I just picked up my six month chip and I cannot believe how good and different things feel this time around. I didn’t even bother with my sixth month chip last time around, in fact I found the whole ritual somewhat condescending. With that attitude it probably comes as no surprise that I have thus far been unable to sustain my long term sobriety. Ha Ha Ha! But this morning I would not have missed my meeting for the world and my chip means a lot and has remained snugly in my pocket since receiving in front of my “people” this morning.
I have been working on my sixth, seventh, and eighth step with my sponsor. The steps are coming alive for me lately. There is a power to them that I have previously never been able to tap into. I am not even sure if I even did my steps past the fifth previously. All the angst and work to get my fourth done and then sharing with another human being in the fifth seemed to me like I had done enough work, thank you very much. The rest would just come, I guess. Again, anyone surprised that I have not been able to maintain my sobriety???
While sharing my fourth with my sponsor we were able to uncover my few defects and patterns that were affecting every facet of my life. We narrowed those defect down to a couple that permeated everything in my life. I was blown away at how obvious this was yet without my sponsor’s insight I would have missed it entirely.I now understand that the sixth step is all about awareness: “Oh hello insecurity defect I see you have showed up in this situation…” Once I know that I am in that place of reaction by recognizing my defect my job is to be willing to have God step in and not only remove it but give me insight and strength to do something different in the situation. Previously I thought the sixth and seventh steps were one hit wonders – once I had done them and “prayed the prayer” they were all done forever. This time I see that they are tools of awareness and change if I am willing to employ them in my daily – yup – DAILY life.
How does this apply to real life??? Last night we were out for dinner with very good friends of ours. These are folks I love like family but the truth is they were/are our biggest drinking buddies. I have changed the rules by getting sober and I would be lying to say that this has NOT caused some *uncomfortableness* when we socialize now. This came out last night. This time around I have set some boundaries around my sobriety and I am firm in keeping them. A couple of those boundaries were pushed last night. I felt the “dis-ease” rise up within my soul. I wanted to make everyone comfortable with my choices but to do so would mean to violate those boundaries created to protect my sobriety. The night ended and my sobriety was intact. However, this morning I reviewed the entire situation through the lens of step six and step seven: When my sobriety seemed to get in the way of old “lets all get hammered” plans my defect of insecurity rose up within me and I began to worry that I was a killjoy and my friends were exasperated with my “non-drinking” status. This is the stuff that would send me out drinking again right on the spot. Instead, I recognized the defect of “insecurity” rearing its head. I am soooooo willing to have this defect removed and I asked my higher power to do so and to also replace this defect with its opposite which is courage. And I realized that if my friends truly do not support my LIFE-SAVING decision to be sober than perhaps they do not have a place in my new life. And while that might seem harsh or extreme the words “Be willing to go to any length…” keep ringing through my heart. Yup I am putting myself first. What my drinking buddies think of me is not my business. I KNOW in every cell of my being that God’s will for my life is to put the damn wine glass down and to leave it down. As I apply step six and step seven to this situation, I feel strong and I feel free. I have tools to deal with this stuff now. So different than feeling insecure and like I need to conform so that others are not uncomfortable around sober me. What the hell?! How could I have put myself so low on the list? I would continue to be active in my addiction so that you would like me? OMG – I am grateful to be doing the work and finding my way to a sustainable sober life.