One of the philosophies of Alcoholics Anonymous is that you can only keep what you have by giving it away. To the uninitiated, this makes no sense but to those of us living the programme we see it around us every day. What does it mean? Basically, it means alcoholics can change in order to keep sober, well and happy – keeping what you have – you tell others the recovery message. This is our Step 12:
“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs”.
Alcoholics can change
We attend AA meetings and meet with others in the fellowship to share the message and to bring hope to those who are still suffering in active alcoholism. If you are suffering and call an AA helpline, someone in AA will arrange to take you to a meeting or come and visit you to help. They are keeping what they have been given (their sobriety) by giving freely of their time.
The Just For Today reading from Narcotics Anonymous for 30th April reflects on how our Higher Power (or God) does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We need to have faith that this will occur. Sometimes we know that we need to make a difficult decision or take a difficult course of action but we put off doing it because we don’t want to make the change or the decision. Perhaps we know a relationship needs to end or we need to leave a job that is putting our recovery at risk.
My own experience
From my own experience I can vouch that our higher power really does work for us in unexpected ways. When I was actively drinking I put my job at risk – and my career meant everything to me. I went into treatment and was advised that I needed to put my recovery first but I returned to my old job and tried to make up for the ground that had been lost due to my drinking. It didn’t entirely work. I was known for having been a drinker and I had lost some of the respect of my colleagues. Then amazing things happened.
Two of the people I met in treatment got together to set up a treatment centre and asked me to help out. So being an addict I did this in my spare time (alcoholic and workaholic). Then we had a restructure at work and while this was going on I went part-time and did a couple of days a week at the treatment centre, which was taking off and becoming successful. In the restructure my post went. I could have applied for a post in the new structure but as the rehab clinic grew, I also had the opportunity for a total career change and to throw my hat in the treatment centre ring full time.
What it’s like now
I knew I really loved the work there and could really see the benefits that we were bringing to individuals. My brother (also in recovery) pointed out that my higher power was telling me something. Yes – and now I am more happy than I have ever been in my work (and I thought I loved my work before!) and I am carrying the message to alcoholics and addicts all day every day. I am living proof that alcoholics can change
The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol rehab and alcohol addiction treatment centre which not only successfully teaches people how to stop drinking but also offers drug rehabilitation treatment. If you or a loved one needs help for alcohol or drug addiction, please call 01462 851414.