Alcoholism and addiction are diseases of a three-fold nature that affect us mentally, spiritually, and physically. First, we have the physical allergy to drugs and alcohol, meaning that people like us can’t safely use alcohol in any form at all. Once we start, we can’t stop – no matter how badly we want to.
Then there’s the mental obsession. This is the tricky part that keeps our mind spinning on and on about when we can take our next drink, trying to control and manage our drug use, or endlessly repeating negative memories and thoughts. The mental obsession takes many forms, but it always tries to drive us back to drinking or using. Lastly, we have the spiritual malady.
This is most easily summed up by the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as “lack of power.” We don’t have the power to stop drinking. We don’t have the power to be who we want to be or to live the life we want to live. We just can’t do it, because we are without power.
That’s a hard thing for most people to acknowledge, but admitting our powerlessness often means the difference between life and death for people like us. If we can admit our powerlessness, then logically we can admit that we need power. This power must come from outside of us – it must be some kind of higher power.
When we search for this higher power of our own understanding, we begin to address and resolve the spiritual malady, the lack of power dilemma, and all our other problems. Luckily for us, there is a solution to alcoholism and addiction. It can involve many other types of help, professional or otherwise, and often includes any number of therapies as we strive to heal and become healthy and whole.
The basis of the majority of the most successful recovery programs involves a firm foundation in the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other fellowships have reworked the 12-Steps in minor detail, and you may be more comfortable with their wording – but in general, the 12-Steps are the same wherever you go.
This is how we know they work, because so many have followed the 12-Steps and been introduced to lives in recovery that are filled with meaning, freedom, and joy.
The Power of the 12-Steps
For most alcoholics and addicts like us who are familiar with the spiritual malady, obsession of the mind, and allergy of the body, the 12-Steps have been the core of the saving grace which has delivered us into brand new lives. Many of us who once suffered these triple nightmares now find that we grow more spiritually fit every day.
We still don’t have power, but we do have access to a power that transforms us and our lives. We do not experience mental obsession or morbid reflection. Our minds know peace more often than not. The physical allergy seems to be gone as well.
We can go to an old friend’s wedding and not even notice the open bar. We can be safe, comfortable, and sober anywhere we go. The desire to escape our lives through alcohol and drugs isn’t always clawing at us – in fact, we don’t even think about it. Our lives in recovery become so happy, full, and vibrant that we simply don’t find our thoughts wandering back to those dark places.
How do we get there? Well, the 12-Steps, of course. We must be willing to do the work. We must do the work honestly, and with an open mind. We must have hope, and we must do our best to be fearless. We’ll have help every step of the way.
The 12-Steps will teach us how to access a power greater than ourselves, how to free ourselves of blame, resentment, and fear, how to clean up our past, and how to build a beautiful future with love, community, and service to others. This is the spiritual program of action that solves the drink and drug problem. Some say “Clean house, trust God, work with others.” Whatever you call it, it works.
Yet the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us, “It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
Don’t Take the Daily Reprieve for Granted
We can see the effects of the disease of alcoholism. We can see the joy and freedom of the program of recovery. But we must remember that our solution provides us a daily reprieve. The disease is devastating and difficult. It hurts each of us and those in our lives terribly. The solution is so beautiful, healing not only us but often our loved ones, too. But we do not ever get so well that we can stop taking our new, better medicine – we can only remain under the protection of our daily reprieve if we busy ourselves with the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
How do we do that? By continuing to work the program of recovery and spiritual action, by continuing to attend meetings and be honest, by striving to serve and help others whenever we can, and by striving to incorporate the principles of recovery into our lives every day. The solution provides us a daily reprieve, but we can only expect the solution to keep working if we keep working it.
If long-term sobriety has eluded you, despite a deep desire to get sober and stay in recovery, we understand. We used to not be able to stay sober either, but Jaywalker Lodge has changed that. Now we experience the abundance, joy, and freedom of a life in recovery. We believe what worked for us will work for you, too – in fact, we know it can if you are willing. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.