I’ve been going to my AA meetings for a few weeks now and I’ve decided I’m ready to start working the program. What that means is that I take myself, with the help of a sponsor, through the 12 steps.
When I first stopped drinking, I did it alone. I made the decision and I threw myself into personal development send self discovery work but none it relating to alcohol. After 6 months I joined a sober community which I thought was enough. And looking back it was definitely helpful at keeping me on track and I’m extremely grateful I was part of it. But because I was so heavily involved in supporting other people’s sober journeys, I think I took the focus off my own. So when I left that community the unresolved stuff started to resurface.
What attracted me to AA was the deeper work that was involved. It wasn’t just about quitting drinking and then living a new sober life. It was about understanding yourself as a person, why you drank in the first place and all the crazy stuff that goes on in your head that makes you pick up a drink in the first place. It was about self awareness, responding to life instead of reacting and being a better person.
I’m one of those people that loves understanding how the brain works. And although this is technically science I am also very much a believer that science has a spiritual aspect to it. Over the year I’ve read countless books that explores the link between science and spirituality, the conscious and unconscious, reality and what we think is reality. And the more I looked into AA, the more I could see that this organisation and the program itself was a combination of all of that.
I’m not going to lie, some of the language is a bit full on even for me. There is a lot of talk about God. But AA and the 12 steps was started at a very different time so I’ve decided not to over think about obsess about it to just interpret it in a way that makes sense to me. Do I believe in God? I don’t know. But I do believe in a force that is greater than me, than us; and I think that’s enough for this to work for me.
So anyway, last week I approached one of the ladies from one of my regular groups and asked her to be my sponsor. The role of a sponsor is to help you stay on track but also to work through each of the 12 steps. We had a brief chat about why I thought I was ready to start the program ( I think some people take longer to get on board than others) and we agreed to have our first meeting this week.
I’ve done some reading around what’s involved with the steps already. I read Russell Brand’s Recovery book a few weeks ago and it helped me to understand each step in a way that was more digestible than perhaps some of the traditional wording from the Big Book (The main AA book). I think this is why I knew I was ready for it, because nothing in the book scared me or made me want to run in the opposite direction. In fact if anything, it made me even more keen to get started.
I’m under no illusion that this journey is going to be doddle. Knowing I have to list my resentments towards people, situations, past events and experiences that go way way back will be tough. But if I’ve learned anything in the last few years it’s that we can't hide from our past and nor should we. The past provides answers, it helps us to understand why we are the way we are, it holds the key to a better future; if only we are willing to go there, face it and understand it. And from there we get to choose. We get to decide if we want to continue letting our past define us, or do we want to learn from it and choose a different way. A better way. Not just for us, but those around us.
That’s just one of the steps. There are ones that involve forgiveness, making amends and actively living in accordance with all of the steps so life can be not just manageable but a peaceful, magical and spiritual experience.
That’s why I’m here anyway. Because I’m done with life struggling and just existing. I know life can be and gets to be better. And for me, I believe that the 12 steps of AA holds the key.
So I hope you will stick around as I fully intend to share my journey with you…the good, the bad and the ugly!