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.