(Adapted for personal use from Courage to Change in Alanon.)
Newcomers are often surprised by the number of years longtime members have been attending 12-step meetings. Is that really necessary? As "old-timers" we may have rich lives, no abusers, and no relapses of emotional illness. Why do we keep coming back? For many of us the simple answer is, "serenity."
As I get emotionally well, I may get impatient, or rebellious, or bored. I go through periods where I see little change in myself, and I begin to doubt. But then I remember... when I came to my first meeting. How far I have come, and how much I want others to see the promises come true for them.
But even more importantly, I know that if I miss too many meetings, unmanageability, like tangled yarns, shows up all over again. I have been affected by emotional illness and it was the result of some very established patterns in my beliefs, thinking and attitudes. I don't want to underestimate the power of old seeds of dysfunction to sprout and take root and renew their impact on my life. So, I keep coming back. Not from fear, but from honesty.
I came to my first twelve-step meeting to fix my pain, but I stay because it continues to help me forge a new life and new hope. I have found consistency and friendship that is anything but superficial. I live securely in this one day and I am able to handle difficult situations with a great deal of peace. The delight in my life continues to exceed my wildest dreams.
I see my recovery as a healthy way of life that I can gladly share with others. Today I am actively pursuing a better life because I continue to work on the tapestry that is myself.
"Just for today, I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it." Just for today