“We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we recovered is the main purpose of this book.” –From Alcoholics Anonymous, xiii, Forward to the First Edition.
Interesting that the preamble in many AA meetings today comes from page 25 or page 58 of the Big Book, as if the program starts there. Maybe that’s why so few recover from modern-day AA groups and quasi-12 Step treatment programs.
The one and only time I introduced myself as a “recovered” alcoholic at a local meeting, about 40 or 50 heads whipped around and stared me down angrily. You’re not supposed to use the word “recovered” in AA now, even though the first line of AA’s Big Book (1939) couldn’t be more clear: “Alcoholics Anonymous – The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women have Recovered from Alcoholism.”
If I never opened up the book written by AA’s co-founders, I would have (sadly) forever caste myself as being ‘recovering’ or ‘in recovery’. I would have always been recovering and never recovered. Sure, I was ‘in recovery’ as I left detox and embarked on the Steps. But as I began to take action and grow spiritually, my mind was made sane again and I no longer suffered from the insanity of alcoholism. I no longer had to worry about picking up a drink or any other temptation. From that moment on, I have been recovered.
Sure if I were to stop growing and begin hurting others, I could then re-enter non-recovered territory. And yes, I know that I am always one drink away from detox, and that I will forever have ZERO power of alcohol. But I also know this: If I need to drive around all day going from meeting to meeting after 20 years of sobriety, there is definitely something wrong with my program. AA was intended to free the alcoholic or drug addict from their insanity. AA is a spiritual program of action that lifts the mental obsession and puts us into contact with God.
Today, sponsors in watered-down, spiritually sick AA groups will tell newcomers to just make their Higher Power the group of people in the meeting. ‘G.O.D.’ refers to Group Of Drunks, as if a group of drunks can keep a chronic, hopeless alcoholic sober. One time I listened to a speaker tell the group that she just makes her Higher Power the coffee pot. Some sound advice: Don’t make your Higher Power the coffee pot at your home group. And you also might run into some trouble making your Higher Power the rims on your car, the knocker on your door, your new iphone, or the 52-inch TV in your living room (a popular one).
Bottom line: Chronic, hopeless alcoholics and addicts can and do recover and live a lifetime of freedom, peace and happiness. The difference is that those who are free have taken Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book, the original AA textbook. The Big Book, contrary to what we might hear before the raffle at our local AA meeting, is not just a collection of stories. It describes the specific 12 Step process in detail. It lays out clear-cut directions on how to take these Steps and recover from “a seemingly hopeless condition of mind and body.” (Ibid.)
God, I am still and I know…