From the July 2011 magazine.

July 2011: Quest for Faith

When he truly let go of the bottle, he could finally let go and let God

Photo by Bob.

An agnostic walking into their first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is already struggling with numerous, seemingly unconquerable barriers before being hit with the idea that they must surrender their life and their will over to the care of a Higher Power. In this sense, it is perhaps fortunate that, for many a defiant drunk, Alcoholics Anonymous is the last stop in a long road of failure and disappointment. Many of us were willing to try anything and, as I’ve often heard in meetings, “If the word God chases you out of your seat, master alcohol will surely chase you back into it.”

At 40 years old, I am grateful for three years of sobriety, despite first raising my hand as a newcomer a week following my seventeenth birthday. I fought accepting my disease more than half my life. The crux of my struggle lay firmly on the acceptance of a power greater than myself. I’d attempted religion, ruminated on enlightenment and defiantly proclaimed my disbelief. I lacked the key ingredient Bill W. regards as quintessential to our recovery, humility. In As Bill Sees It, he states, “All AA progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards.” Luckily, in “How It Works” Bill also reminds us, “We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” Even now, as I contemplate humility and how to practice this principle in all my affairs, my ego is entertaining the fantasy that my musings herein will be so revealing, so inspired, I will revolutionize how doctors and professionals in the medical field will approach and treat the alcoholic mind.

-- Alan G.

Novato, California

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