“. . . 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.”–Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, pg. 27
“Came to believe!” I gave lip service to my belief when I felt like it or when I thought it would look good. I didn’t really trust God. I didn’t believe He cared for me. I kept trying to change things I couldn’t change. Gradually, in disgust, I began to turn it all over, saying: “You’re so omnipotent, you take care of it.” He did. I began to receive answers to my deepest problems, sometimes at the most unusual times: driving to work, eating lunch, or when I was sound asleep. I realized that I hadn’t thought of those solutions —a Power greater than myself had given them to me. I came to believe.
FREEDOM FROM . . . FREEDOM TO
“We are going to know a new freedom. . . .”–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 83
Freedom for me is both freedom from and freedom to. The first freedom I enjoy is freedom from the slavery of alcohol. What a relief! Then I begin to experience freedom from fear — fear of people, of economic insecurity, of commitment, of failure, of rejection. Then I enjoy freedom to — freedom to choose sobriety for today, freedom to be myself, freedom to express my opinion, to experience peace of mind, to love and be loved, and freedom to grow spiritually. But how can I achieve these freedoms? The Big Book clearly says that before I am halfway through making amends, I will begin to know a “new” freedom; not the old freedom of doing what I pleased, without regard to others, but the new freedom that allows fulfillment of the promises in my life. What a joy to be free!
THE JOY OF SHARING
“Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89
To know that each newcomer with whom I share has the opportunity to experience the relief that I have found in the Fellowship fills me with joy and gratitude. I feel that all the things described in A.A. will come to pass for them, as they have for me, if they seize the opportunity and embrace the program fully.
THE TREASURE OF THE PAST
“Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have — the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.”–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 124
What a gift it is for me to realize that all those seemingly useless years were not wasted. The most degrading and humiliating experiences turn out to be the most powerful tools in helping others to recover. In knowing the depths of shame and despair, I can reach out with a loving and compassionate hand, and know that the grace of God is available to me.”
FREEDOM FROM GUILT
“Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the word “blame” from our speech and thought.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 47
When I become willing to accept my own powerlessness, I begin to realize that blaming myself for all the trouble in my life can be an ego trip back into hopelessness. Asking for help and listening deeply to the messages inherent in the Steps and Traditions of the program make it possible to change those attitudes which delay my recovery. Before joining A.A., I had such a desire for approval from people in powerful positions that I was willing to sacrifice myself, and others, to gain a foothold in the world. I invariably came to grief. In the program I find true friends who love, understand, and care to help me learn the truth about myself. With the help of the Twelve Steps, I am also able to build a better life, free of guilt and the need for self-justification.