In my work life I supervise a small employee staff. A couple of times a year and after each major operation, we assess “What worked and what did not work” so that we can perform more effectively next time. I take the same approach in my recovery. I like that a myriad of tools/approaches are available for recovery. I believe that recovery is not a one size fits all affair.
What has worked best for me over the years is being mindful each day that I am in recovery from multiple addictions and that living actively into those addictions is increasingly contrary to everything about my life. For example, were I to choose to resume drinking alcohol today, that would lead to a guaranteed divorce and estrangement from family. There is no way I could do my job and drink alcohol. The AA Promises would follow quickly, but in reverse.
What has worked for me as well is a firm foundation in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was thinking the other day that in my first year of sobriety, I attended at least 300 AA meetings. Today I attend 30 to 40 AA meetings per year. There have been periods in my 20 plus years of sobriety where I have not attended an AA meeting in over one year. But throughout that entire time, I have constantly had that firm base of AA with me.
I view my AA meeting attendance early on like going to school for remedial education on how to live without drinking and drugging – how to live life on life’s terms. Through time, my decreased attendance is not a matter of “graduating” but more as perhaps necessary “continuing education units” and more importantly being of service to others. When I sit down in a 12-Step meeting anywhere, I experience an immediate kinship.
And this leads perhaps to what has not worked – trying to fit my recovery into the recovery box of other folks. There are naysayers who condemn AA as a cult, have organized “secular sobriety” groups and so forth. On the other hand, there are those who rigorously apply the evolved decades of AA into a dogma of mandatory daily practices, meeting attendance, sponsorship and so forth.
I come back to the question – Is my recovery program working? I can answer an emphatic yes and am grateful for the many resources and opportunities, including this blog, to live into recovery and out of my active addictions.