Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who Has What You Want?

In early recovery I heard this advice over and over: “Look for someone who has what you want, and ask them how they got it.” That was, I was told, also how to pick a sponsor. It’s funny looking back. I mean how does a really new newcomer know what someone has? Yes, you can hear a sense of humor or see who bathes regularly. But when I look around the rooms today it’s not always the shiny stars or fine talkers of AA who have what I want.

I’ve been thinking about this because this week I was trying to explain to a sponsee why she should do more step work. “I don’t drink and I don’t want to drink, and I’m really happy about that,” she told me. And I get that, but I tried to tell her that I want so much more than that from AA, and from of my life.

I want so much more than abstinence from alcohol. And I even want so much more than no more “jackpots”. I want the whole enchilada that I believe is possible: peace, serenity and joy (not daily happiness but real joy.) I also want great relationships: with husband, friends and colleagues. And a great relationship with my Higher Power and with myself.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Some of that good, changed life comes with longevity—more time in recovery equals more exposure to new ideas, concepts and layer upon layer of the Steps. But not for everybody. I still have to look around the rooms and ask myself, “Who has what I want?”

It’s possible to have 35 years of sobriety and be obese, angry, gambling, smoking or using some behavior or  “legal” substance and still be miserable. I see it and hear it. We share the rooms with folks who have been around a very long time and are miserable in marriage or on the job. That’s not the recovery I want for myself.

In some ways the pool gets smaller the further we go if we are committed to going all the way. What do you think about this? If you have been around a while what kind of recovery are you still working toward? I want deep change as much --or more --than I want long years. In a sense that is where my deep joy comes from—knowing there is some crazy character defect I didn’t even know I had two years ago, that I recognized in myself one year ago, and that I see gradually changing this summer. I’m in awe of that, and I can only want more.


Tonya Marie said...

I too want deep change. I have been sober 17 1/2 months. I have done a lot of changing and I know there are plenty more changes to make. I am enjoying the process. I am continually learning about myself. I am embracing the change and hope to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to others. My road to recovery has been a struggle and well worth it. You wrote a great post.

Diane said...

Tonya--Thanks! The changes just keep coming and I have to remember too that I want that--even when it doesn't feel so great:)


Anonymous said...

When I first came into the program and people suggested I look for someone "who has what I want", I had no idea what they were talking about. What I wanted was to "not drink and not feel compelled to drink". Beyond that I had no idea what I wanted. I thought I wanted the life I already had just without drinking. Oh that and I didn't want to be so angry. Luckily, someone suggested a temporary sponsor for me and I had her as a sponsor for a couple of years. Since then I've had a couple of other sponsors. I feel very lucky to live in a city that has a great recovery community. Over the years, I've learned more about what I want, my desires and goals in life have evolved thanks in great part to all the wonderful people I've met in the rooms. I've seen people go through incredibly difficult times with such grace. And I think, I want that, I want to be like that. The more I surround myself with people like that, the greater my chances are for being authentic and being a kinder, gentler person at the very same time. Thanks for this post.