Change As an Action

Change as an Action

We hear a great deal about change in the fellowship. Our Serenity Prayer talks of having the “courage to change.” In our early days, sober members talk to us about having the “willingness”

to change. But what exactly is change, as it relates to the fellowship and sobriety?

Change, as I have come to understand it, is simply taking a different action, or doing something differently. And change, as an action, requires effort. As with anything meaningful in life, change requires work.

So, in my first few weeks of sobriety, change was the action of going to meetings. This was something new and different. I had never been to meetings before. It was also the action of calling my sponsor and other sober members. Regularly. It was the action of being rigorously honest with sober members, of having no secrets, of letting my life become an open book.

Surrendering temptations instead of succumbing to them was also an action of change. Prayer to God, whilst not new for me, took on a different meaning, as it was approached with more honesty and humility. Regular meditation was a change. Over time, as my sobriety grew, I had the opportunity to do service. Working selflessly with no desire for reward was certainly a change for this self-centered addict.

But where does the courage come in? I believe courage is taking action regardless of how I feel. So, I went to meetings regardless of whether I wanted to or not. Regardless of whether my head told me I was “too busy”, or “too tired” or too whatever. I picked up the phone to sober members regardless of how nervous I felt, or how down I felt, or how ashamed I felt. I was honest regardless of my fears.

I made time for prayer, meditation, reading literature, no matter how busy the structure of my day was. I began to see that my head was full of excuses. There would always be a “reason” for not doing the right thing. But I began to see where those excuses would eventually take me back into the addiction.

It didn’t, and doesn’t, matter to me whether I want to do something or don’t want to do it. “Wants” are transient and can fluctuate. What matters to me is whether or not I need to do something. That is what my relationship with God is built on, a simple question, “God, do I need to do this?” And if the answer isn’t clear, or I’m unsure, as I don’t have a direct line to God, I have my sponsor and other sober members to ask what to do. But as for simple fellowship things, such as going to meetings, phone calls and prayer, the answer is always “yes”.

For me, lasting change can only take effect through consistency of action. Through living this way of life over many years, I have come to see it as a kind of Spiritual Disciple. Sobriety, a gift from God, is the framework around which I am able to build a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life.

As I grow in sobriety, change, though sometimes challenging, becomes an exciting opportunity rather than something to be feared, avoided or postponed. God constantly presents me with situations that give me the chance to grow spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. I came into the fellowship stunted. An irresponsible, petulant, impulsive child in an adult’s body. Through sobriety, and through the courage to change, God changes me into the person He would have me be.

And so today, I do exactly the same things I started doing two decades ago. I speak to my sponsor, and to other sober members. I pray and meditate. I read the literature. I do service. I help others. I go to meetings. Because if it worked twenty years ago, then it will work today.

Joseph, UK

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