Just because we are sober does not mean that we aren’t still a rather large group of selfish assholes. In fact, if we have not yet chosen to live by spiritual principles, that’s what we are. And choosing to live by spiritual principles means, of course, actually practicing them in our lives… or at least making a sincere attempt. The reason I was able to get sober so many times yet fail so miserably is simply because I remained the same self-absorbed idiot after putting down the substance.
I once heard a veteran AA “old timer” at a Manchester, MA meeting say that AA and recovery was not about being a good person, it was just about staying sober. His exact words were, “I’m still an asshole, just a sober asshole!” He said it didn’t matter if you still lied, cheated, or abused others verbally and physically. Here was the featured speaker of the night and he was telling everybody that AA wasn’t about morals. For this guy, it was totally fine to be a shithead.
If you are an alcoholic or an addict and you hear that sort of insanity at a meeting, you are not in the presence of recovery. You are in the presence of poison. Why? First of all, we, as alcoholics and addicts, have been going around like a bunch of children, always wanting this, always needing that, lying and manipulating those who love us, burning bridges and throwing away any opportunity that we’ve somehow been given. We have not only given up the right to drink and use, but we’ve also given up the right to be a damaged, depressed, abusive, angry, self-centered and socially/emotionally retarded individual.
Bottom line: If you are an addict and you think that you have a chance in hell of staying sober without becoming a better person and living by moral/spiritual principles, think again. Unless you aren’t really an addict, you will fail. Miserably. The only chance we have is to rid ourselves of our lies, our grandiosity, our fear and our pathological immaturity. Otherwise, we might as well keep drinking and using, because an active addict is NO DIFFERENT than a sober addict who hasn’t adopted spiritual principles.
To note, I’ve never seen anyone accomplish this without humbling themselves by getting underneath something Greater. We can’t change who we are by thinking we are superheroes who can do anything. We need spiritual help. We can’t do it alone. We can’t do it without the help of God.
God, always remind me that physical sobriety means nothing if I don’t change and grow and live by spiritual principles…