The “We” of the Program

I know some brave souls have to do AA pretty much alone.  I would suggest that no one actually does it completely alone.  If a person has the book, or some other sliver of the program, some alcoholic somewhere has reached out to that person, even if the person doing the reaching was in past.  But I can’t begin to imagine how people do it without help.

It also sounds so much dumber to me since the invention of the Wii when people say, “My We.”  That gets said a lot around the meetings I go to.  I’m sure that for me personally, my experience is highly influenced by my highly social wife, Carole.  I’m really glad I had twelve sober years behind me before I met her or I’d have serious questions about my ability to socialize and get help in AA on my own.  Happily I had a good support system I’d developed, all on my own, and I’m still in touch with two of the people from those very olden days.

But now.  It is one of the huge, unduplicatable strengths of AA that we help each other.  I read something the other day that commented that our “self-help” program consists of members who are completely powerless – yet we can help each other in a way no book, no doctor, no drug or fee-for-service program can.

The people of AA showed me that I was powerless when the words of the book couldn’t penetrate my denial.  It was like I was fighting the weather.  Like I was using all my might to change the weather.  Once I accepted that I was powerless to change the weather, I could learn ways to cope with it and love it and thrive in it rather than beating my brains out trying to fight it.

I didn’t go to many paid professionals before I got sober (and not many after), but none of them could help me see the light the way someone who had been there could.  So that initial “we” was crucial to my recovery.

Since then, the people have been, for me, a necessary tool to work my warped psyche around the problems and joys of every day life.  It has been inevitable that when I’ve turned to them, I’ve gotten the help I needed and avoided alcohol.

If I drink, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to stop again.  I don’t know if, in that first half hour, I will kill myself or drive and car and kill or injure innocent others.

A woman was at our meeting last night.  She was back after having had seven years and going out.  She didn’t say much about how she slipped, but she didn’t say she had turned to anyone else in recovery before she drank.  She was in very bad shape but she was at a meeting.  She has another chance and it takes my breath away.  It also saves my life.


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