I recently suffered through yet another ‘ol timer meeting, the contents of which included not a soul who had actually taken Steps as they’re ironically laid out in ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’, which is fine, as that is how the world is. One gentlemen incessantly mumbled to himself, correcting people throughout the meeting, frothing for his turn. Brutal. Finally let loose, he went on about his first sponsor who had no moral compass, dated/slept with ten women at a time and so forth, you know, a real stand up guy. The sponsor was a savior to him.
No offense, but there are no real alcoholics in the world who can stay sober while continuing to live immorally in sobriety.
When the baton was passed to me with collective reluctance, I spoke about the center of my problem being the person I was – my character – my selfishness, lack of principles and lack of purpose. I also noted that I had zero chance if I went around cheating on my wife and banging escorts and so forth. More importantly, I noted that I was recovered. I trust my recovery and do not need to consider my sobriety one day at a time. 12 years later, I don’t find that arrogant. I think if by then we haven’t reached some level of consistent safety and sanity, there is something wrong with our program.
Immediately, the next guy went apoplectic, turned and addressed me directly – “You don’t know you won’t shoot dope tomorrow!”
Um, yes, I do.
Let me be clear: I know for a fact that I will not shoot dope tomorrow. It’s not arrogance. It’s simply based on the fact that I do not suffer from the mental obsession anymore. And since I have the power of choice back, I choose God over heroin and alcohol. Is that cool? Is everybody okay with that? I certainly wouldn’t want to offend anyone… even though that’s not possible today since everything is somehow offensive.
While doing the wrong thing over and over again will gradually sicken my mind and eventually lead to relapse, I am now well aware of what sorts of words, thoughts and actions will cause this sickness of the soul. More importantly, I try to actively expel the filth and correct mistakes when I veer off course. I do the work. People tell me I am playing with fire because I don’t go to meetings and still write inventory 12 years later. It’s quite the opposite. I wrote inventory for two hours the other day at some cafe and I never go to meetings. I have no thoughts to use. I’ve had no thoughts to use or self-destruct since the night I gave my life to God back in 2005.
One day at a time is pre-recovered. Sure that is a good motto to live by – to take it slow, to stay in the moment, etc – but as it relates to shooting heroin, if you are living one day at a time ten years down the road, there is something missing in your program, to put it lightly.
Now, because “double-dipping” will get me assaulted by many of these local AA lunatics, I refrained from saying any more, but had I broken this sacred ritual, I would have suggested that he refrain from taking my inventory and perhaps focus on his own, let alone refrain from pretending to be psychic and seeing into my mind and heart. This is why I can’t do meetings anymore. I’d rather not go home with a migraine.
He went on to tell me that I should NEVER tell a sponsee how to take Steps, nor should the Big Book.
What are the Steps if not pulled out of the Big Book? The Steps are the Big Book. It is the very text book on how we take Steps. Sure anyone can engage in anything they want to, but the Steps come from the Big Book, and they are delineated with tremendous specificity. We have them for a reason. We have them because they are a solution to our specific problem. This attitude of his is one of the reasons why so many fail after, for example, filling out a few watered-down worksheets as opposed to writing all four columns of their resentment, fear and sex inventory as they were laid out in Alcoholics Anonymous.
So sorry, but I opt not to drag sponsees to speaker meetings and let ’em figure it out on their own. Most of the people I’ve been so blessed by the Lord to work with over the years are desperate and need a real and powerful solution. They have a volcano of work to do. The emotional and spiritual poison within is eating them alive. They need to feel different, and fast. They need inspiration and hope at once, lest they go back out. They need to have a real experience in the real world.
So I don’t tell sponsees to just do whatever floats their boat and do the Steps in their heads while staring at the poster on the wall. And why don’t I? Because I don’t want to kill them. I don’t want them to die. I want them to get better comprehensively and become a master of this stuff such they they are best equipped in every possible way to go help others. My job is to hook them up to God and then get the F out of the way. My job is not to hold someone’s hand with no exit strategy in sight.
It matters who you follow, and if you are following the likeness of one of the above knuckleheads, then good luck, because luck is what you will need.