I’m sitting here, sequestered in my apartment in Manhattan in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s given me time to be able to sit down and finally write something for Grapevine.
At a little over two years of sobriety, I’ve started to realize what a real gift it is to be a member of AA: to have at the ready an abundance of resources with which to stay grounded and maintain my connection to a Higher Power.
I can only imagine the misery I would know had I not been fortunate enough to begin this healing journey of sobriety. With Steps, meetings and a great sponsor, Toby, I’ve been able to slowly put my life together again.
My natural inclination though, is to spend time reflecting on the misery of past days and dreading hopelessly the terror of those to come. The only way I can detach from the past and from my disease is to shape my experiences so that they can be helpful to someone else.
I am, at times, too prideful to admit that AA is responsible for saving my life, introducing me to a Higher Power and indeed for every part of my day: fellows, a place to live and the ability to pursue my ambitions. My roommate and I actually were able to do Tai Chi Qi Gong on the roof yesterday. Thank you, AA.
But when I’m graced with the humility to surrender my ego and write an inventory or level my pride and do service, I remember what a gift it is to be alive.
Before I staggered into the rooms, I was plummeting down the steep and lonely cliffs of self-pity and denial. I couldn’t speak to the people who loved me most. My fear and self-loathing trapped me within an empty world of grandiosity. I was in the depths of misery, and yet I informed a family member of my plans to run for political office. There began the rocky road from denial to awakening, accentuated by humiliation and pain.
I would rather point fingers and play victim than simply admit my stupidity and move on with the day. It’s much more convenient to curl my lip at the person who scoffs and say to myself and myself alone: “If you were in my shoes, you would be crazy too. And anyway, what’s wrong with being ambitious?”
I have to look in the mirror today, even though I would much prefer to distract myself by blaming others for my short-sightedness. Upset by how much more everyone around me seems to have, I feel alone and resentful and I try to escape by making myself the center of attention. However, when the people around me inevitably fail to respond how I’d like, I become even more resentful and react with twice the animosity. A number of fellows could attest to how this works out for me.
Today, I have a wonderful life. I’m able to be helpful in unflashy ways. I have not saved anyone’s life, but I did clean the floor in the bathroom this morning with discarded newspapers.
I have to accept that the problem is me and my ego; as I continue to do the work, I will change what needs to be changed about me. At the same time, I have also learned the importance of loving myself. But it is time to take responsibility.
I am far from perfect, but I suppose I am doing my best. I realize what a gift it is to be sober, conscious and part of this Fellowship. I have met many wonderful people in sobriety and I have had a number of adventures. I look forward to years of returning to AA everything it has given me. ODAT.