Then perhaps life (Step Twleve continued)

Then perhaps life, as it has a way of doing, suddenly hands us a great big lump that we can’t begin to swallow, let alone digest.  We fail to get a worked-for promotion.  We lose that good job.  Maybe there are serious domestic or romantic difficulties, or perhaps that boy we thought God was looking after becomes a military casualty.

What then?

This is one of the most important paragraphs in the AA literature for me.  It gives me a yard stick by which to measure anything that comes up in my actual life.

I’ve been going to AA meetings now for 33 years.  (for newbies to my blog, I have not been sober for 33 years)  I have heard uncountable stories and I’ve heard of many tragedies.  The example in the text of losing a son in a war is one of the worst things I can imagine experiencing.  It’s only imagination for me.  My son is 23, and in this time and place, he most likely won’t be a military casualty.  Nor will my daughter.

And since I can’t speak directly to that tragedy that too many people do actually suffer, I wouldn’t dream to say I could survive it.  My own tragedies and sufferings have been few and far between.  Inasmuch as I am living, and I am sober, I have survived them and I hope grown.

In my personal understanding of the steps what is important is that yard stick.  I know that nothing I experience is something that is too big for the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Now I DO believe that people get more than they can handle every day.  I DO NOT subscribe to the belief that “God” won’t give us this.  Every day, people die before their time, or lose their sanity, or their fight with mental and physical illness.  People get more than they can handle, and some don’t make it through.  This may yet happen to me.  I’m not charmed or exempt.

But, as long as I can continue to cope with the things that come my way, I will continue to do so, and AA is the mechanism that makes all of my coping possible.

The other night at a meeting the topic was something like “using the program instead of using alcohol” and I pondered – using it for what?  To cope with life.  That’s what I tried to do with alcohol and if it had been any kind of solution, I would not be writing this blog.  When I couldn’t try that method any more under impending death, I finally was ready to try this method, and here I am today.

The things I’ve been through since then have been dealt with by me by using my program of recovery.  I love that beginning phrase up there, “Then perhaps life . . . ”  Not perhaps life, but then life, then lumps, until there aren’t any more.

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