Four Transitional Phases to Sobriety – My Alternative to the Twelve Steps
Phase Two – Plotting and Planning
Making it to the second phase is no mean achievement. I’m uncertain how many days it took to get here, but I could feel the change within myself. No longer was I feeling sorry for myself, no longer the victim. I started taking steps to ensure my rehabilitation. I paid a visit to my General Practitioner and I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. “I am in rehab and I need to get well,” I kept reminding myself. I joined AA and I read many books. I checked in daily with my “Facebook for Alkies.”
I needed to change my habits. They were my undoing in the first place. Dinnertime drinking, lunchtime wine and nightcaps all contributed to my destruction. And so I turned to Mahatma Gandhi and his wisdom: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values and your values become your destiny.”
I was unsure what the next five steps at AA were hoping to achieve, although counter-intuitively I felt this second phase must be tackled with confidence and a positive mind. Therefore when called upon to make a fearless moral inventory (step four) I did it to find my strengths, not my failings.
I knew I hurt people in my drunken state. Alcohol made me belligerent, stubborn, argumentative, angry and even violent. If I was to walk into the light with a clear conscious and with integrity I had to face those I harmed. Therefore to my family especially, I decided I had to apologise (step five) and actively make amends (step eight) with sincerity in my heart. Surprisingly I found an abundance of love and forgiveness as well as respect.
If I had any defects in character or any shortcoming in my character (step six and seven) that needed attention it would be at this stage, with a trained practitioner that I would attend to it. With humility I decided this would be an exercise in futility. I spared a fleeting thought for those who reside forever in this phase, the big dreamers and little doers. Their place is here, in this phase to theorise, to pontificate and to split hairs. For a while they served my purpose, but mine is a lifelong journey. With knowledge and with thoughts deep enough to challenge my core, I decided to move on. I was ready for the third phase.