A common theme shared at AA meetings is that recovering alcoholics search for ways to perceive themselves as being apart from the group rather than aligned with it.  They look for socio-economic differences, educational and intellectual differences, relative ages, level of life impairment and losses due to alcohol, differences in manner of dress, speech, religious leanings, profanity used in shares and many other big and small clues as to who we are or might have been.  Another facet of this tendency to compare and come out feeling inferior, superior or simply mismatched, is a common belief that one’s problems, background, station in life and lack of a visible “bottom” make the Program of AA only partially applicable, a custom tailored version for special high octane people.  Invariably, these custom designed programs for the Terminally Unique are a softer, easier way.  It simply does us no good to come into AA with a suitcase full of our trophies, plaques, bank ledgers, photos of ourselves with the US President, the Queen of England and the Dalai Lama, as proof that we are only a tiny bit alcoholic and the rest of the time we are renown world statesmen.  Until we really take the First Step and admit powerlessness over alcohol, and that our lives have become unmanageable, we will harbor the deadly doubt that we really do have the booze under control for the most part.  A small adjustment will allow us to resume our illustrious lives successfully.  All of the rest of the Steps and the Fellowship are for the hard core cases.  Another version of this is the alcoholic who goes through all the Steps but does them his way, often without a sponsor, zooming through, patting himself on the back and picking up chips.  None of these special and extraordinary alcoholics are content with being a person among persons, a worker among workers.  They must stand out, they must have accolades, and they deserve special treatment.  We have seen these self -proclaimed one-of-a-kind pioneers – like brave soldiers marching across the battlefield, an AA patch on their  shoulder.  We watch them drop, stand again, only to drop again.  Soon they are crawling back, and despite everything, they have in mind to find another small adjustment.  Sobriety is not a cocktail where if you add just the right amount of booze and self-determination, a splash of boldness and a sprinkle of the Big Book, you have perfect solution with none of the hangover.  Once we look around at our fellows and realize that “we would not ordinarily mix” it must the last time we think of them this way.  We must make them our fellow survivors, our brothers and sisters united against a cunning, baffling, powerful foe. Unique zebras get picked off by predator cats.  Best to stay in the heard and enjoy the blending of so many unique stripes.

Yellow Fellows by AinV

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