By Rick R.

Click for audio by Peggy H.

Why the program of Alcoholics Anonymous works so well on the disease of alcoholism is hard to fathom when we first arrive. Most of us are confronted with the idea that our perception of life had been wrong from the start. Issues like faith, higher power, insanity, surrender, denial, guilt and shame had to be revisited to see where past thinking let us down.  We painted ourselves into a corner in life. Some of us become open to the idea we may need outside help. When we go through this process in the spirit it’s presented in The Big Book and the 12 and 12, wonderful things happen for us. 

Every time we uncover another piece of the puzzle, we free up that part of our mind

When I first entered the A.A. program, I tried to look forward to see how it could influence my life. Today it’s much easier to look back at the way the program worked for me. I wish there was a way to package it and give it away, but as I look back on my own experience I realize each one of us is conditioned differently.

Few of us can envision what the end result will be. If we did we would cut right to the chase and never look back. In the beginning we usually spend most of our time coming to terms with the most obvious symptom of alcoholism, the drinking. I was no exception. Unfortunately, many of us never get deeper into the program where most of the healing takes place. 

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Some of us find happiness, peace of mind, and other things which were lacking in our lives. To acquire them we must get serious about the process of recovery. This does not mean we will not experience joy and peace until we complete the process. Not at all. Every time we uncover another piece of the puzzle that barred us from being at peace it allows us to free up that part of our mind that has been wrestling with that issue. We can finally put it to rest. 

Few of us can envision the end result

The day-to-day improvement in self-esteem is reward enough to inspire us to address the next issue that needs attention. One by one we resolve these matters as we trudge the road of happy destiny. Another natural result with this new awareness: we refrain from making the regretful mistakes of the past that caused our discontent in the first place. 

Replacing the wrongs with the rights, you might say, doubles the pace of our growth. We only live once and it would be a shame to spend it with that awful mental grinding that goes on between our ears when the solution is right before our eyes. If we spend all of our mental energy obsessing on not drinking one day at a time, we can do this for years and then, one day, just pick up that drink. A drink has no appeal to alcoholics who are at peace with themselves and with others. Why waste the only life we have, when the answers are laid there at our feet? Don’t get stuck in the rut of complacency. Trust this process and ask yourself if you’ve been thorough with all twelve steps. If not, I recommend revisiting those loose ends and dealing with them. Give this a try and you won’t regret it.                 

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