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Stories about addiction and recovery, Clean and Sober life styles

written anonymously
First of all, I DO NOT claim to be any kind of Big Book guru. I only share my experience, strength and hope. I want to give a big thanks to God, my sponsor Terry M. from Hendersonville TN, Bj B. from Nashville TN, Gary C from Morganfield KY, Jerry Senzee from Phoenix AR (R.I.P), and Donnie D. from Evansville IN, and all the other special people that God has placed in my life. I only named the ones who are like sponsors to me, there are just too many others to list. But a special thanks to ALL of you who even take time to read this, this is a WE program. So far I have counted the word WE in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous 944 times, although I've heard it is in there over a thousand. The recovery math: 1+0=0...when I am alone I am powerless. However, 1+1=3....because when I start talking to another alcoholic and God enters the conversation....1+1=3   It's in the book.           

This thought brings us to (Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory) and (continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along - 8,9,10.) (We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past.4,8,9) (We have entered the world of the Spirit.- 2,3) (Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.11) (This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for a lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty. resentment, and fear. When these crop up - 4-6), (we ask God at once to remove them. - 7) (We discuss them with someone immediately - 5) and (make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. - 9,10) (Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. - 12) The result = Love and tolerance of others is our code.   pg. 84   So, we have to work the Steps, to learn HOW TO WORK the Steps, to learn how to LIVE the Steps. So, if we are angry, worrying, restless, irritable & discontented...or just outright complaning about something we cannot change, we are nuts. N.U.T.S = Not Using The Steps. So, if someone were to walk up to me and spit on my shoe, do I react? Or try to pause when aggitated, take a breathe & apply the Steps? If I want to achieve emotional sobriety one day then I will apply these Steps to the best of my ability. So, if your life is in shambles and nothing seems to be going right, GOOD. The bad times are your chances to apply the Steps, like we say in the rooms, pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth. So, if someone were to walk up to me and spit on my shoe, I try to the best of my ability to take a Step back, pause, take a breath, realize that I am powerless over what this person is doing & if I am angry my life is definitely unmanageable. I remember in Step 2 that God will restore me to sanity & keep me from acting crazy taking a drink over this situation. Step 3, I know that if I am angry, restless, irritable & discontented that I am living in my own will & I MUST turn it back over to God. If I am angry it is a definite red flag that I am living in my will! Step 4, I need to take a look at what the fear is, what am I afraid of? I am afraid that this man is going to make me look bad in front of others, it hurts my EGO. Fear that others will not respect me, fear that maybe I will become a door mat. Step 5, I need to discuss this situation with another person at once as it says on pg. 86 (We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being...) Step 6, I need to find out immediately what MY part in this situation is, did I do something to cause this man to spit on my shoe? Did I REACT and punch him in the face or curse him? Step 7, Character defects are always there, lying dormant, when they crop up, we ask God to remove them. That is why they are called shortcomings...because we fall short, we are only imperfect humans. Step 8, Become willing to make amends and Step 9, make those amends unless it will harm someone else. Step 10, reviewing everything we just read on the first 9 Steps and if necessary, admitting than I am in the wrong. Not sorry, but WRONG. Step 11, says I need to pray for this man (as it says on page 67) and meditate on what God's will is for me in this situation and the POWER TO CARRY IT OUT. Step 12, says that I should resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can help, and PRACTICE THESE SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES IN ALL MY AFFAIRS. Not just some of them, ALL OF THEM. The end result being, LOVE AND TOLERANCE OF OTHERS. These are how we try to achieve living the Steps in the the snap of a finger when trials and tribulations hit. And now you may realize just what we mean when we say "What an order!" Do I practice these principles perfectly? You better bet your ass I don't, we are not saints. The point is that we are willing to GROW along spiritual lines, but I sure try because I want to reach something that most people will not achieve in their life....EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY.   Once we start to live the Steps in our daily lives then we start to feel the 10th Step promises coming true:   And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone -- even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as  we keep in fit spiritual condition. Pg. 85           

These 10th Step promises say one thing: The miracle is not that I have been sober for 2 1/2 years. The MIRACLE IS THAT I HAVE NOT WANTED TO TAKE A DRINK IN 2 1/2 years.   Don't work my program, don't work your program, WORK THE PROGRAM. My program landed me in jails, 9 mental institutions and an overdose that I almost didn't make it back from. These middle of the road people will always use that same old JUSTIFICATION: You work your program and I'll work my program. BULLSHIT. That's what an alcoholic will say when someone cares enough to tell them the TRUTH, because we put your feelings on hold long enough to care for your LIFE. And then they will say we think we are on the "Holier than thou" kick, BULLSHIT. Don't forget that resentments come from ego run riot, though they usually don't think so. For them to label others as acting "as if they are high priests" should be highly suspect! To them, it's just as likely that anyone disagreeing with their SICK perspective will SEEM like preachers, charlatans and/or jerks. THE program of Alcoholics anonymous has worked for over 78 years, because we are all the same. The book keeps working because we all suffer from the same disease, a spiritual malady. If you think you are any different you are on the road to hell. Half measures availed us nothing. Nor did 11 out of 12. Work THE program casually and you will become a casualty. Work THE program seriously and you will get SERIOUS RESULTS. 
Sober by the Grace of God & the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous,