“I need a meeting”; not an unusual thought to run through my head – but it’s rare these days that I have the strong sense of needing a meeting like I did tonight. Tonight I felt I was at one of those junctions in the road with clear and distinct choices. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a point of crisis – everything is going great; I’ve a new job that I enjoy, we’ve moved into a beautiful home near the sea and the children seem happy and settled. No, this isn’t a crisis, but it is a point of desperate need for reflection and decision making. You see, for me the good stuff is just as difficult to navigate as the bad – perhaps harder in fact. I can become complacent when things are going well for me, I can become self-centred “I’m alright jack” as the saying goes, and I stop looking around me and thinking of other people – particularly those closest to me. Worse still I start to believe that I don’t need to work at my sobriety – or rather to work on my character – “look at me, I’m doing so well” I declare as I smugly shuffle off to indulge my ego some more.
As we have begun to settle into our new life here in Cornwall, I’ve been busy making myself at home. This is a great place – I have things that I never imagined I would have and yet I’ve been spending my days thinking of all the things I need to make it just right – chasing that elusive “thing” that will bring perfection – yet it’s always just out of reach and so I strive again to get it and I’m left with this constant feeling of discontentment. I fail to be present in the moment and I can see nothing but the failings, the gaps, what “could be, if only….”. I actually said to my husband today, exasperated, “why can’t I just enjoy what we have?”. The frustrating thing is that I do have the answers, I do have the tools to unlock that capability and it lies within my grasp. Two years into my sobriety and I still seem to have learnt nothing and I find myself constantly coming back to this same point. In many respects I sit still within denial and there is danger in that, I know that because I have seen too many friends succumb to that way of thinking and I’ve seen them pick up again.
Two years into my sobriety, and two weeks in our new house and I have only just unpacked my AA literature. What a sad and sorry fact and what better illustration of my self-belief and ego that I think I don’t need the things that got me and kept me sober. I recently did an anniversary share where a friend told me that it was my hard work that had got me sober, she reminded me of my calls to her in the early days and how I battled through, but it was the call to her that kept me sober not my willpower or my ego – it was a connection to another alcoholic, their support, encouragement and understanding, and although she herself is not a member of the fellowship she was fulling a significant part of Step 12 “we tried to carry this message to alcoholics”.
At every turn in this crazy journey it has been some principle of AA’s 12 steps that has helped me navigate my way through and I would be foolish to believe otherwise. In fact I have no desire to and I was reminded of that tonight when I got to a meeting. Specifically, I was reminded that it takes discipline “to practice these principles in all our affairs”, so that seems like a good place to start, putting the basic routines of the day in place that support my step work.
If you are in any doubt about whether or not to go to a meeting, you need a meeting.
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