Step by Step
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015
“Pity me the heart that is slow to learn
What the quick mind sees at every turn.“ – Edna St. Vincent Millay
“For a while …we can endure the intellect’s being ahead of the emotions, which is the import of Millay’s couplet. But as the years go by, the stretch becomes unbearable; and the man with the grown-up brain and the childish emotions – vanity, self-interest, false pride, jealousy, longing for social approval – becomes a prime candidate for alcohol. …(T)hat is a definition of alcoholism: a state of being in which the emotions have failed to grow to the stature of the intellect.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Lost Nearly All,” Ch 11 (“He Who Loses His Life”), pp 534-35.
Today, alcoholism cannot be arrested by intellectual strategies and I must measure – honestly – my emotional state. Without healthy emotions, the quality of my sobriety will likely be little more than my being a dry drunk. Accepting that alcohol is “but a symptom” of our underlying condition, we are compelled to seek sobriety by doing more than abstaining. If today the number of 24 Hours since my last drink is days, months or years, a measure of the quality of my sobriety may be in asking if I still harbor the emotions that I felt when I was drinking. If so, I probably need to review and refine my program. Sobriety is more than not drinking and comes with physical, spiritual and emotional renewal. The 12 steps give us a road map to recovery. Today, I need to look honestly at my emotional affairs. I’ve already tried the intellectual route. It got me nowhere. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2015