The Price of Sobriety

“My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.”

Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn  in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.” – Alcoholics Anonymous – page 13-14 , Bill’s Story.

Def: self-centeredness – concerned solely or chiefly with one’s own interests, desires, welfare, ect. ; engrossed in self; selfish; egotistical.

Def: destruction –  the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired.

This one issue may well be the first barrier of recovery for many people. Are we not taught to look out for our own interests and concerns. Put yourself first, everyone else second. Is it not, self reliance and self sufficiency that is is recognized as a strength, an asset of character.  For some – yes.  For alcoholics and addicts -NO

In the early days of AA, it was not uncommon to have people with less than a few weeks of sober time, reaching out to other alcoholics still in the sickness and misery. They were following the direction that was presented to them as the one action that would promote the desired outcome – recovery!

In the “Big Book” of “Alcoholics Anonymous” on page 89 it states the following:

       “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive works with other alcoholics. Its works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion; Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail.”

On page 124 the book reads:

     “Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.”

 Def: Altruism – the principle or practice of unselfish concern for, or devotion to the welfare of others.

So, I decide I must get clean and sober. My life has fallen apart. I am gripped by fear and horror. Somehow I end up in treatment, or a sober living residence. Reeling from addiction, unable to think a solid thought. I detox and start to regain my equilibrium. I can once again hold food down. I get much needed sleep. I’m adjusting to the sober environment and then, this guy starts talking about how I need to place the welfare of other people ahead of my own. Are you kidding me – you want me to do what??? I can’t even remember the last two months and I have to look out for the next guy walking in the gate. Really! No way man!

Well – that is exactly what we want you to do as soon as you can. This will help you more than anything else in your first days of sobriety. For the first time in the new man’s life, you maybe the very first who speaks his language. You may be the only one that he will come to trust. Only one alcoholic can understand another alcoholic as no other can. We have stood where he now is standing and can relate to him with compassion and kindness.