You cannot change what you are, only what you do.
I have spent a LOT of time being angry that I’m an alcoholic and an addict. Oh, the hours I have spent wishing I could have just a couple drinks with my friends, or smoke a joint on the weekends. But no matter how hard I wish for that, it’s not going to happen.
And, finally, I can truly say that I am grateful I’m an alcoholic. Why? Because this is the way my Higher Power made me, and if I’ve realized anything so far in life, it’s that God doesn’t make mistakes. I am the way I am for a divine reason, and you are the way you are for a divine reason.
As an alcoholic, there are certain things that will never change about me. Like consuming any kind of drug or alcohol will eventually send me into a tailspin of darkness. I can also tend toward insecurity, fear and selfishness, as well as cross addiction. I can’t change all of that.
But what I can change are the actions I take on a daily basis, the thoughts I think, and the way I treat others and myself. I can choose to take this magnificent opportunity, this gift of sobriety, and use it to help others and create a happy, peaceful life for myself.
That’s one of the most important things I keep in mind every day. Sobriety and recovery are not given to everyone. Some addicts and alcoholics die in the gutter, or choking on their own vomit, or behind the wheel of a car, or in an unfamiliar hospital bed. Only some of us are lucky enough to have the veil lifted from our eyes enough to let in the sunlight of the spirit.
So the next time that you’re feeling sour about this different way of life, remember that you now have a fellowship of friends that literally numbers in the millions, as well as a clear, proven way to create a life so good, you can’t even fathom all the fantastic things that are waiting for you, and are here for you right now.
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, page 83
This gift of sobriety makes it possible for us to enjoy freedoms we never thought possible when we were drinking: freedom from insecurity, fear, resentment, financial worries, regret and selfishness. Basically, recovery gives us the freedom to be fully, completely, unashamedly ourselves. That is something that most of us probably can’t say that we were able to do while we were dying from our addictions.
But from my personal experience, there is something very important to understand. These freedoms come when we work the steps wholeheartedly. When I relapsed before, I had stopped working the Steps. I had stopped believing in the power of AA. Sure, I still went to meetings and called my Sponsor to complain, but I had resentments eating me up inside that I wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t, give up to my Higher Power.
Now I understand that if I want to comprehend serenity and know peace, then I need to be sitting down each and every day putting pen to paper and phone to ear. This is a program of recovery, and programs require action and courage.
May we all have the courage today to be true to ourselves.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.