Friday, October 26, 2007

Journey vs. Destination

If you're like me (God help you, you poor thing), you've always been a destination kind of person, not much interested in the journey.

I know not where I lost interest in the journey, but I did. Early. Obviously. It was, therefore, with only the greatest reluctance that I began to "accept" the premise that the 12 Steps of recovery were not, in and of themselves, "events" but, rather, that each of them was, in it's own way, a sort of metaphorical journey along the road to recovery.

An unending road, so it turns out.

I got a phone call last night from a young fellow in the program and I reminded him in the course of our call that I'd been doing this for 9 and a half years now, with no end in sight. He didn't seem much interested in knowing that and he reminded me of how I was in my early days.

I wanted 20 years of sobriety in 20 minutes and didn't understand why I couldn't have it. After all, I was smarter than just about everybody and I had certainly suffered more than everyone else, so I was obviously much more willing and prepared than most to achieve "instant sobriety."

Bzzzzt. Wrong. Thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts.

Every time I look at those 12 Steps, either in our literature or hanging in a big poster on the wall of a meeting room, I am astounded by how much my understanding of them has changed over the years.

It was easily up to year 2 or even 3 of my sobriety before I got a clue that the Steps were individual journies and not individual destinations. Each of them would turn out to be an on-going, unending, process.

I didn't just admit that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable one time and that was the end of that. I've had to admit, every day of my recovery, that I am powerless over alcohol (no matter who is drinking it) and that unmanageability is going to be a hallmark of life from now until the end of it. I control nothing. I take actions and let go of the results. I am not in charge, nor do I get frustrated by the fact that I am not. There is a Higher Power and I'm not Her. It's pointless to be angry at God. God does not care how pissed off I get. It's none of my business what other people think of me. It's none of their business what I think of them. Therefore I must practice restraint at all times. Restraint of pen, tongue, e-mails, facial expressions and audible sighs.

I must always be about the business of cleaning up MY side of the street, not everyone else's. And mostly importantly of all, I must acknowledge MY faults to others, try to pass along what I've learned in recovery and at all times try to practice these principles in all my affairs.

Getting sober is easy.

Living sober can be a real bitch.

Are we there yet, Daddy?


Bev Sykes said...

Beautifully written and explained.

Aerten said...

This reminder is helpful for those of us "stuck in the middle," too. I'm an adult child of an alcoholic and, it turns out, the parent of an alcoholic. So I got no control over the damn stuff either. Crud. And I sure as hell don't want this to be on this journey. Again. Crud x 100.

JoyZeeBoy said...


Yes, this is a "family disease", and I loved it the first time I heard in meeting when someone said "family dis-ease".

When I first came in I kept hearing "more will be revealed!"

Boy, they weren't kidding!