When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 64
I was in a 12-step meeting not long ago with a guy who is 25 years sober. He is overweight. He never took care of himself even when doctors told him he had diabetes. He’s watched his mother die of the disease a bit at a time. And now he sat in a meeting with crutches next to him and an artificial leg dangling from the chair.
He said, “It’s not about the push-ups.” He was commenting on something someone had said about needing to get more in shape. He was playing the Big Book thumper, telling people sobriety was all that mattered.
Incredible how blind we can be to our own character defects. .
The Big Book of Alcoholics says people using the 12 steps recover spiritually, mentally and physically. Contrary to what people may think, it isn’t the other way around. First spiritual, then mental, then physical. The founders were discussing something far more than physical sobriety, or mere dryness. They were talking about treating our bodies with the respect they deserve finally.
To be dry physically is a start, but never enough. The physical aspect of sobriety took me years to figure out.. We have a responsibility to live long because every day we’re alive we can help show the way to someone else. We can save lives to our last moment. For that reason, we have a responsibility to eat right, stop smoking, exercise. Not only does it improve our own quality of life, but we can help improve the lives of countless others.
We've had sad examples lately where I live of what happens when we take our physical selves for granted. I see so many people smoking, including some who use portable oxygen tanks to breathe during meetings. I see so many overweight people. Some are like I was, both smoking and overweight. I was a ticking time bomb. I quit smoking the same year I got sober, 1988. But my eating disorder followed me into sobriety for a long time before I surrendered, asked for God’s help in steps 6 & 7 and took action to change. I found an eating plan, I exercised and I got in shape. At age 60, I am in the best shape of my life. The power of the 12 steps and of God can be taped to overcome any malady you may have. Believe me, I know. I’ve had many of them. Substance abuse, food, tobacco. Nothing can stand in the way of someone committed to change who honestly asks for God’s help and does the work. My friends in triathlon say: “If you want to, you’ll find a way. If you don’t want to, you’ll find an excuse.” Absolutely.
It's not about the push ups? The hell it isn’t. It’s about the pushups if you can't do one. Recovery is a complete package.