In recovery, we try to live an honest life. We work our twelve step programme and do ‘the right thing’. Some people refer to this as living in integrity.
Although Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious programme but a spiritual one, many religious faiths also promote living standards such as this.
I am not an expert on religion, but I practice the Christian faith, and certain elements of the Sunday service resonate with me.
The first is right at the beginning of the service in the confession.
Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought , word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
We confess that we have done those things which we ought not to have done in terms of our thoughts, our words and our deeds. We also acknowledge that we have ‘left undone’ those things which we ought to have done.
I try and relate my love of God to loving Goodness and obviously neighbours in this context are not just the next door variety but all our fellow people we come across in our daily life.
“do justly and have mercy”
I also very much like the part of the prayer which asks for help to ‘do justly and have mercy’. We can all try really hard to have compassion (mercy) in our daily life. I like to think I am kind and see the good in people. Working in a treatment centre, the ‘doing justly’ is more difficult for me. When is it right to be hard on someone? When is tough love called for? Quite a lot, if I am honest. Sometimes we do more harm by being kind to active addicts and alcoholics than we do by being tough on them. In a treatment centre, this means challenging them and sometimes discharging them if they fail to do as instructed.
“in control of my actions”
I always try to relate this ‘confession’ to my recent days. I can always think of nasty thoughts I have had, and I can usually think of things I wish I had not said. It is usually not difficult to think of things I should not have done and things I wish I had done but have not. The one good thing about being in recovery is that I now let my mouth run away with me far less often. I behave a lot better in my day to day life, not least because I am in control of my person and actions and not inebriated.
Also, working the twelve step programme means that each day I look at what I have done and try and put it right by apologising if necessary. I admit my wrongs and trying to put right my wrongs. So I do not just save it up for a weekly visit to church!
Another part of the service that I like is when we pray to God to
renew us by your Spirit,
inspire us with your love.
As someone who works hard and gets very little peace and relaxation, I like the idea of being renewed and inspired every week!
The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic which offers detox and counselling for people with addictions. Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.