"The whole spiritual journey might be summed up as humble hope." Thomas Keating

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Life Second to None?

I hear that a lot at meetings, that there are all these recovering alcoholics who have lives second to none.  That never really sat right with me, and when I was trying to get sober, I thought it was a lot of BS.  Here's the thing, when I was trying to get sober, I was just trying to get through the day without a drink.  Later when the compulsion to drink diminished, life was better, a lot better, but still there were challenges.  I diligently began to work the steps, and became more accountable to myself and others.  Life continued to get better, but also sobriety brought adulthood face to face with me, and things like a real relationship, a career, and a house complete with mortgage brought me into a whole different dimension.  My life became pretty normal.
That last statement is probably the most profound thing an alcoholic can say.  Pretty much by definition an alcoholic cannot live a normal life; in fact it's a miracle to say that an alcoholic is living a normal happy life.  Shooting for the stars for an alcoholic is no more than holding down a job and not getting divorced.  Hell, waking up in one's own bed (dry), knowing what happened the night before is a miracle.    
The point is, paying a mortgage, having dinner with someone you love, caring for others - for an alcoholic this is shooting for the stars; for an alcoholic a normal average life is a miracle.
Dennis S.


  1. It is true that some of the set expressions have become common in AA tend to exaggerate things. Our lives were poisoned by alcohol - no question. But that doesn't mean that everything that happened while we were drinking was terrible and it also doesn't mean that everything is a bed of roses sober. Normal is the goal and losing sight of that can lead to severe disapointment and, eventually, drinking.

  2. So true -- and AA at its best is a bridge back to the normal life, not a substitute for it.