My program has to be just good enough to get me through the worst thing that can happen to me without picking up a drink. Death of a family member, my own terminal prognosis, financial ruin, becoming handicapped. Any of these things could happen at any time. There are no guarantees for any of us. If I have to experience that intense pain and fear that might accompany one of these events, only the habit of sobriety and faith in my higher power will stand between me and that first drink.
The habit of sobriety is remembering that I don't drink no matter what. It's picking up the phone instead of picking up that drink. It's sharing honestly about what's going on. It's allowing myself to be loved and supported by the fellowship. It's realizing my powerlessness and turning inward where the real power is. The habit of sobriety will get me over the initial shock -- the time when I am most vulnerable to looking for an escape from the pain. I develop the habit of sobriety by staying in the center of AA and continuing to do all the things they told me when I was new.
Once I am through the initial shock without a drink, then faith takes over for the dark hours, days and weeks ahead. Regardless of how weak I feel, faith tells me that I will be given the strength to get through it. Faith tells me that there is a reason for what happened even if I can't see it. This is a faith that works under all conditions.
At three years sober I experienced a job loss that thrust me into a pit of fear and pain so intense that I could only fall asleep by endlessly repeating the serenity prayer. The habit of sobriety and faith in the Higher Power that I found in AA pulled me through.