Practicing Principles in Life

I’m not one to celebrate minor milestones like the eleven months of sobriety I have today. When I turn to quiet introspection of “what it use to be like, what happened and what is like now” for myself, it always happens to be on a monthly anniversary. The world around me has changed drastically in the last month. Most importantly, I have changed. Isn’t that the whole point of sobriety?

The hardest lesson for me during the last eleven months of sobriety is watching ego and pride. Isn’t that what go me here in the first place? I became so selfish and self-centered. Nothing else mattered; I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it, I wanted it two weeks ago and I would do anything to get it. There was a feeling of entitlement; I deserved it for all the hard work I put in or the pain I went through. Complete and utter BULLSHIT!

After going through the Fourth (4th) Step I began to understand again where I had done. All that guilt, shame, fear, insecurity, etc. was brought to the forefront – again. There were “defects” I didn’t address the last time I was sober. I knew they existed but did nothing about them. This time I have made a point of working on them. Thus I have seen a definite change, a needed change.

As I continue to do what I need for my sobriety, I see others shy away from me. Recently, both roommates have just gotten very distant. Today, I’m actually okay with the whole change of scenery. I’m no longer wanting companionship, approval, friendship from those people who are not allowing me to move forward. They have their own problems. They are walking down their own paths to recovery or relapse. I would offer my help but both are unwilling, close minded and just reverting back to their selfish self-centered behaviors. I don’t want to use the cliche, “Been there, done that” but its true. It lead me to path I never (and don’t have to) ever travel down again.

Today I’m more aware of myself and those around me. It’s important for me to USE to “spiritual tools laid at my feet”. If I don’t, I just have to look at my past. Instead, as instructed, I look at myself and the part I played daily. Had I been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking or afraid? If not, I move on. If so, I know what I need to do immediately. Do I get hurt my others? Yes. However, today I’m not angry or resentful. It is what it is.

I have a sense of peace and serenity in my life. I’m happy to be where I am today. I’m grateful to be alive, sober and “practicing these principles in all my affairs”.

Into Action

There is a reason Chapter 6, Into Action (AA Big Book, 4th Edition), cries out to me today. In the last couple of days, I’ve been “out of sorts”. Work, yet again, has frustrated me to no end. Unknowingly, this frustration seeped back into my personal life. I’ve reverted back to my lazy, selfish Self, full time. Something needs to change. “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it” (p. 83). So another phrase now rings in my ears, “Don’t think, just do it!”

I work up with my cat’s annoying yowling and crying. Sometimes I can ignore it but today wasn’t one of those days. So I got up after 5 hours of sleep, feed her and started my day. I’m not annoyed at her; it’s not her fault, she just wants to be fed. It’s all about me.

As I’m in the kitchen I am disgusted with myself. Dirty dishes in the sink, a dirty kitty litter pan, small spills on the counters, these small things are starting to really annoy me. I went back to the bedroom to journal my recovery post for the morning. I visited the bathroom to be yet annoyed again at the pile of clothes sitting on the dryer. I stomped out of the house to the front porch to smoke a cigarette.

When I’m sitting on the front porch it can turn into a short meditation session for me. I relax when the first rays of sunlight stream over the mountain behind me. As the fresh, unadulterated air seeps into my lungs (despite the cigarette hanging out of my mouth), I am refreshed. I let my frustrations and worries seep back into the Earth.

Before I stepped back into the house, I made a plan. Despite my initial plan to head to an AA meeting, I am here. I have a load of laundry in both washer and dryer. The kitchen is next. Afterward, there are other things I should have done the other day. They are getting done NOW.

Spiritually, I have been out of touch. Rushing to satisfy my selfishness, I have ignored important things in my life. This needs to stop. I need to connect with my Higher Power to help squash (or at least put in check) those defects of character. Today I’m setting time aside to be alone with my Higher Power. It’s been far too long.