AA Tag

I heard the term emotional sobriety a lot when I was new, and recently it was a topic at my home group. It was actually very helpful for me, because at the time I was wondering why I had such an incredibly hard time with my feelings of entitlement, jealousy, and judgment in particular.

I write a lot about my personal experiences in recovery relating to the 12 steps and things centered around the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, but not nearly enough about how I found these things. Though I attribute my success and newfound way of living to the program, it was my sober living and aftercare program, New Life House, which introduced me to this solid foundation.

I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about amends. I know that I had a twisted understanding of what they were when I first got sober, before I even got to step 9 or even had a sponsor. But I am not here to tell you what amends are or are not. I simply want to relate my experience and what they have meant to me.

I must have heard the phrase “let it go” a million times before I got sober. Then, when I did get sober, I heard it a two million more times. The phrase was repeated to me so much it had lost it’s meaning, if it ever had any. I didn’t understand what anyone meant by it or how it would help me.

When I first got sober, I heard a lot about how resentments are the “number one offender” and a large part of the reason why a lot of people relapse. It didn’t really make too much sense to me, as I always considered myself a guy who was pretty easy to get along with. Little did I know I was also a huge people pleaser but that is for another article.

When someone decides to take ahold of their drug or alcohol issue, a lot of programs lie at their feet. Whether through a rehabilitation program, fellowships such as AA or a church, or even replacement therapy, many people have tackled addiction in many different ways. One such way is SMART Recovery, which has become the second largest alcohol program next to AA, joining the ranks of other AA “alternatives” such as Moderation Management and Rational Recovery.

Recently, a parent of the New Life House community wrote an article about the third step, the third step prayer and what they both meant to him and his program. It got me thinking about my own spiritual program and how I have used prayer and meditation since I stopped using drugs and alcohol.

I recall very well my first few meetings in AA and my attitude when I was new in sobriety. People identified as “grateful” alcoholics and talked about the amazing lives that they had “as a result of this program.” They talked about the jobs, relationships and opportunities they had been lucky enough to receive, attributing it to the fact that they had been sober. It made me roll my eyes, thinking I would never be one of these people.

Anyone who has been to at least one meeting has probably heard “get a sponsor”. For myself, I completely disregarded this important piece of advice almost immediately. At the time, I had no interest in sticking around or doing any “work”, as so many people referred to it. But once I came around, I realized just how important finding someone to help you is if you are trying to stay in recovery.

A New Life House Father explains his sober meditation practice, how he learned to quiet his mind and how being present in any daily activity activity is a meditative practice-even while driving.