Jul 20: Our Old Ideas

Our Old Ideas

I’m writing this share right now in Door County, Wisconsin. I am here for several days with my husband and two children. I attempted to go to a meeting tonight, and it turns out that the meeting no longer exists. I called a lady from the AA Hotline here in Door County and asked her about it. She was very nice, and apologized that the meeting no longer exists, but that it was never removed from the directory or the website. So here I am, at a “meeting” with you all, and I feel better already!

So the topic of “our old ideas” spoke to me these past couple of weeks. In “How It Works”: “With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p.58).

I completed my 5th Step last week with my sponsor. First we met for most of the day, and I read my entire inventory to her. It also included my “Fact vs Fear” list and what my “ideal” relationship with my husband would look like. We broke for an hour, and I prayed to my Higher Power, who I call God, if there was anything I needed to add to my list. I did think of a few more resentments and a few more fears. I wrote about them at a later date, and my sponsor and I met a second time for an additional 5th Step.

My sponsor had written down a list of my “Old Ideas” based on what I had read to her from my 4th Step. What a wake-up call! I can honestly say that I wasn’t shocked or surprised to read about them. I am realizing more and more what kind of twisted thinking and behaving I’ve been exhibiting all of these years – even after I stopped drinking. Even though I know what they are, that is not enough. Now comes the most difficult part- I have to take action and change my thinking and behaviors. I have to let go of them and change, otherwise I will surely drink again!

Some of my “old ideas” are: I don’t need to be rigorously honest; rules don’t apply to me; AA is not the solution; people are responsible for my happiness; if I avoid men, I will be a faithful wife; I can’t ask for help; people will leave me; I am entitled to whatever I want without having to work for it; looking good is the solution; attention (especially from men) is the solution; and many others.

In order for me to change and keep growing, I need to continue to work the steps. My sponsor wants me to start writing three amends letters a week. Part of me says: UGHH!! Are you kidding me?? But I know that in order for me to really change my behavior – to let go of my “old ideas” and truly have solid emotional sobriety, I have to do the work! It will result in me having a closer relationship with my Higher Power – I really believe this, and a much better relationship with my family, friends, co-workers, neighbors.