by Christine R
“Happy, Joyous, and Free.” As a newcomer to AA, when I first heard we were to be happy, joyous, and free I thought, “Sheesh! What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Restless, irritable, and discontent” were far more familiar.
My sponsor often told me, “If you don’t know what to pray for, pray for joy and victory, because you haven’t had much of those.” She was right. Years had passed since I knew joy. Victory was not even in my vocabulary.
My sponsor told me, “If you don’t know what to pray for, pray for joy and victory because you haven’t had much of those.”
The theme of joy is in all our steps as we read, “Right action is the key to good living. The joy of good living is the theme of the Twelfth Step and all the Steps.” Working the Steps brings forth the joy of good living. Joy is the result, not the goal.
While drinking, I took synthetic joy from the bottle. I sought spirit in spirits. Rather than push myself for it, I chose the easier, softer way. By working the Steps, I discovered the Program is the “easier, softer way.” Who knew?
The first fruits of what joy really means
The first fruits of what joy really means came when I “turned outward to my fellow alcoholics in distress.” With 7 days sober, my sponsor encouraged me to help the one with even less time. Feeling raw and restless, I was closer to the firing line; closer to the drink; closer to connecting with the latest newcomer with a phone call, a handshake, a meeting after the meeting. We called it a posse. A gang of renegades, fallen women and knife-carrying bikers, we had each other’s backs.
Teleservice, taking home-group commitments, showing up and sharing, or just plain, old showing up: this quiet giving is my joy of living. Highlights of my day include phone calls with sponsees. My colossal, alcoholic blunders prove useful as well as fodder for laughter, bringing true belly-laughs out in the parking lot. So loud is our merriment, the neighbors stick their heads out the windows. Laughter is the unmistakable presence of joy.