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Grapevine : January 2011
Am I at long last strong enough to do without believing in some divine force? I decided to give it a try. At any rate, I believed in the power of charity and love. I am positive that believing in love need not be identi- cal with believing in God. Inwardly I have long since aban- doned the idea that some alleged master of the universe cares about my sobriety. But at the same time I know that believing so is of great importance to the sobriety of many alcoholics (as it once was for me). Yet I also remember a deeply believ- ing alcoholic friend being unable to quit the bottle, in spite of countless moving prayers year in and year out for rescue from the boozing habit that ended up killing her ("Saying prayers is a kind of high," she told me). To my mind, her defeat had nothing to do with the lacking grace of God. It was rather due to her lack- ing ability to face her powerlessness against alcohol and to take the con- sequence of that fact. A lot of AA-related texts once gave me the impression that it was virtually impossible for alcoholics to stay sober without believing in God's help. This is not true of me. In my eyes the AA program is a marvel- lous key to sobriety even without the "God part." The two most important Steps in my recovery---Step One and Four---do not utter the word "God". The reference to God in some of the other Steps and in a good many passages in the traditional AA litera- ture does not bother me, seeing that the "God part" helps many of my fel- low sufferers. Concerning the writ- ten word, I'd like to add that my re- covery did not primarily come from reading AA books. My reading was extremely selective, picking up only paragraphs directly useful to me and leaving the rest alone. First and fore- The reference to God in the traditional AA literature does not bother me. My reading was extremely selective, picking up only paragraphs directly useful to me and leaving the rest alone. First and foremost, my sobering up was brought about by listening to fellow sufferers and by sharing my own experiences. 40 January 2011