HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH

This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Scott’s story: The last time I crawled back into AA, I was out of brilliant ideas—completely defeated by King Alcohol. The book Alcoholics Anonymous clearly states that the first three steps will have little, or no lasting effect unless immediately followed by Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. I had never before made such a list. I had, sort of, surrendered to the first two steps, by admitting I could not stop drinking alcohol and was powerless over it and was willing to admit that I needed to be restored to sanity, but I didn’t believe there was any power in Step Three who could, or would do that–I remained stuck on stupid. It’s no wonder I was still sick and didn’t feel better because I had not changed, or done anything different, or taken any “action” that would produce the complete psychic change needed for recovery. My moral psychology needed a complete overhaul but my enlarged ego and false pride prevented me from turning my life and will over to the care of a “Higher Being” who could and would do the major overhaul–if He were sought.
The book Alcoholics Anonymous speaks about three pertinent ideas:
1. That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
2. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
3. That God could and would if He were sought.
These three pertinent ideas are vital to our recovery, but it’s OK if, in the beginning, non-believers like me remained skeptical, what we believe is not important, but what we do each day, our daily actions, are important. AA’s buzz phrase for this phenomenon is: We cannot think our way into different actions but we can act our way into different thinking. The book Alcoholics Anonymous says: “Into Action”–not “into thinking.” When it comes to alcohol our thinker is broke–forget about it. Newcomers are scared to death of Step Four, but the Big Book says it’s but a “good beginning,” and Step Five is:  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Our book says the Fifth Step instructions mean “into action” and the bookies among us usually get confused about what “into action” means. And the people trying to work Step Five by themselves, this step presents a big problem because we must share our Step Four list with God and “another human being.”  
I was so sick, desperate, frustrated and fatigued that I became willing to do anything in order to feel better and I asked a man in my home group to be my sponsor. I knew that in his past he was “bad to the bone” because of his dark, piercing, unblinking eyes and frozen stare–he was not to be trifled with. I knew that if we came to blows it would be a two hit fight, he’d hit me and I’d hit the ground–unconscious. We got together at his house that night and all hell broke lose. I told him how to work the steps, but he interrupted and told me to get busy writing my Step Four list. He was watching what I wrote and he called me a lousy liar. I could hardly believe that he had the unmitigated gall to treat me like that. Secretly, of course, I knew he was right because I had been lying to everybody about everything since my childhood, but how did he know that? He read me like a cheap comic book and when I asked him if I could write down dishonest instead of liar, he said, “No, write down liar, cheat and thief!” He was brutal and unyielding and after we did a thorough Fifth Step on my resentments and underlying fears we did a sex inventory, and moved on through Steps Six and Seven all in one sitting. To be continued…    
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John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer