Near the end of that bleak November, I sat drinking in my kitchen. With a certain satisfaction I reflected there was enough gin concealed about the house to carry me through that night and the next day. My wife was at work. I wondered whether I dared hide a full bottle of gin near the head of our bed. I would need it before daylight.
My musing was interrupted by the telephone. The cheery voice of an old school friend asked if he might come over. He was sober. It was years since I could remember his coming to New York in that condition. I was amazed. Rumor had it that he had been committed for alcoholic insanity. I wondered how he had escaped. Of course he would have dinner, and then I could drink openly with him. Unmindful of his welfare, I thought only of recapturing the spirit of other days. There was that time we had chartered an airplane to complete a jag! His coming was an oasis in this dreary desert of futility. The very thing—an oasis! Drinkers are like that.
The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different. What had happened?
I pushed a drink across the table. He refused it. Disappointed but curious, I wondered what had got into the fellow. He wasn’t himself.
“Come, what’s all this about?’’ I queried.
He looked straight at me. Simply, but smilingly, he said, “I’ve got religion.’’~Big Book pp.8-9
My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?’’
That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.
It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend.
Would I have it? Of course I would! ~ Big Book p.12
This is a great reading. It means a lot to me because it demonstrates some of the fucking crazy behaviors and thoughts that alcoholics like myself can have and how quickly we seek to disappear into old habits, even willing to turn another’s success into an excuse to continue or exaggerate our awful behavior.
The end is very important to me. It says it later in the chapter to agnostics but I don’t have to understand God, or know God or even believe in God for this program to work. All I have to do is be willing to believe that there is something out there more powerful than myself and good shit will start happening. Change comes.
I didn’t return to my faith in the rooms, I came back to it before going into AA. I truly believe that it was my Higher Power, whom I sometimes refer to as God that sent me back to AA.
I was sent back because though I had stopped drinking years before I was still an alcoholic with an alcoholics fucked up thinking and behaviors. In fact my life was more unmanageable without drinking than it was with drinking. I was destroying my life and the lives of those around me.
I returned to God in desperation. I knew I was on the verge of losing my wife and children, my family and friends….I was on the edge of the abyss and I saw it. I prayed for help. “God Help Me” and I submitted myself to whatever it was that was out there.
Things improved. Sometimes slowly and sometimes drastically, but my life got better. Have I done it perfectly? No. I am imperfect. I am a work in progress. I learn more everyday from everyone I encounter. Inside the rooms and outside. From people working the program and people in the grasp of whatever demons hunt them.
The point is, if you are in need help is available. From God, a Higher Power, a friend, a neighbor or a room full of complete strangers who just might have been through some of the things you have been through, and guess what? They just might have felt the same way you felt and found a way out. You can too. Maybe on your own, but it’s much more likely with others.
That’s why I keep coming back.