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Grapevine : April 2011
Nine, contentment is slowly replac- ing the pursuit of happiness. This means doing the right thing in spite of myself, when there's little personal gain. As Lee M. used to say, "Be good ... for nothing." To that end, I play board games with my family when I don't want to (practicing enjoyment rather than competition), I watch G-rated movies because it's more important to enjoy family together- ness than to be entertained by kid- inappropriate movies. A dozen men, including myself, recently completed an 18-week Big Book study. Though many things were revealed, the most profound was: "It begins to work when we be- gin to live a new life without alcohol that we would never exchange for our old lives with alcohol." What free- dom in knowing that my 11-year-old son can go anywhere in my truck, office, and house (including my sock drawer) and I am not afraid what he'll find! Here in California, it's now illegal to talk on cell phones while driving. When my cell phone rings, I hand it to my wife and never worry about who's on the line or what it is they want. I also spend very little time driving in the rearview mirror. Not only is there life after liquor, there's a cherished life, lived more abundantly, which I'm certain to lose if I drink again. Our daily reprieve is maintained by the dozen Steps we take and the thousand steps we don't. Regular communication with sponsors and other alcoholics helps. Each day I add three new things to my growing gratitude list, which is 43 pages long, four years old, and last updated four hours ago. Now, I medi- tate daily rather than daily medicate. I believe we're sober today only by the grace of God, but these con- scious behaviors help keep us sober by keeping us close to God. George, an old--timer, was the first to point out to me that both God and alcohol are referred to as "spirits." By replac- ing the spirit of alcohol with the spirit of God, joy is more important than pleasure and contentment more im- portant than happiness. As powerful as God is, he would immediately dis- solve in a glass of liquor. Today, my newcomer friends, I truly live a life that I love and there is no way I would exchange it for my old one. All our lives we've known abun- dant moments, and in this sober mo- ment we can know abundant life. Ed L. Wrightwood, Calif. Once, alcohol was my muse. I would sit up all night guzzling whiskey and sipping red wine, spinning happy tales of sorrow and woe. aagrapevine.org 37