from the San Diego AA Coordinator, May 2020

But wait, there’s more? I’d guess that’s probably what most people feel, hear, and experience when they get past Step Four (as if that Step isn’t enough).

Let’s assume for a moment that you do a thorough searching and fearless moral inventory. Coffee stained steno pad, a box of tissues used up and your writing hand is cramped and strained beyond measure. You’ve reread your list, weighed your defects against what you perceive is normal, and found yourself shell-shocked and completely drained. Lacking in humanity and petrified that you will drink.

Now what? Say these things out loud? To another human being? A live, breathing one, we ask? Can’t take this to the beach or the mountains and read it to the ether and call it good? Dang!

The Big Book and the 12&12 line out the potential consequences of doing it our way. We might have to make multiple attempts at cleaning up the murky aquarium mess of our past behaviors. We might be wise to remember that “past” is as recent as a moment ago. Not just ten years ago, one year ago or last month. If we drank for decades, we might have to dig a bit more; yet we ask for the willingness to use an emotional shovel that will mine peace at the end of the dig. Here we aren’t asking to be stripped of all responsibility or consequence, rather than find a new depth of personal acceptance.

Now the breathing part of whom do we trust? A sponsor or clergy? Someone else in the program we believe is closed-mouthed? We are careful not to box ourselves into what we should do, because every circumstance is a little different. As the book says, we do it.

Stop there. “We do it.” We decide and make a date and show up and say the words and breathe—in and out. We have written our truth to the best of our ability (in the moment) and now it is going to come out in myriad ways. Say a little prayer and remember this is one more step on the road to recovery. Not the end.

Dear Higher Power, please help me to live in “what’s now” and “what’s true,” rather than “what’s next” and “what if.” Thy will be done. Move on. Keep it simple. We deserve sobriety and peace and the chance to heal.

Anna O.