Last week I shared 50 Must’s to Live in Real Recovery from Addiction, part of an article shared by Steven in one of his comments about working the 12 Steps of Recovery.
Today I wanted to share the other 53 musts, as found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. These “musts” are specific instructions on what someone who is wanting to stop and stay stopped has to be willing to do if they want to find the recovery that those who have gone before us have found.
53 Musts to Live in Real Recovery from Addiction
51. But we MUST be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. (86)
52. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends-this is an experience you MUST not miss. (89)
- I love this feeling – the opportunity to connect with my fellows in recovery. I agree with this must 100%!
53. The family MUST decide these things. (90)
54. To be vital, faith MUST be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. (93)
55. NEVER talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. (95)
- I appreciate this must and want to be aware of my own tendencies to have an agenda, especially in my shares at LDS ARP Support meetings.
56. If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he MUST decide for himself whether he wants to go on. (95)
57. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire MUST come from within. (95)
- This is a great must for sponsors – I shouldn’t reach out to them or probe or push – I need to let the sponsee decide for himself.
58. NEVER avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are doing the right thing if you assume them. (97)
59. A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You HAVE TO act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. (97)
60. Argument and fault-finding are to be avoided like the plague. In many homes this is a difficult thing to do, but it MUST be done if any results are to be expected. (98)
- Debilitating negative emotions lead to argument and fault-finding. These are addictive behaviors that have to be let go.
61. But we MUST try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree.(99)
62. If their old relationship is to be resumed it MUST be on a better basis, since the former did not work. (99)
63. Both you and the new man MUST walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress.(100)
64. People have said we MUST not go where liquor is served; we MUST not have it in our homes; we MUST shun friends who drink; we MUST avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we MUST not go into bars; our friends MUST hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we MUSTn’t think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so. (101)
65. But some of us think we should not serve liquor to anyone. We NEVER argue this question. (102)
66. We are careful NEVER to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. (103)
67. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We HAVE TO! (103)
68. Wait until repeated stumbling convinces him he MUST act, for the more you hurry him the longer his recovery may be delayed. (113)
69. But sometimes you MUST start life anew. (114)
70. While you need not discuss your husband at length, you can quietly let your friends know the nature of his illness. But you MUST be on guard not to embarrass or harm your husband. (115)
71. You will no longer be self-conscious or feel that you MUST apologize as though your husband were a weak character. (115)
72. These family dissensions are very dangerous, especially to your husband. Often you MUST carry the burden of avoiding them or keeping them under control. (117)
73. NEVER forget that resentment is a deadly hazard to an alcoholic. (117)
- I feel resentment is a choice. I have to dig deeper to find what sparked the resentful feelings if I’m going to truly surrender those feelings to God.
74. Your husband knows he owes you more than sobriety. He wants to make good. Yet you MUST not expect too much. (118)
- And I, as the addict trying to recovery, can expect NOTHING from my wife who I’ve hurt so bad.
75. Though it is infinitely better that he have no relapse at all, as has been true with many of our men, it is by no means a bad thing in some cases. Your husband will see at once that he MUST redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to survive.(120)
76. We NEVER, NEVER try to arrange a man’s life so as to shield him from temptation; The slightest disposition on your part to guide his appointments or his affairs so he will not be tempted will be noticed. (120)
77. The family MUST realize that dad, though marvelously improved, is still convalescing. They should be thankful he is sober and able to be of this world once more. (127)
78. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he MUST see the danger of over-concentration on financial success. Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded. (127)
- This is a great reminder to me. Last year was my best year financially ever. I attribute it 100% to being in real recovery. But I can’t let my job and career get in the way of my spiritual progress. Because without the spiritual progress and the willingness to follow God’s will, not my own, I will be right back where I was before.
79. We know there are difficult wives and families, but the man who is getting over alcoholism MUST remember he did much to make them so. (127)
- For this reason I must always be there to listen and ask, “What can I do today to help you feel safe?” No EXPECTATIONS!
80. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work MUST be done. These are the realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness. (130)
81. Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover. The others MUST be convinced of his new status beyond the shadow of a doubt. Seeing is believing to most families who have lived with a drinker. (135)
82. State that you know about his drinking, and that it MUST stop. You might say you appreciate his abilities, would like to keep him, but cannot if he continues to drink. (141)
- Welcome to boundaries!
83. For most alcoholics who are drinking, or who are just getting over a spree, a certain amount of physical treatment is desirable, even IMPERATIVE. (142)
84. Though you are providing him with the best possible medical attention, he should understand that he MUST undergo a change of heart. To get over drinking will REQUIRE a transformation of thought and attitude. We all HAD TO PLACE RECOVERY ABOVE EVERYTHING, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business. (143)
- This is living a new normal. Recovery has to be above everything. This is what ARP Support has helped me realize – nothing is more important that working the steps and surrendering.
85. While on the subject of confidence, can you adopt the attitude that so far as you are concerned this will be a STRICTLY personal matter, that his alcoholic derelictions, the treatment about to be undertaken, will NEVER be discussed without his consent? (143)
86. When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions. The man MUST decide for himself. (144)
87. An alcoholic who has recovered, but holds a relatively unimportant job, can talk to a man with a better position. Being on a radically different basis of life, he will NEVER take advantage of the situation.(146)
88. For he knows he MUST be honest if he would live at all. (146)
89. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. NEVER could we recapture the great moments of the past. (151)
90. I know I MUST get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?” Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. 152)
- Fellowship is a crucial part of recovery. I can’t do this alone. I have to be able to reach out to others and be there for others to reach out to as well.
91. They will approach still other sick ones and fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous may spring up in each city and hamlet, havens for those who MUST find a way out. (153)
92. But what about his responsibilities – his family and the men who would die because they would not know how to get well, ah-yes, those other alcoholics? There MUST be many such in this town. He would phone a clergyman. His sanity returned and he thanked God. (154)
93. He saw that he would HAVE TO face his problems squarely that God might give him mastery. (155)
94. Both saw that they MUST keep spiritually active. (156)
95. Though they knew they MUST help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary. It was transcended by the happiness they found in giving themselves for others. (159)
96. God will determine that, so you MUST remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave. (164)
- Let go and let God!
97. We alcoholics see that we MUST work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone. (563)
98. A.A. MUST continue to live or most of us will surely die. (565)
99. Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, MUST be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. (569)
100. Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they MUST acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. (569)
101. I think our profession MUST take appreciative cognizance of this great therapeutic weapon. (571)
102. Any therapeutic or philosophic procedure which can prove a recovery rate of 50% to 60% MUST merit our consideration. (571)
103. They know that they MUST never drink. (572)
Which of these stuck out to you most?
How are you applying the musts of recovery from addiction to your new life in recovery?
Look forward to your comments.