First in order to start understanding sobriety, one of the chief characteristics of the alcoholic or addict is their need to control each and every aspect of their lives. In this regard they are not that different than many other people on this planet. Our modern society has indoctrinated so many with the belief that we must always look out for for ourselves, before anything else to start understanding sobriety. In order to do this we must attempt to manipulate every situation in order to best suit us. The interesting thing about this is that for many this is not even a conscious thought.
Most do not wake up in the morning saying, “how am I going to manipulate all of the people and situations in my life in order to best suit me today”. And yet this is exactly how most of us operate. The main trouble with doing this, is that it is physically impossible to control all of the nuances of life. Part of the goal of the 12 steps is to obtain emotional sobriety which enables one to finally let go and accept that control is no longer the ideal! That they must place their control in the hands of a higher power.That is how to understanding sobriety.
Think about it in terms like this. In an average sized American city, there are roughly over a million inhabitants. On any given day the inhabitants of that city may perform, let’s say 10 tasks. That’s 10 million events occurring around you on a daily basis. How could one person possibly control all of this? Now you wouldn’t necessarily have to control 10 million events in order to get your desired results, but none-the-less, that means that there are far more things going on than the human mind can comprehend and manipulate.
Now for the normal person, attempting to control their environment is not necessarily a bad thing. For the average person, this just means that they are usually going to be let down, covered in frustration and disappointment. This however, is not the case of the alcoholic or the addict.
The alcoholic or addict does not have many of the luxuries that are afforded to normal people, the reason behind their inability to manage control is that their need for control is taken to an unnecessary and unhealthy place. So for the alcoholic or the addict, it is imperative that they discover a way to let go of control handing this to a “higher power”. Something that attracted me right away to this program is the opportunity to create a higher power of my own understanding. This is the key.
For most of us,understanding sobriety, it’s a scary yet reasonable fear to let go of our attempts to control our surroundings. The immediate thought that came to mind was a volcanic eruption, this is what I had told myself for so many years; that if I ever released the emotional tempest in my soul it would consume me and those around me. I think this had a lot do with my incessant search for control, I felt the chaos in my life could only be managed if I had control of my life. What recovery taught me is that in order to gain serenity in my life I finally had to concede defeat and allow a higher power to manage my life. Waving the white flag of surrender and making that first step of faith took courage. You see surrender is the ultimate act of faith, when you surrender you are accepting your limitations and handing the oversight to another.
Letting go does not mean that you give up your right to be a human being and make choices. It does not mean that you become some non-entity that just blindly wanders the earth, saint-like, but it means that your attachment to desired outcomes becomes increasingly less important. Understanding sobriety, yes, you still have desires and dreams, but with those desires and dreams, comes the understanding that you may not always understand what is in your best interest and that you are not the be all end all of the university. This understanding is extremely important in that it starts to root out some of the selfishness that most alcoholics and addicts experience and replaces it with humility.
Humility is one of the keys to success, not only in sobriety but also in life, and when the willful desire to manipulate people to do what you want is replaced with humility you will come to find that the results that you receive are often greater than you could have expected. This is not to say that we use feigned-humility in order to still control situations, which is possible, but that true humility produces an ability to accept whatever comes their way. This is something that many alcoholics and addicts lacked when they were in active addiction and because of this they suffered. When things went their way, they wanted more, and when things didn’t go their way, they resented it, drinking the poison of anger which fed their sickness. Their need to control and lack of humility was actually killing them, but many could not see this until they got sober.
I found that once I let go and go with the flow of life my entire world changes. Instead of a manic obsession for control I started to experience serenity. Serenity is the ultimate act of acceptance. Things that used to drive me insane no longer phased me. I was able to find peace in situations where anger only existed in the past. I saw relationships improve, because I was no longer operating under the false belief that I needed to control everything. An awareness came to me that my attempts to manipulate others were futile and often resulted in push back from them. The biggest blessing came in the extra energy that I had for life, I finally realized how exhausting it was to try to manage every minute detail of my life. Most importantly I found that by adopting an attitude of letting go and trusting in something greater, I was able to finally overcome addiction and find emotional sobriety. Put in simpler terms I found peace of mind, body, and soul.
It is almost impossible for someone to get sober and maintain that sobriety when they are still attempting to run the entire show. Doing this will jeopardize your sobriety, because no matter how good your efforts are they will always fail and this failing will in turn lead to feelings that could result in a drink or drug. By letting go and trusting in a higher order, a higher order that is beyond your control, the alcoholic or addict can achieve sobriety and have the life you have always wanted.
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world.