The “Big Book” of Alcoholic Anonymous is like the Bible to most religions… it is more or less the foundation of the program. The first half of the book spells out the 12 steps in detail, and the second half of the book has about 46 different stories from recovering alcoholics.
I attend a Big Book meeting once a week, which means we read one of the stories from the second half of the book and then discuss the relevance of the story to our lives. Since I have been clean and sober for 68 days, that amounts to approximately 9 different meetings where we read stories. In the past 9 weeks, I have read one story, entitled “Acceptance is the Answer” 4 out of the 9 times. Since I now believe that “there are no coincidences,” I have to take it as a sign that I need to work on acceptance. My favorite part of the story reads as follows:
Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accepted life on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.
-pg. 417, Alcoholics Anonymous
It would be recreating the wheel to try to improve on that paragraph. I have found myself reaching for the Big Book several times over the last 68 days when life events that have nothing to do with recovery are weighing me down… family conflicts, marital discord, kid stress… and reading the paragraph above to refocus my thoughts. Instead of complaining about what’s wrong with the people around me, I try to focus on what I can change within me.