Making it through the Tough Times

From – Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.   (Alcoholics Anonymous® pgs 87-88)

To set the stage for today’s entry, I will simply say that I am going through a bad time in my life with a few deaths in my family and friends, some seriously ill family members, my wife and child are both sick, and I have a feeling of just too much going on and I began to sink into a depression. 

Then I thought about what I would tell others in such situations. 

First, all people suffer from periods of  “excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions” at times, but for us who have in the past alleviated such feelings through some form of artificial “escape from reality” these things can often be exaggerated.  Our emotions can be at times an overreaction.  What I am trying to say is that if a stress in our life would normally get 2 units of anger or worry, we experience 10 units of anger or worry and then respond at that level of desperation. 

That all sounds great, but what should one do?  One of the greatest gifts the founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous® gave us, is FELLOWSHIP.  The popular term to describe such fellowships is “support groups”  There are people within the groups we attend and the circle of those in recovery that are strong and wise that can be of great assistance in the hard times.  The key is that we need to have a deeper more personal relationship with them than simply the sharing we do at meetings and an occasional discussion at the coffee pot.  Simple talks with some friends (preferably those who are wiser and working good programs) in recovery can sometimes be a great help in the hard times.

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.  (Alcoholics Anonymous® pg 89)

Intensive work with others in recovery does many things which are of great assistance to each of us in recovery.  One of the keys is the idea of going back to the basics of our own steps and our own program.  The old saying spoken by “old-timers” throughout the world  states:  “You gotta give it away to keep it!”  This is so true.

 As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.   (Alcoholics Anonymous® pgs 87-88)

This is one of the most important things we can do and in reality the first thing to do:  Stop, talk to God, and look and listen for some kind of answer.  The “Big Book” states on page 62 that selfishness and selfishness are the roots of all of our problems.   The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book tells us on page 70 that the goal of every step in the program is to gain humility.  It goes on to say, that not only is the gaining of this humility a must for sobriety, but:  “Nearly all A.A.’s have found, too, that unless they develop much more of this precious quality than may be required just for sobriety, they still haven’t much chance of becoming truly happy.”    Key word is happy.

A simple look at this from the bible (the book early A.A.’s used before there was a “Big Book”):

“…GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”  (James 4:6b NASB)

In other words the same pride described in the “Big Book” as “selfishness, Self-centeredness!” is the key to finding yourself in direct opposition to God.  This passage also states that humility is the key to closeness to God.  “I am no longer running the show, God let your will be done” is our mantra.  With this closeness to God our joy and peace are gifts from Him along with the self-control that will keep us sober.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…  (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)

This praying, seeking others that can listen and mentor me in these tough times, and continued work with others are what keep me standing and sober in these periods where emotions threaten to overtake me.  I am far enough in my recovery where the idea of craving seems a thing of the distant past and I do not have any urge to use at all, but the reality is that much stronger people than me have relapsed.  I need to focus on these things when any troubles or discomforts arise.  If I were to wait until I felt a deep craving or realize that I have been having cravings it may be way too late.

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.   (Alcoholics Anonymous® pgs 87-88) 

This has been carrying me through the day and I hope this will be of assistance to all who read this….

 ————————————————————————————-

God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.  (Alcoholics Anonymous® pgs 164)

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