This week’s HTYH is the beginning of Casey’s story:  I begin my days by saying, “God, Thy Will, not mine be done,” and “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” What I love most about Alcoholics Anonymous is its simplicity. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “Here are the steps we took (action), and not here are the steps we memorized (thinking).” A.A. is a program of action, not thinking.


And, A.A. tells new people who come here, “Your recovery does not depend on the people in A.A.; it depends on your relationship with a Higher Power, or God.” That’s simple enough for me to understand. The single most important fact in my life today is that I have a God of my understanding working in my life that’s doing for me, one-day-at-a-time, what I could not do for myself. I can guarantee anybody reading this that if I had been left to my own will, and self-centered actions; I would have self-destructed a long time ago. My life today is not dependent on people but on a growing daily relationship with God and practicing the 12-steps (principles), of A.A. to the best of my ability, which is never perfect; nor were human beings ever meant to be perfect. The reason I practice daily prayer and meditation is to keep centered and grounded in truth and the truth is simply this: the reason I’m alive today is to do God’s will not mine and it serves to remind me that “He” is in charge.  And…thank God…I am not.

I would like to address our new friends who are perhaps just beginning their A.A. journey. There are two groups of people in A.A. One group is miserable, unhappy and cannot stay sober for any significant length of time. They’re always whining and complaining and they don’t do very well at anything. Then there is a second group of people who are happy, joyous and free, they’re smiling and laughing because they do daily prayer and meditation, go to meetings, do service work and reach out to help new people. This second group is the ones I wanted to be like, they talked about having a God of their understanding working in their lives and about a God who is doing for them, on a daily basis, what they could never do for themselves. The people in the second group have long-term sobriety because they have common threads running through the fabric of their sobriety. They have sponsors, I didn’t know what a sponsor was when I got here and a guy told me, “A sponsor is somebody who has a working knowledge of the 12-steps of A.A., has worked all the steps and is willing to share their experience, strength and hope with a new person. They are living examples for new people to see what their lives can be like if they practice these principles (steps), in all of their affairs.

I have two sponsors, Bill (45 years) and Ken (37 years) and that’s the least impressive thing I can tell you about them. If you have not yet figured it out, A.A. is not a program of seniority. Bill said, “The longer we stick around A.A. the thicker the ice gets, but it’s just as slippery; we stay sober one-day-at-a-time.” Kenny said, “Even you can behave for an hour, but it’s what you do outside of these meetings that’s important; more important than the hour you spend here.” The real test comes after we walk out of a meeting, that’s what it says in our textbook (Big Book). The question is: can we be better sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, employee’s employers and descent, responsible citizens in our communities? When I came to A.A. I had none of those qualities. My sponsor Kenny said, “The only people in A.A. who don’t have a sponsor are the ones who aren’t planning on staying. A.A. is a “we” program and not an “I” program. To be continued.

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John Barleycorn

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