There's a passage in the literature of another 12 Step fellowship to that just totally speaks to me as a "multi-position-player" type of addict:
Everything begins with sobriety. Without sobriety, there is no program of recovery. But without reversing the deadly traits that underlie our addiction, there is no positive and lasting sobriety. To recover from a life based on wrong attitudes, self-obsession, separation, false connections, blindness, and spiritual death requires a program of action that includes a fundamental change in attitude, character change, union, the true Connection, self-awareness, and spiritual life. Working the principles of the Steps as a new way of living has made this happen for us.
No matter how well they are explained, understood, or believed, however, the Steps mean nothing unless they are actually worked out in our thinking and living. The Steps don't work unless we work them.
For me, that's the clearest, most concise description of what 12 Step recovery is all about that I know of.
The whole part about "deadly traits that underlie our addiction(s)" has a lot to do with how I got here — I realized that the severe procrastination and perfectionism that has dogged me for decades is just too big to treat as a character defect, that it needed to be the full focus of a 12 Step program. And that unless I could stop procrastinating and being obsessively perfectionistic, I'd just keep finding new ways to medicate and self-soothe — new addictions.
But now that I'm here, and working Step 1, I'm looking at "Everything begins with sobriety." What's being sober in this program? AA and many other fellowships have a common sobriety definition — that is, part of claiming a place in the fellowship is coming to accept that there are certain clearly defined behaviors they can't do anymore, not if they want to have a life worth living. Other fellowships describe a "common problem" with certain general characteristics, but leave it up to the individual member (and his/her sponsor) to decide what's sober and what's not sober.
I'm just beginning to work on those questions; I'll come back here and share any learnings.
How do others here define sobriety? I'd love to hear stories.