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I Began to Concentrate on the Twelve Traditions.

Over the years I have tried to follow the program to the best of my ability and thought I was doing a decent job.  After all, I haven’t picked up a drink or other substance in over thirty years. I am very aware that I am not exempt and that it is a daily reprieve.  The last twelve months have been eye opening and provided me an opportunity to grow and learn in ways I had not expected.  When much of our world shut down last year and how we conducted our day to day lives changed, I became cognizant of how much I needed to learn not only about myself but also about the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

I reluctantly went onto Zoom after a week of not going to meetings when it became apparent that churches were not opening their doors and we could not attend the in-person meetings for some time. However, after only a couple of weeks I found myself becoming resentful, angry, judging and impatient. I felt like people were judging me. There was so much going on in the world outside of the program and it was infiltrating the meetings and my group. The divisiveness in the world had encroached on my safe AA place.  Many members were voicing their opinions on outside issues during the meetings and the message of recovery was not primary.  Zoom versus in-person meetings became a point of contention. Politics were being discussed during meetings. I did not like how I felt or how I was reacting. That painful awareness set in and I had to look at me. I felt the need to dive into the program on a deeper level so I could have peace. I did not want to be a bleeding deacon!

I sought out the meetings that focus on sobriety and if it went to outside issues, I spoke to the chairperson. I began to concentrate on the Twelve Traditions. I knew what they were but admittedly didn’t really understand them.  I was always told the steps keep the person sober and the traditions keep the group sober.  I found videos of Bill Wilson discussing the origin of the Traditions and why they were important.  It has been helpful. I have to remember to incorporate the slogans into my everyday life – especially “Live and Let Live.”  I needed to look at what I needed for me but also consider that may not be what someone else needs.  I’m reminded to try to understand rather than be understood.  A problem to someone else is a problem if they feel it is a problem.  I’m learning to accept that I can have joy in my life even though I carry an eternal sadness. I’m human, I don’t like it if someone doesn’t like me but I’m trying to let it go. No matter how many 24s that I’m clean and sober, I need to always remain open and teachable. Easier said than done, I know!  The serenity prayer is just as important today as it was in the beginning.  I have family and friends that love me and have built some solid relationships with people this past year.   Little did I know that this past year would open doors for me to explore and learn mostly from inside my home. Today I have hope that I will have more peace and more joy in the days to come.  The work is never done, I am a work in progress.

About the Author


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