When I was new, I was luck in the fact that I did not have anywhere else to go. AA was the last house on the block. So when a guy got up and shared his experience, strength, and hope, and shared openly and honestly about his feelings, I had never heard anybody do that before in my life. Not like that. I had never heard anybody talk that way about those things. He had the whole room captivated, I mean, the audience was with that guy, they were with him; I didn’t know it at the time, but so was I. There is something interesting that happens when alcoholics and addicts hear the truth through other people, we may not like it, but when you tell us the truth, we hear it. We know the truth. We may not like it. We may not admit to it, but we know. At that moment, in that meeting, I knew that guy from the podium was telling the truth. He was talking about how he’d get up in the morning with thoughts in his head all day that he did not want. Oh wow, I thought, it is like this guy has been reading my mail!
He shared how we worked the twelve steps as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and he had a spiritual experience as a direct result of doing that. He’d been relieved of the greater aspect of his illness when the obsession of the mind and those thoughts were removed from him. He said he was walking the earth a free man for the first time. That sounded so good to me, and gave me hope, because I wake up in the morning and that “committee” happens in my head. I get scared by the things that are going on in my own head. When I get frightened, my defects of character just start flying around the room. Anyways, if you want to try to find a different way to live, here’s the thing that’s amazing; if you want to try to find a way to be comfortable sober, they have a plan. You know what is amazing, I’ve been sober and I’ve been comfortable both at the same time! That’s what they’re professing, and what I’ve come to understand this whole thing is about.
Getting sober with the twelve steps is not about stopping drinking, that is really not what this is about. Heck, I’ve stopped drinking thousands of times. This is about. “How do I stay stopped?” The only way a guy like me is going to stay stopped, is if I can feel comfortable being clean and sober. There’s only one way to do that. I have to be relieved of the obsession of the mind. I have to get the beast off of me. I can’t have that beast whispering in my ear day in and day out, because sooner or later the planets are going to line up and that is when I will drink again. So I have got to do the whole deal. I can’t just go to meetings. I know lots of people who do that, and don’t get it. I didn’t go for any little bitty baby buzz out there when I was using and drinking. I am sure as heck not going for a little one in here in sobriety.
In AA, we have the circle and triangle symbol. People tell me it is an ancient spiritual symbol that stands for mind, body, and spirit brought together as a whole human being; therein is the balance. I’ve sought that my whole life and Alcoholics Anonymous adopted that as symbol! That unity is what we do here, the same stuff. In AA, they just say unity, service, and recovery.