Today was another small meeting at our old 7am AA meeting. Sometimes the small meetings get filled with talk rather easily. We might have 3 guys who are really on a roll and can fill up the time by themselves. Other days, people don’t have too much to say and there are some gaps of silence. Yesterday at the night meeting a guy was talking about how he loved the silence which I guess is why after two seconds of silence he talked for the remaining 15 minutes of the meeting, when there were 22 in the room. Which means after the speaker one guy shared, there was two seconds of silence and the guy who was on his cell phone the entire time elaborates on how great silence is,how messed up his life is and leaves no time for the other 20 people to talk. I think the message is lost on him. Guys who have messed up lives do shit like that. They don’t give other people respect because they are too busy wrapped up taking care of themselves. Things never change and they are always in turmoil because they love to micro manage their needs. Most AA’s are crappy at managing their own lives, this is why we recommend getting a higher power. Our life was unmanageable when we came in because we were in charge. If we continue to be in charge guess what it will still be unmanageable with or without the alcohol.
Today, was one of those quiet days in the morning. Usually I come in and I am still not bright and alert. I have been up for about 30 minutes and have yet to have a cuppa coffee, I like to listen as I am not usually very articulate until about 3 hours after waking. Sometimes though you have to carry your share. When everybody is talking and there are no gaps in talking I am happy to let others do the talking. After 21 years of sobriety I should not be bursting at the seams everyday to get stuff off my chest at the meetings. I should have the strength to allow others their time and space.
So after reading the AA approved literature to see what I missed because I came in late I figured I’d give it a go and talk about what I have used to help me stay sober because there was a guy really romancing the drink so I thought I should chime in. I began to talk about the importance of the First step. We must always know that we our powerless over alcohol, we must also always know that our lives had become unmanageable. I think a lot of people get tripped up by the second part. It is easy enough for people to admit the powerless but they still hold onto the manageability part. If I bet on a sports game I am powerless over the results but I am willing to accept the results I feel that I can manage my life regardless of the outcome. I think people feel that way deep inside about their drinking. They know they will get drunk, They know they will not be able to control how much they drink once started but they feel like whatever the outcome their lives will be Okay. That mindset will get you drunk in a hurry.So you must always know the first and second part of step one. Always.
I then started to think about my twenties when I struggled with sobriety. I went in and out of the rooms alot. My sobriety date changed several times. I remember how daunting the thought of never drinking again was. I was just overwhelmed with the thought that I could never drink again for the rest of my life. Just utterly mind blowing. Alcoholics often have this philosophy that nobody can tell them what to do. I hear people say this with some sort of twisted rebel pride. Like they are grabbing their nuts and standing up and saying nobody can tell me what to do. That kind of pride is foolish. Good luck keeping a fucking job with that attitude.
Bill W and Dr. Bob were wise enough to realize the stubborness of alcoholics. They understood the rebelliousness and they figured out a way to deal with it. First of all they make sure that the 12 steps are merely suggestions. They were afraid that if they told a bunch of alcoholics they had to do them they wouldn’t do them. Likewise the 7th tradition, it is not mandatory that you give money at the meeting but guess what if you’re all a bunch of money hoarding pricks the bills don’t get paid so somebody needs to step up. Then they came up with something really ingenious. You have heard this thousands of times, One day at a time,
This is what keeps me sober. Pondering the idea of never ever drinking again I came up with a solution. I will make a decision to not drink today. I can handle that. I will not worry about making this a lifelong comittment. That is overwhelming, fixating on that might lead me to drink. Tomorrow I will decide if I would like to drink and each day I get to make the decision. Just like each day I decide what underwear to wear, what socks to wear, what to eat for breakfast, do I want caffeinated or decaf. I make shitloads of decisions one day at a time. I do same with alcohol.
This is where we cater to the rebellious nature of the alcoholic. You can drink any time you want to. You do not have to committ to a life long of not drinking. You get to decide every day what you want to do. I can drink any day I WANT TO drink, the key, is to not want to. The thing which keeps me making the right decision each day for the last day 21 years is knowing, like I said earlier always knowing that I am powerless over alcohol and always knowing about the unmanagability of my life with alcohol in it. What we have to make peace with is knowing that once you are powerless, from my experience, once you get that unmanagability you can never get it back when you drink. Never.
That last statement I made is why I believe whole heartedly in practicing what we call rigorous honesty. You need to practice honesty in all areas of your life so that when times are tough, when you are romancing that drink you have developed the ability to be honest in all situations so that in this difficult situation you can honestly know that you are powerless over alcohol like being powerless over the result of a bet, unlike a bet the cost of your drinking is not pre-fixed you have no idea exactly how much it will cost you and your life will be destroyed. You will have no control once you get started again. None. If you practice manipulation of others in your daily life, if you withhold truth to avoid responsibility and accountability for your actions, if you deliberately wrong others for your own selfish gain if basically you are not a stand up honest decent accountabilty trustworthy man with integrity how the hell can you expect to have the rigorous honesty needed to know in the most inconvenient times that taking that drink is the wrong decision, is dreadfully wrong. TOUGH TIMES DO NOT DEVELOP CHARACTER THEY REVEAL IT.