top of page
  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

A Mere Suggestion

“Our book is meant to be suggestive only.”

From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 164

We don't like being told what to do, period.  Maybe this is inherent in all humans, but what we know for sure is that we have not cared much for rules since our youth; bedtimes, bathtimes, and BB guns all had imposed barriers – unrealistic rules and restrictions.  Then, we were informed we couldn’t drive, drink, or date on a timeline consistent with our desires.  Taxes and speed limits were forced upon us at others' directives.  Even death was not ours to choose.  He didn't care for all of this; we let the world know it.

We took a rebellious attitude into adulthood, breaking all the rules we could.  We went to bed when we wished, bathed when we favored, shot at will, drove what we desired, drank to our fill – and beyond – courted who we cared to court when we wanted to court.  We deferred our tax liability into delinquency, sped, and tested the limits of life itself.

Our failure to live within the bounds of benefit and outside the lines of law took from us most of what mattered most and nearly killed us.  We had played out an independent existence and found ourselves expelled to isolation and regret.

Something had to change, and change it did as we came to an understanding that the Ten Commandments, the Twelve Steps, and other guides to a better life were crafted FOR us, not framed to restrict but to release.   For us, the rules didn't change, only our realizations.  We know today that the words of the Bible, the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the laws of the land exist for us to flourish safely while we navigate life and the relationships that we are gifted.

Our end was just the beginning.  Death to the old sparked life abundantly to the new. 

We publicly thank those who welcomed us into the rooms of AA and didn't force policy upon us but instead lovingly suggested that there was a better way to live.  We thank those who gently guided our learnings to the principles and practices of a program of proposals, as we honestly think we would have rejected a room of rules. 

We couldn't leave this conversation without rehashing what we have heard in the AA rooms: When skydiving, it is merely suggested that you pull the rip cord before you hit the ground- only a suggestion, but it could save your life.

When we work with others, we take our role as guides to goodness seriously.  We lay out what was suggested by the program with an emphasis on our actions, for we can’t share what we don’t have.  We acknowledge the rebellious nature within us all, so we merely suggest. We followed and hope the next struggler emulates the good they see in us.  That is how the whole thing works.  We pass it on in the best of all win-wins. 

“We realize we know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you and us.”

From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 164



Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast #48 titled “Page 164 - "A Vision For You - Broken Down” … The session dropped on 3/2/2022.    Click here to hear the podcast. 

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash  


Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page