Thursday, January 22, 2009

Keep Others Simple ... For Yourself

I hear and read a lot about "change" that will now sweep over our nation. Apparently we have all been living in downtrodden misery, and a new president is going to fix Everything (he could start over here by taking a look at my bathtub plumbing, but somehow I doubt he's got me on his book).

When I was drinking, I blamed everyone and everything else for my problems. My blurry bottom line was that life just wasn't treating me right. If life treated me right, I wouldn't drink!

The amazing thing was that I developed peace with life once I stopped drinking and learned through a program of recovery that life treats me the way it treats everyone else: if I'm a jerk, people retaliate.

I once heard this in a meeting, "If in the course of a day, I meet one person that I suspect is an ***hole, there is a chance that I am right about that person. But when everyone I meet is an ***hole, then I am actually the ***hole."

I thought life was about being happy. I was wrong. Life is about taking the personal responsibility to contribute to the world. Once I become a giving member of society, I stand a greater chance of personal satisfaction and sobriety.

That's the change I believe in.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A 12-Step New Year

I believe in making one, doable New Year's Resolution each year. Since sobriety is my first priority, my resolutions usually have to do with the maintenance of my spiritual condition. Here's a few program-related ideas to kick of a more deeply sober 2009:

1) Suit up and show up. Resolve to go to more meetings. Already go to one every day? Then show up to events like committee meetings, picnics, dances, and workshops. If you're feeling a little burned out on your homegroup, resolve to get to some meetings at other groups.

2) Take your relationship with your HP farther. If your HP is of a major religion, visit the house of worship in your area and experiment with worship services or the religious education program. Read some books about others' spiritual journeys to keep your own reflections fresh.

3) Streamline your 7th Tradition. If you have the means, write your homegroup a check for $365 dollars and be done with it for the year (no more fumbling for change during meetings!)

4) Take care of any lurking sponsorship issues. If you don't have a sponsor, get one. If you're not calling her, start calling each day. If you feel stalled, tell her. If you can't tell your sponsor, your program is dicey.

5) Reach out. It's normal to develop a "gang" you keep up with within the program, but it's easy to isolate within that clique. Resolve to call someone who's hurting, even if it's just to say "Hey, call me whenever you want to." Introduce yourself to some you don't know well. Ask someone to join you for coffee after the meeting (or accept the invitation if you never usually go)

6) Amp your service. If you suspect that you don't do enough around the group, change that, even if it's by washing coffee mugs or vacuuming the floor.