Many of us who have based our sobriety on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous came to the meeting rooms with severe doubts about a program which told us to give up the control factor in our lives and turn it over to an entity named God. We had heard too much about this God as youngsters in the clutches of God-fearing parents and hell-preaching clergy. We, for the most part, gave up entirely on the concept of a God. Our mantra to parents and clergy alike was “If you’re going to heaven then I sure as hell don’t want to be there.”
Thereby we resigned ourselves to a life without god in the grips of alcoholism. We drank our selves into oblivion whenever we could and suffered through endless hours of non-drinking when our first love in life was unavailable. Some of us maintained a semblance of normalcy for a while, but in the end there was nothing normal about the way we lived. Self-loathing, lying, infidelity, cheating, suicide attempts, and broken promises finally crashed us to the depths of our personal hells.
And then, a helping hand reached out and suggested an AA meeting.
“Are you crazy,” we asked sarcastically.
“Maybe, but, I’m sober,” was the helping hand’s reply. “And you can be sober, too.”
For the first time in many years we saw hope, a sparkle in our friend’s eyes that encouraged us to think, “Maybe this sobriety thing is not so bad, I have nothing to lose.”
Thus begins many stories from the sharing members of AA who sit back in their chairs and take us with them to the pits of their personal hells. We cry with them, we chuckle over stupid things they did, we feel a growing bond with their life story. In the end we know we are all one, a brotherhood/sisterhood of lost souls who rediscovered life through the loving compassion shared by members of Alcoholics Anonymous. We found a God who loved us unconditionally, who did not condemn, who promised to lead us to productive lives living soberly.
We listen intently, nodding in agreement as a reader shares the promises from the Big Book:
1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
Alcoholics Anonymous p83-84
Reprinted from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
The Alcoholics Anonymous miracle is an unmerited, undeserved gift of the God whom we bow before as our Higher Power. This gift is not aligned with any religion or theology; it embraces all faiths, all genders, all orientations, all races. It’s principles could be the foundation of a new world in which:
“Wisdom is knowing we are all one. Love is what it feels like, and Compassion is what it acts like.” Ethan Walker 3rd, “The Mystic Christ”