I love the idea of owning a puppy. I love the idea of a cute little wet nose, cuddling a soft bundle of golden fur, kisses from a tiny tongue, walks on warm summer evenings and the wonderful feeling to be greeted at my door. I really want to post cute puppy pictures on Facebook and I long to be part of that mysterious click of puppy owners. Yup it is true, I really want the benefits of having a puppy. However, when greeted by the reality of owning a puppy I bail. I do not want to change my lifestyle, I do not want to puppy proof my house, I do not want to pick up puppy poop and I refuse to walk a puppy in minus 10 degrees. I think what I really wish for is a puppy who behaves like a well-trained dog. I know having a puppy would be great for me and would bring an enormous amount of joy and happiness to my life—puppy owners tell me all the time how wonderful it is. The truth is I just don’t want the work or inconvenience to get what I want.
There are those of us who like the “idea” of sobriety, but are not as thrilled about the day to day reality of what it takes. People enjoy the fun times, the fellowship and the warmth embrace that can be found within “the rooms.” We find the opportunity to share personal struggles with people who do not judge but instead understand us, to be very comforting.
But when it comes to the reality of submitting to the process of the 12 Steps we often bail. The 12 Steps are not so warm and fuzzy at first glance. In fact to a newcomer the Steps appear to be downright terrifying. The Steps require some very specific actions and revolutionary ideas such as—a Higher Power, a moral inventory, admitting our wrongs to another person, addressing our sex life and fears, making amends and helping others. All of which go completely against our self-centered alcoholic nature. The 12 Steps also look like a hell of a lot of work to the newcomer. What becomes very clear, very fast is that to maintain sobriety a daily practice is required.
But what is not as clear to the newcomer is that the results of actually doing the 12 Steps far surpass anything a person can imagine. “AA has filled my days with friends, laughter, growth and the feeling of worth that is rooted in constructive activity. My faith in and contact with, my Higher Power shines more brightly than I dreamed it could. Those promises I thought were impossible are a viable force in my life. I am free to laugh all of my laughter, free to trust and be trusted, free to both give and receive help. I am free from shame and regret, free to learn and grow and work. I have left that lonely, frightening, painful express train through hell. I have accepted the gift of a safer, happier journey through life.” Big Book, page 543.
And that my friend is even better than a puppy 😉