“The joy of living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step…”
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Thanks to my recent brushes with losing my sobriety I can more easily remember life before recovery. I used to live from one ‘lust hit’ to the next, always calculating when I would get to act out again. Life was a series of these ‘lust hits’, and anything that got in the way was a distraction. The women in pornographic movies were ‘hot’ and they did whatever they wanted to. There were no limits; it was thrilling. The purpose of my life focused on finding opportunities to act out. There wasn’t much joy in this purpose; I mostly felt hopeless and resigned to my fate. I knew what I was doing wasn’t right or good for me, but I didn’t think there were any alternatives. I assumed the way I was living was the best I could do. I confused getting high off pornography with true, God-filled joy.
Today I am celebrating 21 months of sobriety, and my definition for joy is very different from what it used to be.
I don’t live life one ‘lust hit’ at a time, but rather one day at a time (at least, that is what I do on my good days…there are still days I project into the future and live in fear of what might happen someday). I am blessed with the realization that I have more than I ought to: There is no reason why I should still be in a wonderful marriage, raising three beautiful children. I have taken enough financial risks and squandered enough money to know there is no reason I should be as financially blessed as I am today.
At the root of it all, there is no reason why I should have ever come into existence, no inherent reason why I deserved life, but that God blessed me this way as well. One sect of Christianity (unfortunately I forget which) claims a great proof of God’s love for us is that the universe continues from moment to moment. There is no reason why it should, but for His will that it should.
I often take this life for granted; I take for granted that the sun will come up tomorrow, and that I will be there to see it. But there is no inherent reason why either of these things should be true, except that it is His will they should be true.
I think true joy in living can come from acknowledging these things and being thankful that God’s will for today included me.