Recently I signed a one-year contract of employment. The terms and conditions on paper were excellent. I was excited about the new job and started a few days before Christmas after handing in notice and leaving my old place of work. It would be an understatement to say that I had made a mistake. Within 20 minutes of being in the offices of my new company I realized that I had been misled or rather had misled myself into believing something that was not true. Wishful thinking had replaced a rational mind. Instead of taking the time to carefully consider and maybe check in with a Higher Power (Force) I took a leap of faith. By the end of the week I had resigned and fortunately my old place of work took me back. So much for contracts that can be signed and broken by either party on a whim with a one-week notice.
Over ten years ago I entered into another contract. A contract for life. The agreement was made between me and my Higher Power. The terms were simple, I was to remain sober and in return I would have half a shot at living a reasonably happy life. The degree to which I took advantage of this new arrangement was up to me. I could use the second (third*) chance at life to grow in understanding of the divine principal which I call at turns “God” and the “Force” and lead a spiritual life improving progressively over time. The goal being progress not perfection on a path of self-realization and self-actualization. The vehicle that would take me there was the 12 steps of AA.
The 12 Steps is a program of continuous improvement. The steps call for commitment, action, review and adjustment. Like any contract our performance it is open for periodic review. Step 10 calls for a daily review so that any flaws and faults can be identified and rectified and amends made if needed. Daily review ensures that a backward slide towards old counterproductive habits can be checked and arrested. If we start wandering off the path we can reorientate ourselves and get back on the beam.
To be honest I don’t do a rigorous daily review. At best I might ruminate over cock ups and mistakes I’ve made and chastise myself swearing not to repeat them. I remember the need to take inventory and make amends but allow myself to procrastinate and rationalize reasons to put it aside. Complacency creeps in and eventually it catches us out. We forget that we are headed for trouble and end up doing something stupid like signing contracts without checking in with Higher Power.
Today is New Years day. It is just another day but it carries significance because if marks a full turn of the calendar. I read the “Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday every morning along with the “Twenty-Four Hours a Day” by Hazelden. Each day I turn the page and eventually I land back on December 31 at the end of the book and start the next day on page 1, January 1. New Years Day is a chance to start over. It is also a perfect day to review “The Contract” I made on September 23, 2012 with a spiritual power I barely understood but became willing to turn my life over to.
So today I renew that contract for another year understanding that the only way to break it is to return to alcohol and thereby renounce my Faith. Without the presence of a Higher Power in my life there can be no sobriety and in turn without sobriety there is no life worth living. Its that simple.
Happy New Year.
Personal Contract for a Jedi.
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you’ve got anyway.
No matter how hard you try you may never reach your goals.
Keep striving anyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and the Force;
it was never between you and them anyway.
I love this post, especially the mantra/poem/guidance at the end. Did you make it up? Is it from something else? Congrats on being 10 years sober! That’s a big deal! And I’m glad you’re old job took you back. I can’t imagine how it must’ve felt to go back to them and admit you had made a mistake. That, in and of itself, is brave of you.
Hi, apologies for the late response. My email gets so much spam its hard to filter out the legit messages before I approve. I should have given the source to that verse at the end of the post. Its adapted from a verse supposedly by Mother Theresa, however I think mistakenly. It was probably taken from a much older verse and attributed to her. The message is important, not the messenger.