from the May 1996 San Diego A.A. Coordinator Newsletter

Having Returned from a ten-day vacation, my wife and I were greeted with an enormous crop of weeds in our yard. Many of these weeds were several feet high. Among other things the weeds had completely blocked the view of several rose bushes we have growing along a side fence. Viewing the mess, I could only see the vagrant weeds encroaching upon what was once a yard we had been proud of.

My wife acted first, digging out the weeds — roots and all. I took the “Home Improvement” approach – reviving the weed eater from the garage and mixing up the appropriate weed killing chemicals. As we removed the unsightly weeds from our yard, we discovered that the rose bushes had several flowers; petunias were growing from under the dead growth that covered them; daffodils had sprung up amongst a particularly heavy growth of dandelions; brilliant red carnations were just beginning their own season of color. Over the course of a week, our yard began to take on an appearance we again could be proud of.

It occurred to me my personal program of growth and recovery is very similar to my efforts as a gardener. All plants grow, both flowers and weeds, given the right amount of sun and water. So too, will my character traits, both defects and virtues. Although virtues may develop, my character defects also grow unchecked, easily overshadowing and blocking the nutrients these virtues need for healthy growth. As with my garden, I must develop a character as free as possible from defects in order for my virtues to grow and blossom.

Our yard is not free from weeds, nor will it ever be. They are under control though, and I’m reminded of the phrase, ‘progress not perfection.’ In order to keep the weeds in check, I must embark on a daily program of cultivating the plants I want to grow and blossom. Similarly, my growth in recovery can be nurtured and developed into something I can be proud of: a program useful to others. Instead of a weed-eater and chemicals, I can use the tools of meetings, steps and prayer to ensure my garden blooms with the flowers of AA.

– Jim C., San Diego