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What happens to me when I take my foot off the gas? As described in the Big Book: remorse, horror and hopelessness… a terrible sense of impending calamity… terror and madness… declining moral and bodily health… loneliness and despair… that bitter morass of self-pity… annihilation of all things worthwhile… misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity… a hopeless condition of mind and body… hopelessness and futility of life… pitiful and incomprehensible demoralisation… insanity… unhappiness… selfishness, dishonesty, self-seeking and fear… remorse, depression and inferiority…

Although this describes the still drinking alcoholic, it can similarly characterise the sober alcoholic who fails to practise the principles in all her affairs: ie. me. Of late I have been suffering from all of the above. It’s embarrassing to admit at five and a half years sober but it’s the truth and I need to be honest. I have worked the steps and continued to work the steps to a level sufficient to keep me sober and that’s amazing. There have been phases of my development during which I have been genuinely happy, joyous and free, consumed with gratitude, peaceful, a million miles from the girl I used to be – an embodiment of the promises come true. But the nature of my disease is cunning, baffling, powerful. It creeps back into my life like smoke under a door. I am oblivious to it at first until suddenly I can’t breathe.

Thankfully, there IS a solution. Which I have been taught and I believe lies in the steps. It lies in enlarging my spiritual condition. It lies in a truly honest appraisal of the gaps in my program. It lies in the application of the steps as outlined in the Big Book – with the help of a sponsor, without any wiggle room. It is taking the actions that keep my ego sufficiently at bay for sufficient power to remain in my life to keep me sober. And that is what I am currently attempting to do and have been for the last few weeks. The results in this short time are astounding and I am experiencing once again the POWER of this program. I can be lifted – by a power that is NOT me – from what felt like a deep depression without an antidepressant in sight.

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