Counting My Blessings During Covid

Happy and joyous freedom for me began nearly 13 years ago when the lust obsession was removed from my life. I had become a slave to uncontrollable urges, beginning about 25 years earlier and slowly worsening. Somewhere along the way, I crossed an invisible line into insane thinking and behavior.

All the “remedies” I tried had failed. Joining SA, I had numerous false starts and in less than a year, I had left the program in despair. After a few months, I returned to SA with no great hopes that anything would change — but it did. A merciful God set me free. The lesson I learned? Keep coming back! But, as it says in Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, page 88—Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance and live to good purpose under all conditions? Here are some things which worked for me in 2020.

First Things First
I have continued to focus on using the tools of the program. Key things for me are twice daily prayer (on my knees), trying to practice the Steps, sponsoring others, and attending meetings and conferences (until recently, all via Zoom or Teleconference). The AA Big Book offers me this encouragement— It (the program principles) is a design for living which works in rough going (AA 15). But only if I work it.

Putting things in Perspective
Covid-19 has brought “new normals” to get used to. Many people have suffered terribly with the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job or business. I have not had to endure that. I need to remember that the impact for me of the Covid restrictions have been relatively small compared to the hardships experienced by many. They have also been virtually a non-issue, compared to the suffering and loss I experienced during the long years of my active addiction. I don’t know what trials and low spots await me in the years ahead. It is hard to imagine, however, that they will be worse than the living hell of the active addiction I endured for so long.

I thank God every day for the miracle of sobriety. I express gratitude for many other things besides, including a house to live in, relatively good health for my age and “little” things like a good meal or the flowers in my garden and the birds that visit it. One of my character defects is the tendency to complain, so it’s very important for me to continue to remember my many blessings. Gratitude can be an effective “antidote” for when I slip into negativity.

Maintaining habits of healthy diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise have also been important. I am a regular walker and it was good to see the government authorities identifying exercise as an important activity during the Covid-19 restrictions. My hobbies of gardening, bird watching, reading, listening to classical music and enjoying football on the radio have contributed to my well-being and a more balanced lifestyle. We learned the difference between indulging ourselves and taking care of ourselves. White Book, 34.

Asking for Help
This year, I have also learnt something about the importance of asking for help. Because my age (now 71) put me in the higher risk category for Covid-19, and as I live alone, I was worried that if I got sick, I might be trapped in the house with few options for obtaining basics like food. One day I saw an advertisement by a local grocery store offering help for people my age. After talking on the phone to the manager, I was offered food delivery to my house if needed. A similar thing happened with the local library where, before Covid, I used to spend a lot of time, for both work and recreation. Even though the library was closed to the public, I was able to talk to staff who explained they could arrange delivery of books, magazines and music CD’s. A shopping bag full of these items was delivered to my front door about a week later! The newspapers here often carried stories of outstanding examples of kindness extended by different people in the community which were quite uplifting.

It’s hard to predict what the Coronavirus situation might be like next year. One thing seems certain, though. Another “virus,” the lust-virus, will still be active. It too is now pandemic and it too has the capacity to kill (SA, 44 & 56). But God has provided a solution. Today, I feel privileged to be part of a worldwide fellowship providing hope to many who have reached out for help.

Doug H., Logan City, Australia

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