This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Bud’s story: After my first A.A. lead (testimonial), I was surrounded by irate long-timers. The short guy went first, he said, “I have observed your membership for six months and I believe you haven’t taken a drink of alcohol, but your program stinks. The caliber of your membership requires some analysis.” He said, “During the few gems and short comments you spewed forth tonight, it seems that something is troubling you?” I said, “So?” He said, “Then, why the hell didn’t you say something to somebody?” This was a fair question but I didn’t have an answer. And, I thought to myself, “Drop dead.” I went home, went to bed, tossed and turned and couldn’t sleep. I went through the mental masturbation of, “What I should’ve said,” but there was nothing I could’ve said, because the short guy was right. I returned to that Monday meeting with an ever-so-slightly changed attitude.
I selected from among the membership of that Monday meeting a few elite members whom, I might perhaps unburden my complaints about how A.A. operates and for me this was progress! And as the day’s turned into weeks that turned into months certain things began happening to me without my awareness. By the simple, mundane process, of not taking that first fatal drink, I stopped shaking, I stopped sweating, and I bought a suit with a coat and trousers that matched. I began using the main streets of my town again. I got a job, held the job and things that I heard at A.A. meeting began being absorbed into my sub-conscience. And, not so hypocritically as it was in the beginning; some of it was beginning to penetrate. Ever-so-slowly my mind opened to new ideas and I realized these case histories to which I was being exposed, week after week, were nothing more, or less, than a simple projection of the basic symptoms of alcoholism and at this point, I had to admit that if these were the classic symptoms of alcoholism; these too were my exact symptoms. Therefore, I must be an alcoholic! This was real progress. I moved from a narrowly qualified admission to alcoholism weeks ago to the “reluctant acceptance” of my new label, “OK, I am an alcoholic; I’ll buy it for now!”
My arrogance however, was far from dead. “Give me one year sober, let me get firmly planted in this corporation, let me mend economic fences and get the war department off my back, let me learn about this alcohol problem from the program of action outlined in the Big Book, the 12 steps, the long-timers, pamphlets and by the end of the year, I’ll show these monkeys.” So, once again, I continued for the wrong reasons to do one thing right; not taking that first fatal drink. During the next several months I had the opportunity to observe what happened to A.A. members who conducted the Big Book’s famous experiment for doubters, called “controlled drinking.” Some of the brethren decided to give alcohol another whirl. My group was mostly comprised of men, and I looked at these guys who drank again. I made careful observations of each case by looking at them from the point of physical make-up. All were physically larger and more muscular than me. Next, I looked at them from the point of educational background and in every case they held at least one, two, three or more college degrees while I had only achieved a high-school education. These men were superior to me in every area. I looked at them in terms of material possessions. Some owned homes with four bathrooms while I was living in a garage. Some had two or three automobiles and I didn’t own a pogo-stick. All of them had longer sobriety than me, but yet, they were drinking and I was not. To be continued…
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