WARNING: This is all opinion! When looking into the AA program I came upon “the 12 step promises”, they seemed too good to be true and indeed extravagant. When I read them for the first time they seemed to piss me off. I didn’t understand the language and it hurt my pride knowing that I lacked what these pages told me I could get. Just like an alcoholic I got angry because I didn’t have something and felt inadequate without it. I felt unsure and judgmental when reading about what “God” could do for me that I couldn’t do for myself. It sounded cultish and stupid to the deafness my disease instilled upon me. The idea that I “couldn’t do” something for myself was infuriating, but the truth was just that. I couldn’t, I couldn’t get sober and I couldn’t fill the voids inside of me. I’ve tried many times, with and without AA or treatment to get sober, and every time I would fall right back into the bottle that offered me a small amount of peace. False peace some call it, but I call it what it is, just peace. For a small time a few days or weeks on end my benders would calm the tornado inside my head, steady my personality and glue me together. Life would seem so unbearable without alcohol I couldn’t be without it. And that’s what I mean when I say “I couldn’t stop” not that I really tried to stop, hell why would I? Alcohol was the only thing holding me together most of the time. Without it I was a wreck, my mind would be so chaotic and uncontrollable I wouldn’t get a moment of sleep or a second to relax. Racing thoughts that made me feel so distant from reality, like throwing a stone into white water rapids and trying to watch it skip, I would just be gone. Swallowed up by the current and thrown to the bottom by the force of it all. Or like trying to read a page from a book while your mind is somewhere else, reading on but not retaining anything at all. That seemed to be a typical conversation for me. I’d just be somewhere else mentally while physically present, unable to pull myself into the moment. If only you could imagine the anxiety this brought. So powerful that it would cripple me, socially and physically. Add in a few voices, auditory hallucinations and a separate personality and yeah, I’m f**ked. Uncork and unwind, I used to say. You see now? Alcohol did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. Alcohol remedies all of this for me, it was medicine that slowed it down and brought me to home base mentally. But after a while it trapped me and became my master. That’s what this article is about, the correlation of the 12 step promises to the effects of the drink. “God could and would if he were sought” “may you find him now” “that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves”. None of this made any sense to me at all, and was completely useless until I made the mental connection that drink and drug did for me what I could not do for myself. That I had sought it time after time and found it useful treatment to the underlying causes of my behavior. That substance abuse was a remedy or a solution to my problems, not the problem itself. Before making this realization I was indeed powerless. I would know that I had a problem. Thinking that it was my use of alcohol and drugs I would try to stop using then everything else would pile up and cripple me, overwhelm me, and I would run to the drink. Cause another problem in my life, end up in jail, or in the hospital, or both handcuffed to a gurney in a hospital (yeah it’s happened) feel the need to get sober and repeat that process over and over again and again. Powerless. Unmanageable. I personally have a different definition of insanity; some say that it’s doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Mine is doing the same thing over and over knowing exactly what’s going to happen, and guess what? Doing it anyway! Let me go into this by saying I’m sick, not stupid. I realized I had a problem, I just didn’t know how to identify the correct problem. When attempting to get sober I found it easiest just to lie and say I had stopped drinking then to actually stop drinking, because what came after not drinking and drugging was a whole other set of shit I didn’t have the strength or courage to face. But then like many, and many to come I got caught over and over in this lie and soon decided, yes I must stop. So here is where the struggle comes, I’ve established that alcohol was my solution not my problem. Not knowing this and attempting to get sober was like trying to put the pin back into a grenade after the lever has been released. In other words it doesn’t F’n work. I got manic and psychotic and really, really unmanageable. You see I had taken away my solution to my real problems and without that medication I was truly in a dark place with no hope. Run by fear of drinking and lost without it, I was terrified of myself and what I had become. I was alcoholic with no anesthetic. The voids that I talked about earlier took over and I became hollow to the world around me. I had no love for myself, a god, or anyone else. Empty, broken and alone. Those three things are what defeated me. I look at it now and see it clear as day but back then at that time I had no idea what was keeping me sick. In fact I was sicker than when I was in active addiction, and I was one broken shoelace away from checking out of this world or going back to drinking and I certainly didn’t want to drink again. To sum it all up, I had three main broken relationships in my life. I had a broken relationship with myself, broken relationships with others and a broken relationship or conscious separation from god. If you were to do a math equation on these it would look like this. Relationship with self Relationship with others + Relationship with god = DETOX That’s why I never could stay sober; I had no support, love or purpose. Support being god, love for myself (and without that what can you really love at all) and purpose being what can I provide to the world or others. This is what trapped me, filled me with resentments, judgment, loneliness, hopelessness and fear. Making it so easy to be a walking relapse time after time. After seeing this parallel and making the connection to what alcohol is for me, I looked on to the 12 steps and interpreted their language to my understanding. – Step one being that alcohol was my solution to a very unmanageable life – Steps two and three reconstructing and rebuilding a relationship with God (as I understand God to be) – Steps four through seven reconstructing and rebuilding a relationship with myself – Steps eight and nine reconstructing and rebuilding a relationship with others – Step ten maintaining a relationship with myself – Step eleven maintaining a relationship with god – Step twelve maintaining a relationship with others See to me working the steps is what fills those voids deep down inside and cures you from feeling so hollow all the time. It’s the solution that replaces the drink and the drugs with something true and fulfilling. Bringing me back to the world and giving me love, purpose and worth. No matter how you do it, be it the twelve steps of AA/NA or your own way I strongly believe that you need to look at those three relationships in your life and reflect on how they make you feel, empty or full? Then do what you can to repair and better them, everyone deserves and needs the support and love of something bigger and stronger than themselves, the purpose to walk the earth as another human being giving and receiving the gifts of life and the ability to look into the mirror and have a sense of worth fill them to their very core of existence. Life will happen, and every moment of it will invite us to show up for it. I would always show up drunk, because I didn’t know any other way. I was afraid of people and had economic insecurities, I had no idea how to handle many situations and I could not comprehend the word serenity or know peace. When I took drugs and alcohol into my body I didn’t know what the outcome would be. I was unhappy at every turn and extremely strung out. Now days I have something new, I feel whole and happy. I’m able to live life on life’s terms and accept what comes to me day to day. To contribute to life every chance I get, I feel belonging in programs like H&I and AA, and I learn when and where I can from whoever offers to teach me. This makes me feel wanted, needed and loved and gives me what I call the ultimate remedy to my problems. Love, Purpose and Worth – Kyle W. .