Working the steps…the backbone of our recovery. I call them the “perfect parent.” I call them that because if we had ideal parents they would have taught all these steps for learning to deal with life. Unfortunately, my parents rarely took the time to interact with me. So learning about integrity, spirituality and “living life on life’s’ terms” I only learned after I came into recovery. The steps were my “teacher” and as I humblely became the student. My education started February 2005 with step one which took me a year to complete. I was not a dutiful student until my first year was finished and I got a new sponsor. Then I was guided weekly through the last eleven. I thank my sponsor for his guidance and support. His experience proved over and over again to be an invaluable resource. Going through step two and three got me on my way deep into my spirituality.
Step four allowed me to give up the shame I was so entrenched in, while step five allowed me to be courageous. Step six taught me about my underlying causes, while step seven taught me how to ask for support. Step eight helped to see the effect I had on others, while step nine showed me how be very humble. Step ten showed me I wasn’t perfect, didn’t need to be perfect, but allowed me to take responsibility for my actions. Step eleven brought me closer to my higher power and step twelve taught me the word “fellowship.” All in all I become a different man because of the steps and believe in the them wholeheartly. I know they are the reason I lead such a blessed life and encourage everyone to follow through on your journey.
How committed do I really have to be to my recovery in order to have the promises fulfilled in my life. Well let’s see…I know for me it’s all or nothing. As it says in “How It Works” …half measures availed us nothing. And well they should. I found out when I slipped just how true the comment was. In the beginning of my recovery I listened to my sponsor and took his suggestions. I called every day and to at least three people in program. I journaled went to meetings and made it a point to change people, places and things. I did great and the promises of “The Promises” start to permeate into my life. Five months later I had a slip, I took control of my life back in my hands. What a brutal mistake. I stopped listening to my sponsors suggestions, I didn’t call regularly like I was supposed to, I began isolating really badly and I missed meetings. I thought that I had a better way and I was going to prove it to the world. My sponsor wanted to fire me and I deserved that. Two months of half measures and I hit my bottom. I came into a meeting and begged for God’s mercy. What I realized was my sponsor, with all his experience, knew better than I did. What I learned was that the program works. I turned my will over to my higher power and began living, 100% committed to my recovery. I’m an addict. Left to my own devices I will fall on my face over and over again. Putting my recovery first above everything keeps me in sobriety, one day at a time.
As I listen & look at my brothers and sisters in recovery one common theme comes to mind…The gratitude that recovery brings with it. “Why now?” might be a question that some people ask themselves as they start their journey. The answer to this question comes in as many varied answers as colors of the rainbow. I know for me the message was extremely clear. If not now then I would have lost my life. That was a critical turning point and the reason for my decision. I knew as clearly as my front hand follows the back that I was on collision course with death. I was going to lose my family, my career, my freedom, my sanity and most importantly, my life. Today I look at this question of “Why now?” and say to myself, “now” is because I am worth it. I have value. Also because I care about my family, career, my freedoms and my sanity. Recovery has been the ultimate teacher in the ways of daily living and living the principles of the 12 steps in all my affairs. Today is the present, the gift I reward myself with as each new day that blossoms. Sure, I still have thoughts of acting out, euphoric recall and triggers; however I know that today I also have my recovery and the tools to lead me on the path of sobriety. Most importantly, “now” I have my higher power who loves and support me and as long as my spiritual connection is running on high then my gratitude for this program and all its gifts is forefront in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an addict and always will be, but I remember, “Why now?” and smile as my HP leads me on my way.
One of the toughest areas to wade through is the internet. While it is truly one of mankind’s greatest gifts, it has had negative consequences for many. I think it is so amazing that we could build such an educational tool. I also know the harsh reality of its dark sides. I too, was caught up in its pornographic waters. Thankfully, I have learned that while I have a strong spiritual connection I can swim with its sharks. I do not have to choose such sites that can erode my inner soul. This is the greatest tool given to mankind since the invention of the light bulb. Some people get caught up in the bubble of their disease and end up browsing aimlessly through a sea of perversion. Not because they wanted too, but rather because this disease is so cunning and powerful that they felt unable to stop their desires to view pornography or chat. At times like this the tool becomes a weapon and can rip the very fiber of integrity right from its foundation. Once bitten by the internet bug, most fall prey to its dark sides very quickly whether they are spending time on chat sites or personal ads. Its appeal to allow us to remain anonymous has most sex addicts addicted after just a few sessions. The allure of its images cast a spell over our ability to rationalize between fantasy and reality. Therefore this great tool can never fulfill its truest potential. However, there is one power that can assist us as we chart out our course, that one power is God, may you find God now and have Him surf along side of you to keep your journey safe. It’s up to each of us to choose our existence with the internet, for surely the internet is here to stay.