Have we alcoholics in A.A. got, or can we get, the resources to meet these calamities which come to so many? These are the problems of life which we could never face up to. Can we now, with the help of God as we understand Him, handle them as well and as bravely as our non-alcoholic friends often do? Can we transform these calamities into assets, sources of growth and comfort to ourselves and those about us? Well, we surely have a chance if we switch from “two-stepping” to “twelve-stepping,” if we are willing to receive that grace of God which can sustain and strengthen us in any catastrophe.
Can we handle them as well as our non-alcoholic friends often do? Often, we can handle them much much better than non-alcoholics. I am certain of that.
The resources to meet calamities are awesome things. The steps and the people of AA are truly wonderful resources. For me it’s terribly true that when I was drinking, I couldn’t face up to the problems of life. I also had a really difficult time of it when life was basically problem-free. Now I’ve learned a new way of life, and it does help me meet calamities.
A truly inspiring man in my local AA area lost his wife recently. They drank together and got sober together and had a scary story. She died young, and I often look at him and wonder how he copes with it. The other night at a meeting he expressed that things always turn out OK for him. I can’t imagine how it seems that way to him, yet I know it does. He is one power of example and potential source of hope and strength for me, and there are so many others.
Finally, the “grace of God” is an AA phrase that I have a bit of a problem with. I don’t know why God’s grace should be given to me, and not to someone else. There are more deserving people, maybe, but shouldn’t we just all be recipients of God’s grace?
The last line expresses my best way to comprehend this concept. “If we are willing to receive that grace of God.” For as long as I fought the program or continued to drink and do it my way, I was not willing to receive the grace of God that was there. It reminds me of that story where a woman is on her roof during a flood waiting for rescue. She turns away the boat and the helicopter because she’s waiting for God to save her. She dies, and then asks God why he didn’t save her. God replies that he sent a boat and a helicopter for her.
So I make some small sense of it that way, that people who continue to suffer are often closed to the help that is offered. But I’m afraid that in some ways, some people aren’t capable of receiving or using the help. Then God’s grace bestowed on me but not them fails to make sense for me again. And yet again, we are not always sustained and strengthened in any catastrophe. There comes for many people circumstances that they simply, really, totally, just cannot handle, whether open to God’s grace or not.