Friday, October 21, 2005

Attraction rather than Promotion

For those of you who have followed this blog from its inception, you know that I have not been at all committed to the entire concept of an AA blog. I initially started it so that I could discuss AA matters without anonymity concerns with a fellow blogger who is also in AA. I thought it would be nice to post stories, etc. Or not. I don't know. I am on the fence about this whole thing.

Recently I have had comments from people who don't want to be in AA. I guess I am supposed to have hurt feelings and try to chase them down and convince them that AA is the only way for their salvation. I am reminded of what I heard when I was new... "AA isn't for those who need it, it is for those who want it."

I can only share my experience, strength, and hope. My story is that AA saved my life and indeed gave me everything that is worthwhile in my life. Period. That's my story. There is not anything to argue with there.

Our literature (specifically, the big book, Alcoholics Anonymous) says:

"If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!" (p. 31)

Further in the book, it admonishes members:
"We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy." (p. 96)

Yes, an opportunity to live and be happy. Not to earn anyone a merit badge for getting someone sober. Not to earn someone a bonus for bringin' 'em in the door.

AA has never claimed to be the only answer to alcoholism. Of course, I haven't seen any others that are very successful, but anyone can feel free to find another way.

I realize that our beloved big book was written in 1939. It offends many today. I would suggest that if it offends, perhaps the offendee isn't very desperate to recover from alcoholism. Maybe the person has a drinking problem that they can solve on their own. There really are people like that.

When I got to AA, I really didn't care if the book was written by men. They were alcoholics and understood my problem and that was all I cared about. I didn't care that the language was archaic, I found it charming. I didn't care that it wasn't written in "gender neutral" language, I know that when I read "he" and I am thinking about "me", it works. It works just fine.

It works just fine for people who want it. That's it. If you are still trying to poke holes in it, go ahead. If you are seriously alcoholic, the day may come when you embrace AA because it is a program that works. Sadly, that day may never come. Most alcoholics, I believe, die an alcoholic death. Some of us are so fortunate to be sober alcoholics. It is the most amazing thing on earth.

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