Thursday, August 31, 2017

Long Term Sobriety

I was recently thinking about the difference between my sobriety today versus when I first walked through the doors of A.A. twelve years ago. What has enabled me to remain sober when so many others have not? Of the few hundred members that were around in my early sobriety, only six, to my knowledge,  have stayed sober, alive and are still involved in the fellowship.

I realize that number is shockingly low, so let me make some caveats. Some of those members may be sober today, but they did not stay involved with the fellowship. This is an important part of A.A.'s mission. Members of A.A. who stay sober have a responsibility to pass on that message to others. As for the rest, the ones who relapsed and/or died due to their alcoholism/addiction, they also attempted to tread other paths than the one set out in A.A., but these attempts failed.

I would not go so far as to say A.A. is the one and only way to stay sober, but I will say it is the best and simplest way to remain on a path of recovery. Members who have attempted to "make it on their own," usually get distracted by: relationships especially with another addict or alcoholic; work; and addiction-switching, such as gambling, sex, exercise, and food. In observing others and meditating on my own character defects, I learned that the things which we alcoholics feel we are denying ourselves will be given back to us in time... when we can handle them. Full recovery from the negative impacts of alcoholism will take some time. With the program at Wilmington Recovery, I hope to present newly-sober members with the tools to achieve long-term sobriety, if they would have it.

These are the key points about long-term sobriety that I'd like to make over my next entries: acceptance, desire, willingness, change, drive, balance, other-centeredness.

We'll start with acceptance. When I finally and fully accepted that I had a problem, I could then move toward the solution. However, acceptance for me was not the entire answer because I have what is known as a three-fold disease; physical, mental and spiritual. What acceptance did was enable me to choose one of two paths: I could go on to the bitter end living like I had been with my new found understanding; or I could accept spiritual help. Picking the second option (and it is an option, a choice) is why I believe I'm still around to share on this forum. To me, acceptance that I have a devastating weakness to mind-altering substances deals with the mental component. This is where I can choose to exert my will power to follow the suggestions set forth in A.A. and make them a way of life.