Sunday, October 29, 2006

Constitutionally incapable

"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.

21 comments:

Scott W said...

I love "How It Works"! How great it is to hear another's story of when they 'got it'.

Dying for a Drink said...

I ordered Alcoholics Anonymous (a 2nd-hand copy) on line and it arrived during the week. Last night before I went to bed I just quickly flicked through it and it fell open at once to the very paragraph you have quoted here.

I don't believe in coincidence, so I don't believe that reading that passage myself last night and reading it here again today was 'luck'. I think it was the hand of ... something I have yet to name ... showing me that I do have what it takes to do this, because, if nothing else, I am honest.

Thank you, MC, for sharing exactly what I needed to know right now.

dAAve said...

I too love hearing How It Works frequently. In fact, I could enjoy it 24/7.

Mary Christine said...

Oh my. Dying for a drink has just given me goosebumps and tears of joy in my eyes. Please, Please, Please, keep at it and God Bless You!

Sober Chick said...

So here I lay in bed this glorius Sunday morning and behold in front of my very eyes I witness miracles . . . a message being given away only to keep it.

Gwen said...

Thank God is right sista friend. I am really glad no one told you you were too screwed up to get it.

I love when those things click. It seems to take so long for me. I am accepting this for today.

HUGS~

Diego said...

I'm keeping my ears open....5 years though?

Trudging said...

Goosebumps is right

Carly said...

Driving home from today's meeting this line kept repeating through my head: "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program." It is a gift (God's grace) to be able to give myself to this simple program, one day at a time.

Motorcycle Mike - Sober Biker said...

Thanks for sharing and caring.

Stay with it dying for a drink.

BigSkymAAck said...

Thanks for the embrace
FAEA

Rex said...

Wonderful post, thanks for sharing. It gave me lots of hope today.

Karen B said...

Thankyou MC, this was a great post. My fiancee and I went to 2 meetings in a row last night at the club and heard this part read at each meeting. I realize that I have done what it takes to stay sober. I felt the same way when I hear this. This is what I needed to hear.

NMAMFQLMSH said...

Honestly MC I didn't read your post I just wanted to say that I watched the Denver Football game yesterday and it was probably one of the best games and was disappointed they lost. Had to be two of the best teams playing in that division. Awesome.
JJ

Karen B said...

Great and I always love Sobriety countdowns, and I get touched too when somebody states their sobriety times. This program really works.
I remember at FOTS last summer when they were naming the people in the program who passed in the last year in a moment of silence but I think they are all enjoying themselves at the big meeting. The names I remeber were Anne W. (50 years) and Don P.
Thankyou for the post MC and the reading.

Not God said...

I heard that Bill's one regret was the word "Rarely". I have never seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.

Damien said...

Hola. Still working for ya? 2008 is the most recent post? or just on this topic?

Great book. awesome life. I never used to consider it the 'gift' that it truly is.

'I Never Had It So Good!!!"

Anonymous said...

"I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous."

A blog is an Internet publication. The 11th tradition of AA states that we should maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio, and film; in essence we should not publish our affiliation with AA in order to protect the program. Breaking anonymity on a blog, or on Facebook, or elsewhere on the Internet puts the program at risk. If, higher power forbid, you should pick up a drink, those who aren't in the program (but see you as a representative of AA because of this blog) will potentially see it as AA failing you (as opposed to you failing your program).

This blog strikes me as a potential threat to the well-being of AA, and I hope you have good conversation with your sponsor and members of your home group about keeping it online.

Mary Christine said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your concern. I would suggest you read the tradition. I do not have my full name or a photograph of my face on this blog - therefore it is anonymous.

Fast Eddie said...

We read How It Works at almost every AA meeting here in Utica NY. I love to dissect every phrase to get every drop of knowledge and understanding from our forefathers in this great program. I thank God for giving me the openmindedness to accept this precious gift.

Anonymous said...

I love all the comments