Guided by the Spirit!

All of my adult life I have been guided by the spirit. It used to be booze, now it’s God.

I’ve been a searcher my entire life. Looking for acceptance, looking to belong if I felt lonely, to be left alone when overwhelmed. I have never been content with the way things were. Searching for the woman that would fix me. The easy way out. I was never driven by much other than finding the easier way. I spent my whole life like a pinball, bouncing off of people and situations. No introspection, just raw reflex action.

Recovery has taught me better. I don’t even notice, (most of the time) how my recovery has affected every facet of my life and my entire decision-making process. I am still self-centered and prone to mistakes. But I am human. And by definition, I will make mistakes. The difference is that now I notice. To maintain my spiritual well-being, I have to promptly admit my mistakes. I hate admitting my mistakes more than being wrong in the first place. So I have to be wary. I recently heard a variation on an old acronym that I find helpful: ASPHALT.

  1. Alcoholic Self Pity.
  2. Hungry.
  3. Angry.
  4. Lonely.
  5. Tired.

Any one (or more) of these is a dangerous place for me to be. A bad neighborhood, if you will.

In my life B.S. (Before Sobriety), I would drink over any of these, misguided by the spirit of alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t have my best interests at heart, or yours, for that matter. I have never come off of a bender feeling proud of myself for all the kind things I did while drunk… all the selfless acts I so graciously rendered. I’ve never been regaled the morning after with the stories of the little old ladies I helped across the street. Or my eagerness to anonymously assist someone in need, without thought of payback. The first thing that goes when I drink seems to be my empathy, my humanity, my decency.

In this sober part of my life, I still make mistakes, but not as many, or as often, or as egregious. I pause when agitated now. Like I said, I hate being wrong and I hate admitting it, and pausing before I act helps that. But more importantly, my goal now is to do what’s right, period. That’s not easy, for a guy like me. But I am getting better at it all the time. With the guidance of my higher power. My Spirit. Who I choose to call God (‘cause I’m lazy). I have no idea what God is and frankly, I often doubt God’s very existence, but by acting as I believe God would have me act, my life is better than before.

So much better in fact that I don’t think the selfish thought first, a lot of the time, now.

My behavior matters now more than ever before, too. I need to remember that. I have children who see me as an example of how a sober man behaves. I must treat that with the gravity it warrants. I am the first, (on either side of the family) to live in recovery from alcoholism. That has never happened before! Sober people have a chance to change the world, one family (one person) at a time. That my kids will follow their own path, I have no doubt. But they will be the first to have seen what sobriety can look like. I better not screw that up. And I won’t, as long as don’t imbibe on the spirit of alcohol but instead stay willing to be “Guided by the Spirit.”

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