From the August 1980 magazine.

Glimpses of Serenity

MY FIRST TIME around in AA, I was delighted with the multisyllabled words that I found in the Preamble and the Steps--words such as fellowship, denomination, controversy, unmanageable, spiritual awakening. I was fogbound but quite sure that I understood them. Big words had been the earmark of my grandiosity. I would never have admitted it, but they were my principal defense against a baffling and unpredictable world.

In the sixth chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, it says, "We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace." .If I read that line when I finally came in, nineteen years ago, I don't remember reading it. Serenity was still just another big word. It did have one exceptional quality, though. The mere sound of it had a more comforting effect on me than any other single word, and that was the sum of its meaning. Come to think of it, comfort was a pretty good definition of a word that we AAs continue to define and redefine, meeting after meeting.

-- W. H.

Manhattan, N.Y.

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