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.
In a nutshell how it works: