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Members of the Living Dead?

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Kacy Ritter – Corporate Director of Alumni Services

On my own power, I can be a pretty dark person. Even at six years sober, my sense of humor remains rather morbid, and still I love to make casual references to vampire novels. During the course of addiction, however, my captive interest in the darkness was painfully overwhelming. Though I still enjoy a good conversation about the zombie apocalypse, I am thrilled that I no longer feel like a zombie walking aimlessly through life. I am grateful I have been given a purpose in helping others to be rescued from the “gates of insanity or death.”

“Frequent contact with newcomers and each other is the bright spot of our lives.” –Pg. 89

Since my move from Texas to Florida, I’ve made a sincere effort to make a home within the fellowship in West Palm Beach. After scouring local recovery clubs, I’ve found a solid group filled with Big Book warriors, and I have been blessed to meet a host of women who are eager to work the 12 Steps. I have had little free time over the past few weeks, and have consistently gone to bed with a feeling of contented exhaustion. While any variety of self-help books might recommend that I be sure to “take it easy” or “calm down” during this period of adjustment, I have been reminded of the incredible joy that comes from giving of oneself so that others might find recovery. Though my leisure time has been invariably impacted, the quest to get involved has been well worth it.

“Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they were to remain sober, that motive became secondary. It was transcended by the happiness they found in giving themselves for others.” –Pg. 159

When I first began on the path to recovery, I did not believe that working with others would have the personal impact it has had. Prior to being convicted of my own selfishness, the idea of service work sounded pleasant enough, but it didn’t bear much weight on my own recovery. Until I understood the extent of my perceived self-importance, there was little reason to view the prospect of sponsorship as anything other than some convenient addition to the end of the 12 Steps. I was committed to the idea only because I was desperate to recover and because I had been told that it was a part of the program of action. In short, my interest was very selfish until I found freedom in the Fourth Step.

“… the effect was electric.” –Pg. 14

As I proceeded to write out the details of my self-centeredness in black and white, I began to see the world in technicolor. I discovered that I had taken my life for granted in ways which were unspeakably selfish. For the first time, I had a deep understanding of my spiritual and emotional debt; no amount of amends could ever sufficiently cover the grace which I had been given. The light which turned on through the inventory process revealed how blessed I was. My interest in helping others no longer flickered as a nightlight powered by some moral obligation. Rather, the illuminating effect of inventory had electrified a fiery love for the truth which I had been shown. After years of sleepwalking through my own existence, I was jolted into spiritual awakening by the light that God had turned on in my life. I had entered the world of the Spirit.

“We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is the most powerful health restorative.” –Pg. 133

At times, I still attempt to convince myself that I deserve a break. Though I may falsely believe in the ‘restorative power’ of a spiritual hiatus, I know that deliberate attempts to relieve my own fatigue have never been quite effective. I am very grateful that I am not currently driven by this form of self-delusion. Personally, I tend to find that even when I am tired from burning up energy foolishly while trying to arrange life to suit myself, I still do not sleep very well. When I am able, however, to burn up my own selfishness in the relentless pursuit of rescuing others from lives as members of the walking dead, I tend to dream well and wake up with a smile on my face.

Today, I would rather go to bed satisfyingly exhausted, knowing that I have wrung out my heart for the good of others, rather than go to bed restless, knowing that I spent the day scavenging the earth for things which will never feed my soul.