“Getting” the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is not that challenging though it's not that easy.
On page 90 of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the chapter called “working with others,” it is suggested that the alcoholic be asked if he wants to quit for good …. We don’t know if we would have passed that qualifier. For good is forever, and forever is for good. It is a nonreturnable everlasting loop. In short, it's a scary concept.
There is a strong appeal in us, a wish, that we could normally drink as so many in society do. Deep inside us, we hold on to hope that we can return to ordinary drinking.
Embracing the notion that we are in this quit forever demands greater vigor and a shortened view.
We can tell you earnestly that the concept of being a nondrinker for life comes to the point of adoption a few years into the curriculum. In time we quit fighting the notion of lifelong sobriety, and we are motivated by it.
If you are early in the program and battling with the concept of forever, we suggest that you take the notion off the table and live on the strength of not drinking for today. We guess this is where the mantra “one day at a time” comes into play. Don't force forever on today - The pressure may be too much to bear.
We found strength and workable action steps from others with the common goal - those, like us, that don't want to go back to our old using lifestyle.
The mind is a crazy thing. It plays out scenarios where a drink or drug might answer a life scenario; a daughter’s wedding, a job loss, a terminal diagnosis, the Cubs winning a World Series, etc.
Though in many cases, these events are inevitable as; the wedding is scheduled for tomorrow, an e-mail has been received, the doctor's request to see “family” has been made, or your team is one out away from the ultimate victory; usually, we have found that; the daughter is three years old, there has been no indication of job insecurity, “the growth” is a pimple, and the fan favorites are in last place in their division.
The point is that most of the events we perceive are not in the realm of the current reality – they are often far-out possibilities and distant inevitabilities.
Most “must-drink” scenarios are pretrial arguments. The FACTS have yet to be presented. The actual verdict is down the road.
In conclusion, the good news is that the natural progress of recovery shifts from difficult to desirous In fairly short order.
When we first entered the program, we begged the pain to stop; For the boat to quit taking on water. The hole was plugged in with commitment and effort, and the pain was relieved. We were motivated by this alleviation.
In the days, weeks, months, and years that follow, we get to live a more fulfilling life, and that, not the relief of pain, becomes the motivator to continue in the new lifestyle,
Today, we comfortably hold to the notion that we will never drink again. This took time and has become our greatest asset. We will never graduate but remain in sober school for the rest of our lives. We earn a higher pay grade in the real world of our sobriety. Today we possess a daily reprieve from the disease we have and will have for the rest of our lives.
We enjoy the time on the trail while our victory will be in a sober death – its not that far away!
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.