— A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 106
It is fun to watch myself grow in A.A. I fought conformity to A.A. principles from the moment I entered, but I learned from the pain of my belligerence that, in choosing to live the A.A. way of life, I opened myself to God’s grace and love. Then I began to know the full meaning of being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
“It is fun” conforming. What a bizarre concept to the addict mind.
Does this mean that we have to change the things that make us unique? Absolutely not. Conforming has a negative connotation with it, but when it comes to recovery from drug abuse and/or alcoholism, “conforming” can save your life.
“watch myself grow”– Think about that phrase for a moment in the context of “conforming”. Most of the time when people think of conforming they do not think of personal and spiritual growth. No, they actually think of the opposite. However, in A.A. or N.A., personal and spiritual growth actually takes place as a byproduct of your willingness to “conform” to the principles of the program.
So we’ve broken down that first phrase from the reading today of “it is fun to watch myself grow”. It’s very important that in recovery you embrace this concept of conforming to the program and its principles. For so long in our addiction we are very self-focused, self-centered, and rebellious. Whether it is intentional or not, we do things that are against conventional wisdom and common sense. Maybe you had a drink at a bar at lunch during a work day when you know drinking on the job is against policy and could put you at risk of losing your job. Maybe you used drugs even though you know that there is the possibility for a random drug test for either work or court issues at any given time. Undoubtedly, somewhere along the way, you rationalized this behavior as saying “I won’t be tested” or “I am actually more productive with a little buzz”. Of course, these are classic “stinking thinking” rationalizations, and the hijacked addict mind is a master of self-manipulation.
The strange paradox here with “conforming” is you actually become more “free”. Most of the time when people think of conforming they do not associate that with become more free-willed or free-minded, however in recovery that is exactly what takes place. You have been hijacked in your mind and the drug or drink has been the motivator behind the decisions you make, not yourself. As you conform to the program you slowly get pieces of yourself back, such as the freedom to choose what you do in any given moment as opposed to the reflexive action of simply drugging or drinking to escape the moment.
I remember one time I was jogging on the side of US-40; some could legitimately argue that isn’t the best choice. However, I remember an overwhelming feeling I got on that jog. At the time, I had been a little over one year clean. During my clean time of “conforming” to the program, I had gotten engaged and lived in an apartment complex (as opposed to my fathers basement) which was located on US-40 near Greenfield, IN with my then fiance. The overwhelming feeling I got was this (and note: it’s kind of morbid): “How incredible is it that I have the ability to choose to jog today. God forbid if a car were to hit me, I would have had the ability to DIE CLEAN, JOGGING, LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AND PROGRAM, ON MY TERMS- NOT THE DRUGS- NOT THE ALCOHOL.
Think about that for a moment….That is what “conforming” to the program looks like. You give yourself the ability to choose and, with that, you gain your freedom back. Obviously, by the Grace of God, I haven’t been hit by a car while jogging yet.(knock on wood) Therefore, I have been blessed to “have fun watching myself grow” in conformity to the program by the means of my now once more expecting wife and our nearly 2-year old daughter. What a joy to conform.
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