Lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at you.”
– David Brinkley
The life skills I learned from AA led me to successful living in sobriety. So why couldn’t these same principles create a better way of living for non-alcoholics as well?
That’s the question that gave rise to “Life Anonymous”, the recently established organization that uses AA’s 12-steps to help non-alcoholics live a more peaceful, successful and happier life.
Those who have read my earlier stories know that the kidnapping of my dog triggered my relapse. My longtime friend, Richard, is a police detective and he was assigned to my case. What are the odds of that? I’ll credit my Higher Power in Its’ infinite wisdom, for bringing him back into my life at this time. Here’s the kicker. Richard was in the middle of a life crisis, too.
Richard was grieving over the separation from his fiancé, as well as her son, who he loved as his own. He was devastated. He was an emotional wreck. He was also struggling with high stress levels from his work as a police officer. He was anxiety-ridden, unable to sleep and calling-in sick at work. You could say he was at his rock bottom. He was in such misery he was forced to find a better way of coping with the pain and fear. He couldn’t go on this way.
Through learning the 12 steps myself, I could see that he was missing the presence of a Higher Power in his life. Richard got his sense of peace, security and self-worth from his relationships, not from within himself.
Instead of being powerless over alcohol, like I was, he was powerless over life, – people, places and circumstances.
Yet, Richard was no addict. Quite the opposite. He’d been extremely disciplined in all areas of his life. He was a top football player during his college years. He became a world champion black-belt and martial arts instructor. He was a highly-decorated police officer. He had no addictive substances in his life, yet he was engulfed in addictive, fear-based, negative thinking.
This is the alcoholic mind without the alcohol. AA teaches it’s not the drinking that’s the problem, it’s the thinking.
Richard and I continued to collaborate much as sober support friends. This helped us both grow spiritually and deepened the connection to our Higher Power. I think this was because we shared our experiences, rather than going through them alone.
I knew Richard needed what the 12 steps gave me. I thought about his situation and talked it over with my good friend Josh. Josh is from my home group meeting, has 10 years sober and is a terrific sponsor. He never taught a non-alcoholic before, but he enthusiastically agreed to sponsor Ron.
Both Josh and I were amazed at the transformation that took place in Richard, just as it did with us through our alcoholism. That’s what AA’s program does. It re-trains our thinking and teaches us to be aware of the unconscious behavioral patterns which create our obstacles in life.
As a result of healed thinking, we heal deep emotional wounds from our past experiences and learn to grow beyond them. Our reward from doing this deep, personal work, is a solid formation of inner peace, happiness and a deep gratitude for life. It is a successful way of living.
Josh’s experience with Richard gave birth to the idea of forming an entirely new 12 step program for EVERYONE. It has since exploded into an awesome program with two meetings weekly. Life Anonymous was officially approved by AA’s World Services Inc. No small feat for Josh. He is also in the process of writing a “Big Book” for Life Anonymous. I am so grateful for Richard’s inspiration and Josh’s dedication.
The joys of a life well-lived is now open to everyone who cares enough to do the work.
From their website: www.LifeAnonymous.com
- In the L.A. program, the word “life” is used as an encompassing term that blankets all things we are powerless over – people, places and things.
- We admitted we were powerless over life and that our lives had become unmanageable.
- This is a simple way of life that has been set in place for anybody that wants it, needs it, and does it.
- The only requirement for membership is the desire to improve the quality of one’s life.
This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
– Neil Armstrong