Day 11: To Be Of Service

I’ve always had trouble conquering little obstacles.

I get stuck so easily. Some days, getting the dishes done seems like a monumental task. Even in sobriety. My anxiety has always held me back. And that, in combination with a little fear and self-loathing, does not a successful person make.

AA always talks about action. Sobriety without action is almost as bad as being drunk, almost. In order to stay sober, which is the point (right?), we have to take action with the steps. We have to be active, not only within the program, but also, in our everyday lives. Facing things we couldn’t face before, or chose not to face. Action in and of itself can be a frightening concept, and that’s not just to the alcoholic, that’s to everyone.

I’ve spent my fledgling days in sobriety thinking a lot about this subject in particular. How I’ve held myself back, put things off, avoiding certain people and situations. I did these things sober and drunk. And, sometimes I got drunk to avoid taking action. It was an easier route. What I’ve found, in stepping away from the bar, is that I have a laundry list of things I’ve side-stepped. Some are small, some are huge. It’s overwhelming, upsetting, and daunting. But, I’ve continued to try to put a positive spin on things, even if there are some moments that I have to trick myself into making lemonade out of all my lemons.

I’ve come to the realization that if I want things to change, I have to do things differently. It’s a simple concept, it’s difficult to execute.

At an AA meeting I attended recently, a dude seated at the table next to mine shared a story about one of his friends in the program. One night, his friend was having difficulty staying sober. So, he called everyone on his home group’s phone list in the middle of the night, and said “More of the problem is not the solution.” Then, promptly hung up. It pissed off his entire home group. But, it kept him sober. That night, that was his action.

I’ve made a concerted effort of late to take action where I can, starting small. While I do have big fish to fry, I’m trying to keep everything manageable. Baby steps. I mean, fuck, I just got sober, I’m not going to take over the world just yet. Just little actions. In the grand scheme of things, they may be pretty insignificant, but, they’re a warm-up for the big show. Which, as it happens, is my life.

At the second, or maybe the third AA meeting I ever attended, the chairperson suggested I get a service position making coffee. He told me it was a great way to stay sober, being liable for showing up to at least one meeting every week. And, while I didn’t say it to his face, I thought, “No. Fucking. Way.” It was a blessing that I had even shown up to a meeting, and half the time I’d go get shitfaced right afterward. No way in hell was I going to commit to that shit. And, not surprisingly, my first stab at AA was a failure.

This week, at one of the women’s meetings I attend, I made a service commitment. I’m making coffee. Every Monday. And, yes, I’m going to have to show up. But, the funny thing is, I’m actually excited about it…about making fucking coffee. Who knew? It may seem like a small commitment to action, but, it’s actually, kinda a big deal.

Just ask. Any AA will tell you that, in sobriety, the best part of wakin’ up, actually is Folgers in your cup.

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