“THE ROOT OF OUR TROUBLES”
“Selfishness — self-centeredness! That we think, is the root of our troubles.”–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62
How amazing the revelation that the world, and everyone in it, can get along just fine with or without me. What a relief to know that people, places and things will be perfectly okay without my control and direction. And how wordlessly wonderful to come to believe that a power greater than me exists separate and apart from myself. I believe that the feeling of separation I experience between me and God will one day vanish. In the meantime, faith must serve as the pathway to the center of my life.
A GLORIOUS RELEASE
“The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and feel. Right there, Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life. I can’t say upon what occasion or upon what day I came to believe in a Power Greater than myself, but I certainly have that belief now. To acquire it, I had only to stop fighting and practice the rest of A.A.’s program as enthusiastically as I could.”–TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 27
After years of indulging in a “self-will run riot,” Step Two became for me a glorious release from being all alone. Nothing is so painful or insurmountable in my journey now. Someone is always there to share life’s burdens with me. Step Two became a reinforcement with God, and now I realize that my insanity and ego were curiously linked. To rid myself of the former, I must give up the latter to one with far broader shoulders than my own.
WHEN FAITH IS MISSING
“Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or rejected faith than those who never had any faith at all, for they think they have tried faith and found it wanting. They have tried the way of faith and the way of no faith.”–TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28
I was so sure God had failed me that I became ultimately defiant, though I knew better, and plunged into a final drinking binge. My faith turned bitter and that was no coincidence. Those who once had great faith hit bottom harder. It took time to rekindle my faith, though I came to A.A. I was grateful intellectually to have survived such a great fall, but my heart felt callous. Still, I stuck with the A.A. program; the alternatives were too bleak! I kept coming back and gradually my faith was resurrected.
FILLING THE VOID
“We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.”–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 47
I was always fascinated with the study of scientific principles. I was emotionally and physically distant from people while I pursued Absolute Knowledge. God and spirituality were meaningless academic exercises. I was a modern man of science, knowledge was my Higher Power. Given the right set of equations, life was merely another problem to solve. Yet my inner self was dying from my outer man’s solution to life’s problems and the solution was alcohol. In spite of my intelligence, alcohol became my Higher Power. It was through the unconditional love which emanated from A.A. people and meetings that I was able to discard alcohol as my Higher Power. The great void was filled. I was no longer lonely and apart from life. I had found a true power greater than myself, I had found God’s love. There is only one equation which really matters to me now: God is in A.A.
RESCUED BY SURRENDERING
“Characteristic of the so-called typical alcoholic is a narcissistic egocentric core, dominated by feelings of omnipotence, intent on maintaining at all costs its inner integrity. . . . Inwardly the alcoholic brooks no control from man or God. He, the alcoholic, is and must be the master of his destiny. He will fight to the end to preserve that position.”–AA Comes of Age, p. 311
The great mystery is: “Why do some of us die alcoholic deaths, fighting to preserve the ‘independence’ of our ego, while others seem to sober up effortlessly in A.A.?” Help from a Higher Power, the gift of sobriety, came to me when an otherwise unexplained desire to stop drinking coincided with my willingness to accept the suggestions of the men and women of A.A. I had to surrender, for only by reaching out to God and my fellows could I be rescued.