Magazine

Published January 2014.

January 2014: A Thousand Angels

Her journey to learn about Tradition One opened her heart to hope

When I first got to AA, I did not have any understanding of what the Steps could do for me, or how critical the Traditions are for the life of the group. But I knew in my heart that I needed meetings desperately. I knew that I was living from meeting to meeting the same way I had lived from bottle to bottle.

The First Tradition was a difficult concept for me. Having grown up in an alcoholic household, I learned never to trust anyone, never to let anyone see that I was scared, and never to let anything get in the way of what I wanted. Lying and stealing were what I did best (next to drinking), and I was secretly proud of my ability to manipulate and connive. The concept of a “common welfare” was totally alien to me, and to be expected to put the needs of others in front of my own was almost laughable. However, I was motivated by a desperation I can only describe as God-given, because without the certain knowledge that I was spiraling toward a very ugly death, I would never have been moved to accept those ideas. And I did accept them. I made a decision to accept this Tradition the same way I accepted the truth of the First Step, not because I fully understood all the implications and recognized their validity, but because I was desperate and I believed these were the only things that could save me.

-- Kathleen D.

Shirley, New York

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