When I was new, I looked at the 12 steps on the wall of the meeting club & moaned, "I don't know if I can do all that."
A long-timer said to me, "Why don't you just go out & enjoy the day?"
I thought, "Oh yeah.Huh? How do you do that without a drink?"
I did not know how to do that!
But, obviously these sober people did, so I thought I'd tag along at various parties, picnics & dances & see how they enjoyed living sober. It was a jolly time, but I was told it wasn't going to last until I got to work on the steps. But, what an order! So I sort of "tagged along" to see how others did the work.
I did this by going to lots of meetings & sharing everything that was going on with me. This was not a primrose path! Though many were kind & helpful, there were also those who were mocking, insulting & discouraging. They were probably justified cuz I was a shipwreck!
So by the time I began the steps, I knew this was work that required an effort I had not put out before. I could get ideas from others, but the work was mine. It's like kissing: people can tell me how they kiss, but until I actually DO it for myself, I'll never experience it. OR the thrill of it!
So, I try to inspire others by, first, by inviting them with me to see how to enjoy the day sober. We go hiking, bowling, dancing, shopping. Why bother with all those steps if the result isn't going to be fulfilling?
I take people with me to lots of meetings & talk about all the inspiration I get from them. I love meetings!
I also encourage others at meetings by sharing my stories on working the steps. Even in my fumbling & bumbling there were 4th dimension experiences & spiritual progress. I know this because an ancient-timer once told me that I was proof that there IS such a thing as a psychic change. Telling people if you see progress is encouraging!
Sponsoring others through the work encouages & inspires both of us. Even though it felt like the steps were killing me, it only killed the part of me that would drink again. Even though it felt like nothing was happening, things happened! It's encouraging to show others what's happening to them when they can't see it.
And sharing the actions I'm taking today inspires others to take those same actions! Sharing myself has been the best way to pass the torch of sobriety to others. It's like, "If dopey Sunlight can do it, maybe I can too."
Some days, when life hurts to the bone, & darkness surrounds me & the ground has been pulled out from under me, the best I can do is not take a drink.
But, cheerfulness & laughter make for usefulness (pg132) & I think laughter & stories are one of the most fun ways to encourage & inspire others. I can laugh at myself today & the stories of my perspiration through the steps will crack you up!
Enjoying life, sharing, working, laughing, praise & perseverence. It's been a good recipe.
The results? I've seen people live new lives, find new solutions & become new creations!
I've witnessed those with severe emotional & mental problems stay sober & help others to achieve sobriety.
I am awake & alive in a way that was impossible when I focused on myself.
How has it affected me? Page 25 says it all: "Our creator has entered into our hearts & lives in a way which is indeed miraculous."
Words fall short here & it's a good thing cuz I've used up a lot of them!