Make Me Teachable

There are many paths to get to where we want to go in life. There’s not necessarily only one road to get to where you are going, rather many options. What makes the difference between those who achieve their goals and those who don’t make it is, I believe, attitude. Human resource professionals say that given a choice, they will choose a candidate with a positive, eager attitude over one with more skills and education.  Someone with a good attitude who is willing to listen and learn can be taught the skills of a job, make it their own and thrive in their work environment.

When the addict is ready, the recovery program will appear.

It is my attitude that determines the happiness, joy and freedom that I will experience in recovery. It’s up to me to choose to do the work of the steps or not. Meetings and sponsors can invite me to do the work, but it is my attitude toward change, trying new ways of approaching life and the people around me that will carry me through. If I don’t think I can do it, I won’t. Like Yoda’s advice to Luke in Star Wars, “Do or do not, there is not try.” I have to put myself all-in-there if I am going to make it.

Achieving a positive attitude toward life requires humility: teachability. It’s realizing that I don’t know everything, I don’t have all the answers. It’s listening to people speak at meetings and relating to their experience, strength and hope. And it’s applying what we have learned to our own lives.

I remember a speaker say that at most meetings the 70-20-10 rule applies. Seventy percent of the time people share good solid material that can be applied at some point in the future. Twenty percent of the time what is being shared has you at the edge of your seat because it is exactly what you need to hear right at this moment. And ten percent of the time, he said, it’s an opportunity to practice patience and tolerance. The funny thing is what’s a 20% moment for me, might be a 10% moment for the fellow sitting beside me. I don’t ever remember a meeting where I didn’t come away with something useful.

You can lead an addict to a meeting but you can’t make him recover.

Going to meetings is part of my program of recovery. I followed the recommendation of 90 meetings in 90 days in early recovery and it helped to develop a positive attitude and a yearning to work the Twelve Steps of the program. I discovered that I had a lot in common with the addict with six months sitting beside me or the alcoholic with 15 years across from me. I learned that I didn’t have to invent new ways of dealing with life on life’s terms; I could use the tools that others happily shared at meetings to create a path to where I want to go in life: living in the solution.


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