I’ve gone through the entire process and worked all the steps. Nobody graduates, I’m aware, and so now I’m back out in Normalville with all this wonderful, newfound knowledge which is supposed to keep me in-line and right-sized, correct?
Step 12: having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Want to know what Step Twelve sounds like to me? A call to action. This is just me talking, but I know what must be done in order to get myself all the way to sanity and serenity: I need to get myself a game plan, an itinerary, a schedule, and stick to it. Finding out that the insanities still exist and once again are repeating themselves, can be more than a little disheartening. I knew I wasn’t cured; I knew enough to know that a permanent solution didn’t exist. I did, however, think that the knowledge I gleaned from the program was enough to get by. And isn’t that all I was ever really shooting for?
And therein lies the problem. I’m relying on my brain again, and it’s telling me I need to be in control for my sobriety to work. I mean, I got this toolbox now with tools in it. I’ll simply identify, diagnose, and correct whatever arises in my life because now I’ve got tools, right here in this imaginary toolbox. Shall I pantomime lifting the thing, setting it down, opening it up, scrounging through junk until finding exactly what’s needed? Aha! I’ve got just the thing to alleviate the tension in our interpersonal relationship!
What I’ve learned is that the tools I’ve got aren’t straight-up fixin’ tools. They’re time-delayed. They’re open-ended. They’re slow-reveling. Knowing what the answer is doesn’t mean I’ve solved the problem. I think that might be the part that trips us up the most; the discouragement that comes when the shit blows up, same as before.
But is it really the same as before? No, not by a long shot. But my alcoholism loves it when I jump to that conclusion; that things are the same, drunk or sober. It’s totally wrong, but it feels pretty legit in the moment.
That’s where the schedule comes in. Preemptively striking down the monkey-mind before it starts throwing feces is of the utmost importance. The longer I go without course correcting, the further I float, up, up and away from reality.
Today: Keep popping that balloon, and be happy doing it.