from the San Diego AA Coordinator, March, 2020

Why the program of Alcoholics Anonymous works so well, on the disease of alcoholism, is hard to fathom when we first come into AA. Most of us are conflicted when confronted with the idea that our perception of life had been all wrong from the very start. Issues like, Faith, Higher Power, Insanity, Surrender, Denial, Guilt, Shame etc. had to be revisited to see where our past thinking had let us down. We realize that we have painted ourselves into the corner of life, and if we’re lucky, we become open to the idea that we may have to seek outside help if we want to have any chance of a normal life.

When we go through this process, in the spirit that it is presented, in The Big Book, and the 12X12, wonderful things happen for us. I find it much easier to look back at the way the AA program has worked for me, than it was when I first entered the program and tried to look forward and perceive how it was going to influence every facet of my life in a wondrous way. I wish there was a way to package it and give it away but as I look back on my own experience in AA and realize how each of us are conditioned differently, I know that, not all of us can envision what the end result will be, for if they did, they would cut right to the chase and never look back.

In the beginning we usually spend most of our time coming to terms with the most obvious symptom of alcoholism: the drinking. I was no exception. Unfortunately, many of us never get deeper into the program, where most of the healing takes place. For those of us that do come to realize that happiness and, more importantly, peace of mind, are the things that are lacking in our lives and to acquire them, we must get serious and dig deeper into the process that lead to these qualities.

This does not mean that we will not experience joy and peace until we complete the process? Not at all, for every time we uncover another piece of the puzzle that barred us from being at peace with ourselves, it allows us to free up that part of our mind that has been wrestling with that issue and we can finally put it to rest. The day to day improvement in our own self esteem will be reward enough to inspire (inspirit) us to address the next issue that needs our attention, and one by one we resolve these matters as we Trudge the Road 0f Happy Destiny.

Another thing that seems to be a natural result as we navigate this approach is that, with this new awareness, we refrain from making the regretful mistakes of the past that caused our discontent in the first place. Replacing the wrongs with the rights, you might say, doubles the pace of our growth. We only live once and it would be a shame to spend it with that awful mental grinding that goes on between our ears, when the solution is right before our eyes, and if we continue to spend all of our mental energy obsessing on the “not drinking one day at a time” we can do this for years and then, one day, just pick up that drink. A drink has no appeal to alcoholics who are at peace with themselves and with others. Why waste the only life we have, when the answers are laid there at our feet?

Don’t get stuck in the rut of complacency. Trust this process and ask yourself if you’ve been thorough with all twelve of the steps and if not, I recommend that you revisit those loose ends and deal with them. Give this a try, and I guarantee that, you won’t regret it.

Rick R.