Maybe this all sounds mysterious and remote, something like Einstein’s theory of relativity or a proposition in nuclear physics. It isn’t at all. Let’s look at how practical it actually is. Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? Already a willingness has been achieved to cast out one’s own will and one’s own ideas about the alcohol problem in favor of those suggested by A.A. Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one’s will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?
So here possibly lies some of the key to my early chronic relapsing. It took me six years of drinking and attending AA to finally achieve a sobriety that would last. I didn’t feel AA was a safe harbor. Although I believed that the sober members were telling me the truth. I believed they had been just like me and that through following the program they had achieved sobriety, I was not completely sure that I could. And I held on to a tiny straw of hope, for the longest time, that although I knew I was alcoholic and that alcoholism always gets worse, I would learn to drink successfully. So I didn’t entirely give my will concerning alcohol to AA. Almost all matters, but not completely all. And I did intend to stick.
Now I’m writing this blog with 32 years of sobriety and counting. I want to work and rework these principles in my current, sober life. I suffer still from many disturbances of my peace of mind. They are nothing like they used to be, and when I was drinking that disturbance was quickly bringing me to my death. No, sobriety gets better and sobriety is worth it. If I didn’t have sobriety, I wouldn’t have the life nor the ability to grapple with my current state of mind.
Day to day, alcohol is not an issue for me. Character defects are. I cannot completely surrender and abstain from anger and fear, anxiety and jealousy the way I can from alcohol. There is no religion that would guide me thoroughly enough to give the rest of my life over to it. There is in me, after all the time, still the hope and faith that by continuing with the program I will continue to improve. Just grappling with this one paragraph of this one step of this one book has hopefully brought me closer to that ideal me I want to be. Maybe this is mysterious – impossible to explain.