As I sit in these meetings, I look for principles and philosophies that will serve me in the NOW.
Meeting #10 offered me just that as we read from chapter 4, titled “HOW IT WORKS”. There are 12 principles within this chapter. Principle #10 really stood out to me. It says:
“We continue to take personal inventory, and when we’re wrong, promptly admit it.”
I actually did this the other day when I put myself in a dangerous situation by sitting at the wrong table in the chow hall. I didn’t do anything wrong as far as rules are concerned. But I was wrong for allowing the situation to escalate to the point to where my recovery from violence was in serious jeopardy.
The second I realized that, I took a quick personal inventory. I reflected on my past and drew knowledge from past mistakes. I acknowledged the mistakes I just made. I became aware of how I was feeling and the serge of adrenalin that shot through my veins. I was in the heat of a confrontational moment. My body physically prepared for combat.
I knew this was an opportunity to demonstrate right action and defuse the situation with kindness and understanding.
So I did phase two of STEP TEN. I approached old boy and promptly admitted my mistake, apologized, and assured him it wouldn’t happen again.
By saying that, it freed me from the wreckage caused by the situation. NA is teaching me that if I don’t stay aware of my defects and actions, then it could drive me into a corner that results in relapse.
For me, a relapse isn’t drug use. It would be me beating down one of these so called convicts.
No matter what, if I fight, I lose. Never again will fighting ever be an option for me.
That’s why it’s so important for me to constantly be taking a personal inventory of my most inner self. This means, forming a habit of looking at myself, my thoughts, my attitude, the language I use, and the relationships I have with others.
Humans are creatures of habit. For most my life I had a habit of lashing out in a violent manner. I was a monster. I had an appetite for destruction. I looked for reasons to fight people I disliked.
To a degree, I’m still vulnerable to my old ways of thinking and reacting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.
When ol boy threatened to break my jaw, there was a part of me that wanted to teach him a lesson.
Today I am not trapped by my old patterns. I have discovered a better way of life. A way that revolves around love and understanding. The rewards of this loving lifestyle is unlimited with joy and happiness.
Sure, I’m still in prison, but I won’t always be. I get out in 13 years. People have encouraged me to seek an early release via clemency, or commutation. The truth is, I don’t want that. I’m going to take full responsibility for my actions and serve the time I was sentenced to.
I’m going to learn how to function as a law abiding citizen from within prison. I’m going to rise above all the negativity and impose my own goodwill. I will only focus on the positive and the things that serve me well.
I have discovered the power of positive thought. I have proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to: The Honor Unit, Dog Program, Winning the Ironman, avoiding fights and becoming stronger for it.
The list goes on…being a loving husband, son, brother, uncle, and oneday a father.
When I first started NA, I was skeptical. But then I took personal inventory, re-adjusted my attitude, and decided I’d use it to broaden my perspective. And it has done just that!
Until next time, treat everyone with love and respect…it’ll serve you well.