Saturday, March 10, 2012


It happens a lot. I wake up at 12:30 am, or 1:47 am, or in the case of this morning, three o'clock. I try to get back to sleep. I have a day to put in and feeling awake is feeling good, and feeling good is why I put down the chemicals (and why I picked them up in the first place), and while I'm waiting for sleep to return, the Committee in my head decides just lying there is boring, and it begins an endless review of my problems, my country's problems, the problems of the universe, and before I began composing speeches I'll never deliver, I got up, sneaked out of the bedroom so as to not awaken my wife and our two yappy dogs. Cup of coffee in hand, computer up and running, I wondered what today's reading is in NA's Just For Today meditation book.

The link for today's reading is over there on the right, "Today's Just For Today." Go on and take a peek, if you haven't already, then come back here. We'll wait.

* * *

Work the Steps.  Have fun, but work the Steps. Addiction programmed me to be a self-centered, unreliable, self-hating, physically ill, depressed, angry son of a bitch. Working a program of recovery, that is, working the Steps with a sponsor, began the process and continues the task of turning that son of a bitch into a human being. I've been at it now for over three decades and there is still work to do.

The clincher on today's Just For Today reading is at the end: "I want everything my personal program has to offer."

For a long time, staying clean seemed like enough for me. All of the changes I'd have to make to work the rest of the program frightened me. It took a while for me to realize that what really scared me was that the program would work and I'd never use again. I was gypping myself, however. If all I changed was to put down the drugs (alcohol and prescriptions in my case), all I'd become is an addict who was out of stuff--not a happy camper.

Then came a Higher Power, followed shortly by acquiring a sponsor I would actually use, followed by continuing to work the Steps I had begun in rehab, followed by NA service work, followed by health, peace of mind, gardening, serenity, friends, skiing, movies, wood carving, some really great writing experiences, even better writing instruction experiences, and glorious F-U-N!

Fun. What is this terrifically wonderful feeling: fun? Happiness? Laughter? This warm feeling in my heart, love, for others? This pride I feel in their accomplishments? This amazement I feel when others trust me, consider me responsible, value me as a friend, consider me cool and a delight to be with?

When all I wanted was to be clean I was shortchanging myself. "I want everything my personal program has to offer." And I don't have all of it yet. The rewards for the Step work and service I do keep coming.  Most of my life these days doesn't suck. The Steps and the program are how I whittle down the sucky remainder.

Make a good day.

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