After 10 years of sobriety, I thought I knew a thing or two. Marching down the center aisle to claim that X Chip, I thought I had it made. 7 a.m., 7 days a week, steadily serving the Cabin from GSR to Button Can Woman. Had a sponsor who knew she was my sponsor. I was an A in A.A.
Amidst a crowd of “Huzzahs!” came a big, bear hug from my fellow Cabin member, Paul T. He said, “Christine, you’re getting complacent. Your program is flat.” “Getting complacent?” Who did he think he was talking to? Because of the strong upset, I knew Paul was right. Despite all the activities in Alcoholics Anonymous, my program was stale. I confused activity with progress. They were not synonymous after all. A shake-up to wake up. Time to dive deeper.
Our book tells us while on the surface things may appear smooth and even, how “astonishing to discover defects hidden under deep layers of self-justification and righteousness.” These finally “ambush us into alcoholism and misery.” Goes on to say, “It is easy to rest on our laurels for alcoholism is subtle foe.” Paul’s words took away my comfy, complacent cushion. In the delusion of wellness, I couldn’t see my ego was my alcoholism. Subtle. Sly. And oh, so Patient!
Complacency is the enemy of progress. Like pushing a wall. One can push hammer and tongs all day long and not move it - all the while appearing active and dedicated!
Complacency is based on past success. I don’t become what I want. I become where my habits take me. The comfort zone is not one in which to be comfortable. When I believe I have arrived - is exactly when it’s over. We can be complacent and dream our lives away, or we can become aware.
The antidote to complacency is commitment. When we commit – we get focused. More than greet, give up the seat. Help someone find theirs. Simply providing a newcomer my seat brings indescribable rewards as I recall the countless times old timers gave me theirs. Bringing outsiders into the center of the Cabin brings welcome relief. Recommitment to the Program brought added, fresh commitment to my partner, to my work, to my community. To everything.
What other “corrective measures” can we take?” We start by waking up. In Bill’s story, and throughout the 12 x 12, we find the terms: to awaken, to wake, and woke. It’s a process of coming to. Of coming to believe. Our Step Eleven has the specific request to know God’s Will. “That we become God conscious.” 29 references to the words conscious or consciousness combined in the Big Book and the 12 x 12. Therefore, consciousness is key. Points to the fact we might not be conscious – which is concerning when life devolves into one big rut we decorate.
In the rooms we hear, “You’re either moving toward a drink or away from one.” On the days march when confronted with decisions to make, we can ask ourselves, “Am I moving toward a drink or away from one?” The thing about complacency is we aren’t moving at all! That’s when life delivers us problems we can’t swallow. “Then where do we stand?” Like roots of a tree, we delve deep so when rains come, winds come, we stand firm. Rains and winds are on the rise. Fear not. Go deeper. Recommit!
There’s always a new bar to set. Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.