M(3), 3/31: Remembering From Whence We Came
Page from a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous
All I can say is this: I hope everyone is feeling better than I am this beautiful Monday morning, because I seem to have contracted the dreaded stomach bug that is flying around my part of the world. All I can say is: IT BETTER FLY BACK OUT OF ME IN THE NEXT THREE DAYS!!!
Alright, enough complaining. The literature selection from today’s meeting was a story from the book Alcoholics Anonymous, entitled “He Sold Himself Short.” Fun fact for those who regularly study the Big Book: In the chapter “To the Family Afterwards,” there is a paragraph about a man who had some time sober, and whose wife wouldn’t stop nagging him about his smoking and coffee drinking. To spite her he opted to drink again. The author of “He Sold Himself Short” and the man who drank “at” his wife for nagging are one in the same!
This story is chock full of interesting and relatable facts, even though it was written 75 years ago. He talks about the merry-go-round of years he spent alternately drinking himself into oblivion, drying himself out, and starting all over again. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in identifying with this part of the story.
The author of the story joined AA when it was a fledgling organization; in fact, the Big Book had not yet been written, the 12 steps were a mere 6, and the only meetings to be found were in Akron, Ohio. As he lived in Chicago, this involved quite a bit of commuting, and amazing hospitality from his friends in the fellowship. Reading about the lengths people went to back then to get and stay sober made every single person in the meeting this morning, myself included, very grateful for the ease and convenience we are afforded today to attend 12-step meetings. I believe I could find a meeting on the hour, every hour, of every day, if I needed one, and I have pioneers like the author of this story to thank for that.
He writes about his initial resistance to the idea of joining this motley crew of sober men:
“…and besides, I reasoned, they were much worse off than I would ever be… So I told Dad that I would lick it on my own, that I would drink nothing for a month and after that only beer.”
-Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 260
Check, check, check, to this rationale. For years I was certain, as certain as the sun coming up each day, that the people in the rooms of any 12-step fellowship were “way worse off” than I would ever be. And that thinking kept me in active addiction for years longer than I needed to be. But that small but profound shift in thinking, from “I am not like them” to “what do we have in common,” opened up my mind in ways I never thought possible, and I am still learning something new every day!
Here is my favorite paragraph from the story:
This latest part of my life has had a purpose, not in great things accomplished but in daily living. Courage to face each day has replaced the fears and uncertainties of earlier years. Acceptance of things as they are has replaced the old impatient champing at the bit to conquer the world. I have stopped tilting at windmills and, instead, have tried to accomplish the little daily tasks, unimportant in themselves, but tasks that are an integral part of living fully.
-Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 266
That paragraph, written so many decades ago by a man whose life and history bear such little resemblance to my own, sums up perfectly how I feel about my life in recovery.
The long-awaited, much talked about trip is in three days! I hope everyone has a spectacular week, and I will write again when I return!
Posted on March 31, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged 12 step program, AA, Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Big Book, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Sobriety, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.