I saw this on a discussion thread recently here and it got me thinking. Now, I've been an avid Zoom meetings attendee now for what, the better part of a year? I have to say it's been great for me really. I simply show up on time with proper codes, bring up my stage presentation or call it a presentable backdrop and I'm ready for a meeting. Florida? New Hampshire? Everywhere in between where legitimate Big Book 12 Step meetings have been established. Connecting with long lost friends and making new ones too. It's just well? There are a couple of drawbacks I see throughout this online recovery method in my own life. Sure I was and still am all over zoom Big Book 12 Step meetings, I just began to notice the unaccountability creeping into my cushy recliner. It gave me a scare. YESTERDAY'S SOBRIETY Hey..I've been around living and growing in 12 Step recovery life sober for some 38ish years. That's a long time really especially as a Big Book 12 Step sponsor or call it Spiritual advisor if you want. Trail guide.. Lots of good and bad. Lots of life come and gone sometimes fast sometimes slow. It's easy for me to take things for granted if nothing's going wrong. That whole ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin thing. Cruise along day by day with the focus on my Spiritual willingness instead of my actions. Man I have worked with so many miracles in recovery it's hard to imagine I've also fell on my face more than a few times too. Easy to forget about those down times falling down as I learn to live life sober. The good news? All in all I have developed a psychic change sufficient to overcome my alcoholism for the day. I found the Spiritual path suggested in the Big Book. Like most I was constitutionally incapable of being honest with myself in the first introduction? Then willingness and more meetings led to a change in attitude and outlook. The basic understanding the simple program of action laid out in masterly detail and finally, I was on my way really no different that I am today. I only hope I've learned enough about selfishness and self-centeredness to not pick up that first one today. Sometimes I forget all that drinking drugging spiraling pit of hell I come from. I get caught up in the whole it's just a symptom of underlying causes thing mentioned in the Book. Like a drug is a drug or an addict is an addict. Lots of people believe this. Drunk everyday passed out wherever I stop moving is not commonplace.. Neither is the overwhelming fear of counting pills in my script that was filled just a day before going to save me. Shaking the bottle knowing it's lite, well aware I over did it again starting with one every four hours for pain then by 3 hours I've eaten six and now I'm not going to make it to the refill. I must find a heroin connection today or some kind of opiate connection. Settling for garbage at times for all the money or whatever else. Once again thinking I can outsmart myself. Win. Be normal. Never frieken happens. RESPECT MYSELF Yes people are still the problem here and there. I get intolerant and look to judge.Try to create a quick emotional security boost at another's expense. Oh, maybe not nearly as bad as when I got sober but problematic just the same. People in my way. People don't realize just how important I am. People don't include me. I'm still alcoholic? Still a junkie? People worshipper? Yep, on the inside anyway, I'm just no longer exposing myself. Can I get drunk on a bottle full of resentment today after living sober for so long a time? Maybe forget alcohol is what gets me drunk? Maybe. My new house verses the old abandoned building, my many ex-wives and live aboard girlfriends I've sailed with off the edge. The heartbreak of blameless children verses a welcoming sober thanksgiving table today.. Able to answer the phone anytime, come and go as I please. I'm here and not afraid. Life is worth living. I don't wish for the end. I'm alive! I'm living sober. Most of the time the water's fine. SPIRITUALLY WEAK Again zoom or online meetings are great and I preferred them right up to the other day. So it's important I speak for myself and not throw around the 'we". Everything changes. Another day at a time. Spiritually fit, complacent. Where am I with my Step 11 upon awakening in the morning as my day begins. Usually pretty strong I thought. Then I seemed to lose my mind or fall off the Spiritual path. I didn't do or say anything harmful to anyone just myself really. It's as if I was walking day by day on the path of Spiritual progress with the new man as suggested and then? I wasn't. It was the weirdest thing, a real wake up call. A kind of hey where are you? What happened to you thing. The other night I showed up at my Men's Big Book 12 Step meeting. My zoom code, comfy recliner, soda and proper lighting. A minute before it started I got a text saying the speaker didn't show asking me to speak on Step 3. I said ok. Why not? I've been in and out all around Step 3 for over half my life right? Read it? Altered the wording while still expressing the idea with other new men on our knees in heartfelt willingness to make their Step 3 decision and get going with the work. Yes I certainly had many years of it's all right with the Spiritual decision but that night? Something was wrong. I had become too comfortable with zoom anonymous and the seemingly intellectual cure for alcoholism. I had forgot about the fellowship. The handshakes, the discussion outside the hall or the ride there and back home with the new man or just sober friends. The fellowship. The effort to participate, to be a part of. It was missing in my life.. I FORGOT THE 3RD STEP PRAYER Pre dementia? Maybe. I'm the guy who has been the speaker sharing on Step 3 in front of 4/5 thousand people. Can't count how many times I've read the 3rd Step with a new man even studied it for a time making sure we were ready and then got on our knees, held hands in surrender, recited the words. The Big Book open to the page revealing the prayer in it's entirety. But not the other night. Nope, the other night I could not remember the words. It was jumbled at best between the 7th Step prayer. Then to add insult to injury I was asked to lead the "our father" as the meeting ended and let me tell you. I got through that strictly on auto-pilot. I just began saying words that happened to be the right ones. I knew something was wrong. Something was way wrong. After a bit of thought I saw myself in zoom world. I like it don't get me wrong but it wasn't what I did to get sober or even stay sober. Oh I've been blogging and dribbling online for 10 years sure but now it was as if I was blogging my meetings. Sitting in my underwear? TV on in the backround? Nice recliner instead of a table with others face to face. Looking too deep into myself and not enough into the new man or even anyone who may be suffering. I saw my decline. Hey, give me an inch and I'll take a mile. Same old stepsherpa. HYBRID NO HYBRID It doesn't matter to me anymore really once I can honestly see myself. I can wake up and get with the program. I like the zoom still with my friends and distant connections made available every week but there are meetings opening up everywhere. These meetings are for me, my sobriety, my mental health. I got sober and stayed sober there. I've strayed before. Once I let go of my Spiritual program, my Spiritual willingness? Well. I'm on my own. Sure I may last a while but this sign post? The whole can't remember my prayers? That's a real cement wall that next time I may not get back over once I leave. Or even worse is I may not realize I left. CONSTITUTIONALLY CAPABLE Once again I just got lucky really. Could be God was watching, may have had some Spiritual insurance but I kind of doubt it. Anyway, I'm not going back to the pit. Today upon awakening I'm trying to surrender, to serve my Higher Spiritual Power and the man who suffers in himself. I'll recite the 3rd Step prayer word for word and not my lazy mashup. It's easy and I like it. I find God everywhere in and through my soulful willingness but the suffering man? He's easy to spot at my Big Book 12 Step face to face meetings. That's where I myself was found. Not on my computer screen. Maybe a ride? A Big Book, a couple of bucks, coffee, dinner, Sponsor? Fellowship? Eye contact, A place to stay for the night even a spare room or motel. Not sure I've ever typed out these offerings. This willingness to give doesn't seem to fully apply on my zoom meetings. Hey, I feel much better, good even. I'm going to hit a Sunday night meeting that opened up tonight. I'm excited really. Would be great to get a new prospect for the 12 Steps. I've been complacent with a couple guys who do work hard but I know myself, when I can see myself? I'm capable of more, much more. I pray to be of service, put some effort into the new man and not just click off when I don't want to be hear anymore. I'm just not that frieken important. I serve myself by giving myself away, I forget that whole selfishness thing especially when I get caught up in it. Geeze..How could I even forget that giving freely, it's the cornerstone of my recovery! My freedom is offered by my willingness to offer it to another not sit back and analyze my online meeting. Although I myself am not a religious person I do like the Lords Prayer. Got to get back to using it in my nightly inventory. Close my day with it. That's the beauty of Big Book 12 Steps. If the hopelessness creeps in? I can still see myself and get back on the Spiritual path. The face to face meetings make me accountable whether I like it or not it's what I need.
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