MY new-found sobriety had wings. My gratitude knew no limit. It seemed I wasn’t bound any more. I soared up into the air and then had a great emotional fall. I suffered an emotional hangover from flying too high on my new sobriety. The fires of enthusiasm had not only burnt out, but I was burning with resentments.
Somehow it occurred to me what was wrong. I was actually indulging in an emotional binge. I had proceeded to cut open a lot of old wounds and rub salt in them. I had rattled the skeleton in my closet from the head bone down to the toe bone. I had peered through my old amber-colored glasses into the bleak future. I was taking my inventory, and everybody else’s, by reviewing all my mistakes, and theirs. I had begun making lists of the dreadful things that might happen in the future. My present was so cluttered up with rubbish from the past and filled with phantoms of the future, that I had no room for the present. Yes, I was drunk; emotionally drunk; almost as drunk as when I was really drinking.
I decided for the first time to stand firmly on the Third Step: to turn my life and my will over to God’s care and to begin to try to understand His will for me. This wasn’t easy for an agnostic and part-time atheist like me. I asked God to remove my “stinking thinking” as He, through AA, had removed my “stinking drinking.” And I came to believe–to expect–that He and only He could do this. I asked Him to help me avoid over-reaction to upsetting situations, people or things, to make me willing to change my attitude, to help me develop tolerance and love for others, to live just for today; to accept the things I can’t change or can’t yet change, and not to expect freedom from life’s problems but freedom from the fear of life’s problems. I call this freedom serenity.
I’ve learned that when icy fear creeps in, when I begin to take others’ inventories or to feel sorry for myself, or resentful, or to feel the urge to tell somebody off, or throw the whole thing over, to say: “M. I believe your emotional bottle is uncorked, can you afford this emotional binge? You might really get drunk. You might then die.” I think God’s will for me is not to be drunk, physically or emotionally.