Step Three calls for affirmative action (Step Three continued)

Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God— or, if you like, a Higher Power—into our lives. Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. Therefore our problem now becomes just how and by what specific means shall we be able to let Him in? Step Three represents our first attempt to do this. In fact, the effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we have tried to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

This may be why for me, the whole AA program was not effective and I drank again and again and again in AA.  Because I did have faith.  I believed that the program worked for those people who said it worked for them.  But when it came to actually turning my will and my life over, I didn’t do it well enough or completely enough to stay sober.

I think it’s a fairly simple proposition.  What it means to “turn it over” in this context is to work the rest of the steps.  I had to also follow suggestions well enough to get some sober time.  I had to go to meetings, I had to call people before I drank, things like that.  But my own mind would change sufficiently until I put a concerted effort into all of the steps.  That’s what “turning it over” means to me.

April 21, 2016 (this day)

Photo on 4-21-16 at 6.30 PM

Carole marked 20 years sober yesterday, and I gave her my 20 year coin, which she had given me on my 20th anniversary.  I will have my 32nd anniversary May 1, God willing.  And the creek don’t rise.

It’s been an extreme blessing to be married to someone in the program.  I’ve written about it way back when, but we met at an online AA meeting in 1996 when she was just getting sober and I had a measly 12 years.  I wouldn’t meet her in person until she had a year, but by then we had fallen in love.  Online.  I still felt badly about it, even when Carole had a year, and a friend asked me, “How long does someone have to have in order to date you?”  I didn’t know how long, but more than a year I thought.

Anyway I trust that the ensuing 19-year-and-counting relationship has shown I wasn’t out to take advantage of her newcomer status.

Recently at a meeting I heard someone say something like, “….my truest sponsor, my wife …” which would not be a sponsor in the legal, literal or suggested sense.  But I understand.  Carole and I have talked a lot of AA through the years.  We’ve been to a lot of AA through the years.  I remember being afraid to meet her and get involved, afraid that she would drink or fade away from AA the way, sadly, most people do.  I told her that being an active and sober AA member was a prerequisite for being with me.  It was still a terrible chance I took.  Looking back, I’m amazed I did that.  But my then measly 12 years must have been driven sense into me because it’s worked out so very well for today.  I wouldn’t want to do sobriety (or any part of life) without her.

Don’t Drink and Go to Meetings

Basic advice sometimes given to flustered newcomers who don’t know what to do.  To not drink is the first, necessary part of recovery.  My mind, under the influence, could not absorb anything or advance in any way.  “The disease that tells you you don’t have a disease” comes to mind.  It’s like a part of me wanted desperately to keep drinking, and it would not stop for any kind of reason.  With alcohol in me, it didn’t matter what I believed or didn’t believe.  I was bound to go for more.

Going to meetings begins to put in place all the other changes and learning that are needed for recovery.  At meetings we hear instructions.  We hear what people have tried and experienced.  We hear from other alcoholics.  That has always been an essential part of the program. Sometimes people who cannot recover given treatments and medicines and therapy can recover when given the experience of someone just like them.  Meetings are where the people are.  The people who can help me and the people who need my help.

April 2, 2016 (this day)

My daughter of the trip-to-Greece-all-alone saga is engaged.  She’s 30 years old, and has never been endangered by my alcoholism.  This month Carole will have 20 years sober.  Next month I will have 32.  All these happy situations are brought to me by AA.  It works!