"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest. " -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58
On the night of July 24, 1989, I celebrated 5 years of continuous sobriety, which was a very big deal. That night, I went to a meeting in East Hampton, NY. They read chapter 5 at the beginning of the meeting and I experienced a feeling I will try to describe.
For my first five years of sobriety, I would hear the beginning of chapter 5 (quoted above) and get a chill of fear. I was so afraid that I was the person they described. I was afraid that I was incapable of being honest with myself. I was afraid I had grave emotional and mental disorders, I had a lingering fear that I just couldn't qualify for this wonderful fellowship and recovery from this dreadful disease.
On the night I celebrated 5 years, I heard that paragraph being read, and felt like jumping for joy! That unfortunate must not me! I must have been able to be honest enough to stay sober for 5 years, I must have been able to be honest in spite of some grave emotional and mental disorders! There was hope for me!
Thank God for the wisdom of the big book and the people who use it. Thank God no one told me that I was just too screwed up for AA. Thank God I was embraced into this fellowship and have remained here for these years.
You cannot get here from there. Only by the Grace of a Loving God.