All of us who make it through the door on any given day have won to some degree. It’s advice for newcomers, to stick with the winners. AA has many a winning loser who can lead the impressionable new person astray.
What is it about being new that makes us seek out the other new people for advice and comfort? I don’t remember doing this in AA, but I know I did it when I was new to my job. I guess I was new in AA for so very long that I was old. In so many ways it is the blind leading the blind, and it’s probably pride in reverse that keeps us from asking the experienced, successful people for help.
To me, the winners have
- a love of AA that keeps them coming
- a program that continues to get deeper and more meaningful
- a plan for adversity
- a long sober history
- a grasp of the basics
- humility that results in them not lamenting what has become of AA and longing for the good old days
- a meaningful life, probably successful, though maybe not
As regular AA members, though, not newcomers, I know that we stick with the losers as well. I’ve wondered, especially as the years go by and as we see people struggle and fail and struggled and fail. What makes someone a winner or, more precisely, what turns a loser into a winner? If I could only say that phrase that would make it turn for some of these people. I come back to surrender. It took a tremendous beating for me to surrender. After they drink, it always seems that these folks did not in fact surrender.
And so the paradox. The winners have surrendered.