In other words: It's simple to stay sober if I follow directions.
I've found that to be true. Also, it's simple to follow directions because of "sustained emotion". I like that phrase! I'm not going to follow any directions, especially for a lifetime, if they're not going to at least get me where I want to go, and at most, be interesting and exciting.
When I was newly sober, a long-timer with 33 years gave this suggestion:
"Don't drink, go to meetings; don't drink, read the big book; don't drink, get a sponsor; don't drink, take the steps; don't drink, find a higher power & pray & meditate; don't drink, be of service; don't drink, carry the message & work with others.; don't drink!"
Seemed to me there was an awful lot of "don't drink" going on there!
Maybe it was important?
If I am an alcoholic, I can't safely consume alcohol in any form. The moment I put it into my body, I go into a tailspin, mentally, physically, emotionally & spiritually. No matter how long I've been sober, the result is going to be the same - tailspin, crash, badly burned if not dead. I won't be capable of following anything if I'm impaired by alcohol.
So, I follow directions & I'm staying sober & life is looking pretty darn good. Why do I need to keep doing all this work? Can't I just skate awhile, & pop a vitamin meeting now & then, & sit back on those comfy laurels?
Just like the diabetic & heart patient, I'm headed for trouble if I do. Alcohol is a subtle foe! Suddenly the thought may cross my mind that one drink wouldn't hurt & the next thing I know, I'm drunk & wondering how I got that way.
Or that old crappy, whiney, ego-laden thinking is going to seep back in & I'm going to create wreckage, be angry, depressed, & wish I or you were dead.
My daughter worked in a diabetic foot clinic & many of her patients could have arrested their disease if they followed directions. Instead, they did what they wanted & had to have limbs amputated! Quite a price to pay. ("We are like men who have lost their legs...")
She said they thought that the directions "didn't apply to them" & felt they could beat the game, even when experience proved otherwise. Sound familiar?
The directions that I need to follow to stay sober are not dry & dull. They are alive & vital & fresh as the morning dew if I continue to look for the newness in them. To see myself change for the better, to help others recover & go on to new lives, to continually discover meanings and applications of the steps & share it with others, the wisdom, humor, love, generosity & the characters of our fellowship - these are the bright spots of my life! I would not want to miss it!
Following directions insures that I won't.