Cleveland, OH, USA

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  • David Smeltz

The 12 Promises #1

1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.


I entered the doors of inpatient treatment on April 19, 2001. I was beaten down mentally and physically. I weighed all of 134 pounds. My cheeks were sunken in, there was a pressure sore at the base of my spine and I was wearing the size 28" pair of jeans my, then, wife bought for me prior to her leaving town with our two daughters. My jeans were loose fitting so I'd puncture extra notches in my 34"sized belt to compensate for my ever decreasing waistline. I never want to (and never will) forget my appearance and feeling of hopelessness and uselessness when I crawled through the doors of Orca House that April of 2001.

I did something at Orca that I had never done before in my life - I asked another man to help me. Preceding my stay there, I was the guy who'd drive around a neighborhood for hours looking for a party rather than calling or asking someone for directions. I couldn't bare to let you know that I didn't know something - especially another man! I always had to be right and in control. As I later learned, if I'm trying to control something, then it's obviously, already out of control or else I wouldn't be trying to control it. I began work on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with my sponsor at Orca. The very first amazing thing that happened to me was that I was following directions! Secondly, I began expressing my feelings instead of trying to make it seem that I knew what I was doing and wasn't that bad off. I could only receive help when I admitted where I was at that moment in time; not where I would had liked to have been instead. I could no longer afford to drift off and live in the past or future. I had to work on myself in the present moment. In the process of working the steps I had a feeling that everything was going to be alright. I guess I began to have faith that I just might get sober (while in a controlled environment at least). I was still feeling dope sick from methadone withdrawal. I felt this way for the first two months there but something was different. I knew intuitively that my sickness would not last forever. I knew that if I kept focused on the change brought about by these steps then everything would be alright. Alright; meaning I may have lost my wife and family, I may not have a home, or source of income, but, I did have serenity. This sense of serenity revealed itself to me only after taking deliberate actions to change. I had not yet completed the steps at that time and I had found a serenity I had never experienced before. My old addict mentality said, "If you feel this good just doing some of the steps; I wonder how you'll feel when you do them all?" So, my incentive was to get better and I began to feel less beat up half way through my work on the steps. Today, I live them on a daily basis. The only thing that gets in the way of my serenity is me. And, I can always do something about me!

Still Grateful To Be Here!



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