Our recovery program is an enigma: I can’t keep it unless I give it away and the moment I say I have it, I don’t. It reminds me of something we did in school as a kid. We took cornstarch and mixed it with water. As long as it was in motion we could roll it around and make a ball in our hands, like a silly putty. But the moment we stopped moving it, it became a liquid and oozed through our fingers. This interesting mixture only has solidity when you ‘work’ it. My program needs movement; this is a program of action. The moment I stop the action, the program oozes through my fingers and I’ve lost it.
Step twelve tells us that we need to carry the message of recovery to others. Carrying the message is what keeps the memory of my own recovery fresh. Talking with another addict or alcoholic helps me to remember that I am just a couple of bad decisions away from taking a drink or a hit. It takes the steps and the slogans and forces me to apply them in different ways and in different situations. And it keeps my mind and my heart open to gratitude for what I was freely given.
Working with someone is the greatest gift I can give them: I am offering them the gift of a new life and a way out of the darkness they are living in. I am offering an example from my own life that change really is possible and that if I, another addict could do it, then there is the possibility that another person could do it too. And it is the greatest gift I can give myself because I am constantly renewing my own life and deepening my understand of the many facets of the diamond that is sobriety. Regardless of the outcome, I strengthen my own recovery.
Early on in my recovery I wanted to tell the world about the program. But we don’t do it that way. It’s attraction, not promotion that we work at. Let the active addict or alcoholic see how I have changed; be an example of how my life has changed. I don’t have to preach on the streets, this is a program of anonymity. But as someone once told me, “Don’t be so anonymous that no one can find you.”
Be open to talking a bit about the program at the parties and gatherings you attend this season. Trust that your higher power will bring you opportunities to shine your light in someone else’s darkness. Be the designated driver. Show your happiness, joy and freedom and others will be attracted to you and what you have. Share what others freely gave you and you will receive the gift of continued recovery.
I am grateful.