By Christine R.

HOPE equals Happy Our Program Exists. Are you happy our program exists? After hearing the following, I sure am. 

While at a meeting, a member took the microphone to say, “Let me remind us we have a life-and-death disease.”  She went on, “We need help with the chairs today and you know why? Because the guy who has the break-down commitment was drunk in a car crash and killed two days ago. He let the life AA gave him get in the way of his AA life.”

She continued, “Yesterday another friend of mine was remanded into prison for 4 years starting on Monday. He was in black-out and could not remember what he’d done wrong but the paperwork against him was a mile high.”

As she spoke, memories came of the women I work with in prison who are usually there for involuntary manslaughter. Drunk drivers who killed people. Still they won’t read the Big Book, little realizing if they work the Steps, their biproduct is hope.

This little four-letter word plays a crucial role in our Program. On a larger scale, hope can be the difference between giving up and holding on. Hope keeps us going. Hope helps us believe and work for a better life. Hope is for the future what Faith is for the present.

Hope keeps us hopeful. The more we use it, the easier it gets. Hope orients us to keep our commitment to recovery, especially in our early days. Here is an example: 

Two young fathers sat side-by-side at a meeting. The first to speak was entirely Happy Our Program Exists. Recently back from Las Vegas, so thrilled not to pick up. A milestone to stay sober in Vegas. Spoke of arriving home on time to see his boy play little league and enjoy the company of his wife and family. Brimming with hope was this guy. The second father said, “I was in Vegas, but mine was a totally different experience. Thanks to you and your share I have hope, and now the courage to say what happened to me….” Drunk and overslept, he missed his flight and the opportunity to enjoy his son’s winning track meet; now at odds with his spouse and about to lose his job. Brimming with shame, disappointment and fear was the second man. Two fathers on the same weekend in Vegas. The difference? One worked the Steps generating hope and peace. The other, on his own, nothing but heartache, hopelessness and disaster. 

Meetings provide hope.  When I sloshed into my first meeting, I hoped to find answers to why I could not stop drinking, in the face of car crashes, lost jobs and family. Had we stopped on Step One and the powerlessness over alcohol, I would have continued drinking and die like the guy at the Alano Club. I had already long passed any other choice. With hope came an optimistic state of mind I had not known in years. When my pain met purpose, I began to have hope.

Members provided hope as living proof by their restoration to sanity, homes, and work. From the tenderloin and a bottle of vodka to our home group – with birthday cake and candles, singing to celebrate our sobriety – I saw, and see today, firsthand we are walking, talking miracles. 

“In any meeting, anywhere, A.A.’s share experience, strength, and hope with each other, in order to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.”*  Hope is part of the triumvirate to keep us sane and sober. My hope is readers find fellowship, relief from alcohol, and hope as their silent partner for a better tomorrow. 

Instead of a hopeless dope fiend be a dope less Hope Fiend.  Here’s to HOPE!

* BB Foreword to Fourth Edition, p.xxiv

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