Thursday, February 5, 2009

There is no easier softer way

I always like the part in the Big Book from "How It Works" about thinking that "......we could find an easier softer way. But we could not". In Al-Anon, there isn't an easier softer way either. No, we're not in imminent danger of drinking ourselves to death, but we are in danger of a slow, painful emotional death.

I've read a few blogs recently where people are trying an easier, softer way in my opinion. And I listen to this in meetings too. They are making a few meetings if there's time, they are reading a daily reader, but they still feel miserable. And yet, they wonder why.

My experience has been that there is no easier softer way. Half-measures do nothing but prolong the agony. Here are the "steps" that I took to find some peace of mind:

1. I got myself a sponsor. I trusted what I'd heard that I needed one. And so I found the person who would be my guide at my third Al-Anon meeting.

2. I did what my sponsor told me to do. I called every day, I did the readings, I went to several meetings a week, including open AA meetings.

3. I worked the steps. I didn't complain or worry that they would be too difficult. I wanted peace and serenity. I saw that in the faces of those who had worked the steps. I wanted what they had.

4. I started doing service work. I did little things at first...putting out literature, bringing food for meetings. Then I signed up to chair meetings. I told my story when asked to do so. I began to chair Beginner's meetings. And now I'm a GR as well as sponsor.

5. I didn't make up excuses. I work a demanding job. I sometimes don't get home until nearly 10 PM because I go from work to a meeting or to meet a sponsee. I'm not some kind of robot. I get tired and worn out. But this program is important enough to me that I give it time and energy.

6. I got honest with others and myself. I was done with denying things. I got a lot of stuff that had been haunting me off my chest. I realized that by getting rid of all the secrets that I had carried around for so long, I felt lighter in mind and body.

So if you're really looking to go down the road to recovery, then there is no easier, softer way. If you're content to stay stuck in the same pile of crap that you've been sitting in for all these years, then be my guest. I always liked that my sponsor would say, "it's nice and warm sitting in all that shit, but when you move around it stinks". Yes, it does. And being a half-person stinks too.

Thanks... I just needed to say these things.


  1. Thanks, Syd. I needed that. And thank you for for reading my blog and for your comments.

  2. I think you are right. Everything you said is right. The realization of this for me does not come until I try all those other things and find out that HALF MEASURE AVAIL ME NOTHING. I STAND AT THE TURNING POINT. I MAKE A DECISSION. It's awareness, acceptance and ACTION. So...movin' on down the road, I guess I choose recovery.

  3. oh yeah, the way in life is fraught with short-cuts. yet one wonders why things didn't go as expected when one uses them... thanks dear syd, nicely said!

  4. Thanks Syd...Obvious that you walk the walk...
    What comes from the heart...
    goes to the heart...
    I heard truth, commitment, responsibilty, knowing....'s good to be home....
    If I wanted to stay stuck...
    there's enough support (enabling) for that...
    If I want to heal...recover...grow...SOAR...
    there's absolute support for that too!

    12 step way of life gives me the dignity of choice... I GET TO CHOOSE... TODAY I CHOOSE TO LIVE.

  5. Always good to hear what has worked for you Syd. Thanks you.

  6. Awesome post and reminder of "there is no easier softer way." I really enjoyed reading this from your perspective and love the crap analogy! I needed to hear this today. Thank you!

  7. Amen to that. Unfortunately too many addicts/alcoholics get stuck and we can't save them. I feel that my working the steps is easy, sometimes I think I have had it real easy in recovery and I feel guilty for those who want me to co-sign their B.S. My sponsor reminds me of everything I have been through though and tells me that not a lot of people work the steps as thoroughly as I do. It makes a difference. My saying is this though, because I never tried to quit in the past I have only quit once in my life and "F*** the dumb", I don't want to spend my life miserable now. I have one life and I am going to live in the moment, and that moment is now. Wow look you got me on a "Soap Box"!!!

  8. Hooo Rahh Syd! An old timmer shared yesterday in our meeting about the "Fashionably Sick" and I think you nailed it in this posting!

  9. LMAO. Recovery is hard work and there really is no east, soft way. I don't think there is only one way, however. But being honest and the principles of AA and AlAnon are definitely the right track. My life is amazing and I have lots of reasons to thank for it.

  10. Syd,
    I loved what you wrote. I could so identify with what you said, "we are in danger of a slow, painful emotional death."

    That is exactly where I found myself even before I became an alcoholic. Alcohol was a great remedy for that emotional pain for a few short years, but then I was back to the quicker, painful emotional death.

    AA saved me from my alcoholism and showed me the way out of my emotional hell. Al-Anon has meant the world to me and taken me further in recovery than I ever dreamed could be possible.

    There is no easier softer way. When it's easier and softer, it's "NO WAY"! I go nowhere.

  11. Al-Anon...

    Yes. I know my character defect.

    Yes. I made some amendments when necessary.

    Yes. I did and do service (but not outreach calls from strangers; that was stressful).

    Yes. I have learned self-love; self-respect; self-esteem.

    Yes. I have a Higher Power but not a GOD as others that go to church have.

    Yes. I'm living JUST for Today........

    Yes. I have the tools......... something devastating happened and I recovered using my tools in less than a week; which would have taken months in the old days. (it does not undermine the events but I live in solutions and I have people to talk to and share; but I make my own decision as an adult. )

    There is no way around the 12 steps..just listening in meetings is not enough.

    I'm serene and happy (not in a giddy way; but a calmer happiness).

    Life is more precious. First it was boring since I was not in drama anymore; but that was a fake HIGH... and peace is so much better.

    I'm slowly adding people that are good for me..........

    And mainly I'm not accepting anything unacceptable.............and I'm doing GREAT on most days.

    I have FEARS... but than I look for solutions and there is a calmness now.

    I do spring into action in a positive way now.....I'm stronger and not afraid to take charge when i have to do so. (but in a fair way and when I have to do so).

    My children (grown ones and 13 year old one) show me more respect and that is a good thing. I am not a weak pushover.. I'm loving but not a sponge to absorb all..they have to be strong too.

    This is a great program. It is not always easy............ and some rebel when they saw the new me; but it all worked out smoothly and it does get easier..

  12. Thanks for your share! It's great to know that I'm not alone.

    Just wanted to share my blog with you as well.

  13. Thanks Syd, Great post. I tried and tried all other ways, this is the only way it works for me. It takes all of what you wrote and then some. I am willing to work it this time. My life depends on it.

  14. I did it that way too...and it works.

  15. This is exactly what I went through. I treated myself too softly and was on the verge of drinking again. I'm glad I took the switch to my backside a little bit.


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