Truth in a tiny lamination. A portrait-oriented, business card-sized bookmark I received at a meeting by someone handing them out. Don’t remember the meeting nor the passer-outer. Don’t know if it’s officially program-approved. Don’t really care. Know why? Because I will always defer to President Abraham Lincoln when it comes to matters of happiness, and he apparently said this: “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds to be.” This from the severely depressed man in charge of our country at its lowest point. Tall Hat was one poor son-of-a-bitch who had a hell of a time of it, all the way ‘round.
Step Twelve: 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.
There’s more to it than this, obviously. Simply “making up my mind to be happy” seems about as likely as me stopping drinking by myself: “simply making up my mind to not drink” failed horribly and repeatedly. Doing the obvious has never been my strong suit.
And I’ve always eschewed advice that bathed in its own wonderfully simplistic “truths” – the “just do it” mantras that everyone would trip over each other every few years to wear on t-shirts and slap on car bumpers. How dare they convert my infinite ball of wires into a single tube of oxygen?
“I can’t make myself happy.” I’ve believed that phrase for as long as I can remember. It’s only until this moment do I realize that I wouldn’t recognize happiness if it came up to me and pinched my butt. I’ve heard that happiness is the by-product of doing the next right thing. And I believe that it at least gets me in the right position.
What also helps is doing my required morning readings and prayers and meditation; giving my alcoholism the time and attention it deserves everyday. I can either take it for a walk and wear it out, or I can deal with the pile of crap on the living room carpet.
What I’m learning: Creating wrong-headed drama just to ride an emotional wave is every bit as selfish as getting loaded. Sometimes the absence of self-inflicted misery can be happiness enough.