Turning it Over!

In Step Three, the word “care” has a lot of meaning to me.  To me, it’s an action word.  A reminder to do my best.  I’m not just handing it over and hitting my can to watch how it all turns out.  Hell no.  I have a big part.  To do my very best.  And then…gulp, let the results be what they are.  Looking back, it’s an evolutionary process.  Step Three means something completely different at eight years sober, than it did at one, three, five years etc.

As for the deity part in Step Three, I spend little time there.  I only have to go out in this great big world and travel a bit, or experience nature.  Yes, there is something bigger than me!  And, really, who am I to say otherwise.  I don’t need to burn energy in any debate beyond that.

“Let go or be dragged” is another description, along the lines of Step Three, that means something to me today.  And, it certainly doesn’t mean give up.  Far from it.  What the phrase means to mean is just to put all my energy into doing my best today.  That’s it!  No looking back.  No looking forward.  No disappointment with whatever the result is or isn’t.

It has definitely been a process that has taken time to fully understand and embrace.  I couldn’t let go at one year sober. I had done Step Three and considered it complete.  Read it, said it and believed it. But looking back, I really had no depth of understanding what this Step really meant.  And, looking back, I still hadn’t let go at even five years sober.  I was still looking back, hoping for a better past.  Or, feeling anxious because I just didn’t know about next year, or the following year.  And, that inner critical voice, still critiquing the minute I finished something.  Picking on the small blemish that didn’t go “as planned”.  Or, where I experienced a flash of fear or shame while engaged in what I was doing.   I would hyper focus on that.  Never allowing myself to step back and realize how well things went overall.  And, if it didn’t go well, forget it! Hours of ruthless and crushing inner dialogue persisted.

Once I truly let go, everything changed.  And it hasn’t left.  Every day just keeps getting better the more I am able to let go.

So, if this is what it feels like to have a spiritual awakening, I am all in!

I No Longer Drink, So Why AA?

One thing is for certain, alcoholics never seem to be short on “over thinking” things.  Life presents itself, but to us we want to know if there is just a little more.  Mentally churning the what if’s and where fore’s.  Never satisfied to just accept what is.

I have learned that alcoholism is a fatal illness.  I have also learned (the hard way) that if you’re an alcoholic, and still drinking, things will always get worse…never better!  I had to experience that process of illumination and understanding until the pain and suffering in my life reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore.

My solution was alcohol.  It was my solution until I drank the value out of drinking.  And then, of course, I had a gorilla size problem to deal with.  When I survived addiction and got sober, the bigger problem that I have had my entire life was still there. good ole life itself!

My program in sobriety is AA.  I don’t go to AA because I have a drinking problem.  No, I took care of that!  I go to AA because I have a sober problem.  And I have had this sober problem for as long as I can remember.  I never fit in.  I always felt uncomfortable in my own skin.  I was never good enough.  People were always judging me, or so I thought.  The list goes on!  Joy was elusive.  Happiness…fleeting!

Learning how to live life on life’s terms has been a challenge.  Learning how to stop fighting everything and everyone has been a challenge.  Learning how to become free from the bondage of self, the stifling self-centeredness that consumes alcoholics, that has been a challenge.  But eight years into my sober journey, I can tell you that it has been that most rewarding experience of my life.

The last two years of my life, in particular, have been incredible.  And it just keeps getting better each day.   it is all due to the fact that I became willing to take a hard look at myself and change.  I never knew I had to change.  Hell, I just thought that I had a drinking problem and I needed to fix that.  Eventually, in this process of becoming truthful and conscious, I could see clearly that all of my problems had one common denominator…ME!

None of these admissions, and then taking corrective actions toward change is easy. In fact, most people don’t. I guess they find it too tough. But for those of us that do make that change, it’s hard to put into words just how great life becomes.

AA is not my life. AA has become my way of life!