A couple years ago I had a pretty big BBQ at my house. I invited all the folks from my home group. Me and a buddy set out to buy a grill at Walmart. We brought it back to the house, opened the box and had to put it together. We got about halfway together and realized we had missed a part from the beginning. We had to take it apart and started again. We went a SECOND TIME and again got about halfway finished and we missed some pieces. Starting again, we took it apart only to get back to the beginning! The third time we assembled three quarters of the way and again missed parts and disabled and started again. In frustration we went in the box, grabbed the instructions and decided to follow the directions.
Looking back at this event, our BBQ, we had a lot of fun that day thanks to the grill. We cooked burgers and dogs which made for a great BBQ. Importantly it was a learning experience that I can relate to sobriety. In chapter five of the big book, “How It Works” it states Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.” Then goes on to the 12 steps, a guide to good clean living. Following the directions has made it easier for me. Working the 12 steps I found freedom.
I am grateful that I took the directions at my first attempt at recovery. The messages I heard from my beginnings “You only have to change one thing, Everything”, “Don’t give up before the miracle happens”, “Let go and Let God” and “If you want something different, you have to do something different”
For the first time in my life I wanted something different and i realized I had to do something different. At that same time after a meeting i approached a guy who had some time and i commented about his share. I told him i wanted to be successful. He stated to me, “if you want to be successful you have to do the things you don’t want to do and don’t do the things i want to do. Us alcoholics like to sit around and watch tv and expect everything to be done for us!” Oh boy i could relate to that.
I started practicing that. It made sense to me. I didn’t want to get a sponsor. But if i wanted to be successful this meant i had to get a sponsor. With a sponsor meant the 12 steps were to follow and then after would come. . . “The Promises”, early on i thought i would never achieve the promises. I wanted time with out doing the work. I thought i would never get time, that’s not me. But i did because i learned how to live a day at a time and believe in a power greater than myself.
I am grateful i took the directions. I am grateful to the guys that 12th stepped me and told me they could show me a better way to live. They were right. It took time and some life experiences to learn from. It became easier to live and life did become better. Finally i was making good choices for myself, staying sober, going to meetings and helping other alcoholics. My first year i did a lot of service carrying the message by bringing in meetings to treatment centers with my sponsor.
After my first year I went back to college. I met so many people, my age, younger and older in recovery on the college campus. It was amazing. I earned a degree in computer information systems and in my journey i became a software engineer. While at college i got involved, just like AA suggests to get involved. I joined the college newspaper and became the graphic editor, because i was “the computer guy”. The year i graduated, the newspaper won an award “The best college newspaper” in the state of florida by florida leaders magazine. I had written a book for an honors literature class and was published in the school library. It was amazing and extremely challenging but i did this based on the slogans and fellowship. I’ll never forget at the end of the school year I had so many respectable events, graduation, the award ceremony for the school newspaper, banquets for the honors project i did. I had really accomplished something with my life and it was because I learned how to live through the 12 steps and because of the people, my homegroup and sponsor. Truly amazing. And I’m grateful.
The last couple of years after that BBQ we laugh at the grill incident and say “How many alcoholics does it take to put together a grill?” Just follow the directions. I still have the grill and sometimes when out in my back porch and look at it and laugh and then reflect on my sobriety and realize how grateful I am for God, recovery and the messages I heard in the beginning and most of all I followed the life changing directions of the program of recovery.