“This too shall pass.”
A slogan I heard the very first day I checked out the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) back in early summer of 1995 when I first became clean and sober. Regrettably, I didn’t stick around long enough to know that slogan only came true if I worked the 12 Step program that Bill Wilson and Bob Smith laid out decades ago for all of us. It took me another 12 years of what I like to call living out a life of “sodriety” to finally figure that out.
Living a life of “sodriety” was me living a completely sober life free from alcohol, but still acting like a drunk. Most people in the rooms of recovery these days refer to someone like that as a dry drunk, which I most certainly was throughout the majority of my first 12 years of sobriety. In fact, the exact opposite of “This Too Shall Pass” happened to me during all those years, as nothing passed at all. Nothing really changed for me other than things continuing to fall apart, resentments building, and wreckage stayed wrecked. My spiritual life remained mostly stagnant during that time period as well, except for some brief moments where I’d go to meetings for a while and share my drama, feel better for doing so, and then disappear again as soon as I did. While I did see a therapist during those years and went on a few retreats to help the imbalance I lived in, I stayed clear of doing the 12 Steps because I didn’t want to fully look at myself in the mirror. What I didn’t know was that for that slogan, “This Too Shall Pass”, to fully come true in my life, it meant taking a hard look at myself in the mirror, something the 12 Steps do very well for every individual who pursues them. But, I didn’t want to take a hard look at myself, as I was just too afraid to go through the pain of healing, so nothing really passed at all from my life that would have made my life far better.
In the process, I fell into countless other addictions, lost plenty of money, relationships, friends, and the like, just a like an active alcoholic often has happen to them, except in my case, I wasn’t drinking anymore and hadn’t been for many years. While God took away my obsession to drink beginning on June 10th, 1995, He didn’t take away all the baggage of my life. That was for me to work through and the 12 Step program was a perfect way to do that. I truly wish I had applied myself back then, at the beginning stages of my sobriety, by doing those 12 Steps, as I’d probably have gotten far healthier, mind, body, and soul, much sooner in life. Thankfully, I found enough honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, to finally do the 12 Steps in the fall of 2007 and ever since life has gotten better.
The heavy burden I once felt when I first checked out AA so long ago now, truly did become less and less the more I kept coming back, the more I worked those 12 Steps, and the more I sought the guidance of my Higher Power through it all. Now, I’ve come to see that a simple and once thought, silly little slogan of “This Too Shall Pass”, really does have a truth to it that one will only ever grasp, by just sticking around, something I didn’t do for over 12 years, but something I do now, one day at a time, hopefully for the rest of my life.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson