Step by Step
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016
“When I entered a sanitarium for prolonged and intensive psychiatric treatment, I was convinced that I was having a serious mental breakdown. I wanted help, and I tried to cooperate. As the treatment progressed, I began to get a picture of myself, of the temperament that had caused me so much trouble. I had been hypersensitive, shy, idealistic. My inability to accept the harsh realities of life had resulted in a disillusioned cynic, clothed in a protective armor against the world’s misunderstanding. That armor had turned into prison walls, locking me in loneliness – and fear. All I had left was an iron determination to live my own life in spite of the alien world – and here I was, an inwardly frightened, outwardly defiant woman, who desperately needed a prop to keep going.
“Alcohol was that prop …” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “Personal Stories,” Ch 4 (“Women Suffer Too”), p 226.
Today, my temperament as a drinking alcoholic was such that I can measure any progress in my recovery – if that temperament of then resembles now, I have not shaken off my “protective armor.” If not, I need to realize that armor is not protection from life’s “harsh realities” but in reality enslaves me to servitude to the dysfunctional thinking of alcoholism. My armor, in short, was not a protection against the realities of life but instead my prison that kept me out of life. Today, I look to Step 10 to search for the character defects that forced me into self-isolation with nothing but alcohol and, today, I choose to live my life on life’s terms and not on alcohol’s terms. My prison of addictive behavior was of my own making, and the program guided me out. I look to the program today to stop me from returning. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2016