Don’t ya’ just love all of the “recovery speak” we 12 Step veterans bombard newscomers with! All of the acronyms, program slogans and terminology can indeed be at least a little bit confusing! An amusing story about this  issue was shared by a long-time sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous…

When my friend first came to AA he was pretty much in what he called a “rummy dummy state” — meaning that he had killed LOTS of brain cells over the course of DECADES of hard drinking…which left him in a state where it didn’t take much to confuse him!

The first AA meetings he attended took place in the living room of a member’s home (this is a very important detail). At each meeting he heard numerous references to the “AA program of recovery”.  After attending meetings for several weeks, he finally asked the group members WHEN (day and time) and WHAT CHANNEL carried the “AA program”! He connected the word “program” with the TV set that was sitting in the living room (which served as the AA meeting room) of the house where he was attending meetings! No wonder he was frustrated with waiting for the “program” to start!

Of course “program” and “program of recovery” refers to the 12 Steps that serves as the basis for recovery offered by Alcoholics Anonymous and all of the various 12 Step fellowships. So “the program” ain’t a TV show! 🙂

The subject line of this post refers to two recovery acronyms. So if you are a newbie to 12 Step recovery, allow me to explain them:

K.I.S.S. This, Baby!K.I.S.S. = “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (some politically correct 12 Step-revisionists have re-translated these letters to stand for “Keep It Simple, Sweetie” (as if to protect us from our low self-esteem). Funny, but I’ve never felt overly offended by the “Stupid” definition of the “second S.” in K.I.S.S. — Prior to recovery, “Stupid” was probably one of the NICEST things that I thought about myself! <blush>

I think “Stupid” is acceptable because what I understand this slogan to really be about is a wake-up call to my “addict within” that hey: you do NOT have ALL the answers, so you need to become “teachable”.  Not because I’m really all that “stupid”, but because (in my active addiction) I can be a pretty arrogant know-it-all (“arrogance” defined: “Making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming”.  Yup, sounds like me in the bad old days! <still blushing>

O.D.A.A.T., the other acronym used in the subject line of this post, refers to the principle of working on my recovery (JUST) One Day At A Time.  This reminds me that I need to keep my focus on the “hear and now” as I struggle to discern what is “just the NEXT right thing” I need to do to keep on track with my recovery process.

During my first 72 hours (3 days, O.D.A.A.T), I’m using the K.I.S.S. concept to help me remember to stay “teachable” (or what some call “open-minded”) to NEW and BETTER ways of thinking and acting that I had practiced in my active addiction. I’m using the O.D.A.A.T approach to recovery to keep me focused on NOW. My recovery program NEVER asks me for long-term commitments — just to work on today. Working MORE than JUST O.D.A.A.T. is good way to get scared, overwhelmed and downright stressed about recovery.

Some stress in recovery might be acceptable, but in my crAzY way of thinking (in the thinking of my “addict within”), I can get worked up way too much over way too little in no time at all. The good news is that if I can’t handle making it JUST O.D.A.A.T. it is perfectly acceptable to take things in my life/recovery in even SMALLER incriments than “one day” (e.g., 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or even just one hour at a time).

Despite my seasonal allergies, my body is a little less out of sorts today than it was yesterday. My mood is also much more stable today when  compared to 24 hours ago. To paraphrase a popular phrase in AA literature, “The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that”.