Recovering Together

Together We Work 12 Steps in our Quest for Serenity

We realized that we were powerless

We admitted we were powerless over our emotions — that our lives had become unmanageable.  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Having completed the first three steps, we continue to work the remaining twelve steps together, sharing our recovery, along the way. 

Discovering the Key to Hope

I am one month into committing myself into working on my emotional sobreity and mental sanity. My sponsor convinced me of the hope and relief he had found in the 12 steps program, and I thought I’d give it a shot because I was quite desperate. I remember the desperation for a break as recently as 2 weeks ago, as I felt my world crumbling around me. It felt like I was running into a wall every direction that I turned.

After several hours of phone call conversations, reading and re-reading portions of the Emotions Anonymous book, being diligent in working one step at a time, praying every day, taking my thoughts captive, and constantly reminding myself of the promises of God and of the 12 steps program I can say I am equipped to use tools to achieve emotional sobreity.

There were several instances where I doubted the authenticity and self application of the program, a fear if it may not work for me, and the fear of committing to something I didn’t fully understand.

Two weeks later, however, I can say I am not desperate for a break, I am confident to face one day at a time, I find joy in the little things, and I can definitely sense a change in my surroundings that used to be highly stressful and triggering previously.
My depression is lifted, and I have hope.

I believe that it is my God who is doing for me what I cannot do for myself.

Today – I Will Reflect

Today I will take time to reflect – where I have come from – where I am – and where I will go. An active addiction, substance or emotional, can consume most of our time with thoughts about trying to gain control over our addiction. In sobriety we find ourselves with time for thoughts and actions that we just didn’t have before. As we take time to reflect on our recovery we realize that instead of spending all of our time thinking about ourselves we have time to go to help another.

Today – I Am Thankful

We did not find ourselves inclined towards gratitude when depressed. Rather negative things or hardships seemed like mountains in our lives. But now with emotional sobriety, however challenging at times, I see the gift of family and friends, and today I am thankful.

Today – I Will Accept Hardship

Today – “I will accept hardship as a pathway to peace… Not as I would have it, Trusting that You [God] will make things right, If I surrender to Your will” (from the Serenity Prayer). For many of us this may be a rare perspective. We tend to think of hardships as troubling or grounding or even a way of directing one’s mind towards the need for God. But to think of it as a pathway to peace is a profound perspective. Today, with God’s help, I will surrender, and accept hardship as a pathway to peace.

A New Hope

Today, I pray for sensitivity and appreciation of the little and subtle ways God does things for me that I cannot do for myself. I am powerless, and I cannot manage my life on my own strength. I realise more everyday that I need God to be emotionally sober, and to be freed from self-centeredness.

I reflected on this particular part of the serenity prayer “trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.”

I am pleasantly surprised and encouraged to be filled with this hope that I am reminded of throughout the day. It is very different from the kind of thoughts that filled my mind as recent as 2 weeks ago.

Today – I Will Be Accountable

Today I will check in with my fellowship and my sponsor. I realize that accountability is key to my recovery and my sobriety (emotional or otherwise). And my twelve step fellowship, my sponsor, and my trusted friends are all important avenues to my accountability. Still I am the driver. I must take the responsibility and the initiative and today – I will to be accountable.

Today – I Will Help

Today, I will help… Today, I will help someone sick… Today, I will help someone spiritually sick… Today I will help someone spiritually sick who has wronged me! For many of us a vision for this is one of the most difficult challenges in our program. Yet, as the Big Book of AA explains, it is key to our spiritual recovery.

“This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.'” (pages 66-67 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous).

I want to be free from anger and experience life! So today – I will be ready to help someone spiritually sick who has wronged me!

Today – I Will Not Regret…

One of the more elusive of the twelve step promises is that “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it”. To those of us who have caused pain to the ones we love, as a result of our addictive behavior, it can be hard to reconcile how we might come to “not regret the past”. However, each day that I am able to share “what it was like, what happened, and what things are like now” with another in need, the truth of that promise becomes clearer to me. Do I still have regrets? I would be less than honest to say no. But I have faith in the program and the promises, so today I will embrace my past to help another, and trust that one day – “I will not regret… in God’s timing”.

My First Three Steps

I started the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous in July of 2012 at the encouragement of my daughter.  I had quit drinking five years before at what could be considered a high bottom, yet knowing that once I took a drink I would crave another.  Still I had been chronically depressed for well over a year and out of desperation to be freed from my depression I began attending an AA group determined to do 90 meetings in 90 days.  

The first step was easy for me.  I knew that I was powerless over my depression.  It had a strangle hold on me.  But step two was a challenge, as I just wsn’t sure that even a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.  However, I had not worked the 12 step program of AA with a sponsor before, and that gave me hope that there might be a solution.  And then step three, turn my life over to the care of God as I understood Him?  I wasn’t understanding too much about God at that time and was skeptical that if I, being unable to find help from Him in the past, could find help from him in the future.  

But in a noon AA meeting on July 29 in Durham, NC, I made a decision to turn my will and life over to His care, picked up a white plastic chip given to beginners deciding to work the program, and found my depression lifted that day, replaced by a hope that has never left me.