Happy birthday, America!
On this July Fourth, as we celebrate our nation’s independence, a great many individuals will be commemorating freedom. Those of us in recovery know a little bit about freedom — we are, after all, free from the bondage of addiction and alcoholism that once kept us enslaved and miserable.
The freedom from the diseases that once held us prisoner is perhaps the greatest gift we’ve received in recovery, because without it, we would not be able to gather with friends and family members to mark the occasion of the 243rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which marked the beginning of this great nation. Our own “Independence Day,” in fact, is often our clean and sober date, because that was the day we were each reborn.
And so to all of you, whether you found recovery through a drug and alcohol treatment center, the rooms of a 12 Step program, the pews of a house of worship or at a cabin in the woods … we wish you a fulfilling and reflective Independence Day. It’s a good day to be free … and on that note, we want to share with you some of our favorite quotes from various tomes of recovery literature to mark the “freedom” we savor as sober alcoholics and recovering addicts.
- “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” —pages 83-84
- “… I was thrown in with a crowd of people who attracted me because of their seeming poise, health and happiness. They spoke with great freedom from embarrassment, which I could never do, and they seemed very much at ease on all occasions and appeared very healthy. More than these attributes, they seemed to be happy.” — page 178
- “So it is that we first see humility as a necessity. But this is the barest beginning. To get completely away from our aversion to the idea of being humble, to gain a vision of humility as the avenue to true freedom of the human spirit, to be willing to work for humility as something to be desired for itself, takes most of us a long, long time. A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness cannot be set in reverse all at once.” — page 73
- “When, with God’s help, we calmly accepted our lot, then we found we could live at peace with ourselves and show others who still suffered the same fears that they could get over them, too. We found that freedom from fear was more important than freedom from want.” — page 122
- “The immediate object of our quest is sobriety — freedom from alcohol and from all its baleful consequences. Without this freedom, we have nothing at all.” — No. 327
- “Step One means that we do not have to use, and this is a great freedom. It took a while for some of us to realize that our lives had become unmanageable. For others, the unmanageability of their lives was the only thing that was clear. We knew in our hearts that drugs had the power to change us into someone that we didn’t want to be. Being clean and working this step, we are released from our chains.” — page 22
- “Step Eight is the test of our newfound humility. Our purpose is to achieve freedom from the guilt that we have carried. We want to look the world in the eye with neither aggressiveness nor fear.” — page 37
- “We have to accept ourselves as we are. We no longer have to be right all the time. When we give ourselves this freedom, we can allow others to be wrong. Freedom to change seems to come after acceptance of ourselves.” — page 58
- “Narcotics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women, addicts meeting in groups and using a given set of spiritual principles to find freedom from addiction and a new way to live.” — page 66
- “What is our message? The message is that an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live. Our message is hope and the promise of freedom.” — page 68