Getting and staying sober can seem like a lot to the newcomer, and sometimes we forget about all the joys that come with it. For example, being surrounded by a group of loving and compassionate people who have been through the same feelings and experiences that we have. We are told from the very beginning of our journey to “stick with the winners” and this is what that means and why you should do it. For many of us, we have already taken step one by the time we decided to get sober. We are powerless and our lives have become unmanageable. So moving on, we became willing to believe in a power greater than ourselves. This is where I had a lot of trouble, and where I first found the importance of sticking with the winners. I came to the rooms completely agnostic, with no religious upbringing. The only time I had seen God was when I was taking hallucinogens in the woods, and even then I lost the importance of it before my high even wore off. I took advantage of God by praying only when I was in a tough spot and needed help, like avoiding that DUI ticket or finding enough money to help me feel okay for the next few hours. Surrounding myself with the winners gave me just a little bit of hope that I could someday build a spiritual life for myself. Even though I didn’t necessarily believe, I saw that they did. I witnessed the reliance and the trust that my friends with solid recovery placed in their higher power, and eventually, after hearing “pray on it” and “talk to God about it” I was inspired to seek out my own understanding of my Higher Power. We come into these rooms like newborns. Cluelessly feeling our way through this new life and all the suggestions and “rules” we must follow, all the while battling our emotions and character defects. It can be pretty exhausting without some strong shoulders to lean on. We first have to admit that we can’t do this alone. If you’re like me, that was a pretty hard pill to swallow, I hated asking for help, and I never wanted to be a burden. After multiple relapses, I finally decided to reach out to the other alcoholics who were so desperately trying to help me when I was struggling. Sticking with the winners gives you strength when times are tough. It supplies you with a network of like-minded people who understand your pain, have probably been through what you’re going through, and can give you a way out. What Makes Someone A “Winner”? A winner is someone in recovery who is “doing the deal.” In other words, someone who is actively working their program, i.e; Someone who has a sponsor, has finished their steps and is taking others through theirs. Someone who actively participates in meetings and has commitments. Someone who has a solid trust in their higher power. Someone who has a generally positive and healthy hold on life. These examples are only a few, but these are a solid start. For me, I always like to introduce myself to someone who shared something that touched my soul during a meeting. I gravitate towards old timers who have been involved in AA for decades to try and emulate how they do it. These are the people who have been through the ringer and have come out the other side stronger, wiser, and with compassion for the rest of us. Staying connected to these people is not only crucial to your sobriety, but it’s easy, and life changing! All you have to do is step out of your comfort zone a little. It may feel weird at first, but I guarantee if you approach that person after a meeting, not only will they be ecstatic to meet you, but the encounter will make you feel all warm and fuzzy afterwards. It’s the most natural high in the world, and it never fails. The Blessings That Come From “The Winners” Think about the lives of many of the “normal” people who are not in AA. Our families, friends, strangers, etc. Many of them are often so busy, buzzing around focused on success and external happiness, and can often forget about the simple joys of life. We have the opportunity to learn a new way of living from people who have grasped a balance of spirituality and humanity. We have the gift of receiving wisdom from people who have been where we are and want nothing more than to help us get through it. We have the relief in knowing that we are not alone in life because we are able to reach out and ask for help whenever we need it, without judgement. The winners will be honest with us, they will encourage and cheer for us when times are both good and bad. They will guide us back to center after we fall off track. They will help to put our trust in our higher power, and they will never judge us for what our conception of God is. They will love us until we learn to love ourselves. They will understand when we have a bad day and want to shut the world out, and they will love us through it. All we have to do is ask. Getting Help For Addiction If you need help overcoming addiction, treatment is a proven effective option. If you are a woman looking for treatment, Wayside House can help you. A woman’s treatment center offers a safe, supportive environment and our programs are developed specifically to address the unique needs of women. Call us today at 800-655-0817, our trained specialists are standing by to help you or your loved one.