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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Starting at Ground Zero

When we arrived at our new life destinations, we did so with such a catastrophic collision that few pieces remained intact. We had figuratively crashed our life, collapsing most of what we had built during our existence on earth. Our financial, relational, mental, and spiritual structures had been reduced to rubble.

Years earlier, we watched in horror as One World Trade Center was hit by an airplane at 8:46 AM Eastern Daylight Time on 9/11/2001. The building collapsed at 10:28 AM that same morning. “Ground Zero” remained unhabitable for 4,262 days following the devastating attacks.

This country's intelligent and courageous spirit has taught us that things can be rebuilt and built better.

The new One World Trade Center is the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere, standing at 1776 feet. It took 2,573 days and many teams working thousands of person-hours to build.

As of this writing, Mike has been rebuilding his life for 1559 days and Glenn for 2,823 days.

David Childs (with the help of his team at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) designed the blueprint for the tallest building in the United States, and Bill Wilson (with the help of his team consisting of the first 100 AA members) designed the blueprint for our new lives.

The management of overseeing the build was an all-consuming career for Childs, no doubt requiring full-time attention and energy. It was probably more demanding during the early stages and more manageable as time passed. We have found the same to be true for our build: early on, it demanded almost full-time attention and effort as the need to keep sobriety the number one priority in our lives was all-consuming. As time goes on, the process becomes more manageable, and, like Childs, we can now sit back and look at the fruits of our labor with healthy pride.

So, with the plan in place, rebuilding was next on the docket. But could this be accomplished single-handedly? Though we were willing to go to any length to restore our lives, even if that meant doing it ourselves, we were taught that there was strength in numbers. (More than 10,000 workers built the original World Trade Center complex.)

“Many hands make light work” (a phrase penned initially by John Heywood) was the strategy for rebuilding the tower and is a saying that we live by today.

When we hit Ground Zero, we had decimated our team number to zero. So maybe 1 is the correct answer, but we were a useless team of 1.

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly spells out that this program is to be worked as a team. For example, look at the words in the section titled “How it works” found on pages 59 and 60 of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous: the terms we, our, us, and ourselves are found 18 times where the pronoun “I” is not found at all.

Be assured that the construction of one's life will take thousands of days, and healthy growth always plans for new construction, improvements, and, of course, maintenance to ensure the integrity of the build.

The building is exciting and challenging, requiring proper design and many person-hours. Remember that nine women can't have a baby in a month. It takes a team and time.

The logical place to look for team members it's in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find like-minded individuals who desire to build bigger and better.

So we beg that today we look for opportunities to build a better life and then invest the time to execute a time-tested blueprint for success.



Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast #104 “Get Off the Counselor’s Floor” - Challenges in Sobriety. "The podcast dropped on 3/22/2023. Click here to hear the podcast.


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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