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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Where is our filter?

We wake up each morning feeling afresh and crystal clear about the day’s endless possibilities and what a difference sobriety makes. We used to wake up murky and digest more murk, thinking the water would clear.

These days we operate like working filtered water mechanisms. Always fresh. Always clean. Always crisp.

The operative word here is filtered. We have learned through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that one cannot stagnate lest the water gets murky. To sustain clear water, the filter structure has to be well-designed, functioning, and properly maintained. Any shortcomings in these areas will cause erosion of water quality.


n a standard pool filtration system, there is the filter, the skimmer, the main drain, the returns, pipes and valves, the heater, and chemical feeders. AA has a process, sponsors, accountability, support, and an excess of tools and techniques.

We will do our best to develop a compelling thought that can work for anybody focusing on the three fundamentals:


AA is a design for living, and its instruction manual is found in the first 164 pages of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. From these pages, precise guidance is given. The textbook, which has sold over 30 million copies, is as much about better living as it is about understanding alcoholism. Millions have used this direction to shape and then fulfill a rewarding lifestyle.

Principles of honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, love, discipline, patience, perseverance, awareness, and service are the pieces that make up this extraordinary design.

With this design, we can step confidently toward taking water.


This is where the water begins to flow. You monitor each function and tweak what needs to be tweaked. This is when the phrase” it works if you work it” comes in. Usually, for best results, filters are run around the clock. There is no let-up. It is best left to an expert to ensure the pump functions correctly. In the case of our spiritually-centered program, this expert would be found in the form of a qualified higher power.

The bigger the pool, the more critical it is to oversee the system properly. And, left to our simple hand, things could get out of control in a hurry, so it's important to remember that “to keep control is to give control.”

So, once you have a qualified pump manager, you can get on the task of adequately maintaining the device.


As parts of our fictitious pumping make-up get old, elements can become worn out or untethered; To restore the pump’s integrity, you go back to design and fix what needs to be fixed—constantly deferring to the instructions (first 164 pages) and the “pump manager” (higher power).

Exceptional water quality is always the goal, so we spare no expense or no amount of effort to keep our system finetuned. Sponsors are usually the best at identifying potential problem zones before they become problematic. Meetings with other AA members are also constructive in identifying areas of concern.

Routine maintenance activities could include:

· Morning and bedtime prayer

· Daily Devotional reading and meditation

· Practicing step 10 throughout the day

· helping another alcoholic

· Serving your family and community

We will expound on these in future writings, but they're self-explanatory as they read.

And remember to check on your pump multiple times throughout the day though it will be apparent by the color of the water that other things are running.

Here's to happy pumping!


Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast #6 titled Step 5 - Admitted to God, To Ourselves... and to Another Human Being The podcast dropped on 5/12/2021. 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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