Every now and then in my sobriety I get complacent. I start to notice little red flags pop up everywhere in my life; my sponsor’s suggestions start to get more annoying, going to work feels like it’s an unbearable task, falling asleep at night is the only thing I look forward to. I know that despite whatever is spiritually wrong with me, no matter how angrily I go through my days, I ALWAYS have a simple solution; DO THE WORK.
It was explained to me by my sponsor that the last three steps, 10, 11, & 12 are ongoing action steps that must be continuously lived on a daily basis if I want to stay sober and sane.
Step 10 outlines a daily inventory for me to keep in check my defects of character, where they are acting out, and where amends are necessary. When I become complacent, I generally just ignore step 10 altogether, however, sometimes I attempt half-measures. For instance, I might write down my inventory but wait a few days to make the amends or never make the amends at all. Sometimes I justify specific character defects like being selfish and just leaving a meeting right after it finishes because I’m tired rather than walking up to the newcomer and welcoming them. Whatever it is, I am not striving towards being a better friend, family member, employee, etc…
Step 11 encourages me to keep my constant contact with my higher power through prayer and mediation. When I am complacent, my prayer goes something like this; “God, thank you for keeping me sober today”…and then I fall asleep and that’s it. My mediation is just non-existent because after all who has time to mediate when I have to go to work, go to meetings, go to the gym, have dinner with friends, meet with my sponsor, clean my apartment, etc…When I am complacent and I do not actively practice step 11, I am ignoring the one true source that got and keeps me sober on a daily basis.
Step 12 was explained to me that I need to pass on my experience to the still sick and suffering alcoholic. If I want to keep what I have (a spiritual connection, love and support from friends and family, sanity, etc…) then I must continue to give it away to other people. In complacency, I am really not interested in helping anyone else but myself. Talking to new comers at meetings, sponsoring men through the 12 steps, sharing my message anywhere I can just seems terribly inconvenient. In complacency, I forget the altruistic format of the AA program. It was explained to me that altruism (doing good deeds without expecting anything in return) is what keeps AA running.
In basic terms, when I become complacent, I become lazy. I become okay with the excuses and I fall short of what I can achieve throughout my day. I need to always remember that my sobriety requires work and everything that I have come to love can be taken away very quickly if that work is not maintained.