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The Truthful Clichés of AA

 

Fake it until you make it. Just keep coming back. Stick around until the miracle happens. These are all little things that you hear in 12-step meetings all over the place. Clichés and silly sounding lines, but they hold some truth to them. They’re annoying to hear, especially if you’re new or struggling. It can feel like you’ll never make it, or what’s the point of coming back, or when’s this supposed miracle going to happen? But people only say it because these things were said to them, and it worked for them. The thing is—these are catchy sounding suggestions that only speak to the truth of 12-step programs and the wonders that take place in peoples’ lives by doing the work.

When I first got into the rooms of AA, I did not want to hear any of it. Fake it until I make it? I’d been faking everything for as long as I could remember…why would I want to fake anymore? But the truth of that statement is that if you just go through the work, you’ll eventually reach a better place. It’s not saying to fake your feelings or thoughts, only to go through the steps as if you really wanted to do nothing else. A point comes where the work is hard, but suddenly not as tedious as it was—because the benefits of the program begin to appear in everyday life. Happiness and freedom begin to show up in places that we’d sworn would never see the light of better days. This is far from the only saying that has rung true in my own personal journey, however.

Continuity is one of the most important things in working a program. Those days where I despise going to meetings, hate having commitments, and don’t want to see anyone are the days where I need to be in the rooms surrounded by others who are struggling with the same things that I am, as well as people who’ve been in the same place that I find myself in. No improvement is overnight, but when I keep coming back to meetings, and keep working on things with my sponsor, and keep building a sober network of friends, I have support. I have people who will check on me when I don’t show up, and people who understand the things I’m going through. When I stop coming around, or stop responding to people in the rooms, I distance myself from my program and put myself in a prime position for relapse or sober misery. So, I keep coming back, even when I don’t want to. Contrary action, right?

My least favorite at the beginning was waiting for a miracle to happen. I didn’t believe in miracles, least of all ones that could happen in my own life. I’d been waiting for a miracle to come and save me ever since I was thirteen years old; what was going to change that, AA? Well, not exactly. It’s the work that really gives the miracles. I didn’t start off seeing them in myself; rather, I saw them in other people’s recovery and change of attitude. I started to see people who thought they were condemned to a life of misery smiling. I saw hopeless addicts recovering and starting to live life again. Then I saw the miracles in myself: I didn’t have to pick up after a stressful day—I didn’t have to react or take everything as a personal insult. Those are miracles, because that’s how I lived my life and I am a stubborn and headstrong person. But these small miracles keep showing up in my life as I keep going through the things that I’m supposed to be doing, and they add up to make a monumental difference in my daily existence.

There’s no doubt that hearing these sayings time and time again is tiring and sometimes irritating. Sometimes I want to sulk and sit in my misery, and sometimes I want to say, “Ha! I knew it wasn’t going to work that way for me.” Honestly, though, as I work through the steps, lower my walls, and try a new way of life, all of these things have come true for me and proved to be helpful, successful advice…no matter how much I didn’t want to hear them, I have no choice but to believe that it’s simple truth, said in an unforgettable way.

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Written by

A native New Yorker, Bre loves the California scene and writing for Treatment4Addiction. She has been writing content for T4A for five months, and loves to learn new things, form opinions, and send them out to the world. Her interests include dance, singing, acting, talking with friends, being a daughter, and being the best big sister she can to her 16 year old brother. After attending ASU for a few months, she is interested in taking cosmetology classes and exploring her options. She looks forward to learning all she can, and doing something positive with that knowledge and experience.

Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Life, Recovery, Treatment · Tags: 12-step meetins, 12-step programs, AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, clichés, commitments, Contrary Action, meetings, miracles, Recovery, relapse, sayings, sober network, truth

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