I think it was Mark Twain who was credited with saying, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” Certainly when I think of some of the crazy-making days when I was “howling at the moon,” I can now crack a smile. On occasion I even find myself about to roll on the floor and laugh out loud when I think of some of the antics I found myself pulling off. I’ve heard it said that the problem with insanity is that it doesn’t tell you it’s insanity. Sometimes it sounds like a perfectly good idea. It’s only in hindsight that I find myself saying; “What the heck was I thinking?”
If I were in a movie, a symphonic, rock and roll, jazzy, waltzy, samba score would have played as a sound track at the very moment when I read those lines in the Big Book for the first time. Though early in my sobriety, something about those positive words sounded real, sounded possible, sounded doable. Some of them had already materialized.
I get asked all the time: what is God’s will for me? Indeed… this can be one of the most difficult questions to successfully answer, at least in the beginning of recovery. On the surface, it would seem, from the traditional language, that we are asking to know the will of something outside of ourselves. Something we can’t understand, can’t define and really have no clue about. And yet, this Something, we are told, is what guides and shapes our lives. If we let it.
Alcoholics Anonymous. I pretty much nailed the first part. Not so much on the second part. I choose to identify out loud because it makes me feel empowered. When I was actively drinking, I was in denial, shame, and silence. Of course, I don’t blab it out in all situations, but if it I feel it’s appropriate, I say it. I don’t feel it’s a stigma. Do you? Someone (a normie) told me that it’s still a terrible stigma. Interesting.
In the past, I was always more concerned with what things seemed like on the outside. I had a glamorous job, an affluent boyfriend, a great body, the newest designer handbag, friends, status, education, health, family, opportunity, and potential. Success was my fuel, and it gave me a false bravado that everything was perfect. I always kept up with the Jones’, so it was hard to compare “normal” drinking to problematic.
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?
We experience pain deeply, sometimes a backlog built up over a lifetime. If we’re lucky, we have a sponsor who advises us to bring that pain to god. But sometimes, our amygdalas decide god’s just not concrete enough. We need safety precautions, emotional helmets and hazmat suits! So we reduce our vulnerability by learning to edit and hide our true selves. We develop strategies like people pleasing: whatever we think will smooth our path, whatever others want or would approve, we try to appear. The goal is to be accepted. We need it because we so intensely fear rejection’s pain.
Going Forward In this unique and powerful moment, I know there is truly only one underlying, overriding intelligence, wisdom, power, and presence that is all around me. It is my Higher Power, the Highest Power. It penetrates, permeates, and courses