“Daily practice of our Twelve Step program, enables us to change from what we were to people guided by a Higher Power.” NA Basic Text p86
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2
The old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. Sports teams practice, gymnasts practice, runners practice and hell even doctors are still “practicing” medicine. I don’t know is practice makes perfect, but I do know that practice takes practice.
I know I am a better man today than I was 12 weeks ago. I not nearly the man I want, or can, be though. I don’t misuse my prescribed medications nor do I drink. I wake up clean and go to bed clean. I’ve turned my world upside down and inside out and left a path of destruction. I am still taking an inventory of my defects and assets, admitting where I was wrong and making amends where possible.
The practice of the 12 step program is something I’ll be doing the rest of my life. I am an addict. Each new day brings its’ own challenges. Many of my fears are behind me now and I can face life on lifes’ terms. There are still many other fears that I need to face. The main fear right now for me is the inability to get a regular job.
Around February of 2012 I began having my first panic attacks. By the end of March I tried to kill myself. This was all caused by the fact of my best client not having any more work. I went from making $2000 a month to making nothing. In October of 2012 I had a mild heart attack and was sent to have a stent placed inside an artery to my heart. The artery was 98% blocked at the time. What I did not accept until recently is that I could never get a regular job again.
I’ve always been one to work. Never been afraid of hard work or getting my hands dirty. I’ve been in management, sales, general labor, cook, shit truck driver, garage door mechanic, tow truck dispatcher and housekeeper. Between March and October of 2012 I was running a small café. I was still running that café until June of this year. Even working the café, I would have panic attacks for apparently no reason and my heart health was not what it should have been. I didn’t see it then, however since I’ve not been at the café my blood pressure has stabilized and I don’t have panic attacks every day. So why do I have a fear of not being able to work? Money. The real fear is not having money. Fear is what really makes us do things like abusing alcohol or using.
Daily practice of the 12 step program along with daily prayer and meditation with my Higher Power is keeping me from falling back into old patterns. I’ve taken steps to apply for much needed benefits and I am also doing my freelance writing again. This isn’t the whole story though. Between February 2012 and June of 2014, I was a person without any real direction. I felt I had no real purpose and absolutely no power to change things. I listened to, and took direction, from people who did not have my best interest in mind only on how I could serve them better. I don’t blame them though, not anymore. It was me and my ego that took the advice. It was me allowing my self-esteem and purpose to be taken away. Today, I have my self-esteem back. I am confident and have some direction in my life.
It takes daily practice though. Not half-hearted, “oh hell I have to do this” practice either. I’m talking, it’s time to take control of my life kind of practice. It is also necessary to get in touch with your spiritual side. Thinking that you can control everything without help is an ego gone mad. I know. My ego was off the hook. My Higher Power is God. I pray every morning and evening, but I also take the time to be still and just listen. That takes practice too.
Living is something to be enjoyed. We are not here to take up space for a few years and then die. We have purpose. We have direction. It’s just taking the time to get in touch with our Higher Power and continuing to practice that every day.