This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Casey’s story: My mother used to say, “You can not move forward in life without knowing where you are, take an inventory of where you are today, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what’s good and what’s not, what did you do today and what didn’t you do that you should’ve.” That’s very similar to A.A.’s Step 10. My grandmother always told us kids the secret to having a good day was to get down on our knees every morning and say “Please.” If you get stuck on stupid during the day and don’t know which way to turn, ask God for help and at night get on your knees again and say, “Thank You.” That’s step 11! And in our house, my parents said the greatest thing we could do with our lives is to help others, respect them, follow the golden rule, be of service to God, respect elders, and share what we have. That’s very similar to A.A.’s Step 12.
When I got on the bus for kindergarten my parents and grandparents had already armed me with a set of spiritual principles that if followed, would have led me to a successful, rewarding, happy life. I ignored the principles they taught me because I thought that I could do it on my own, but when I did it my way, I met with complete defeat and found myself in hopelessness and despair. Soon after I found the tables of A.A., I got down on my knees and said, “Please in the morning and Thanks at night.” I found the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and re-discovered the same principles my elders had tried to reach me. They did not call their principles the 12 Steps, or a program of recovery, they referred to them as a path that could and would lead me to a happy, useful life.
I bet a lot of other people in A.A. were told the same things by their elders, but they too; did it on their own. A common thread in the fabric of chronic alcoholics is their disease of perception; they don’t hear, or don’t want to hear, what’s said by people who they wrongly believe are less enlightened than them. They resent authority and they’re quite certain their superior intellect will allow them to float above everybody else. Their enlarged egos cause them to believe their way is best; they don’t need anybody.
Have you ever been in a bar and heard an alcoholic quote scripture? That’s me, some drunk would be crying in his beer that he was losing his wife, job, house and everything else and I would stagger over to him and quote scripture. I’d say something like this, “Matthew: Chapter 7, verses 9-15. I was giving spiritual guidance at Brown Lee’s Tavern. I didn’t stop there; I also gave marital and financial counseling too. I didn’t have a wife, but I never saw where that should make any difference. With my life savings on the bar top, I was Brown Lee’s chief financial advisor. I was an encyclopedia of useless information. I became a parrot of what I heard other drunks say and I have to be careful that I don’t become an A.A. parrot. Some self-proclaimed A.A. guru says something at an A.A. meeting that sounds good, and all the other mentally challenged gurus will parrot it around at other meetings. No matter what’s said at meetings, I cannot live my life contrary to the principles in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. God does indeed speak to us through the people in A.A., but not all of them are the voice of God; some are full of crap and we must pray for the wisdom to know the difference! That’s the reason Bill Wilson and the first hundred drunks wrote the book Alcoholics Anonymous, they wanted to be certain the “true” message of recovery didn’t get changed or watered down as it passed through time from one drunk to another. To be continued.