Returning Fully To Life

12 Step Recovery, happy, joyous and freeRecently  I heard someone with well over a decade of recovery say something like “I don’t know if I dare admit I’m successful.” As I listened to the rest of her share I realized she really was, at least in that moment, afraid if she said out loud that her life was working well she might slip, or at least that something bad might happen.

We all fall into the trap of negative thinking from time-to-time, at least I haven’t been able to break it completely. But our Program promises something quite different.

Consider, Step 2 tells us that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. A fear of accepting the good in our lives hardly seems like sanity to me.

But it’s in what’s become known as The Promises that our real freedom, provided we work the Program, is described. Here, in the last paragraph on page 83, which continues on page 84 we are told, in part:

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

It doesn’t stop there! It adds:

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will disappear. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

The Big Book then sums up how the Program actually works, and then adds on pages 84 and 85:

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone–even alcohol… We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience  That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

Of course we’ve got some work to do to get there and once there, to maintain it. If we want to realize the promises, and some people count as many as 145, we simply must work the Steps, all 12 of them. And we must continue with the so-called maintenance steps, 10, 11 and 12 – a daily inventory, prayer and meditation and a willingness to carry the message.

This doesn’t mean we won’t suffer setbacks and problems, that seems to be part of the human condition. But suffering isn’t the only thing we humans experience. There’s plenty of happiness and joy to go around too.

A spiritual teacher of mine, Rev. Guy Williams, says often, “It’s probably a recreational universe.” The Dalai Lama says, “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”

That seems to match up pretty well with the statement, in The Family Afterward, “We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous and free.” (p. 133) It’s how we return fully to life.

It’s your turn now – how do you experience the freedom of the program? 

Love, blessings and abundance,

Anne W. Powerfully Recovered



Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Joe Shlabotnik

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