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Grapevine : July 2011
30 July 2011 working on things I cannot change versus things that I can? How can I know when to "Turn It Over"? By humbly asking my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings on a dai- ly basis, I am consistently reminded of that which is still causing me, as well as others, pain and su er- ing. rough this process, I can focus on letting them go. But, since my defects and shortcomings are so deeply embedded in my personality, they are not usually removed instantaneously. I seem to find release from them for a while, then they surface again. A daily discipline enables me to develop an awareness of those defects that keep return- ing. e Seventh Step and Serenity Prayer keep me focused on change, trans- formation and spiritual growth. Since my Higher Power works through other peo- ple, I have to be constant- ly aware of my tendency toward isolation, yet another character defect. rough the Seventh Step, I have come to the realiza- tion that quality sobriety requires relationship with others. Active alcohol- ism and drug addiction robbed me of the ability to have healthy relationships and created the illusion that I didn't need anyone or anything, except more alcohol and drugs. Coming to grips with the unmanageability of my life before I got sober was very di cult. I didn't want to think about it and, above all, I certainly didn't want to talk about it, attempting to divert my thoughts and escape feel- ings through isolation. Of course, things got worse. I finally had to surrender. Surrendering didn't mean giving up my independence, though. It states in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, " e more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are." I believe I was created to have independence and healthy relationships. Today, independence and relationships form a dynamic balance, which I maintain by striving for the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the willingness to turn things over, and the courage to put my time and energy into things I can change. at is the wisdom to know the di erence. I don't believe I will ever be totally free from my shortcomings, nor will I ever rise above my human limitations. But, I do believe I can be free to search out my own true self, that part of me that was buried under years of active alcohol and drug addiction. I can transcend my current limitations, discover new avenues to happiness and serenity, and I can truthfully say thatIknowwhoIam today. And today, I am enough. Gary T. Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Since my defects and shortcomings are so deeply embedded in my personality, they are not usually removed instantaneously.