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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Our Brass Ring

The carousel, or merry-go-round, has a history, and so do we. There seems to be a story for everything, including complexities and transformations of the constructed and certainly for the living.  

With its roots dating back to the 6th century, the modern carousel is a testament to innovation and evolution. Its concept, derived from the 12th-century practice of Noble knights honing their jousting and horseback skills by aiming their lances at rings made from common day metal, is a fascinating glimpse into our past. The first steam-powered ride was invented by Thomas Bradshaw in 1861, and entrepreneur Frederick Savage followed suit in 1870, creating the classic mechanism that made carousel horses go up and down like they were galloping.

A new element was introduced during the ride's growth spurt in about 1900: floating rings. These rings, often made of brass, were not just decorative additions. They were a challenge, an opportunity. The game was simple: If a rider managed to grab one, a prize, usually a free ride, would be awarded. The anticipation, the excitement, the possibility of winning-it was all part of the experience.

Hence, we play to win the prize.

For years we fought tooth and nail for what we thought we wanted, our hands reaching out for the brass ring. We attained more than the next guy and less than the guy next to him.

We were gifted at the game of life, and we knew it. We were often handicapped, and we knew that, too. Our persistence and drive netted some metal. Our mistakes and sloppiness cost us most of what we had accumulated, leaving us with only a few tarnished fragments, enough to prove we played.

We sang of getting no satisfaction while we sat on mountains of mementos. Regrets rained on our intrinsic rights while liquor was our lifeline. We lamented what could while rallying on what would. We were, in a word, delirious, inconsistent, Incoherent, restless, or delusional. Pick one or many. As the young like to say, we were “a hot mess.”

In our defense, the brass ring was dangling—there for the taking. The treasures were polished, shiny, and within reach. Like the carousel builders of old, the world positioned them to a place of capturability. The promise of pleasure and the prize drove our efforts at the expense of our integrity—constantly engaged in the battle of the brain. 

That was then.

For us, the craziness of the quest stopped abruptly when we let go of our stubborn grip on the material metal ring.  We had to let go of what we thought was important for what was.  The ride wouldn’t stop just because we were dizzy or delusional.  It would stop in its own time, so it was up to us to regain our balance and adjust our priority – to refocus on a prize with purpose. 

We found that going for the ring that represented raw love returned the most value. 

Grabbing hold of the healing power of self-love drew us to the center of the spinning world where less tension existed.  The ring was sharper and had to be handled carefully, but it allowed for a tight grip that delivered depth and illusive satisfaction. 

This revelation, this reward, was more than we had hoped for, more than we felt we deserved.  We fought again, but this time for others as opposed to ourselves.  We began to acquire again, but this time, it was spiritual, not superficially.  We formed our gifts and acknowledged our shortcomings.  We used our talents of persistence and drive to serve others. Today, we are surrounded by the winnings earned with honesty, determination, and integrity.  Regrets are few, and intentional living is our new lifeline. 

Capitalizing on what is, we stay focused on what will.  In a word, we are delivered, consistent, coherent, focused, or delighted. Pick one or many. As the young like to say, we are “living the dream.”

Like we said, the ride will not stop until it does. We are glad for the choices we have today and grateful for the brass ring of a better life. It pains us to see others spin around and around, holding firmly to the ring of despair. We are there for them, on the carousel next to them, prepared to show them the better way and help them grab the brass ring of love.

The new experience starts with a simple admission that we have a grip on the wrong ring – and that the ride is now unmanageable. Then, training our vision on our responsibilities, we let go of blaming the ring for our woes.  We live to serve other riders while acknowledging that we do not power the ride.

We go round and round today, enjoying every revolution.

Care to join us? – tickets are available at the Booth labeled Alcoholics Anonymous. And the tickets are FREE!!


Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast # 166 titled “The Power of 8 & 9”The session dropped 5/29/2024.    Click here to hear the podcast. 


Photo by Melanie Vaz 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.


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