From the May 1955 magazine.

A Spiritual Awakening in Prison

RECENTLY I was asked the question, "What do you get, or expect to get, out of the AA group or from attending its meetings?" At the time I gave the answer, "Sobriety"; but later reflection on this question proved that I had actually realized a great deal more from AA than this very vital need, especially through the group therapy at the closed meetings where experiences, effects and results were shown in the discussion. These closed sessions gave me a desire to:

  1. Admit to myself that I was powerless over alcohol and that it made my life unmanageable to the extent that I landed here in prison. I am now ready to admit that this was in all probability a real break for me because it gave me the chance to find myself again through AA. Next came the desire to find someone or something to lean upon, and my past experience had taught me that this would have to be greater than an ordinary mortal. This thinking led to the feeling that:
  2. A power greater than myself or any one person would be necessary to restore my sanity and aid me in my desire to work out a new and better pattern for future living. I found I had to disregard ail of my more recent thoughts of divine power and had to turn my thoughts back to childhood days in order to find the One who could and would supply that need. This brought about a decision to:
  3. Turn my will and my life over to the God of my earlier life. I knew from those bygone days that this God of mine would accept this burden and care only if I would:
  4. Make a searching and fearlessly honest moral inventory of myself and:
  5. Admit to Him, myself and at least one other human being the extent and exact nature of my wrongs. Having made this admission, I then felt ready to ask Him to:
  6. Remove all of these defects of character from me and to:
  7. Remove all of my other shortcomings by answering my prayers in which I asked that He grant me the serenity to accept the things which I could not change; that He give to me the courage to change the things I could; and the wisdom to know the difference. I soon realized that in my prayer I asked a great deal and this made me very willing to:
  8. List and make amends to all that I had harmed or to whom I was in any way indebted. I knew, too, that these amends could only be rightly made:
  9. Directly to the persons involved wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. The thought of a possible recurrence made me resolve that my best salvation lay in making a:
  10. Daily inventory of myself, my actions, and my thoughts, and upon finding anything of a wrong nature, to admit and correct it promptly. This I carry out at the end of each day. I find then that I am ready to seek:
  11. Through daily prayer and earnest meditation to improve my conscious and living contact with my God. I ask that in me, only His will be done, praying also that He make His will known to me and that He bestow in me the power to carry out His will fully and without reservation. A great gift such as that I have asked of Him, who alone is great enough to overcome my obstacles, faults and burdens, brought about in me:
  12. A spiritual awakening, so great, that I now want to carry this message to all alcoholics who are desirous of trying to travel with me along this highway, which leads to a life of fullness, peace and contentment.

To stay on this road, and merit its rewards (for they are many), I must throughout each day not only preach, but must also practice fully all of these principles in each and every one of my daily contacts. Keeping to this set of personal requirements will gain for me sobriety, honesty and a new code of ethics, that will bring to me as final gifts, the blessings of friendship through respect; a sense of charity through the desire to help others to share in the finding of a better way of life; and above all, a new set of values to guide me along higher planes.

-- Anon.

New York

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