by Judy G.

One of things I love best about A.A. is the slogans. Easy does it. One day at a time. Don’t let the life that A.A.  gives you get in the way of your A.A. life.

Another favorite is: Let go and let God. In Step One, we admit we are powerless. In Step Two we came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, and in Step Three we made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of the God of our understanding. We are powerless over most things and the sooner we admit it, the sooner we can reach the state of serenity necessary to stay sober.  So, the best thing to do is to let go of trying to control everything and put it in God’s hands. Let go. I always say you can accept something or you can rail against it.

Neither one of us could put down the phone

What is going to bring me peace? Railing against someone is not going to change the situation. It only keeps me in a state of agitation and negativity that puts sobriety at risk. Another way to phrase this is: Let go or be dragged. What a visual!

When I started this recovery journey, I was beginning a bitter divorce. Five sponsors in three programs told me not to have contact with my ex, but I couldn’t let go. If we couldn’t have good contact, it became horrible and destructive. On more than one occasion, we were on the phone for two hours shrieking at each other and calling each other names. I called it being in the gutter. Neither one of us could put down the phone. Talk about addiction. The next day, I felt hung over. Because I couldn’t let go, I dragged myself through the gutter. It actually felt like being tied to the back of a car and being dragged through the gutter. Let go or be dragged. Letting go is so much better.

Another example: I play in a women’s band, and one Sunday we drove all the way out to Manteca to play a benefit for a well-known musician who had medical problems. There were a lot of other bands slated to play, and through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, we never got to play.

There were a lot of other bands slated to play

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All the way home in the car, the band leader was going on and on about how messed up and unfair it was. I kept saying, “Let it go, let it go, let it go. We got to hear a lot of great music, and life happens. Let it go.”

She said, “I wish I could be like you.”

I said, “You can. Just let it go.”

When she got home, she wrote a scathing post on Facebook about the producer of the event, who happened to be the brother of one of our band members. Needless to say, that band member quit. It was all so unnecessary. She couldn’t let it go, so she created a bigger mess and dragged herself through it.

The state of serenity necessary to stay sober

Life really is much better, and it is much better for maintaining sobriety, if we can live in gratitude and acceptance. Gratitude actually changes the neural pathways in our brains, but it involves a lot of letting go.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that you like it. It just means that you are powerless over it, and if you can let go, you don’t have to be dragged through the mud on your knees. Letting go—it’s really the easier, softer way.

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