Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If you have decided you want what we have...

And are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps. -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58

I am lately struck by the number of people who seem to "want what we have." But when pressed, they have absolutely no willingness to do anything to get it. They want to get recovery "from" someone, as if it were contagious. It is what I used to hear called "an inside job." It is a contract between you and God, and it requires your cooperation, participation, and a whole lot of action.

I am so fortunate that I got sober when and where I did. There were a bunch of rude bastards around who were pretty blunt about what a person needed to do. They would tell a new person to sit down and shut the f*** up. They told us to take the cotton out of our ears and put it in our mouths. They told us to show up at a meeting every single day - on time. And to sit through the meeting, listening intently, not getting up for coffee, or to go to the bathroom, or to talk to someone. It was not OK to have side conversations or cross talk. We were expected to stay until the meeting was over, and then stick around and talk with other alcoholics afterward. We were expected to go on 12 step calls, and did frequently. We were expected to start in service by cleaning ash trays and washing coffee cups. After a while, we could "graduate" to being part of the AA service structure.

This may sound like a bunch of control freaks and like it is too many "rules." But it saved my life, and the lives of many others. We alcoholics are undisciplined. We need to have discipline in our lives if we expect to stay sober. It starts with simple little things, like being somewhere every day, on time, and doing what we are told to do.

From this, we stay sober, one day at a time, and the days turn into months, years, and decades. We learn that we can show up for a job on time, and stay there all day, and not get into huge interpersonal difficulties while we are there! We learn that we can get along with our families, even when they are being difficult. We learn that we can love people, even when they are seemingly unlovable.

In other words, from a few simple actions, we learn how to live our lives in a way that is meaningful and rewarding. Those old, rude jerks taught me how to live in a way that has been profoundly wonderful!

15 comments:

Trudging said...

Thank God for those rude bastards

Scott W said...

There weren't any of those rude bastards when I got sober. But, I heard stories about them and what they had to say and it served me well. I have been seeing a lot of newcomers in the rooms lately.

You have been tagged again!

Mark said...

Ooooohhhh YES!!! I can sooooo RELATE!!!

Thank God for those rude old bastards!

Funny, but somehow I have a belief that these newcomers that attempt to do it their way and deny the very truths that saved our lives, will eventually discover that those crusty old folks had it right and "new age, politically correct, baby-sitting" AA won't work.

Much appreciated MC...

lushgurl said...

LOL!! When I first attempted to get sober (about twenty years ago) there were a lot of 'old farts' around! I was still young, at twenty five, and THOUGHT I wantd what they had...
Today I so totally GET it!Just the other day, I was having yet another conversation with Angel about WHY we have to do stuff even when we think "It's a stupid rule"
I know that THEY who have lengthy and quality sobriety, must know of what they speak, so today I DO WHAT I'M TOLD! Thanks for posting the reminder MC.
Love ya, HUGS

Syd said...

What a great post. I've read the statement about willing to go to any length to get it and thought that it was right on target. So many people want the shortcuts or are just lazy or they make excuses why they can't get to a meeting. If you really want what the program has to offer, then you have to work the program. There are no shortcuts.

Diego said...

I beg your pardon MC, but....did you say I have to take the cotton out my ears and put in my mouth? how rude...Doesn't my opinion count?.. Be gentle on me, please!

AAwoken said...

All I can say is ....Yep!

Meg Moran said...

Right on MC! And you had to Qualify! You had to be there to save your life not just temporarily clean up your act. You were told perhaps you should go out and try some more controlled drinking if you didn't seem willing and ready.

recoveryroad said...

Another good post, MC. As usual. :)

It's easier to do those few simple things than kill a couple of liters of vodka each day.

There were rude bastards in the first meeting I went to. They saved my sorry excuse for a life.

Sober. Grateful. Thank you MC.

x

vicariousrising said...

I'm of mixed mind about those rude bastards. None of them have been rude to me, but I've watched them treat other people in a way that I am not so sure I would consider entirely sober either.

I dunno. I've been laughed at and told to keep coming back a couple times by old timers when I grumbled at AA propaganda trying to make things seem rosier than they actually were because the work was hard. Maybe that's why they aren't rude to me.

lushgurl said...

Hi MC I just came back to say "thank you" for caring enough to 'nag' me re: the meds...I really didn't mean to go without! I will be more careful in the future! Love you for that though!!!

Oh, and did your daughter make it in to rehab? I hope so!

Pam said...

every single responsible thing that I do in my daily life, is from what I learned in the "rooms"...exactly like your experience.
And yet, we've managed to stay so sweet :)

Sober @ Sundown said...

Awesome post! Thank you for reminding me of how it was in the beginning of my sobriety.

Sometimes I get tired of the nonsense happening these days........

Scott said...

I got sober under the guidance of severeal men who got sober with those rude bastards you speak of. So, I got mine sorta secondhand, but I am glad the men who helped me didn't mind words. I think sometimes that AA gets a little too PC and antiseptic... It's not that I want to hurt people's feelings or anything I just hate to hea a bunch of candy coated BS, lol. I tel it like it happened for me with as much love ans respect as possible, but always honestly and bluntly. That's how it worked for me!

Christine said...

"This may sound like a bunch of control freaks and like it is too many "rules." But it saved my life, and the lives of many others. We alcoholics are undisciplined. We need to have discipline in our lives if we expect to stay sober. It starts with simple little things, like being somewhere every day, on time, and doing what we are told to do."

Those seemingly control freaks with so many 'rules' have saved my life with their suggestions of discipline. Now I'm one of 'em trying to have patience with those who want to continue to do it their way. It took so long to get rid of my old ideas that I could do recovery on my own my own way.

I'm glad you are here.