Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. . . .Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?
LETTING GO OF OUR OLD SELVES
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 75, 76
If you follow one the Daily Reflections from the A.A. website you will see a pattern, which is beautiful. Patterns in and of themselves can be pretty neat. For example, if you create a good pattern of behavior from the onset your brain becomes familiarized with that pattern and your body reciprocates that natural good feeling(releasing of healthy endorphin’s), and your body begins to crave those good behaviors and patterns. However, when you create a bad pattern your body will naturally crave the bad behaviors that are associated with those patterns; no matter how harmful. This is why there is withdrawals from drug and alcohol abuse. This is why there is a program with a network for you.
“Letting go of our old selves” is another way of saying “break the pattern your in”. You have to come to terms with the fact that, for however long you had been drinking or drugging, it was destructive. You must let go of falsehoods such as thinking “maybe I can go drink acceptably after some treatment”. It’s more than that, as well.
I go to an after-care facility where I once received intensive outpatient help on the southside and speak to groups going through early recovery sometimes. I remember a story from about 3-4 years ago where a young lady with no more than 15-20 days of sober time under her belt(praise God) thought that going to the casino until 2 AM was an okay decision to make.
Now, I’m not saying that a recovering addict can never go to a casino, or a horse-race, or something like that. However, early on in recovery you must come to terms with the fact that you have to let go of your old selves. The rationale given from the lady in the group was: “well, alcohol is everywhere and you will have to face it and live your life around it, so why avoid that?”. You can see where the stinking thinking was coming in. I remember mentioning to her how early on it’s probably a good idea to go to places that will not be triggers, will “ring the bell”.
I said: “when you’re still early on, it may be a good idea to avoid places that result in two different addictions groups”(citing gamblers anonymous and A.A.). The group then spoke about some clean places she could go such as A.A. events, McCallisters, etc. She ended up relapsing a few weeks later. However, she now still comes to the after-care unit and has been clean for over 2.5 years. It appears she just hadn’t met her bottom yet.
Earlier in the week I cited “people, places, and things”. That is a big deal in recovery and I believe that is what A.A. daily reflection is speaking to here. Recovery is a behavioral change. A behavioral recovery. You must have the willingness and acceptance to move into your new life as a clean and sober being.
I quickly realized the positive changes in my life early on in recovery. At the time of my addiction I was significantly overweight and I began exercising 30-45 minutes a day. This led to natural endorphin release and I began to feel healthier and wanted to find out more about this “healthy me”. Slowly, I began to get a life back. I got a career-job, moved out of a parents basement and into an apartment, got engaged, bought a house, got married, had a child, etc. However, what I remember MOST about early on in recovery is how it felt like i was meeting myself for the first time. Little light-bulbs were going off in my brain that had been dormant for nearly a decade.
Where I once sped down a street at lightning speeds, I was now driving the speed limit and embracing the nature around me. Where I once avoided interaction with family due to wanting to hide my shame from being an addict, I now looked forward to moments with my loved ones. My music taste changed. No longer was I simply listening to music for noise, but instead for inspiration.
See, this is what the program means when it discusses “letting go of our old selves”. You have to be willing to admit that how your life was being lived was not working and be open to the positive change within the program. Open to the ability to grow spiritually, physically, and mentally.
If you are struggling to “let go of your old self” or want to make a change in your life. Come see us. We are here for you. God Bless.
Address: 441 S Ritter Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46219