July 24: Instincts

Topic for the week:

“CREATION gave us instincts for a purpose. . . . these desires— for the sex relation, for material and emotional security, and for companionship — are perfectly necessary and right. . . . Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper function. . . . Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct.” pp 42 Alcoholics Anonymous

My greatest challenge in sobriety is not not picking up a drink. That desire has been taken away, thank God. But understanding where my instincts/needs/rights end and yours begin does not come easily to me. Finding a healthy balance, setting appropriate boundaries, is a slippery slope, tricky sticky stuff. I know that I can never drink alcohol, but I don’t have the right to tell my husband that he can’t, even though he’s had his own battles with the bottle and I’d feel better if he’d abstain. I know that my most important job is staying sober, that I need to do what I need to do and invest the time and effort to continue to grow and serve to remain sober, but not to the exclusion of meeting my other responsibilities in my home and community. I know I need your companionship to walk this sober road with me so that we can help each other stay between the white lines, but not to the point of neglecting my God, my spouse, my family and my other friends, or even myself. What is a healthy margin and what is encroachment? What is sufficient, when is enough, enough? What is compromise and what is caving in? What is sober, and what is selfish? I am learning, thanks to our Steps, to feel/sense/identify when I’m stumbling into the emotional/instinctual danger zone, but I don’t always know, honestly still often don’t know, where the actual border is, or where to set the fence.

Do you have similar challenges in learning about and maintaining healthy margins of integrity with your instincts? Please share them with us. Or share how your own sober journey is challenging, or rewarding!, you right now.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our group. Thank you!