas, and dreams instead of gossip, rumors, and drama.
Getting sober is just the beginning. Life rolls out the red carpet when we step fully into recovery. What can you add to this list? (1) Tell the truth. (2) Say YES to life and no to substances. (3) Stay connected to the invisible side of nature (not because we’re “supposed to” but because we enjoy it and it’s awesome.)
Chances are you have heard some of these things too – I don’t claim that they are the original utterances of the people who spoke them – but I loved hearing them. I am not attributing them to anyone, but maybe they are published somewhere… we can share.
The spiritual principle of Step 2 is Willingness. February, Month 2 of our calendar year, seems like a good time to re-up our willingness. Can you add more to this list? What are you willing to do?