Happy, Joyous and Free

- June 30, 2023

According to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on page 133 it states that “we are sure that the Higher Power wants us to be happy, joyous and free in our newfound life. We will learn to match calamity with serenity when necessary to keep us on an even keel. According to Google happy means “showing pleasure or contentment.” This keeps us from feeling encumbered by adversity or uncertainty. Happiness is something that happens through leading a life of contentment and acceptance. This does not mean that we dismiss any negative thoughts, feelings or experiences. We just deal with things as life on life’s terms. We can be in a situation of great calamity but deep down inside ourselves we are still content. I recently experienced this when my mother passed away. I wasn’t happy that she had passed away, but I was very happy that her suffering had ended. This is an example of matching calamity with serenity. This all becomes easier as we accumulate time in sobriety. To some of us it becomes second nature.
Next, we come to the definition of joyous. According to Google it means being filled with great joy and happiness. I get filled with great joy at random times but especially around my 12 Step birthday. It makes my natal birthday seem like it’s no big deal at all. I also find joy like happy, in being filled with great contentment. It’s an interior quietness in my thoughts and heart. This isn’t something I can make happen; it just happens. Most of the time I am in this state of being and for this I am very grateful for. Compared to the insane thoughts I use to ponder when I was using, this new state of being is nothing short of a miracle. It’s the result of working the 12 Steps thoroughly and then applying what I learned to my life.
Free. This means “no longer confined or imprisoned.” This was certainly a great relief once we were relieved of the bondage of self which caused us to drink and use. We lived in a state of great bondage to our drugs and alcohol. These things were constantly on our mind. We believed that we would be happy after a few drinks. To the contrary we usually ended up in a backout and a stuporous state of near unconsciousness and insensibility. We became amoral people, unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something. We were basically of no value or usefulness to other people. The only thing to quell our racing thoughts was another drink or drug. How mistaken can we be!
Now I am free from the bondage of self. I no longer have to drink or use to be able to associate with other people. I also do not have to make excuses as to why I’m not drinking if someone asks. I simply respond with “I’m allergic to alcohol” and let it go at that. Normal drinkers will accept this simple statement. The only people who will question you are probably the alcoholics around you. Some alcoholics are uncomfortable around sober people. They should be! We pose no threat to the alcoholic. They just try and figure out how we cannot drink. They recall us at another gathering some time ago drinking like there was no tomorrow. And now we refuse all drugs and alcohol offered to us. This state of freedom is priceless. It can neither be bought or sold. It is what happens when we take and apply the 12Steps in our lives.

Written by Phillip