How many revelations will it take before I change for the better, for good? I hear something profound in a meeting, or achieve a nice sense of calm through a ten-minute meditation, and I can feel the miracle of the program wash over me. It’s a warm embrace, a hug from my Higher Power, a reassuring nod that I’m not alone in all this; that there’s more to this world than just me thinking about me.
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.
Am I remembering to bring my new-found joy with me when I leave the house? Or do I still cling to the idea that none of this really applies to me? Am I still stubbornly thinking that the true serenity that can be afforded when I let go and let God only works on other people, and that I’m a special case?
In a nutshell, yes. I just said it myself: I’m special. Different. Unique. Unfixable. Unlovable. This program’s working as well as can be expected, considering. I mean, I’m not drinking, and my life’s so much better because of it, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy, content or fulfilled. I’m still struggling with the insane thoughts. I’m still 100% up my own ass, and therefore, in my own way.
Sure, I’ve experienced the first half of Step Twelve. I’ve had many moments of clarity where the clouds part and everything’s shiny and new and beautiful. My mistake comes when I treat those moments like my highs of the past: I get pissed and depressed when they’re over, and assume something must be wrong, now that my pink cloud is leaking.
Well, here’s the news: those moments are always going to be fleeting. That’s the way human emotions work. Good, bad or indifferent, they too shall pass. It’s when I assign judgments to them that I get in trouble.
So, why are they fleeting, and why am I so aware when my brain’s temperature isn’t exactly where I want it to be? Simple: I broke the thermostat years ago. Now, instead of putting on a sweater when it’s chilly, I bitch about the weather, which is out of my control.
What to do, what to do? Well, and let’s be honest, I know what to do, I’m just not doing it. It need to practice these principles in all my affairs, and not just bask in the easy moments of serenity that come when nothing is pressing down upon me. Nothing positive has ever come from myopic isolation. I need to get out there and I need to get in it. I need to share, communicate and ask for help, straight out.
This is not a program that requires solitary study in my basement; there isn’t a test at the end of the week. I’ve got to do what I’ve always avoided: interact with others. Because it is only through giving that I get what I need: reassurance.