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Grapevine : July 2011
A n agnostic walk- ing into their first meeting of Al- coholics Anony- mous is already struggling with numerous, seem- ingly unconquerable barriers before being hit with the idea that they must surrender their life and their will over to the care of a Higher Power. In this sense, it is perhaps fortunate that, for many a defiant drunk, Alco- holics Anonymous is the last stop in a long road of failure and disappoint- ment. Many of us were willing to try anything and, as I've often heard in meetings, "If the word God chases you out of your seat, master alcohol will surely chase you back into it." At 40 years old, I am grateful for three years of sobriety, despite first raising my hand as a newcomer a week following my seventeenth birthday. I fought accepting my disease more than half my life. The crux of my struggle lay firmly on the acceptance of a power greater than myself. I'd attempted religion, ruminated on enlightenment and defiantly proclaimed my disbelief. I lacked the key ingredient Bill W. regards as quintessential to our recovery, humility. In As Bill Sees It, he states, "All AA progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these mag- nificent standards." Luckily, in "How It Works" Bill also reminds us, "We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection." Even now, as I contemplate humility and how to practice this principle in all my af- fairs, my ego is entertaining the fan- tasy that my musings herein will be so revealing, so inspired, I will revo- lutionize how doctors and profes- sionals in the medical field will ap- proach and treat the alcoholic mind. Perhaps I should just keep com- ing back. Looking back on my first round of sobriety at an adolescent recovery center, I distinctly remember latch- ing onto one of the catch-phrases I heard at a meeting: "I felt as though I had a God-sized hole and was des- perately trying to fill it with alco- hol." The "God-sized hole" said it all. It's taken me a long time to finally figure out what exactly is required to fill a hole of that size. After trying just about everything imaginable, I became willing to accept and sur- render my life and will to the care of a Higher Power of my own un- derstanding, one that I comfortably refer to now as God. During my quest, there were times when I could admit the exis- tence of an omniscient force, some all-seeing celestial entity binding all creatures and matter in some cha- PHOTO BY BOB aagrapevine.org 51