(from Essay December 2019)
I have been in and out of SA for 13 years and my newest sobriety date in April 7, 2019. Why? I never put recovery first, until now. In the past 13 years there have been periods of sobriety, living as a dry drunk, and acting out and ignoring the Fellowship and the Program.
My son is a recovering drug addict. I encouraged him to go to meetings and get “clean”. At one point in his recovery he slipped. I hoped that his slip would be temporary and that he would get back into his program. He did; I didn’t. He started going to meetings every day, he spoke and met with his sponsor, and started showing something that I wanted – serenity.
Last April, I came home depressed and downtrodden, active in my addiction. I opened up to my son, adminiting I was a sex addict and that I just couldn’t get and stay sober. I wanted to get sober but the Program is just wasn’t working for me. He said, “Dad, you know what you need to do – go to a meeting – that’s what you told me when I had my slip.” I agreed and he hugged me and said, “That’s not enough. What are you going to do differently this time to make sure you stay sober?”
WOW! In 13 years no one ever asked me that question – no fellow addict, sponsor, or therapist. I realized at that moment I was on was the same program that hadn’t worked for 13 years. I needed to do everything differently this time. I told my son that I would be more like him and attend daily meetings. He said, “That’s a start but you will need more”.
He was right. I needed to change what I was doing, I needed to add to the program. It now includes daily prayer and meditation, daily meetings, daily multiple phone calls, daily readings, daily contact with my sponsor and meeting weekly with him. I also provide service to the fellowship – I now chair meetings and set up and clean up at every meeting I attend. I am working the Steps, something I never really did in 13 years. I realize now that the Steps keep me sober, they do not get me sober.
My son was right, the Program I had worked for 13 years did not keep me sober, slipping over and over. I needed to do it differently. I am finally feeling happy, joyous and free. Mine is a disease of comfort – if I am uncomfortable I will act out again. The only way I can remain comfortable is to work the steps on a daily basis. Living an honest life adds to my comfort which I enjoy a lot more than those few minutes of relief that acting out brought me. I am doing it differently this time and its working.
Saul B., New York