The sponsor continues, “Take, for example, my owncase. I had a scientific schooling. Naturally I respected,venerated, even worshiped science. As a matter of fact, Istill do—all except the worship part. Time after time, my
instructors held up to me the basic principle of all scientific progress: search and research, again and again, always
with the open mind. When I first looked at A.A. my reaction was just like yours. This A.A. business, I thought,is totally unscientific. This I can’t swallow. I simply won’tconsider such nonsense.“Then I woke up. I had to admit that A.A. showed results, prodigious results. I saw that my attitude regardingthese had been anything but scientific. It wasn’t A.A. thathad the closed mind, it was me. The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and feel. Right there, Step Twogently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life. I can’tsay upon what occasion or upon what day I came to believein a Power greater than myself, but I certainly have thatbelief now. To acquire it, I had only to stop fighting andpractice the rest of A.A.’s program as enthusiastically asI could . . . “
I knew I was going to write about this and I wanted to go beyond my own experience a bit. I was very young when I first went to AA. I was very anti-higher power, and my experience can be found within the history of this blog. I Googled around a little and read explanations of how Bill W took the Christianity of the Oxford Group and expanded upon it for us alcoholics. Magic.
Then I traced the links in my blog’s stats. This lead me to a blog I didn’t recognize, and it seems I commented about six months ago to someone who was writing about being send to AA by her therapist. She had found the meeting to be OK and was going to look into agnostic groups in AA. She lived in one of the biggest cities in the world and had those available to her. Someone else in the comments had said that she had thought about looking into AA but the higher power concept was keeping her out. She didn’t believe in a higher anything. I followed that link to her blog and found that a few days ago, she had written in utter despair. Life terrible. Finances terrible, family terrible, mental state terrible. Really terrible.
I don’t know what it was in me that let me continue in AA despite my antagonism toward the higher power concept. Immediately the people there told me my higher power did not have to be “God.” I understood pretty quickly that if I just could not accept that there was anyone or anything higher than me, well, I had problems other than alcohol for sure. It makes me so sad that people will sink beyond despair and lives terrible, desperate lives rather than just giving the program and the concepts a chance. Nothing to lose. Nothing!
I don’t know many people who venerate science but I know quite a few who don’t believe in God. The active alcoholic has just got to accept direction from somewhere, from someone, from something, or she is sure to get worse. I know there are exceptions but I generally find AAs to be gentle about this part of the program and welcoming to unbelievers. I’m sure many such unbelievers try and reject AA but hey, at least they have demonstrated to themselves and to others that they were willing to try.
I hope the blogger I wrote of does try AA and I hope she succeeds at it. I understand, in the way only an alcoholic can, the feeling of choosing complete misery and failure over making an effort to live life on a spiritual basis. I really do.