My continued journey through the 12 Steps and into deeper realms of recovery have spawned some further observations of late and I thought I'd share a few nuggets.
I occasionally here someone introduce themselves in an AA meeting as, "My name is ______ and I'm a recovered alcoholic". This has proven to be a point of contention for some time among members of the fellowship and one that spawned questions to myself, such as, "Am I truly recovered?".
In the Big Book of AA, there lies a statement which reads, "Having recovered from a hopeless state of body and mind". Not being an encyclopedia of the Big Book, I cannot accurately state how many times the word "Recovered" appears there, but I know its there in several chapters.
So, what does the term "recovered" actually mean in this case? I would venture several guesses, but I have learned that the dictionary often provides insight on words (Who knew?)
Here's one; "To regain strength, balance, composure, or the like".
-The only problem with this definition is that in the framework of my recovery, it is fairly clear that I didn't have those things to begin with; but that's not true of all recovering folk, so it will due.
Alas I digress. So, to the point of being "recovered" I found what I believe to be a really good litmus test right out of the Big Book (again, who knew?). They are called "The Bedevilments"; which describe fairly accurately the wretched state of affairs of the active alcoholic.
Here they are from page fifty two:
1. We were having trouble with personal relationships,
2. We couldn't control our emotional natures,
3. We were a prey to misery and depression,
4. We couldn't make a living,
5. We had a feeling of uselessness,
6. We were full of fear,
7. We were unhappy,
8. We couldn't seem to be of real help to other people
"Check!", yep... They pretty much all applied to my life; both before and during the early days of "just" attending AA meetings daily. It wasn't until I began to follow the prescription; if you will, to meaningful recovery and happiness by actively working the 12 Steps that this began to change.
It serves as a good gut-check for me...a clearly defined spreadsheet for plumbing out where I really am as I "Trudge the road of Happy Destiny".
So, am I "recovered"??? I hesitantly say yes I am... Today I have real and meaningful relationships, I have regained a sufficient amount of emotional control, I am scratching out a living (and its both challenging and rewarding), I am useful (and am endeavoring to increase my effectiveness), I am not wracked by , "A thousand forms of self-centered fear", I have a generous degree of happiness, and I am available to help.
Let me ad a little salt to that statement... I still possess a degree of what I lovingly refer to as "retardation".
-Allow me at this point me to address those that are of a politically correct bent... I only refer to myself in this way and COMPLETELY get how that term can be offensive to those who either are; or love someone that is challenged by either a physical or mental handicap.
So, I still possess a bounty of "character defects" or liabilities...hence my continued and for the most part focused endeavors to overcome them. My trials with these may make for some good future posts (look for one called, "Rogering" soon).
And the truth will set you free...
To again plagiarize someone I sincerely respect...