Loosening My Grip

I don’t believe I’ve ever let go of anything I deemed valuable without a life or death struggle. Not my drinking habit, not my expert opinions, not my beliefs about how life is suppose to work. I hold on despite overwhelming evidence these ideas are causing trouble in my life. I hold on until life finally rips them out of my hands.

Self-centered fear makes it impossible for me to let go. When I was drinking I had life by the throat and was choking it to death. I could not let go because I was afraid I would lose your love and respect. I struggled for thirty years trying to make my dysfunctional life work. I faced every set-back, drink in hand, with renewed determination to win the game of life. I worked harder, played harder, drank harder, but instead of winning I started to lose. I lost the big pay job, the wife, and the fat 401K plan. Yet I continued to hold on to the idea that material success is the key to long lasting happiness. The pain ratcheted up until frustration, confusion and disappointment became so great that ego ran out of self-will and plummeted down to earth.

In AA I learned that the key to a useful, contented sobriety is to let go of all of my old ideas -- even my ideas about God. These ancient false beliefs are at the root of every one of my character defects and cause all the trouble in my life today. But I can’t let go because, as the good doctor points out in his opinion, these beliefs are buried deep within my psyche. That’s where the 12-Steps come in. Like Chuck C. said in A New Pair of Glasses, the steps help me uncover my old limiting beliefs, discover the pain they cause in my life and discard them in favor of new life-affirming ideas.

I don't believe I have the power to let go of anything. The best I can do is loosen my grip by working the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability. God does the rest.