Rule 62 During COVID-19
Rule 62 During COVID-19
Staying sober during the COVID-19 pandemic can be truly challenging . With seemingly continual lockdowns occurring in California and increasing numbers of positive cases, recovering alcoholics and addicts find their serenity and sobriety at risk. . Herein is a reminder from the program of Alcoholics Anonymous on how to maintain your serenity and stay on track, one day at a time.
The reminder is to follow Rule 62.
What is Rule 62?
Among the many stories that make up the history of AA, one is about a mythical rule, Rule 62. It’s mythical because the program of AA consists of suggestions, and not hard-and-fast requirements. Rule 62 was developed by a recovery group in a small town in middle America that was attempting to get funding from the town for a medical/recovery facility. In what was a highly contentious process in which personalities were on display, the group prepared a set of 61 rules under which the facility would be operated. They sent the rules to AA’s New York City offices for feedback before submitting the rules to their city leaders. As the New York staff pondered how to respond to this unique request, the group sent a follow-up to New York saying that the rule-making process had taught them that ego-driven opinions had no place in AA and that they had scrapped their 61 rules as well as their plan for their facility. They instead “proposed” a Rule 62 for themselves: Don’t take yourself too damn seriously. Rule 62 was incorporated as a suggestion that can be found on page 149 (under Tradition 4) of AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Rule 62 tells us that there are others out there who live alcohol-free lives, and are happy and living normally. Many people in the program can become self-obsessed and forget this fact – especially during a quarantine. First, Rule 62 means being able to admit when you were wrong and being able to do so with a sense of humor and grace. Secondly, it’s a reminder that the wisdom of the group, and the traditions that have developed over decades, are often a better guide to action than the desires of one individual or AA group.
Try a Rule 62 Self-Assessment
If you find your serenity at risk during quarantine, try asking yourself these questions and answering them as truthfully as you are able: Am I being too hard on myself? Am I being honest with myself about my feelings, motives and intentions? Who have I harmed with my decision making (including myself)? Daily and spot-check inventories like this are an effective way to put things in their proper perspective.
The simple wisdom of Rule 62 can help you remember how far you’ve come in recovery, that there are others sharing your journey, and that you can be happy, joyous and free if you indeed don’t take yourself too damn seriously.