The most important lesson I've learned about Sobriety

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The most important lesson I've learned about Sobriety

Postby Dallas » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:58 pm

The most important lesson that I've learned about sobriety -- is same as the most important lesson that I've learned about life. And, I would go so far as to say that it's the most important lesson that I've learned about addiction, alcoholism, gambling, over spending -- and any other obsessive condition.

Here's what I learned: "Whatever is on the outside of my life -- has it's roots and originates on the inside me."

Sounds simplistic, aye? It is pretty simple.

Chuck C., a longtime AA that was from the area where I got sober (R.I.P. Chuck C.), was commonly known for several phrases that he used -- that contained a wealth of information in each phrase.

One of them was: "Uncover, Discover and Discard."

It took me a few years sober and listening to him, to finally figure out what he actually meant by that phrase.

Whatever it is on the outside of my life -- that's causing me discomfort, or struggling, or suffering -- has it's origin inside of me. It holds true for my health, my wealth, (my financial well-being, and having a job or not having a job). It holds true in all my relationships. The relationship with myself. Relationship with others. And, my relationship with God.

Unfortunately, it's easy to discover only HALF of the wisdom and understand HALF of the truth.

It would sound like (and most people I know approach it this way is): 1. Identify something on the outside of my life that I want to change. 2. Look inside and discover the condition on the inside -- that's causing the condition on the outside. Now, here's where the mistake is made: 3. Think, meditate, pray, and try to fix what's inside that needs fixing, by "figuring it out and asking God to help me fix it." :-)

What's wrong with that? Nothing is wrong with it -- Those are all good things to do, however, It just seldom works -- for fixing a problem for the longhaul. It might work for a while -- but, when the while is over -- the problem, if it did go away -- comes right back again. Sometimes, we refer to those as "Patterns in our life."

Something is missing. Here's what's missing: ACTION. OUTSIDE action. :-)

Whenever something on the outside of me needs changing --
1. I have to (uncover) identify what it is.
2. Then I have to discover -- what the condition on the inside is -- that's causing the conditions and circumstances on the outside.
3. "To Discard" I have to find ACTIONS that are "outside of myself" -- to do -- that will change the condition on the inside of me -- that's causing my problems.

I can't think myself in to "well actions" but I can "act myself" (taking actions) into well thinking. ;-)

By taking the outside actions -- that fix the stuff on the inside of me -- that's originating my problems -- the results will be that ALL the stuff on the outside of my life will begin to get better.

What are the outside actions of AA, that we do to change ourselves from the inside out?
It's Steps 4 through 9.
Then, we continue to do 4 through 9 -- by doing Step 10, daily, and moment by moment.

AND, something more...
In Step 11, we do ask -- that God direct our thinking, and we pray and we meditate.

AND, then, there is ACTIONS and more actions in Step 12: We begin to practice GIVING. Rather than taking.

Our guiding principle in life becomes giving instead of getting.

AND, part of the giving that we do is: to take on commitments to serve the Fellowship in AA, and in our homes, and in our neighborhoods and communities, and in society. We begin participating in ACTIONS and behaviors -- that will not only change us -- but, as a result of those actions, it will leave the world, a little better off, than it was when we began our life here.

Best wishes to all. I hope that will help you, as much as it has helped me.

Dallas B.

In a nutshell how it works:

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Re: The most important lesson I've learned about Sobriety

Postby Toast » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:04 pm

Superb stuff Dallas, thanks!

Seems to be right where i am at the moment, met a guy recently i had a tiff with a few years back and its never been properly put to bed, he done me a bad turn and in a knee jerk reaction i returned the favour. Guess this was something he wasn't used too. We sort of still speak but i feel he is still wary of me and is waiting on me doing more of the same. But recently it occured to me i put him in the position to go on the offensive against me because i unknowingly let him down. I did send him an email apologising for my part in the whole affair but now feel that matter wont be put to bed for good until i take responsibility for setting the whole ball of wax rolling in the first place.

Guess its really a clash of ego's. The guy was once my employer who did have power over me and my career, which he tried to ruin after i let him down. I just viewed his actions as a threat to my hard won new sober status in the world and once when he was being praised in a newspaper article i wrote a letter in saying he's not the nice guy everyone thinks he is. I then went on to detail his misdemeanours against me and a few others who received the same treatment. Made him look real bad in his business community. I've discussed my hurtful letter with guys in AA and they just tell me the guys a phoney and it needed said? Guess i tried to wound him with words.

I used to know him and his wife really well and have since heard he divorced her after she succumbed to alcoholism, which she still denies. She's now closed the blinds of her apartment and is slowly drinking herself to death.

The bottom line is whenever i hear his name of catch sight of him something inside me still rankles and i lose a few hours thinking about the unsavoury incidents we've put each other through. Sometimes i'm still angry at him other times i feel a fool for not seeing my part in the 1st place. I swing from defiance to forgivness. He was no saint and did go to extremes to cut people down and he cost me and others a lot of opportunities but its been over a decade now and i've survived and become stronger for it. He did ruin my career in one line of work but i moved on to another that suited me even better but as said it still rankles.

I've never met him alone to put it right but would if i got the chance, he is pleasant enough to me in company but can't wait to get away from me when they're gone.

I'll be passing his place of work tomorrow so if gods working for me we'll bump into each other and i'll take the bull by the horns and apologise.

But thanks again for your inspirational post, its kind of pushed me off the fence into taking some action. At the end of the day it will have to be done the AA way, my way just doesn't work.

God Bless


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Re: The most important lesson I've learned about Sobriety

Postby Toast » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:36 pm

Well Dallas God must have had a day off on Thursday when I was hoping to meet the guy I was posting about above but he was certainly on duty tonight. My wife and I took a drive over to Edinburgh tonight to meet up with a few other couples from AA for an Italian meal and who does I meet when I coming out restaurant but the guy I was telling you about! He’d come out a trendy wine bar next door to have a smoke on the sidewalk. He was with 2 other guys’ but I just took the bull by the horns and asked him if I could have half a minute of his time.

We stood away from the crowd and I just told him I was very sorry for the trouble I had caused him and having heard he has a new business venture I wished him every success in the future. We shook hands and he said ‘ no bother John’ and then my wife and I walked towards the car and headed home.

Whether he really does forgive me or not is not the issue here. The fact is I’ve done all I can at this moment in time and feel so much better for it. In fact even after a heavy meal less than an hour ago I feel a lot lighter! Now the next time I hear his name mentioned I wont be cussing under my breath, I’m a free man as far as that unsavoury episode of my sober life is concerned.

That’s taken me 10 years in sobriety to really get over that one. They say to resent someone is to be their prisoner. Well I guess I’m a prisoner no more and it feels great!

God bless and thanks for nudging me off the fence!

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Re: The most important lesson I've learned about Sobriety

Postby Dallas » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:07 am

I understand so well -- how good it feels to get one of those long-over-due deals done.

I've concluded that some, may never get done.
Some -- I don't really owe anyway -- but they bug me until I do them.
So, often, it's best to just get it done and over with.

That's pretty cool -- the timing, how it worked out for you.

It's like "Wow! There really does seem to be some kind of God, after all!" :-)

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