Practicing These Principles . . .

sopabHaving had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.  Step 12 Alcoholics Anonymous

Early on in recovery, I rebelled against the notion that I was never going to be safe outside of a recovery setting.  I saw the value of “sticking with the winners” but I also remember laying in a detox bed with only a Big Book for entertainment and reading in a Vision For You how Alcoholics Anonymous was meant to get the alcoholic back to functioning in today’s society.  I wanted that.  I wanted to be able to walk into a grocery store, and if the check-out person didn’t smile at me, not think it was all about me and a good excuse for a binge.  I wanted to go to a funeral sober.  I wanted to go whitewater rafting in a dry county, enjoy the trip, and not be panic-stricken about where my next drink would come from.

Today, that level of functioning is possible for me in recovery.  I find it revealing in the past few years that the longer I stay sober, the more I come to rely on recovery contexts.  Part of the reliance comes from doing more and more things in recovery for the first time.  I keep coming back to the same thing – How do I do things sober for the first time?  Next month I am going to South America to work in a very remote area, a 12-hour bus ride from the nearest city.  A fiesta will occur during the time I am there.  I find myself thinking about “how am I going to be a guest in a community where I don’t speak the language, where a good bit of the fiesta will involve alcohol, and not feel the need to drink?”  As in the past years of weddings, celebrations, dinners, picnics, and other social events, I will think through the process in advance and be prepared.

Today, I find that I cannot compartmentalize life as recovery and other.  That understanding speaks to the depths to which addictive thinking permeates the core of my existence, leading me to understand the need to practice these principles in all my affairs.

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