Sober since April 6, 2006

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days

Sunday, November 12, 2006

willingness


It was never in my life's plans to be an alcoholic. My first days in the AA program were filled with so much gratitude that being an alcoholic didn't bother me. I was so happy to finally have hope for recovery.

But later on, the thought of going to meetings for the rest of my life and constantly struggling with alcoholism frightened me. It especially scared me when AA long-timers would crawl into discussion meetings to complain about how horrible their lives are in sobriety. I didn't want that for myself. If that was all I had to look forward to in sobriety, then why not keep drinking?

I didn't want to be an alcoholic. I didn't want what they had. I wanted that sense of ease and comfort that alcohol at one time provided. And after these thoughts consumed my thinking during March and April, I ventured back into the bottle in search of that ease and comfort. I regained consciousness to find my arms slashed and a knife by my side. Obviously, no sense of ease or comfort was found in that bottle.

Alcohol had stopped providing me with ease and comfort a very long time ago. It now offers incomprehensible demoralization with the false promise of ease and comfort.

However, I have recently found that I can experience that evasive sense of ease and comfort when I find the sincere willingness to live without it.

I experience ease and comfort when:

  • I am willing to do what God wants me to do, rather than what I want to do.
  • I am willing to accept reality as it is, without attempting to control it.
  • I am willing to pray.
  • I am willing to ask for help.
  • I am willing to follow the advice and instruction of a sponsor.
  • I am willing to let go of previously held concepts and ideas (i.e.: "Hey, but I already finished that step!")
  • I am willing to live by spiritual principles.
  • I am willing to find gratitude in unpleasant situations.
  • I am willing to call someone every day, even when I don't want to.
  • I am willing to go to a meeting every day, whether I "need" one or not. (Meetings don't exist for me! Whenever I think, "I don't need a meeting", that means I have the responsibility of attending a meeting anyway -- for everyone else who does need a meeting. Imagine desperately needing a meeting but nobody being there.)
  • I am willing to grow.
  • I am willing to feel discomfort.
  • I am willing to be afraid.
  • I am willing to be wrong.
  • I am willing to help.
  • I am willing to listen.
  • I am willing to care.
  • I am willing to get hurt.
  • I am willing to make amends to everyone I have hurt.
  • I am willing to live the life of a sober recovering alcoholic.

And when I find willingness to do these things -- and actually DO them -- I experience the same sense of ease and comfort that I once felt alcohol had robbed from me.

The "Serenity Prayer" is very popular over here:
"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

The prayer seems to suggest that serenity is a requirement for acceptance ("Grant me the serenity to accept ...").

But to me, I think the prayer has it backwards. Serenity does not generate acceptance, but acceptance generates serenity. Willingness is the beginning of that process. When I become willing to experience the things I want to avoid, THEN I can accept the things I cannot change. Serenity is an effect or byproduct produced by that process.

As long as I seek to control or avoid an outcome, I will never experience serenity.

9 comments:

Carly said...

Reading your posts is food for my soul. You are a blessing.

Sober Chick said...

I am listening to you loud and clear.

You are evolving just like a butterfly :)

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Excellent! trying very hard to figure out excatly what is helping us is VITAL. without that critical knowledge, we have inadequate explanations to offer newcomers when they ask us the same question. very impressive. i see it as a very unselfish act to understand my own mental and emotional processes. It comes in very handy for newcomers.

SCoUt said...

Awesome post, girl. You have a gift with words.
Look at the first word of that prayer. GRANT.
Think about it now.
The prayer IS doing exactly what you wrote, my friend.
GRANT me the serenity.
Peace and excellent writing. I can really see you growing.
Scout

dAAve said...

I think you've got it!!

sincerelysober said...

Whenever you run into life's little road blocks, you have to ask yourself if maybe it's a fork in the road. Maybe you were supposed to take the road less travelled.

As the immortale Yogi Beara once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."


--
Without Wax,

http://SincerelySober.blogspot.com
An honest, live, interactive self-portrayal of one man's quest of recovery.

recoveryroad said...

Spot on. Powerful stuff. I think you covered it all...

Gwen said...

I am sooo glad you are here. You have an important message to carry. Keep coming. I have a few 24's but don't consider myself an oldtimer. Guess what? My life is really really good. I would not trade my sobriety for anything.

Love ya~
Gwen

PS ~ come sign up to the Top100 Sober Blogs!

Shadow said...

hey!
love the way you think. this is the 2nd time you wrote exactly what i was thinking...
nice to have you around...