Ceased Fighting Anyone and Anything
By John W.
After struggling with high school chemistry and biology, I threw in the towel before entering the Realm of Physics. Still, although I never truly appreciated what Newton meant, I was familiar with his Third Law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I also had no clue how this principle applied to my disease alcoholism. Quite the contrary, I thought I could get away with any number of actions while drinking and that none of them, in fact, actually caused any reaction anywhere else. That was the fantasy in which I had lived for decades indulging my disease and slowly killing myself in the process.
When my bottom left me no alternative and I was miraculously able to start on the Steps of recovery and stick to them, I like so many other lucky ones found things turning around for me. My life was getting better, just as I had heard others describe had happened for them. As I progressed in working my program and got to that point of considering what ironically were alternatively described as “extravagant promises,” my reflections at the time reminded me of just how far I had trudged in my journey. Neither time spent, miles walked nor sober days achieved were the milestones of measure. Rather the changes in me were the benchmarks of my progress and I had been warned at the outset of the changes I would need to make. This warning was delivered when I had naively asked my new-found sponsor simply what things in me I would have to change to be as successful as he had been in the program. The equally simple reply of “Everything!” was daunting to say the least.
However, I found that by the time I could honestly and heartily respond “We think not” to the question posed about the nature of those promises, I knew they were coming into my life. They were becoming a vital part of me. They were becoming the new milestones in my progress towards a new life, a sober life. I discovered too that in my progress, while not perfect in my attempts, it seemed as if the fighter in me more often than not, did not come rushing forth when the bell of a “new round” rang. Instead and with growing frequency, he would retire to a neutral corner, draped in a cooling towel comfortably around his neck, all the time longingly looking outside the ring, hoping he soon would be there.
Regardless of the phase of my development, I was still, like anyone else both above ground and breathing, dealing with life on life’s terms. Thus it was with some surprise when, one morning after a particularly cantankerous meeting with a number of my local fellowship, I realized that I was still fighting some things and some bodies. Even moi, spiritual giant that I was, had room for improvement—an honest assessment: a lot of room for much needed improvement. Although that day’s lesson sank in hard, I found as I had learned it to so often happen, that with the dawn of the new day, came new hope. That hope to live this new day successfully started at my 7:00 a.m. home group meeting where the selected reading could not have been more appropriate and spot on.
The reader shared about the observation that, as we came to this phase of our development, we had found that we had ceased fighting anyone and anything. There it was, the problem boldly laid out before me. Of course so too was the solution, this being found in working the Steps and, on that day, my listening to others who had confronted the problem I was having and hearing how they had arrived at a solution to it. One solution offered was to remember, as the member said was their frequent practice, that because they had made a decision to turn their will and their life over to the care of a Higher Power, they were now able to report they had achieved some peace with one of their character demons and no longer needed to fight every one about every thing. They proclaimed that their action in making the decision had contributed greatly to this later experienced change in their attitude and outlook upon life. This was a revelation which had until that point, completely eluded me.
It was then I remembered that long-ago high school lesson on Newton’s Third Law and saw how it now applied to my own action in making my decision. If I was prepared, really prepared, to take the action to decide to turn my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power, then the equal and opposite reaction was that I would cease fighting anything and anybody. Talk about a change in my whole attitude and outlook, this was it. The more I began to see the import of my action, the more I was comfortable with the effect of the reaction. The magic of the moment, of the listening and hearing at my meeting, was that I was being challenged to broaden the scope of what my mind had accepted as truth for so long and allow my spirit to behold that truth in a manner previously unknown by me. No longer was my decision, as I had made it to combat my disease, solely for that phase of my development. Now I could see that decision as one permeating how I was to practice those principles by which I desired to live in all of my affairs. Simply by the timely voice of one person in this fellowship who had shared at one of my meetings, so much more had been revealed and all I had needed to do was show up and be willing to listen.