Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottomfirst? The answer is that few people will sincerely try topractice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom.For practicing A.A.’s remaining eleven Steps means theadoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholicwho is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes tobe rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confesshis faults to another and make restitution for harm done?Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alonemeditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energyin trying to carry A.A.’s message to the next sufferer? No,the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’tcare for this prospect—unless he has to do these things inorder to stay alive himself.
That’s how it was for me. I did many of the things that AA told me to do when I first darkened its doors, but I didn’t work a step. Now I see people time and time and time again begin and fade away because they haven’t hit bottom. Bad things have happened to them, but nothing bad enough, not yet.
The simple program, and the simple beginning of “don’t drink and go to meetings” does turn out to be a very – not complicated, but extensive – way to live life. For me I truly believe I wouldn’t have lived much longer if I hadn’t stopped drinking, and I had to know that in order to make a true beginning on adopting those new attitudes and actions. So finally self-centeredness and a will to live that is maybe just a tiny bit bigger than the will to die saved my day. Every day in AA we sadly watch people who haven’t suffered enough to work the program suffer more, and hope they get it before it gets them.