Step One: Liquid Courage (Joural Entry)

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“The courage to change the things we can,” is one of the many messages we hear at every Twelve Step meeting. And with every meeting, the message grows, transforms, evolves into a battle cry that echoes through the darkest nights. But when we stop going to meetings, we lose our momentum, we forget the tools that kept us sober, and the war drum slowly fades into the distance until all we hear are the devil’s lies.

“Everything can wait until tomorrow,” the devil pierces through our skulls, “Forget everybody… Nothing else matters… Just this once… Nobody will know… No harm will come to you…” Then it’s back to the race that ends worse every time, with endless excuses to keep making rounds.

Liquid courage becomes our new battle cry, and the war we fight is against ourselves. Every problem calls for a simple solution. Having a bad day? Dun duh dunnn liquid courage to the rescue. Mad at somebody? Dose it up. Feeling lonely? You know what to do.

And as endless tomorrows pass us by, our lives become unmanageable. We forget basic tools that help us to live happy, joyous and free. Until we either hit rock bottom or reach the ultimate demise: jails, institutions or death.

Fear comes in many forms, often deceptive and lurking just beneath the surface. When we have a bad day and reach for the first thing to calm our nerves, it is fear and not stress that causes the reaction. Fear of bearing the rest of the day without drowning out all the noise. Hungry, angry, lonely, tired, HALT… All these excuses are fears and liquid courage may subdue these fears for a while, but it does nothing to relieve us of our burdens.

We may not be able to change the stress factors in our lives, the devastation of the past, or the dynamics of our family functions. But we can change the way we view our burdens, the way we react to stress, and the companions we choose to associate with. We can become pillars in a fellowship in dire need of our service and carry the message to the growing mass of citizens who are still sick and suffering. But most importantly, we can live happy, joyous and free.

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