In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, on page 181, in the chapter “Doctor Bob’s Nightmare,” one line that Dr. Bob states about recovery is, “If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair.” We in A.A are often not as strong as we think we are; we simply cannot recover by ourselves. The real strength lies in letting others help us when we are in need; not letting ourselves sit in our shit.
In early sobriety, I used to hold everything in and it was torture. I was not brave enough to express to other people my problems and what I was going through. I was not yet able to reach out to those who could really help me realize and understand what was going on and how I could fix it. It made me crazy.
I was not a happy sober camper. I would not let anyone in on what was really happening in my life or any internal situation. For a long time I was like this, until I found the courage to find someone who would listen to me, and whom I knew would not judge me for my mistakes and my past. That someone was a sponsor. Most people are miserable because they don’t let what is inside of them out; they do not let go. I found the strength to do that and release what was buried deep inside.
Having strength by letting your feelings out is not the only way to be brave in the program. For the past couple of months I have been struggling with getting up off the couch and doing the things I love to do, like playing basketball and exercising. I think to myself, “If I’m sober than why do I need to do anything. Just being sober is the most important part.”
But it’s not.
Having the courage to experience new things and live a fun sober life is what being sober is truly all about. Just lying in bed or being a couch potato is not going to get you anywhere and I am just now realizing that and changing my destructive behaviors. I am finding the strength to get up and enjoy this beautiful sober life that I live.
One last thing that so many individuals in A.A have the hardest time discovering and understanding is their own sense of a higher power. It takes courage and strength to turn over your being to something greater than yourself. Many people struggle with this concept and take years to find it; some never do.
I have found my higher power, which is God. I had to really dig deep inside myself to pull out the willingness and strength to give myself over to Him and to truly trust that he will work for me. And he has in so many ways.
I have found the courage to bravely take my life one day at a time and that is all I can do to live a spiritual and mind-healthy life.
By Matthew B