November 26, 2020

Now You Decide to Get Sober

Fast forward a few months later. You’ve realized there’s a problem, started to go to 12 step meetings and stopped drinking. But you don’t like the idea you’re powerless.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You aren’t powerless. Let’s let the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous better illustrate my point:

“They (those newly sober) have become persuaded, and rightly so, that many problems besides alcohol will not yield to a headlong assault powered by the individual alone. But now it appears that there are certain things which only the individual can do. All by himself, and in the light of his own circumstances, he needs to develop the quality of willingness. When he acquires willingness, he is the only one who can make the decision to exert himself.” (Step 3 in the Twelve and Twelve, pg 40)

So once you get sober and involved in a program of recovery, you are the only one responsible for success. And the crucial ingredient is willingness.

In an age where others are always to blame for problems, it can be difficult to recognize personal responsibility in a program of recovery. Yet that’s precisely what the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests.

It is my responsibility to stay involved in sobriety and follow my sponsor’s suggestions. It is my responsibility to cultivate and grow willingness. Once sober, if I decide to pick up a drink or drug, that’s on me too. I can’t cop out behind a smokescreen of powerlessness.

So I guess I do have power. I have the power to engage in a program of recovery. I have the power to choose not to abuse substances. But I am powerless over drugs and alcohol when I put them in my body.