Treating My Disease

I was 24 hours sober. Dean S., a counselor at the treatment center I was considering, said something right out of the box that changed my life. "Jeff, you are likely here because you have the disease of alcoholism and I want you to know it's not your fault if you have it." Being still toxic, I didn't fully comprehend what Dean was saying, but I do remember what he said next. "It's not your fault you have this disease, but if you fail to treat it, your life will become unimaginably painful."

I signed up for treatment and two days later I went to my first AA meeting to get my little card signed.  Being a lifelong isolator, I wanted to be left alone, to remain aloof, to stand outside the circle of life where it felt safe. But you guys wouldn’t let me. You pulled me into the center of Alcoholics Anonymous with handshakes, hugs and pats on the back. You invited me to coffee. You told me to keep coming back. Something in me believed you really wanted me to come back. My icy veneer began to melt. It wasn’t long before I really wanted what you had and I was graced with the willingness to do what you did.

It took many years in AA to realize that drinking isn’t my real problem. Like our book says: “Bottles were only a symbol.” My real problem is self-centeredness. The alcohol sickened my body and mind, but it is self-centeredness that blocks spirit from flowing into my being. I know today that regardless of the name I give it -- God, awareness, consciousness, recovery-- spirit is the vital life force. It’s what moves me and breathes me. It’s my connection to the power of the universe. When this life force is blocked, I become bodily, mentally and spiritually sick. I am powerless to act in my own best interest and my life is unmanageable.

The 12 Steps, sponsorship and being of service open me up for divine help. With God working in my life, I've come out of the cold into the unity of all there is. Today I'm a part of, not apart from. I still enjoy being by myself, especially in nature. I thrive on peace and quiet. It's a wonderful way to live.