Meet Rick! He has been with La Hacienda since November 2008 and is one of the first people you will meet after admitting, although you may not remember it :). He is an RN in the Special Care Unit (SCU) which is what we call our detox area. Here is a little of his experience, strength and hope.
Hi, name is Rick Denney, and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict. My sobriety date is August 1, 2007. When I read this quote from Bill Wilson the other day it made me think of a noon meeting I attended recently.
“In my early years of sobriety I was full of pride, thinking that AA was the only source of treatment for a good and happy life. It certainly was the basic ingredient for my sobriety and even today, with over 12 years in the program, I am very involved in meetings, sponsorship and service. During the first 4 years of my recovery, I found it necessary to seek professional help, since my emotional health was extremely poor. There are those folks too, who have found sobriety and happiness in other organizations. AA taught me that I had a choice: to go to any lengths to enhance my sobriety. AA may not be a cure-all for everything, but it is the center of my sober living.”——Bill Wilson, As Bill See’s It, p. 285
Though I don’t recall what the topic was, I do remember something a woman shared. She basically stated, bluntly I might add, that AA is not her whole life. You could have heard a pin drop. Being that I’m still an alcoholic/drug addict to the core, I still like when people are brutally honest. Her words struck a chord with me because I had begun to have that same opinion prior to hearing that. After ruminating on her words I began to realize that I had probably been hiding out in AA for far too long. For the first 3 years of my sobriety AA was pretty much my life. And for a guy like me, I needed that. My sponsor has taught to try to the best of my ability to think of both sides of things, an what I know today is that happiness for me means I have to be willing to find a sense of balance.
My old pattern of behavior was to focus solely on one thing, AA in this particular scenario. After doing only AA meetings for some time I would begin to feel burned out. I would stop attending meetings (briefly), and would start living in my head too much. NOT GOOD for ME. I’ve learned that with too little AA my spirituality, my sanity, and my attitude of gratitude begins to wane. That brings me back to the above reading and the point I would like to convey. I CAN’T focus on one thing and expect to have balance. What I can do is try to the best of my ability to move away from my comfort zone and begin learning how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I’m trying to the best of my ability to do things I have always been fearful of.
I must say that my life today remains fairly simple. I read recovery material daily, talk to other alcoholics and drug addicts, I attend meetings, and I ride my bicycle a few days a week with friends who are not alcoholics. Though I owe my life to the men and women of AA, I still get to be a part of that other human race. They (whoever they is???) say that the longer we stay sober the more the road narrows. I know today that the old ways of doing things don’t work anymore. And I think what’s even better is that I no longer feel that there is some mysterious something out there somewhere that I am missing out on. Anyone else felt that?
I’ll use a bicycle wheel analogy. My higher power is the hub of my existence(spirituality). AA, meetings, my sponsor, my relationships, service work, and my vocation are the spokes. They are mostly stable and true. Taking care of my emotional and physical needs are the tire, which occasionally need some work and replacing.
Thank God, my sponsor, my AA friends, and my non-AA friends that I have freedom today.