“Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in us and through us or we perish.” — Bill’s Story, Big Book p.16
There is no vaccine for alcoholism. No cure that prevents relapse. Any alcoholic will tell you, regardless of their time sober, how much they enjoyed checking out. That memory is always there. Let’s never kid ourselves — going back is always an option.
And, like an adapting virus, my disease has been trying out new ways to invade my mind, body and spirit for 33 years. And it’s a strong virus, believe me. But I fight back, with better and more tools each year. It may be cunning, baffling and powerful, but I am determined, consistent and strong too. And I have one thing on my side that it doesn’t. God.
The God tool is the strongest one I have, and it always defeats my disease’s many sneaky attempts to sabotage my life, provided I use the God tool.
So I pray each morning, connecting with the God of my understanding, and thanking God for the miracles in my life, while committing to stay out of fear and in faith.
I meditate to quiet my mind and I find more gratitude in those moments.
I bring my spiritual backpack to Starbucks every day, I pull out my books, and do my readings, all of which strengthen my spiritual connection.
I send out my gratitude as texts and emails to many others, and read the ones that they send me.
I focus on the step of the month, and try to practice it in my life.
I answer the phone when Sponsees call, and when they don’t, I call them. If life gets to be too much, and all the tools at my disposal fail to help — if my disease still finds a way in — I call my Sponsor, and together we always defeat it.
I go to meetings to carry the message and listen carefully in order hear it from others – taking notes of any new tools I learn about.
I treat my body with respect by feeding it healthy food, exercising and stretching to stay flexible in life.
I rest when sick, and try to get 8 hours of sleep every night in order to fight the temptation to give into my dis-ease when it tries to penetrate my spiritual shield.
I make amends promptly when I hurt others, forgiving both them and myself, in order that I can get back to the business of living and loving life.
I practice humility, recognizing that being proud of who I am becoming is what I’m after, rather than being in a place where I think I’m better than others.
So how long do I spend each day to make sure I’m plugged in, connected to source, in the solution, focused on gratitude? For sure it’s hours not minutes, and I’ve found that with each passing year, more of my day is spent doing these things. For doing so is surely the most productive use of my time in the effort to love my life more fully.
Oh, and if anyone should ever wonder how on earth it’s possible to spend that much time on those activities when there are so many other responsibilities, they should know that I simply insist upon doing it. And still I find time to take care of all my work and family responsibilities. In fact, those parts of my life are substantially easier and work out better when I make these rituals the priority in my life.
As it says many times in the Big Book, “it works.”
I was a terrible drunk and addict. I lied, cheated and stole. I lived in fear constantly, on the run from schools, police, courts, family and myself. I had no Higher Power. But today it is all so different.
I am extremely blessed and have the most wonderful, happiest life of anyone I’ve every known. This is an epic journey – absolutely amazing. Faith is really working in my life – and truthfully, beyond measure, ILML!