This is a twist on a quote from Einstein…. “You can’t fix a problem with the same mind [thinking] that created it”.
I am not afraid to admit, my best thinking as a 22 year-old young man landed me in front of a judge, in treatment, and at the doorstep of an AA meeting. I cannot fix my alcoholism with the same thinking that created it.
I had a ridiculously tough time with the Fourth Step my second time through the Steps. I was stuck because I feared the Fifth Step. There were things in the Fourth I wanted to take to the grave, so the thought of laying all of that out to someone else, well let’s just say I didn’t like the notion.
That fear caused me to drag my feet, which almost led to a relapse. I knuckled down and did the work – only because the fear of relapse was greater than fear of the Step.
I laid everything at my sponsor’s feet. We discussed it during the Fifth. Then I did the Sixth and Seventh as instructed and began the Eighth. After my sponsor approved of my amends list and threw the first page in the garbage (all of my ex-girlfriends), I started the Ninth…. and I was FREE.
That freedom changed my life – and that was the trick; I couldn’t see past the fear of the Fourth until I’d done it and experienced the freedom it brought. My thinking changed entirely.
Now that I know how much relief comes with successful implementation of the Steps, there’s no fear associated with working them.
Let’s take this back to putting the plug in the jug in the first place. When I’m sitting ass-deep in bullshit, booze, and bad decisions it’s impossible to fully grasp the “why” of quitting. Impossible. Only when I actually begin to experience the promises that come with working the program, can I fully grasp the goodness of “why”.
Early in the program it’s simply about putting out fires. Later, well that’s when we get the goods.
The Twelve Steps, while not for everyone (especially those who lack honesty), worked by those who can embrace them and work them honestly, are like a cheat sheet for happiness – and that’s where newbies to the program struggle when they first commit.
The hardest part of early recovery isn’t actually short-term quitting, fear can take care of that. The hardest part is staying sober long enough to feel the joy of being free of alcoholism’s grip, because that’s when the shift in thinking occurs.
Once I could see the bigger picture, well let’s just say, continuing to go to meetings and working some steps became a little easier.