While in recovery you may have heard someone say the phrase Rule 62. I remember wondering what that meant when I first heard the phrase. No one explained it so I looked it up. In essence it was a response from Bill Wilson to another member in the 1940’s (before the adopting of traditions) who had made up 61 rules for a club he was starting for Alcoholics in AA. After failing miserably with the club Bill sent a message to the man with this statement, “Rule 62, don’t take yourself too damned seriously.”
I have found this to be one of the most valuable rules I have ever used in my recovery. When I first became sober I thought that if I made a mistake I would drink. My mind raced constantly, I was scared all the time and micromanaged every thought in my head. I would read several different morning meditations hoping to find the “answer” until one day my sponsor told me to stop reading all but one of them. He said, “you are too smart for you own good sometimes. Keep it simple and quit being so serious all the time.”
Since then I can’t say I have not experienced the racing thoughts or the fear of life, but I have learned to laugh at myself in spite of them. Laughter is one of the most freeing actions I have ever used in my recovery. The laughter at myself is the most freeing laughter of all.
Sometimes when I am caught up in the day to day stress of life I find myself being critical of myself and others. I will forget about the gratitude of all that has been afforded to me during my life as well as my recovery. Sometimes others point it out while others I am aware of it myself. Remembering that the things I am worrying about today are generally more of an illusion of fears I have about things I can’t control. When I finally stop and review myself then I have to laugh at myself and say, “Mike, lighten up and remember who is in charge.”
Does that mean I am not a responsible individual, no. It means that my responsibilities don’t have to be arduous tasks that I treat too seriously as to forget my real purpose in life. I am certain that the power that guides me wants me to be joyous, happy and free instead of power driven and self centered.
How do I do this you ask, well I follow these simple ideas:
1. I find 3 things to be grateful for daily that are not repeats of each other in the past month.
2. I help others who are seeking recovery
3. I talk to my kids daily
4. I laugh as often as possible
And last but not least, “I don’t take myself so damn seriously!”