26 March 2011
Pain Brings Growth
The first promise of AA says, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.” That is quite a statement.
But it is true . The key word here is “painstaking.” I firmly believe that if someone seems to be breezing through their early recovery then they are either lying or they aren’t really an alcoholic.
I have never experience so much pain in my life as I did during early recovery. There was nothing easy about it. I saw how my drinking not only affected my life but also those that were around me.
Which when I drank, didn’t really matter. But with sobriety I found a sense of empathy which gave me the ability to put myself in another person’s shoes. And by doing that, my early recovery was filled with anger and disgust – for myself.
I had no valid reason for my actions when I drank. And with sobriety, my first thoughts were to somehow defend those actions. But I couldn’t. What I did was wrong and I just couldn’t explain them away.
The first three steps gave me the belief that if I relied on Someone else that I may have a chance. A second chance at life and love. A second chance at hope. A strong foundation with those first three steps gave me the courage to keep moving forward. Maybe at times, my progress could be measured in baby steps, but I kept moving forward.
Over time I learned to accept my actions as part of my disease. I wasn’t a bad person. It was the alcohol that made me evil. It was from this separation of the drunk from myself that I could continue to move forward.
It gave me the strength to look at my defects and got me to the point that yes I could admit my wrongs, not only to myself but also to my God and another human being.
Easy? No, not at all. Like I said it was extremely painful and something I never want to do again.
It was because of this pain that I was amazed by how much I had change long before I reached the halfway point with the steps. The promises though still didn’t mean that much to me, but I did like the path I was on and the direction I was going.
That path and direction was made possible by first surrendering. By surrendering, I came out of hiding. I admitted that I had a problem and I couldn’t do it alone.
After I found my Higher Power, I was then able to deal with my pain. For the first time in my life I dealt with it. In previous attempts when I was close to pain I drank. I drank to the point of self-destruction.
When that option was no longer available, I accepted the pain, the best way I could. Through AA, counseling, prayer, and a lot of crying. Then I was able to see the growth in me.