Step 12 is on my heart as I contemplate what message I carry about my own recovery in SA. I find sobriety and how I got it almost incommunicable. First because sobriety to me is so beautiful, personal and beyond words... I'm not sure how to describe it to others besides, "peace."
But my path to sobriety was so messy too. My sponsor told me, "Don't act out if your ass falls off," and that somewhat crass saying was literally the seed from which everything positive in my life has grown.
Somehow that message became so internalized that it formed the core of my recovery: leaving me resolute to do absolutely anything, no matter how embarrassing or absurd, to keep from acting out. Yes, it meant several meetings a week, consuming the literature and tapes of SA and AA by the gallon, making calls when I was desperate, and especially taking my sponsor's "suggestions" as something more like "orders."
But a lot of it was eating instead of acting out, so that I gained 25 or so pounds which I still haven't lost, or using a non-prescription sleep medication to knock myself out so I wouldn't act out at night, or pretending I was a Jedi knight from Star Wars - weird, sort of embarrassing stuff. Very little of it seems to be what other sightlier paths of sobriety seem to look like: a lot of written step work, journaling, daily sobriety renewal calls etc. were not what my path to sobriety looked like.
So when it comes to sharing my own personal experience of recovery with people I have tried to sponsor, I'm somewhat at a loss. I guess I feel my story is so inferior, and in places so different from what SA literature frequently suggests (for instance, "switching addictions" to eating instead of acting out), I'm unsure and embarrassed to tell others about it. I can tell them what the literature says to do, but if they ask me if that's what I did, I can't say I did a lot of those things, and what I did do, when I've ventured to share a little of it, has understandably struck sponsees as bizarre.
But if you were to ask me right now if I would do something - anything to stay sober, I'd do it. I never want to go back to acting out and the soul destroying life I once had.