Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The First Step

In A.A., the first 'step' is to admit that you are powerless over your addiction. As I've said before; while I'm not comfortable with organized groups, I do believe that true sobriety can not be achieved without specific changes.

But that's not exactly what I want to discuss. I want to talk about being (or feeling) powerless. However you want to phrase it or whatever cliche you use, surrendering is, I believe, possibly the greatest thing one can achieve. It also seems to be the most difficult. We want control. We want to believe that we have the power to make things the way we want them to be, but it's such a waste of energy.

Now, I'm not talking about setting goals and reaching them. I'm not talking about the big things like, "what do I want to be when I grow up," or, "do I want to do well in school or at work?"

What I'm talking about here are the "little" things. The day to day routine things. The reason I've been thinking about this is because my car broke down the other day. Dead. Nothing. Out of the blue. It was working one minute and just wasn't.

I know, I know. You're thinking, "what does all this have to do with recovery or addiction? And why am I still reading this crap?"

Well, I know it may seem trivial, but here's the thing:
See, I have a feeling there's an electrical problem and that I may not be able to afford to have it fixed. Before I got sober (and even in early sobriety) something like this would have set my whole world on tilt. "My God! Why do these things always happen to me? Right now is SUCH a bad time for this to happen. What did I do to deserve this? What am I going to do? AAAAUUUGHGHG!"
I would have been very uptight and wasted a lot of time an energy worrying about what I should do and yadda, yadda, yadda...

But when my car broke the other night, I wasn't upset at all. None of those thoughts went through my mind. And I was so grateful when I realized this. I know how stupid this may sound, but I don't care. I truly believe that there is a reason I don't have my car right now and may not be able to afford to have it fixed. I think the reason is that I needed to get off my ass and start exercising. The car thing has forced me to either walk or ride my bike to work. I think that's the reason. It's likely that I'm wrong.

The thing is: it doesn't matter. There's not a damn thing I can do right now about my car. It's broken. I'll have it towed to a mechanic and see what's going on with it. Then I'll go from there.

I've just been thinking about this for the past couple of days because I've surprised myself. It kind of blows me away that I didn't spaz out or waste a second of how good I've been feeling lately on something that's completely out of my control.

So I think the whole "surrender" thing is applicable to more than just admitting to not being able to control addiction. The truth is, there are a whole lot of things we don't have control over... and it's okay. And for me, anyway, the less I try to control, the happier I am.

Then again, I only live about two miles from work...

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