I don’t remember ever hearing a term like “The gates of insanity” before. It sure did describe me when I got here. In fact, I think I had one foot inside the gate. I knew I was crazy and there was no hope for me.
The program of AA has promised me that if I am rigorously honest with myself and if I am willing to turn my life over to a power greater than myself, I will be able to stay sober.
“We are as sick as our secrets”. How many times have I heard that in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous? I had thought of, said and done things that were far worse than any of you. I knew that some of those things were not just unforgettable but they were unforgivable by you and by God.
Just thinking about doing the 4th and 5th steps scared me so much that I couldn’t take the 2nd and 3rd steps.
Who could I possibly tell my sick secrets to? And anyway, who had the right to know all of that stuff. Some of it I had actually gotten away with for years. Why give myself up now. Our literature talks about fear as an evil and corroding thread and that the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. My fabric was rotten.
One day, I was sitting at my Sponsors for tea and a chat. She knew how fearful I was. I just couldn’t get started working and living the steps. I wanted to. I just couldn’t. She caught me off guard when she stuck her head around the corner from the kitchen and asked me “So, what is it you are so afraid to tell me?” I blurted out the answer. It happened too quickly for fear to get in the way. She simply said “Oh, okay” and went on fixing tea.
It was like removing a plug from a drain. I was able to start from the beginning. That big, deep, dark secret was out in the sunlight. Now I could work on it. One of the things she told me that day was that I should never try to forget my secret but to use it in the future to help others. She said it would eventually turn into a gift. She was right.
That was just the beginning. Now I needed to go back to Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4. Then I could move on to Step 5. When that day came, it was time to share with God and another human being all of my resentments and my part in them. I chose to take this important step with my Sponsor.
We started with a prayer – asking for both of our minds and our hearts to be open to my higher power. I prayed that I would be able to be totally honest with her and with God. She prayed that God would help her to help me.
Resentments will not go away without work on my part. I used to have a sign in my office that said, “Problems that go away by themselves – will come back by themselves.” So will my resentments – just like a boomerang. I needed to move on to 6 and 7 right away.
There are some things that I know about myself today. Self-knowledge will not keep me sober. I am still an alcoholic even though I haven’t had a drink in over 26 years. Fear of the consequences will not keep me from a drink
A few years ago, my husband Mike and I were sitting in a deli in New York. They had huge bowls of pickles on the tables. As it often does, our conversation had gone to recovery. What a great example we had in front of us. The pickles! Once a cucumber has been changed into a pickle, it stays a pickle no matter what you do to it. There is no way I can ever be a non-alcoholic!
Our book says, “Spiritual principles will solve all my problems.” I must rely on my higher power to keep me sane, sober and out of the pickle barrel.
~ Greater Kearns Group
4290 West 5415 South