- Mental Health»
How Honesty Helps Keep You Sober in Alcoholics Anonymous
AA Can Help You Stay Sober - But It Requires Rigorous Honesty
Alcoholics Anonymous Can Work for You
Have you gone to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, but decided that there is no way it could possibly work for you? Do you think you are one of those hopeless cases? Are you certain you could never give up alcohol for the rest of your life? Do the 12 Steps look like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo which could not possibly change anything about your life? Don’t give up!
First of all, you only need to try the program for one day at a time. In fact, that is one of the best known slogans of AA ... One Day at a Time.
You have probably been sober for at least one day recently. You can do it again. Don't think about how hard it will be to stay sober for the rest of your life. Just think about how you can stay sober today. That is much easier to imagine.
When my husband first joined Alcoholics Anonymous and I joined Al-Anon over 35 years ago, neither of us ever thought we would still be active so many years later. However, gradually these programs have become an important part of our lives.
What About Trusting a Higher Power?
It is not unusual for people to feel uncomfortable with the thought of turning their lives over to a Higher Power. After all, you may not even believe in God, or you may be mad at God. You may not like the religion you grew up with, and you have no interest in returning to it.
You will be relieved to know that the Higher Power you choose is totally up to you. You choose the God of YOUR understanding. You decide what God means to you. You may even decide that the only Higher Power you want to rely on for the moment is your AA Group. It is up to you.
Some people even refer to their Higher Power as "Not Me." In other words, when things are going on that you cannot control then a power that is "not me" will have to handle it. What a relief that is!
Read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
This is the "Big Book," as members of AA call it. The body of the book was written by the founder, Bill W. There is even a special chapter for family members, Chapter 9. As a member of the related program, Al-Anon, I found Chapter 9 to be very helpful. Many people also get a lot out of reading the personal stories at the end.
Honesty Makes it Easier to Stay Sober
Do you feel that the world is crashing down on you? Are people confronting you about the lies you have told in the past, or debts you still owe? The 12 Steps will help guide you towards becoming more honest and this, in turn, will make it a lot easier for you to stay sober.
When you are ready to do your 4th Step, you will do an inventory of your past behaviors, and the problems they have caused. You will make a list of all your defects of character. However, you will also make a list of your strengths, and the things you have done right. After all, when you do a business inventory, you make a list of everything that you have on hand, as well as the items that need to be replaced. The same is true when you do your 4th Step inventory.
Now that you have been honest about your past behavior, you will share your inventory with the person of your choice, as well as your Higher Power, in the form of a prayer. You’ll ask your Higher Power to remove those defects of character, especially the ones that have caused you to lie and deceive others. Of course, you are not suddenly going to become a saint. However, you will feel much better after you have honestly and openly shared all your defects, as well as your strengths.
Now that you have examined the issues and resentments that are causing you problems, you will make a list of people you have hurt, and become prepared to make amends to them, if possible. Finally, after discussion with your AA sponsor, you will make those amends, as long as doing so won’t hurt someone else.
Once you have completed your inventory, and made amends, you are ready to move forward in life, feeling more confident, less resentful and less troubled. Staying sober will suddenly seem much easier. You may sometimes still have the urge to drink. However, you will not feel as though you are drinking to avoid the issues in your life. In addition, you will now have fun, sober friends who will support and encourage you whenever you go through rough times.
As you proceed through life, you are more likely to be honest with others. When you do realize that you have lied or deceived someone again, you will take steps to make amends much more quickly, because you know this is necessary if you want to be able to say sober in the future.
Keep Going to AA One Day at a Time
Now that you have spent some time staying sober and working the steps, wake up each morning and privately ask your Higher Power to help you get through just this one day. Go to meetings as often as possible, and make friends while you are there. Meetings are held all around the world, and the people at those meetings know that one way they stay sober is by helping others stay sober. People will reach out to you, if you reach out to them. Gradually, you will discover that spending time to get honest has also led you to the path you need to follow to stay sober.
Good luck and enjoy your new honest, sober life in Alcoholics Anonymous.