The Wreckage of the Present by Preston B.
Over the years I have witnessed people who seem to have been solid members of the program go out and drink again. The reasoning is inconsequential, because if they are real alcoholics, the only actual reasoning for them drinking again is that the obsession returned and they, once again, became powerless over alcohol. Many of these people had become my friends over the years, because we did service, sponsored new people and naturally bonds were created. I can only wish they had stayed.
The tenth step is the beginning of an ongoing effort to clean up the wreckage of the present. After taking the first nine steps, it is apparent to me when I become resentful, afraid, or when I arouse bitterness in others with my actions. This is true, because I don’t regularly feel discontented and when I do it is an abnormal feeling. The big book says “when these crop up,” meaning that it is going to happen. So, what am I supposed to do about maintaining a fit spiritual condition?
First of all, it was important for me do not blame my disease for the actions I take and the repercussions of such actions. I went a long time pointing the finger and not taking responsibility for my own life. Oh what a victim I was. It was a big step for me to realize that I had character defects that continued on. I felt as though when people shared in meetings and talked about how well their lives were going after they took the steps, that there was something wrong with me, because I still developed problems. These problems are nothing more than a manifestation of my character defects. It is up to me to recognize these and make the effort to grow toward something better.
God plays a huge part in dealing with my character defects. I want to be as useful as possible, but my experience has proven to me that I cannot fix my character defects no matter how well I arrange my life and walk on egg shells. It is not only no way to live and enjoy life, it’s practically impossible to accomplish. Considering this, I am convinced Higher Power is the one who has removed those more severe defects. Hiding from people was never the answer, because sooner, or later, I was going to have to deal with the world and its people. I’m grateful that I have this program so I can minimize the damage I cause as I go along.
I was about two years sober and making many mistakes in my life. One day I was reading Bill’s story, and I saw towards the end that he wrote a passage about how when he was around that same time sober, he was also plagued by waves of self pity and resentment. The big book is so good, and Bill’s writings were so on point that when he describes a problem he doesn’t just leave you paralyzed and without a solution. Continuing to take inventory was it good step in understanding problems as they come, and making amends quickly if I had harmed anyone. In that particular passage he stated that “when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day.” Needless to say, the way I have worked with newcomers over the years could very well be characterized as intensive and frantic.
I didn’t know why I was, for some reason, under the impression that practicing the first nine steps of the a program would render me a perfect person. Ultimately, I realized that the best I will ever be is a flawed human being. Everyone has character defects whether they are alcoholic or not, but if my character defects run awry, and I don’t take the necessary steps to hold them in check, then something will happen for me that won’t happen for normal people and that is I could run the risk of the insanity of alcohol returning and drinking again, like so many I have known. I am happy to have found a power in which I can live. I am happy to have recovered from the hopeless condition and am receiving the promise of the tenth step, which is to have a daily reprieve, so long as I persevere in maintaining a fit spiritual condition through the practice of the tenth step.