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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

The Guiding Light

“Lighthouses are not just stone, brick, metal, and glass. There's a human story at every lighthouse; that's the story I want to tell.”

Elinor DeWire


We are grateful to the lighthouse for the reminder that light guides us to safety from within the dark.  We are thankful for the beacons of light that have guided our lives away from hazards and into ports of comfort and hope.  We are keenly aware of the significance and efforts of the lightkeepers, the wickies, the maritime professionals who keep to the task 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Lighthouses have a long, documented history. Though there is no Biblical reference to the lighted watchtower, records attest that they have been around since approximately 300 years before Christ. Egypt's “Pharos of Alexandria” claims the title of the first and tallest ever built. A vast open fire stood 450 feet high, qualifying it as one of the world's seven wonders.

Transmuting over the years from open fires to candlelight to oil lamps to coal-infused illumination to today's SL-LED  light source, the pharos have changed yet remained the same in purpose and function. And while Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and developing technologies may someday replace the some twenty thousand structures that exist today, the metaphor of guidance and care shall live on, in our opinion.

For it was a distant light that alerted us of our drinking dangers.  It was the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that drew us in, built for a day such as that fateful one. And, it was by the effort of the lightkeepers that we were saved from the swarm of the sea of death. 

According to one web source, over 3 million shipwrecks are on the ocean floor.  Multiple web sources put the number of alcohol-related deaths at 144,000 per year.  We were on course to be a statistic of wreckage or death.  Like early maritime travelers, we lived in peril, unthinkingly pushing through risky waters.  

Men built Lighthouses to save lives, as guides for dark conditions.  AA founders created a recovery program to do the same. 

The initial message sent by the lighted tower is to “stay alert,” warning us of “potential danger,” and to “be aware.”  But the spire also guides one to the safety of the shore, directing one to “come ..this way.”  AA similarly calls us to be aware and stay alert while guiding us to the security found in practicing its principles in all our affairs.  “..this way” is a program for living that delivers protection and peace.

We can lose sight of the fact that it is not the light of direction that saves but the following of the guidance that rescues and transforms.

The lighthouse's keeper is diligent, resourceful, and wholly equipped to ensure safe entry to the harbor.  They are trained and experienced and exist for the well-being of others.  If this sounds like an AA sponsor, our point was made.  However, as Lea pointed out, as captains of our vessels, it is our responsibility to follow the suggested directions of our Wickie (lightkeeper).

The lighthouse often signifies the end of a journey, spreading the hope that home is just ahead. Thanks to an escorting light called AA, we have found a home. Thanks to a community of keepers, we have avoided the rocks that could have caused despair, devastation, or disaster. 

Today, actual lightkeepers maintain the light station and ensure everything is in good working order. They always keep the boathouse clean, organized, and in good repair. They provide visitors with a tour of the facility as needed and clean dwelling chimneys to prevent fire while also playing a significant role in the search and rescue of the sea. 

We have similar duties as keepers of our sobriety lighthouse.  It is our responsibility, privilege, and honor to keep our eyes on the waters.  We maintain our sobriety and ensure we are in good working order.  We work to keep our side of the street clean, act as tour guides in recovery, and get involved in search and rescue in the name of recovery. 

“I feel that we’re all lighthouses, and my job is to shine my light as brightly as I can to the darkness.”

Jim Carrey.


Thanks to Jim C, Lea M, and Elinor D., and our Wickies, Tim G. and Don R.  While we are at it, thanks to all the lightkeepers of hope and the founding fathers of our lighthouse, AA.

May all our lights shine brightly.



Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast Bonus Drop titled "Recovery Treatment - Defined - Expert Matt Goff Joins - Care Addiction Center”… The session dropped on 2/13/2022….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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