Hitting bottom wasn’t because of the outside circumstances and conditions of my life like I thought at the time. For me, hitting bottom is an inside job. That’s why those celebrities and millionaires I sponsor hit bottoms just as devastating as those guys on Skid Row I work with. I know that the mentality of the alcoholic is one geared towards selfishness and we can see how far down we went, but sometimes those outside circumstances only enable us to become capable of hitting bottom; in and of themselves, they are not the bottom though. If you think outside circumstances are what defines your bottom, I got news for you, here in recovery, you still may bottom out and get sicker and sicker and sicker if you do not work a program. This is why step 1 is so important, and understanding what it means so we can be restored to sanity.
When I hit bottom, it was on the inside, and I was helpless and hopeless. I knew I had an illness. I was powerless over alcohol, but it wasn’t powerless over me, that is for sure. It could, and did, kick my butt. I was powerless over it. I was completely devastated and I thought it was just as simple as “not drinking.” That’s why I know today that I can’t just “not drink” simply because I want to stop. I have tried, I simply can’t “not drink.” Just because I have a desire not to drink, it will not work out, I would always drink again. But the good news is that having a desire not to drink is the only requirement for membership in AA; you still can’t rely on it to keep you sober though. So even if there is a desire to quit, it is unreliable because the disease I have is more powerful than my desire not to drink.
All we have is today in this beautiful world. The books says, “We feel elimination of a drink is only a beginning,” a far greater demonstration of our lies in our homes, occupations, and affairs. So yes, we obviously have to stop drinking; and one day at a time is how we do it. Now we are looking to be restored to sanity. What does that mean? Well I’d been locked up many times in my life, I’ve been in asylums, I’ve been chained down and ostracized from society, shot up with tranquilizers and zapped on electric machines too. By the way, I did not volunteer for that. So I know what that is. But what does it mean when you guys in AA describe the insanity that has been repeating itself in my life with my drinking?
Here in AA, to be restored to sanity is that a Power has made it possible for an alcoholic like me to not have to drink, this is what restores me sanity. So if you’ve haven’t got an understanding of a God of your own understanding (most people don’t but they say they do) then do not worry because you have the Power right here and right now in Alcoholics Anonymous. Together we can do what we couldn’t do by ourselves. I couldn’t stay sober by myself, you couldn’t stay sober by yourself, but we can stay sober together.
Finding a “Higher Power”
Thanks for listening! One of the great things about the twelve steps is that you do not need anyone else’s conception of a Higher Power but your own. The program is full of people of all religions, agnostics, atheists, and skeptics. There is a place for all faiths and all belief systems in the twelve step fellowships.