Maybe this all Sounds Mysterious (Step Three continued)

Maybe this all sounds mysterious and remote, something like Einstein’s theory of relativity or a proposition in nuclear physics. It isn’t at all. Let’s look at how practical it actually is. Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? Already a willingness has been achieved to cast out one’s own will and one’s own ideas about the alcohol problem in favor of those suggested by A.A. Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one’s will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?

So here possibly lies some of the key to my early chronic relapsing.  It took me six years of drinking and attending AA to finally achieve a sobriety that would last.  I didn’t feel AA was a safe harbor.  Although I believed that the sober members were telling me the truth.  I believed they had been just like me and that through following the program they had achieved sobriety, I was not completely sure that I could.  And I held on to a tiny straw of hope, for the longest time, that although I knew I was alcoholic and that alcoholism always gets worse, I would learn to drink successfully.  So I didn’t entirely give my will concerning alcohol to AA.  Almost all matters, but not completely all.  And I did intend to stick.

Now I’m writing this blog with 32 years of sobriety and counting.  I want to work and rework these principles in my current, sober life.  I suffer still from many disturbances of my peace of mind.  They are nothing like they used to be, and when I was drinking that disturbance was quickly bringing me to my death.  No, sobriety gets better and sobriety is worth it.  If I didn’t have sobriety, I wouldn’t have the life nor the ability to grapple with my current state of mind.

Day to day, alcohol is not an issue for me.  Character defects are.  I cannot completely surrender and abstain from anger and fear, anxiety and jealousy the way I can from alcohol.  There is no religion that would guide me thoroughly enough to give the rest of my life over to it.  There is in me, after all the time, still the hope and faith that by continuing with the program I will continue to improve.  Just grappling with this one paragraph of this one step of this one book has hopefully brought me closer to that ideal me I want to be.  Maybe this is mysterious – impossible to explain.

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3 thoughts on “Maybe this all Sounds Mysterious (Step Three continued)

  1. Congrats on your sobriety! I also love the way the big book explains things. The 12 and 12 too! That bit about faith. How (whether we agnostics like it or not) we have tremendous faith in something like electricity to work for us, yet we have no idea how it really works! Thinking about spirituality that way really helps me.

  2. The 3rd Step keeps cropping up. I was at a meeting yesterday, and old-timers were saying the most marvelous things … like how they first made a decision to turn their will and their lives over to the process, and then working the rest of the program helped them figure out the rest.

    I made a bunch of “decisions” before I came to AA. Decisions like: I’d only drink on the weekends, or I’d only drink beer, or I’d limit myself to three drinks, etc. Looking back, as lame and limited as that thinking was, it was a really necessary part of the process for me (just like your 6 years of relapse was for you.) I kept thinking that maybe taking the 3rd step has been a little bit like that. I make a decision. And then another. And then another. And eventually I do turn things over — for a moment now and again, anyway.

  3. Thanks so much for your post. I have been plauged with anxiety after a series of my spouse’s relaspes. I have a change in perspective due to your discription of resentment,. Thank you again, i believe i need to change a few things within myself and move on.

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