Emotional Sobriety

 When I was new I Identified with a guy at a meeting who called himself "King Baby." I have this image of myself dressed in a diaper and floppy hat, sitting up in my adult highchair banging on the fold-down table with my spoon, demanding that life give me everything I want and wailing when I didn't get it right away.

I was loaded with self-centered fear long before I picked up that first drink and felt the magic alcohol could work. In order to be accepted and meet my selfish needs I unknowingly developed a whole slew of character defects. I was an approval seeker and couldn't stand criticism. I had trouble with personal relationships. I rarely felt satisfied with my life. I complained and blamed others for my problems. I never felt like I truly fit in, even in a crowd of people. I lived in the past or future. Even after many trips through the steps, remnants of these character "defenses" still pop up every once in a while.  

I am a completely different man than I was when I began my journey in Alcoholics Anonymous. Today I enjoy rich personal relationships. I am healthier than I’ve ever been. The fear is gone. I have enough of everything I need to live a useful, contented life. I am comfortable with who I am. I feel and express a full range of human emotion. Problems still crop up, but since solutions show up effortlessly, I no longer worry. Today I have the faith that no matter what happens I’m going to be okay as long as I continue to demonstrate the willingness to do what was suggested in my first couple of weeks.

I am so grateful to be an alcoholic. There is no way I could’ve traveled from where I was to where I am today without having a disease that was going to kill me unless I treated it spiritually. As I sat at the bar, I used to jokingly say if you had my life, you’d drink too. Today, I say if you had my life, you wouldn’t drink either. Life is unfolding exactly as it should. If it was supposed to be one iota different, it would be. It gives me a great sense of comfort to know I am always experiencing my highest and best good, even when I'm sitting in my high-chair.

Plan for Living

 My life, once filled with so much promise, had shrunk to the size of my messy apartment. I had successfully separated myself from God and everything good in life. I lived in the wilderness of my own stinking thinking. Mine was not a plan for living, but a plan for dying.

Then I was graced with a moment of clarity that led me to Alcoholics Anonymous. I tried to stay outside the circle, but you guys wouldn’t let me. You pulled me in with your welcomes, pats on the back and your laughter. Especially your laughter. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew I wanted what you had and was graced with the willingness to do what was suggested. Slowly, slowly I began to change.

You told me to practice the principles in all my affairs. A few years ago I came upon a twenty-four hour practice plan. It is to show up, pay attention, do the next right thing, stay out of results and be grateful. This plan has served me well.

I show up by living in the present moment with the willingness to do what is suggested. I pay attention by getting quiet and listening for the still small voice inside me. I do the next right thing by following the guidance I receive, even if I don’t want to. I let go of results by not having any expectation of how my actions will turn out. I practice an attitude of gratitude by being aware of all the blessings I receive each day. Of course I don’t do any of this perfectly, far from it. But if my life gets wobbly, I can look at this plan and quickly see where I need more practice.

Growing along spiritual lines is a never-ending journey. There is no finish line. God keeps gently pulling me forward into ever greater expression. I cooperate by following the Practice Plan to the best of my ability on any given day. Today I enjoy greater peace of mind than ever before, but I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible.