Saturday, February 16, 2013

Investing in Commitment

I'm reading a book by Peter Buffett called Life Is What You Make It. I picked it up randomly at the library the other day during the six minutes I had to browse before the boys get bored and the library cop comes to me with Hampton since he's been playing with the water fountain. So four minutes then. It's a really on time find- he discusses career, and choices, and other cool life stuff. (The subtitle is Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment.) I love shit like this. It's kind of like a decoder ring.

Here's this quote: (attributed to Goethe)

"Until one is committed  there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance  of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have occurred  A whole stream of events issues from the decision  raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

In the back of my head I've been pushing around my label. What I call why I don't drink. How I explain it. I don't feel like an alcoholic now. I don't feel like an addict now. I don't feel like I need to struggle and yearn for freedom every day because I am enslaved to something much more powerful that  me. I don't feel like I need to promise myself that I can drink one day but just not today. That doesn't work for me. To me that's like the eat all your dinner and you can have dessert promise. Forced reward. Blegg.

Then I read that quote and zing. That's what you call what I'm doing. Commitment! Until one is committed  there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. That was the problem all those times I tried to quit before. I wasn't committed. I was toe in testing the water, not jumping in letting the safety net close over me.

My sobriety has been entirely about readiness. I was not ready until I was ready. I was ready to commit. To make a promise to my lifelong partner (me!) that I would  love and cherish her all the rest of my days. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. For better and for worse. Is sobriety like getting married? Could be.

So I think that means I don't even have a label. I just have a promise. Between me and me. I'll worry about how to explain it when it comes up. It means that I cannot renege or hesitate. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. There are clear expectations. No one is wandering around in the dark looking for a wine glass because there will never be one. That makes me feel safe.

Ah. Take a breath.

Sometimes I want to have all the answers. And then sometimes I get one.

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."


  1. Absolutely beautiful post, everything that all of those on the other side can't see, in a nutshell.

    I don't know that I've ever used the label alcoholic to explain to others why I don't drink, but I make it perfectly clear that's what I am, unabashedly. Every person I tell that I don't drink because I can't control it is one more reason not to drink, one more person I will be able to look in the eye, unashamed and proud. For as long as I don't drink.

  2. Love this. Awesome post full of hope. Also love your description of your library-book grabbing, exactly what happens to me. Thanks heaps for your book suggestions - am going to try and order them online from the library now (the solution to the afore mentioned problem!).xxx

    1. Thank you. And you're welcome. I'm a book head. One of my favorite things is to share a book with someone and then they love it too. :)


  3. Really loved this one, Amy. I am very much in agreement with that quote - I truly feel that when we commit and we ask of something, there is a shift in the Universe that starts to make it possible for the thing that we seek. It only happens when we ask or take it on. That whole stream of events that it talks about is something that I have seen and felt in my life in recovery. Things that are "coincidences" aren't, in my point of view. These things are part and parcel of the synchronicity that allows us to reach the goals that we have made decisions on.

    "I was not ready until I was ready." - this is so very true...loved that line. We cannot plan just comes. And for alcoholics, that readiness is usually predicated on a level of pain that pushes us into that state. I needed a lot of pain and loss to get to that point of surrender. I truly was ready then.

    I can go on, but your post truly was wonderful...really, really loved it.

    Thanks for this - something to think about while I drift off to sleep.

    Cheers :)


    1. That quote knocked my socks off. It was like God/Universe was booming right in my ear.

      Cheers. :)

  4. What a beautiful, beautiful post. I hate labels - I love promises. And as my children know, I don't make many of them but when I do, I never break them.

    Love it!


  5. It's so interesting to me how we need things "defined". What to call it? I'm getting over that.

    Thanks. :)

  6. Ding ding ding ding! This is EXACTLY what I've been thinking about today. That on some level I haven't been fully committed and therefore failure was entirely predictable. I HOPE I am now full committed. How do you know? I am reading 'Moments of Clarity' - stories of recovery - and some seems to have had that lightbulb moment of certainty whereas others describe it as a long slow gradual process. I guess when you wake up a year or 10 or 20 later and you're still sober.

    1. Well, I think you have to not hope. I think you have to know. You might be scared to know, and that's ok. But you can't just hope you're committed- would you want to marry someone who hoped they could be true to you? I wouldn't. Because that sounds an awful lot like "I'm not sure" to me.

      Commitment is a BIG STEP. Trust.


  7. Amy, I keep reading this post over and over. This is my clarity. I presently and in the past struggled with explanations, the label of alcoholic, and what I need to stay on the sober. I simply need, commitment and understanding with myself it doesn't work for me anymore. I no longer desire those behaviors and that that thinking....and those damn hangovers
    Day 9! Grrrrrr Today sucks. I will not drink though...thanks to the sober blogging world and love I have for myself and my family today as a sober women committed to sobriety.

    1. Jenny,

      Day 9 blows! But waking up on Day 10 hungover sucks more.

      "I Jenny, take you, Jenny, to be my lawful wedded sober person. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you. I promise to not drink even if I'm poor or rich, sick or well. All the days of my glorious life. You may now drink the seltzer."

      :) xoxoxo,