On your left!
March 2020 | Puzzled

On your left!

Improving the insides is the deal. But she’s determined to get the outsides back on track too

I’m 64 and none too happy about the abuse I’ve heaped on my body and mind throughout my life. My muscles and joints won’t function like they used to. I have spinal curvatures rather than girlish curves. I can’t hike (forget bouldering!) or bicycle like I used to. I can’t roller blade like I used to and get that feeling that I’m flying. 

But I have one thing going for me—I’m determined. I want to be able to do these things again, even if not to the same extremes. I’ve made the decision and I’m dedicated to my recovery.

Following orders and disciplining myself to pursue a daily gym routine aren’t on my list of desires, but at the end of Step Eleven in the Big Book, it’s written, “We alcoholics are undisciplined.” Don’t I know it. 

But I do have a burning desire to recover. Like my mind and body, my spirit needs healing. At all times, I need to remember that my Higher Power gives me the inspiration, strength and guidance to get through my day and make decisions with a “thy will be done” point of view. 

It was desperation and a burning desire to stop drinking that brought me to AA and finally kept me sober. Through working the Steps and practicing the program of AA, I have found true spirituality. And I’m sober because I want sobriety and serenity and I want God in my life.
I rebelled against religion when I was a kid—and for most of my adult life, for that matter—until I tried to find my spiritual path by studying the religions of the world. For me, that was a dead end. It is here in AA, by working through my pride, anger and self-centeredness, that I have “entered the world of the spirit.” 

Bodily, I have to practice physical therapy daily or I’ll freeze up and that’s just unacceptable. If I want to keep my spiritual balance, it’s through reading, prayer and meditation that I’ll remain on the path of loving kindness. In my case, that isn’t always easy. I have to practice self-compassion because we alcoholics pursue progress not perfection. Pride and anger are still my tendencies. There are four words that will halt my acting out: “Thy will be done.” 

Every day is an opportunity to connect to my Higher Power, to reach out for support, guidance and love. I like to feel that I’m embraced by a being I can’t see, hear or touch but that my heart and soul know is here. Once I’ve worked through resentments, shared with God and another alcoholic and made amends, the path opens for me to learn more about myself and about AA and spiritual principles.

I’m going to beat my physical flaws and I’m going to get back up on my roller blades. I am. I’m going to do it. And I’m going to be polite and yell out, “On your left!” as I fly by you.

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