Do It Any Way

Larry was in recovery for over 25 years before he left us for the big meeting in the sky. He died as he wanted, sober and with two close friends, who are also members of his home group, at his side.

He was the group philosopher. Though he accused himself of over thinking things, he always had something worth an ear. He was a larger than life character who towered above most everyone and who never failed to help another member. His big old bear hugs were smothering but always honest and genuine. And though he’s been gone for well over a year, his bits of wisdom which were gleaned from his own experience are still echoing in the rooms of the city.

“Do it anyway,” he’d often say at a meeting, “or do it any way.” It was Larry’s manner of encouragement. Find a way to get done what needs to be done. There might be an “I don’t want to,” or an” I don’t think I can,” but when it came to the program, friends as well as sponsees heard this wise words to push forward regardless.

Sometimes in life it isn’t about desire or want. It’s about need. Larry’s words are for those things we need to do, the things we fear doing, the things we don’t even know how to do. Do it any way.

Commitment, consistency and courage are behind these words. Sticking to one’s convictions day by day regardless of what happens. This is how we live a life in recovery. This is the example Larry set for us. It is also the challenge he left with us.

“Do it anyway, do it any way.”

Thank you Larry.

Made a Decision

I’ve discovered that making decisions is easy. It’s the follow through that is the difficult part. When you make a decision, nothing has changed except the mental determination to do something. I can say for example that I made a decision to learn Mandarin. Great! Now, can I speak Mandarin? No, of course not. Couldn’t even recognize the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese if I heard it. I will need to put in the time and effort to study and practice the language. A decision is just the first part, the easy part of making a change. The follow through is where the bulk of the work is; bringing the decision to fruition takes effort.

Decision = Committment 

When we are in the process of making a decision we can often weigh the pros and con, the positive and negative aspect, and view the possible outcomes. Some require little reflection: “I’m going to get a cup of coffee.” Others are more complicated and have major repercussions depending upon the matter at hand: “I’m quitting this job.” This is the committment part. When I make a decision then I make a committment to change, to follow through, to take the next step.

I have had difficulty making decisions in the past. I would weigh, balance and ponder. I would ask advice from others. I might have meditated on it, and asked the universe for help.  I would look on my past experience and forecast into the future on possible outcomes. I might mull over some decisions forever and sometimes not ever arrive at a firm decison. And often I did nothing. I couldn’t decide. I couldn’t make up my mind. What I didn’t realize was that not doing anything is also a decision. It’s a decision to maintain the status quo. Passively I had decided that how things are, was going to be okay with me. I just didn’t realize then that ‘not to decide’ is also a decision. I was committing to nothing.

 “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  Master Yoda

I love this quote from Star Wars. I have come to realize that when I use the word “try” in my decisions, I am giving myself permission to fall short or fail. If I make a decision to loose 10 kilos, then I will keep working on whatever to loose that weight and I won’t stop until I do, however long it takes. I will diet, exercise and study how to loose the weight. If one diet isn’t working, I will try another. I will continue with my efforts until I meet with success.

If I say I’m going to try to loose 10 kilos, there is less gravitas, less seriousness in the decision. I might, I’ll make the effort at first, but I might not make it. I might fail. But you know, at least I “tried”. When I put this word into my decisions, I am lacking in committment. And then there are no consequences of not following through on the decision. “What about my diet you ask? Well, you know, I tried but I just couldn’t do it,” I reply shoving a Twinkie down my throat. See the difference? I do my best to avoid the word try in my vocabulary. Along with the words: never and always, the word try is best left to others to use.

One of the few things I disagree with in the steps is in Step Twelve. It says that we “…try to carry the message to the addict/alcoholic who still suffers.” I believe that we do carry the message. It is imperative that we do, our sobriety depends upon it. In this, I cannot try to carry the message. I do what I am able to pass it along. Whether or not that message is received is not up to me, but up to the one receiving it.

Decision = Action

Once I make a decision I then act upon it. Otherwise I was just wasting my breath. I commit to something and I work to make that happen. Commitment to a decision means perseverance until a goal is achieved. I set a goal and work toward it. I make a plan and then follow through. I am grateful to the program for what it has taught me. I know that not all decisions are easy to follow through upon.  I know that some days it’s a step forward and a step back. But I also know that in order to achieve success all I need do is get up one more time than I fall.

Yes, sometimes it would be much easier to say, oh well…so much for that. I tried. But I can’t do that, especially when it comes to my sobriety. I must continue on my journey and see that my decisions, my goals are realized: “…sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”

♥  ♥  ♥

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Photo credit: Rodney Conrad