One of the central tenets of AA is that no human power can give us choice back. But today you have slogans and cliches which profess that all you need is a Group Of Drunks (G.O.D.) to keep you sober. Sorry, but if you’re a chronic alcoholic or addict, no meeting or group of people can keep you sober. Nobody in the world can. If that were true, no one in AA would be relapsing. The truth is that nothing human or man-made can keep us sober.
Meetings never really helped me because even though I may identify with whatever loser was speaking at the podium, I never heard a real solution. Nobody ever told me what to actually do to get better, feel better, and become recovered so I don’t have to struggle 24/7 and end up going to 3 meetings a day for the rest of my life. Just keep comin’ [to meetings] isn’t gonna cut it. How about becoming free to go anywhere in the world and not worry about relapsing?
If I’m borderline suicidal and still white knuckling it everyday after 20 years, then somebody please shoot me in the fucking head. You might as well just drink if the alternative is a life of constant struggle and utter misery.
Now, if I had somehow found a meeting where I heard a recovered person speaking and I thought, ‘Yes, that person is all better. They are calm and centered and strong… I want what they have’, then I could ask them what they did to get better. And if they weren’t totally full of shit, they would meet up with me individually and take me line by line through the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, breaking down the specific instructions on how to take Steps.
The Steps are not just that numbered list you see on a poster hanging on the wall during an AA meeting. The Steps are a specific set of actions that, if done thoroughly and fearlessly, will elicit an entire psychic change within. In the beginning of AA meetings, a preamble is read and everybody thinks they are taking Steps or that they are doing the program. Actually, the ‘program’ doesn’t have much to do with war stories and sob stories, coffee and cookies, preambles and sobriety chips, being a treasurer and planning the bi-annual sober dance.
So why wait to get better? Why go to your local meetings and take advice that might kill you – to just ‘sit down, shut up, keep comin’, and wait for the miracle to happen’?
We don’t wait to recover.
We get up off our asses and go get better. It’s never too early to start taking Steps and turn our will over to God, to write inventory and read it, to make amends and go help others. It’s never to early to grow up and find a purpose. It’s never too early to commit to a lifetime of spiritual growth. Waiting is the exact problem with alcoholics and drug addicts. Waiting might put you in the ground. If someone in AA tells you to wait to do something (like the guy who told me to wait to make amends because it was too early in my sobriety), run the other way as fast as you can. If I had listened to that guy, I’d probably be dead right now.
God, teach me the difference between white-knuckling it and doing some actual work…