Practice These Principles…


I’m in the process of starting a new blog to post about my sober journey.  I’m not sure what to start with so I’m posting this here until I figure that out.

I’ve had an eye-opening summer, to say the least. I have experienced an emotional enthusiasm like I haven’t felt in years, yet weeks later felt lows that made me question my role as a mother, a wife, and a teacher.

Paraphrasing Step 12, as addicts, we are tasked with “practicing the principles” of the twelve steps in every aspect of our lives.  I’ve said this before about AA.  The only step that mentions alcohol is step one.  The other eleven involve self-renewal, relationship mending, and spiritual enlightenment.  (Here is a link to the steps if you are curious.)

The desire for alcohol has left me, but that does not mean my addiction has been cured.  Far from it.  Hidden right beneath the surface is the pattern of addictive behavior that got me into this mess in the first place. That isn’t going away, and I have to deal with it every time it bubbles to the surface.  The other alternative is to let the addictive behavior slowly take everything from me, just like alcohol tried to do.  

I need to repeat that because it’s that important.  I may never drink again.  But if my addictive behavior isn’t dealt with and eradicated as alcohol was, I’m doomed to the same fate as if I were still actively drinking.  “We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves,” (Eric Hoffer) and I’m lying to myself if I think that sobriety simply means living without alcohol.  

I’ve written about acceptance on here before, and I definitely think acceptance is key to a healthy recovery from any addiction.  Melody Beattie, author of The Language of Letting Go, offers an additional challenge:  gratitude.

To accept our circumstances is another miraculous cure.  For anything to change or anyone to change, we must first accept ourselves, others, and the circumstance exactly as they are.  Then, we need to take it one step further.  We need to become grateful for ourselves and our circumstances.  

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

My goal for the 2015-2016 school year:  More gratitude. 

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