My life has to be better in recovery than it was while I was drinking, or I will eventually drink again. The fear of what will happen if I pick up that first drink will not keep me sober for long. Oh, I might be able to white knuckle it for a few weeks, months or even years, but my life will become increasingly painful until I finally seek relief in the bottle. If I really want to stay sober for the long term, I must continue to do the work to grow and change.
We alcoholics seem to belong to a curious class of people who find something that works and then we stop doing it. We start to feel good and then we take our foot off the gas. Our meeting attendance drops off. Calling other alcoholics and helping newcomers loses its priority. We try to coast. Then, sooner or later, we begin to feel restless, irritable and discontented and we wonder, “How the heck did this happen?” No wonder our long-term recovery rate is so low.
Ego wants no part of God, spirituality or Alcoholics Anonymous. Even after many years of meetings, steps and service, ego continues to try and convince me that I no longer have to do the work. Regularly I hear the voice of ego say, “you don’t have to go to the meeting today, Jeff. You went to the meeting yesterday. You’re fine. Besides, you’ve got a lot to do today.” Ego hates the idea of unity. Ego resists because ego wants to remain separate where it feels safe. It’s ego that causes me to resist the healing power of our program. The voice of ego is fainter today, but it’s still there. Ego tries to convince me to go back to the "good old days." Ego wants me to believe in AA I am resigned to a life that is boring and glum. Ego keeps asking, "Where's the juice?"
The taste of spiritual mystery, the magic of recovery, seeing the light come on in the eyes of the newcomers. The laughter at our whacky solutions to our problems. The feeling of being apart of something bigger than me. The peace that comes from knowing I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at every moment. The growing ability to love more. These are the experiences I cherish in Alcoholics Anonymous. These are the experiences that make my life so much better in recovery than it ever was while drinking. These are the experiences that keep me coming back for more.