“Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles…We claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.”
~The Big Book of AA
“Strange and imponderable is the power of the human mind.”
Put My Attention on my Intention
Sometimes I feel I am getting the hang of how this works. “This” meaning life as a sober grown- up.
Not that I always do it right. Thanks Big Book for the comforting quote above. And thanks New Thought mentality for a moment of clarity: Time to change the subject, Lena… but just one more post about relapse. (“Just one more….” – my former mantra…)
Even though it’s been 6+ years since I’ve had a drink, my mind can still coax me to board that negative thought train hurtling to frightening, angry, or resentful places. Good to know I can choose not to heed the “all aboard” call… or at least get off at the first stop – or maybe even jump off and roll down the hill like in the movies.
Get back to the principles. Keep my thoughts trained intentionally on my desired outcome, deliberately away from what I don’t want.
I realize I’ve been ruminating about the how, why, and uh-oh of relapse – whether to alcohol, or a relapse to a limited way of thinking. What a perfect time to refocus on the enrichment of my sobriety. How life is moving from a black-and-white stick figure cartoon to a lush full color 3-D portrait.
No doubt it’s Crazy Time in this big world of ours. Our own worlds get nutty often too… who wouldn’t want an occasional escape.
However for us alcoholics, the bottle is never the place to find that elusive escape. It is the place where the nightmare gets worse.
I trembled at the thought of relapse my first few sober years. Most meetings would include at least one mention of someone who had changed their original sobriety date.
But at least they bravely re-entered the rooms. I felt very chicken because I wondered if I’d have the guts to come back in.
I had a love / hate relationship with relapse stories. I needed to hear them but felt tortured. I was spooked by the solid people with considerable time who had gone out.
I made a commitment to myself that I would stay close to the program and never relapse. But I didn’t really trust myself to honor my commitments, so back to fear.
Then over time I noticed my fear was subsiding. No longer was that ominous shadow constantly lurking.
But what about when someone close goes out? Gulp. It just happened. I wanted to say the right thing even as a heart-clutching disbelief and momentary numbness ran through me. A throwback to my early childhood, to that scary, cavernous, echoing emptiness.
So I use my spiritual tools just as I encourage my friend to use hers. At least we have some now, unlike when we first crawled onto this path with faltering faith and desolate desperation. And I practice compassion in a deeper way. I’ve been around this enough to know it could certainly happen to me.
Today, each day becomes more amazing. Today I focus on sweet sobriety. No more pondering relapse or drinking. Nose in the Big Book, or the Science of Mind textbook, or any of the spiritual books that remind me the truth of who we all really are.
We only have 24 hours of sobriety. And if I feed my soul and do my work, I can gratefully expect 24 more.
What do you do when you notice your thoughts drifting to a negative or fearful place?
What are some ways you notice and celebrate your progress?
What are some books or resources your find particularly powerful?
In gratitude, harmony and support,