I just stared reading The Social World of Alcoholics Anonymous: How It Works by Annette Smith and I’m very intrigued. An introduction or Foreword makes the point that AA is rejected by many people who desperately need it. I care especially about a few of those right now. I was one of those for years. AA literature and experience tells us that AA isn’t for everyone. But experience also tells me that many who continue to reject AA go on to die or worse.
So the advice to “bring the body and the mind will follow,” in other words attend AA meetings and participate in AA activities and eventually (if you’re lucky, I would add) you may find yourself belonging to AA as that greatest dichotomy of my life, a sober alcoholic.
It’s not brainwashing, although I’ll go out on a limb and say that most people who first go to AA could use at least a good brain rinsing. It’s a hope that if you “act as if” (another AA slogan and suggestion) you might actually “get it.” If you hang around a barber shop, you’re likely to get a haircut. If you hang around a bar, you’re likely to drink. And if you hang around AA, you’re maybe not likely but a little bit more so than if you don’t around AA, likely to get sober.
Now today, in my oldtimerness, the problems I tackle are not so desperate and pressing as my need to stop drinking. I know that if I -eat right -exercise -cultivate gratitude -overcome fear and a long list of other things, I will eventually become someone who eats right, exercises, is grateful and unafraid. Those are just examples. Examples for the most part that I succeed in applying a lot better than I used to but really not well enough at all.