IF YOU HAD to choose one word to describe your sobriety, which would you choose? There are so many marvelous benefits to being sober, but if I had to put it into one word, I would select “clarity.” The meaning of “clarity” has changed slightly. In the seventeenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it meant “brilliancy, splendour, glory, divine lustre.” Today, “clarity” refers to the quality of clearness of sight, intellect, and judgment.
When we were drinking, our judgment and thinking were soggy and grimy, a ragbag of conflicts. Gradually, we got sober–and no longer looked at life through a dirty window. Our sight became clearer, and we could order our thoughts to a far greater extent.
Clarity of feeling comes next to mind. Our drinking friendships were based, not on clear feeling, but on muddied emotions and muddled motives. We liked our drinking companions and thought we needed them, but it was a need based on fear. Sober, we can feel clearly whether true communication is involved, or just a superficial social exchange. Now, we can judge who our real friends are.
And we have clarity of purpose; we can set ourselves goals that are within our reach, and we can hold to them.
But best of all, clarity seems to describe the Third Step, for what is God’s will but light creeping into a darkened soul? Turning our will over is an effort to follow the path of light, rather than the path of destructive darkness.