One of my favorite lines from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is on page 62 – “Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think is the root of our troubles.” One thing I notice about this passage is that it does not specify that this applies to me only in my active addiction. It does not mean I can’t turn a perfectly wonderful day upside down in a heartbeat with a good bout of selfishness and self-centeredness. I also believe that as an alcoholic and addict, I am more selfish and self-centered than the average bear. And me, personally, I have to take action on a daily basis not to be so damn selfish and self-centered. Yet, I still find ways.
So, for me, the first thing I do in the morning is connect with my Higher Power. I thank my Higher Power for another day of being alive, awake, clean and sober. I then pray for knowledge of my Higher Power’s will for me that day and the ability to carry it out. The other actions I take throughout the day not to be so damn selfish and self-centered are trying to act the way I believe my Higher Power wants me to act. I don’t put drugs or alcohol in my body. I try to help others. I connect often with my Higher Power throughout the day! If I mess up, I apologize to my Higher Power. I then get honest with my sponsor and follow his direction. At night, I take my inventory and thank my Higher Power for another day clean and sober.
My experience is that it does not matter how old you are, what your drug of choice is, or how long you have been clean and sober. When I rest on my laurels, up come more of the character defects, the emotional disturbances, and the interpersonal conflicts, as well as being closer to picking up again. To me, it is also a message from my Higher Power to get more vigilant about my program. There is a big difference between getting sober and staying sober. There is also a big difference between doing recovery and being in recovery. Recovery had to become a way of life for me in order to stay clean and sober – not just something I do “on the weekends”.
Lastly, I accept that as a recovering alcoholic and addict, I have to do things on a daily basis that Earth people don’t have to do. Earth people don’t have to go to meetings, call a sponsor daily, pray to a Higher Power, and live by the 12 Steps in order to remain clean and sober. But I do. I am willing to do that for two reasons. I don’t want to go back to the pain and misery of active addiction, and I don’t want to lose the gifts that recovery has given me. One thing that I am extremely grateful for is that recovery is “progress, not perfection”. If it was about perfection, I would have been dead in the water years ago! HP IOU.