The Recovery Triangle
Have you ever wondered why the symbol for Alcoholics Anonymous is a triangle? It’s like our secret code word for “recovery here!” I once thought that too until my dear sponsor told me all about it.
First of all, I want to mention all these things I blog about I do not do perfectly. I really wished I practiced what I preach perfectly, and for the most part I feel like I do an ok job. But although I may not do them to the tee and all the time, I have experienced what doing it consistently looks like, and let me tell you it is a recipe for peace, serenity, and all that good stuff. How wonderful that I have found a solution! Now I know what it means when they say misery is optional. Obviously I don’t say, “Hey I’m feeling pretty good, let’s stop doing all the things I know that work and feel like crap.” No, I don’t intentionally fall prey to misery, but when I get there, I have the option to do something about it or just bitch. (I hate to admit I have also practiced the latter)
So to keep a somewhat stable and happy life, I must have balance. Really that can fall into any area of life, recovery or otherwise since it is so important. I haven’t been on this planet too horribly long, but long enough to learn that balance really is the key (for me anyway) to a good life. My sponsor once drew a wheel with spokes on a piece of paper being held up by a stick. (Visualize those plates the clowns used to spin on poles at the circus when you were a kid) She said all the spokes represented all areas of my life and the whole thing was my life. The spokes were things like social, work, love, hobbies, recovery, etc… If those things are not equal, and one is huge whereas one is tiny, the whole thing will wobble frantically and could topple over. And toppling over is not good. For me, that means drinking, hospitals, jails, chaos, hurt and pain. So keeping life areas in check is not only a good idea, but mandatory for me today. I have not had to topple over for quite some time, and I’d sure like to keep it that way.
K so let’s go back to the triangle. It’s the same concept. Each side stands for an Alcoholics Anonymous recovery cornerstone. They are Unity, Service and Recovery. Simply put, Unity is the fellowship, the wonderful friends I have made in recovery and are crucial to my well being. Not only are they there for me, but I get to be there for them when needed. And the cool thing about this program is, they don’t even have to be friends, sometimes I get to help or be helped by someone I don’t even know. Or maybe it’s not strictly about helping, but just spending quality time together doing who knows what. Meetings are a good way to be a part of the fellowship. The point is, there is always an opportunity to be around people in this program. Service is exactly what it says- be of service. For me today, that is sharing what I have learned in this program and my experience strength and hope with the things that I once struggled with and have found a way through. But being of service looks so many different ways. It could be as little as picking up a gum wrapper, doing dishes after a meeting, or smiling at somebody. Or, it could be spending all day with someone going to meetings and talking them through a tough time as they struggle to overcome this horrendous disease called alcoholism. And recovery is the good ol’ twelve steps. They are to be worked with a sponsor, and are the most magical thing I have come in contact with yet in my life. They have and continue to change me in ways I never thought possible, with minimal work on my part. When I do the simple things my sponsor directs me to do, I cannot see how doing that will have such an impact on my life. But somehow the magic creeps in and they do their thing.
Sometimes I feel like one or the other is more important, but when it comes right down to it, they are all equally important. You cannot have one without the other, and there would be no triangle without all three. I am so glad that this is a simple program! Can you imagine if our symbol was an octagon? Oh goodness I cannot even imagine.