“The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it-by the alcohol route. And we weren’t successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. . . . There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone.”
— DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, p. 308
The simplicity of the A.A. program teaches me that happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others. In offering my hand to the newcomer or to someone who has relapsed, I find that my own sobriety has been recharged with indescribable gratitude and happiness.
Happiness comes from within you. Treat others with respect and work on your defects for happiness and wholeness.
Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.’s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p, 24
Hitting bottom opened my mind and I became willing to try something different. What I tried was A.A. My new life in the Fellowship was a little like learning how to ride a bike for the first time: A.A. became my training wheelsandmy supporting hand. It’s not that I wanted the help so much at the time; I simply did not want to hurt like that again. My desire to avoid hitting bottom again was more powerful than my desire to drink. In the beginning that was what kept me sober. But after a while I found myself working the Steps to the best of my ability. I soon realized that my attitudes and actions were changing—if ever so slightly. One Day at a Time, I became comfortable with myself, and others, and my hurting started to heal. Thank God for the training wheels and supporting hand that I choose to call Alcoholics Anonymous.
With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 567-68
From my first days in A.A., as I struggled for sobriety, I found hope in these words from our founders. I often pondered the phrase: “they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource.” How, I asked myself, can I find the Power within myself, since I am so powerless? In time, as the founders promised, it came to me: I have always had the choice between goodness and evil, between unselfishness and selfishness, between serenity and fear. That Power greater than myself is an original gift that I did not recognize until I achieved daily sobriety through living A.A.’s Twelve Steps.
He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being.— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 107
Many of us in A.A. puzzle over what is a spiritual awakening. I tended to look for a miracle, something dramatic and earth-shattering. But what usually happens is that a sense of well-being, a feeling of peace, transforms us into a new level of awareness. That’s what happened to me. My insanity and inner turmoil disappeared and I entered into a new dimension of hope, love and peace. I think the degree to which I continue to experience this new dimension is in direct proportion to the sincerity, depth and devotion with which I practice the Twelve Steps of A.A.
If you stay sober long enough and work the 12-steps you will stop looking at the world through a myopic lens and you will start looking in the mirror, at least I started too. Some may think I’m still in active addiction beause I have changed, thats erroneous. I just keep my head down and do the work every single day. Now I am reaping the ultimate benefits of my labor.
A.A. is more than a set of principles; it is a society of alcoholics in action. We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven’t been given the truth may die.— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 13
I desperately wanted to live, but if I was to succeed, I had to become active in our God-given program. I joined what became my group, where I opened the hall, made coffee, and cleaned up. I had been sober about three months when an oldtimer told me I was doing Twelfth-Step work. What a satisfying realization that was! I felt I was really accomplishing something. God had given me a second chance, A.A. had shown me the way, and these gifts were not only free—they were also priceless! Now the joy of seeing newcomers grow reminds me of where I have come from, where I am now, and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. I need to attend meetings because they recharge my batteries so that I have light when it’s needed. I’m still a beginner in service work, but already I am receiving more than I’m giving. I can’t keep it unless I give it away. I am responsible when another reaches out for help. I want to be there—sober.