So, I’ve been around a long time. The topic today was “The Spiritual Toolkit.” It’s a phrase my friend, Tim, likes to use but he wasn’t here this morning so he wasn’t able to expound on his fondness for the expression. Me, I don’t ever use the expression though I utilize the so-called “tools” everyday. The tools of willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are most important to me. The willingness to see myself for myself, the honesty to admit I still have problems and the open-mindedness to ask others for their assistance.
I was very grateful for the comment I received regarding my “Payback Hell” post a few days back. The commentator was addressing me as if I was a newcomer. I loved that because, even though my sobriety date is September 25, 1977, even though I adhere to a daily maintenance of my spiritual condition via the 12 Steps and, even though I wonder, sometimes, “shouldn’t I be further along than this,” I feel quite often that I’m just beginning this journey of discovery and recovery. I have “beginner’s mind” most of the time and, for that, I am truly grateful.
I’ll tell you why…someone said this morning, “I can’t, for the life of me, understand why a person, after 20-30 years sober, would go back out.” Well, go back out some “old-timers’ do. They go back out and, many if not most (around here anyway), never return. So, why do these folks who know better, who have reaped great benefits and achieve great success as a result of their sobriety, drink again?
Well, from what I’ve observed, some stop going to meetings, some seem to think they have been cured, and some stop bringing up, in a general way at meetings, what they are doing to stay sober that day, stop bringing up what’s bothering them even though something’s bothering. And these same some almost never talk to their sponsor anymore, if they still have a sponsor. They are reluctant to admit to having problems and cite not wanting to discourage other members who have less sober/clean time. They are more concerned about their image amongst peers than in making sobriety their #1 priority.
I see myself in these folks. That’s why I want newcomer folks to know I know only a little. I want them to understand we are trudgin’ the road of happy destiny together and any pedestal I’ve fallin’ off of is one I was never on in the first place.