Apr 22: The Twelve Rewards

The Twelve Rewards

I do not know if you have seen the movie “The Natural” with Robert Redford and Glenn Close, but there is a great line in it that got me thinking lately. Robert Redford plays a baseball player who is unhappy because his life did not turn out as he expected, and Glenn Close tells him, “You know, I believe we have two lives…The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.” When I think about this quote in relation to my own life, my own struggles with my alcoholism, I realize that I am very subtlety moving into my second life the longer I stay sober, embrace the program, and do my best to live the steps; it is a great place to be. There is a prayer that I think provides, for me, a good measuring stick to see how far I have come already, and where I still need to grow–it is called “The Twelve Rewards.”

Spirit of the Universe,
I humbly ask for Your help so I may continue to realize the rewards of recovery:
1. Hope instead of desperation.
2. Faith instead of despair.
3. Courage instead of fear.
4. Peace of mind instead of confusion.
5. Self-respect instead of self-contempt.
6. Self-confidence instead of helplessness.
7. The respect of others instead of pity and contempt.
8. A clean conscience instead of a sense of guilt.
9. Real friendship instead of loneliness.
10. A clean pattern of life instead of a purposeless existence.
11. The love and understanding of my family instead of their doubts and fears.
12. The freedom of a happy life instead of the bondage of addiction.

When I was drinking and newly sober there is no question that I was always deep in the negative on all the things the prayer talks about, now just a year later after a lot of hard work and a lot of meetings, I am definitely usually somewhere on the positive side of things. Not that I don’t have my moments where my character defects consume me, but now I am not my moments–they do not define me anymore–I think that experiencing each of these Twelve Rewards of sobriety is starting to define the new, sober me. What about you?