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Peace, Contentment and, Dare I Say, Happiness Are Possible; I Just Never Found Them at the Bottom of a Bottle

August 2020

Before I begin, please take note that I didn’t specify what kind of bottle.  I suppose I should have added syringe and bong/pipe as well, but you get the idea.

I was especially lucky when the entire population of Michigan decided I should end my drinking/controlled substance career I happened into recovery at the early age of just twenty-two years-old.  I was really just a puppy at that point.  I was… call it fortunate, because I knew down to my baby toes that I would be completely, irrevocably fucked if I continued to drink.

And remembering this has been the gift that keeps on giving ever since I quit.

You see, knowing your best thinking has gotten you into such a deep hole that you can’t possibly figure out how to stop digging, let alone work on climbing out – that brings with it a lot of freedom.  When our back is against a wall and a freight train is bearing down on us, well, we either move or get run over.  You read that right, that brings us freedom.

How is that possible, you ask?

Well, it’s very simple, really.  When you’re at that point you don’t know whether to $#!+ or get f***ed, it becomes increasingly easier to stop fighting recovery with fear.

Please read that again, that last paragraph.  Two sentences.  “Oh, whatever will I do for fun if I can’t smoke and drink anymore, whoa is me!”  That becomes, “I don’t care, just make the freaking pain stop!”  I recovered, and I deserve to be recovered, because I stopped fighting the fear of recovery.  Folks, if the cure for cancer were to go to three meetings a week, work a few steps, and say a few prayers, the line to get into every meeting would be out the door, stretched around the block.  That’s simply how I looked at recovery.  If you’d have told me standing on my head in the corner twice a day, three minutes at a time would help me recover, I’d have done it.  I’d have looked at you funny, but I’d have done it, because it was either that or the freight train.

Let’s look at this another way.  I love people who absolutely will not… can not simply give themselves to the notion that there’s can be a Higher Power out there for their recovery’s sake.  Really?  Look, I had a pretty high bottom, but I also did some deplorable shit in my using days.  Nobody gets to the jumping off place just before recovery on a winning streak.  After all the heinous shit we did, the Higher Power is just a step too far?  I’m sorry, but I just don’t see why that would be.

For God’s sake, I almost drank myself to death before my 30th birthday.  I can remember getting lost after getting hammered at a strip joint one night and I ended up pissing my pants while driving my car, trying to get home, hammered… but  I can’t allow the idea that there might be an HP out there who will take away my character defects because that’s just a bridge too far?  Folks, after all the crap we did before we were good and ready to quit, after all of the lying, cheating, stealing and conniving, the HP isn’t the road block to get hung up on.  Don’t let that small thing get in the way of peace, contentment and happiness.

There’s a better way.  And remember; we only say “God” to keep it simple.  If you need a starting point, an ashtray won’t work as a higher power.  I know some people claim it can be broken down to a base level, but the old ashtray is bullshit.  Choose the power in the group to start.  It is a Higher Power of our understanding, after all, whatever your capacity is at that point, so try the power at the meeting that helps us stay sober through situations that used to have us hanging on to the edge of a toilet as if we were rock climbing so we could puke at the top before you go do an ashtray.

At least that will get you used to the idea that it’s okay, after all that nasty shit we did that will be on a fourth and fifth step very soon, to put a little faith in something you can’t see or touch.  It’s not the end of the world.

It’s the beginning.

Don’t let a Higher Power be your roadblock to happiness.  The alternative is the freight train, and you definitely don’t want that.  We’ve been through too much to let something so simple get in the way of contentment and peace.  And if you absolutely, positively can’t get the HP behind you, read the chapter “We Agnostics” in the Big Book.  It starts on Page 44.

In the end, the AA way of life isn’t for everyone and it’s not the only way to sober up.  It’s the only way I know, though, to switch from being a drunk with one foot in the grave to a happy, content, peaceful, productive member of society.  I’ll admit that I was fortunate, though.  While I had other hangups about the program, the HP was no roadblock for me.


  1. Lisa M. Boyd says:

    Wow! It is the last place on the block. That is how long my husband has been in the rooms. He found it at a very young age as well. I live in the solution today. “keep it simple” is something I have to keep at the forefront of my mind daily. It is what is up there that without the tools I have been gifted I can easily screw an hour or more depending how quickly I recognize my defect of character popping up. Quicker usually now, the longer I have worked it. It is a true gift, and one that keeps on giving. The freedom I have been given lies in that tool box! I take it with me every where I go now. God could and would if He were sought! Thanks for a remarkable share! Thank God it is progress, rather perfection!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks, Lisa. Your enthusiasm is AWESOME.

      • Lisa M. Boyd says:

        Thank you so much!
        I have to live in the solution to have get the gifts I have today! 😊 Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. My heart is there, but I am not exempt unless I work it throughly. Which I live by this daily as of now in my life. Heard the saying “meeting makers make it”, I love that. I know so many with this Covid that have been struggling to remain constant. The whole Zoom thing is not enough for them. Yet again if they got into the nitty gritty of the book, and worked the steps I believe it is possible. It says right in there, that once more: the alcoholic at certain times has no mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power. There it is! It must, but I say what you say if you struggle with that grab onto something. Read the chapter to Agnostic. So many usually come around later to the doorknob not working any longer, and that spiritual awakening begins to happen. It is beautiful too! Have a rad weekend!

  2. Lisa M. Boyd says:

    Edit, rather than perfection 😊

  3. Eliza says:

    I love this! I have no issue with a higher power. I have other issues with the big book, but I think, like you said, that the issues I have with it aren’t worth trying recovery….
    I’ve been in touch with ACA group here – hoping they start soon (the women I messaged said the people have some years of recovery. All the phone and zoom meetings I’ve listened to are newcomers. Which might be because I can only access some, but, just is). They’re doing 6 newcomer meetings soon which I’m looking forward to and my friend from AA will join me. We’ll be the blind leading the blind. I don’t know if I’ll get there. I don’t believe it’s the only way. I believe it is A way. And take what you want and leave the rest. What I don’t agree with I don’t need to agree with.

    • bgddyjim says:

      See, that last part is tricky. My best thinking landed me ass deep in trouble and debt, at a meeting. I tend not to trust myself to be picky and choosey about what I want. Whatever works, though. The important part is what works.

  4. Lisa M. Boyd says:

    Mine too! My very worst trouble landed me my seat, and being a dry drunk. I almost took the next drink at 4 years of sobriety I didn’t have the tools to know how live & stay sober. The only reason I did not pick up was by the grace of God I knew what I would lose(which was little gain in 4 years). In the last three years I have gained more than in the 7 years of my sobriety. I got a sponsor, I worked the steps. Those promises are real! The principals work, and useful in everyday life.
    It is whatever works. For me if I had not finally had my last with just going through life stubborn, and dry I would not be firmly planted in the rooms. Some of my closest friends are in those rooms. Never thought I would say that. I looked for the similarities, and not the differences. It did indeed give me a whole new view even in my spirituality. I grew up in church, but have never felt like I do when I leave a meeting. Or doing service work(working with others). Anyways I got to tell you I enjoy all your posts, this one though! Wow! You dug deep, and this was a great post. Not just because of topic choice. I could feel your heart in this one. I felt the energy behind this post! Great share!

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