For me, the Steps open doors for us. Each brings something important to the Program: a call for the assembly of a moral inventory of one’s life, making amends, developing a spirit-filled life. Each calls us to continuously check our progress and changing and making amends where we have erred, and carrying the message of hope to others who are still suffering.
My path to addiction accelerated when I discovered that alcohol was a means to rectify a personal shortfall which had always troubled me forestalling any growth to maturity. I discovered that my addiction released my inhibitions enabling me to strive to become well-liked, part of a group and accepted. I discovered that this addiction partially blanked out moral standards, enabling me to recklessly live for what I wanted. I discovered that alcohol was my safety line, a means to erase feelings of inadequacy, fear, loneliness, inferiority, and failure. It permitted me to live in that black pit of “woe is me, you’d become an addict also if you had my job, my stuttering, my family.” Self-pity was my mantra permitting me to remain addicted far too long.
Early in the Program and having to confront a serious issue, I had to ask, “But how was I going to deal with all that life threw at me – the really tough serious stuff – without my drug of choice?”
The difficult problems certainly weren’t going away just because I wasn’t using my drug of choice to manage them. Some problems are really serious, life-threatening even. Was I deluding myself about future encounters with issues that in the past had “compelled” me to continue my addiction? Was I to become a hermit and live in a cave or some safe monastery?
I thought a lot about this. Then at a meeting, I seemed to have what I guess I would call a “flash of light.” To me it did seem to be somewhat of an “aha moment.” Specifically, I saw that…
It’s the Steps, stupid. I saw the Steps as “right there” enabling us to face life’s terribleness and securing a tranquil, happy, joyous, and free existence. Sure, they guided us to clean up our act and deal with the bare fact of our addiction. But with the Steps, I now understand that at least for me, we can deal with life’s biggest problems by simply working the Steps as they applied to my problem de jour -the serious issues worse than the run of the mill bumps in the road. You usually can deal with those by going to meetings, mixing up the meetings attended, drawing on spiritual reserves, working with others, undertaking new service work, and so forth.
So, what would the Twelve Steps look like if we phrased them as steps specially outlining a path of recovery from the really bad issues, the ones that cause you all that anxiety you’re suffering right now.
To be continued May 15th Red Door
Jim A. Covington, Kentucky