Monday, 3 April 2017


I heard someone who was sober very many years say on a tape recently that one of the reasons he stays in close routine contact with his sponsor is that when things get emotionally difficult he will call friends who will countersign his selfish view of a situation and he will not automatically seek help from a higher authority or other source of help.

I identify with this, and there have been times in the past (one particularly notable example was around seven years ago) when I delayed before telling my sponsor the whole truth about a situation and found other people to countersign what I was 'up to'. Things have changed for me since then. I have learned I am responsible for my recovery and that it is childish of me to rely on my sponsor to pull rank to make up for my failure to take responsibility. I have learned that if I am disturbed or someone else reacts negatively to me I go voluntarily, willingly, and at my own initiative to God in prayer and my sponsor in consultation. This has now become automatic, and I believe this is a major part of growing up: intellect over emotion and decision over impulse. In Step Three, I committed to serving God not self, and the aim over time is for that surrender to become more and more complete. I am no longer a surly, petulant teenager who stomps off to his room or otherwise acts against his own best interests on a regular basis. I also have chosen friends who will not countersign selfishness: anyone who did countersign it would not be a friend. I need not just a sponsor but friends who are on this path of self-abandonment.

I am accountable to God and my Spirit, and I trust that God and my Spirit speak in part through others: I'm not accountable to or reliant on others. I trust my sponsor implicitly (because I have chosen a good sponsor) and have on occasion had to side with him against my own character defects, but I don't rely on him to quell my rebellion. My own rebellion is a private matter and it is because that rebellion has largely been overcome that I go willingly to God and to my sponsor.

We do recover, and that recovery takes the form of being given strength to outgrow certain gross character defects through the cheerful application of willingness.

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