Reading The Big Book Today

This is from “The Professor and the Paradox” Alcoholics Anonymous, second edition, pages 341-342
We surrender to win. On the face of it surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. But it is in A.A. Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit “bottom” in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety which we could never accomplish before. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.

We give away to keep. That seems absurd and untrue. How can you keep anything if you give it away? But in order to keep whatever it is we get in A.A., we must go about giving it away to others, for no fees or rewards of any kind. When we cannot afford to give away what we have received so freely in A.A., we had better get ready for our next “drunk.” It will happen every time. We’ve got to continue to give it away in order to keep it.

We suffer to get well. There is not way to escape the terrible suffering of remorse and regret and shame and embarrassment which starts us on the road to getting well from our affliction. There is no new way to shake out a hangover. It’s painful. And for us, necessarily so. I told this to a friend of mine as weaving to and fro on the side of the bed, in terrible shape, about to die from some paraldehyde. I said, “Lost John – that’s his nickname – “Lost John, you know you’re going to have a certain amount of shaking sooner or later. Well,” he said “For God’s sake let’s make it later!” We suffer to get well.

We die to live. That is a beautiful paradox straight out of the Biblical idea of being “born again” or “in losing one’s life to find it.” When we work at our Twelve Steps, the old life of guzzling and fuzzy thinking, and all that goes with it, gradually dies, and we acquire a different and better way of life. As our shortcomings are removed, one life of us dies, and another life of us lives. We in A.A. die to live.
I am now in the LAND OF THE LIVING!!! Thank you for all your support.


13 thoughts on “Reading The Big Book Today

  1. My soul rests with you, my Anamchara.

    I have an appointment to see a new doctor early this morning and I look forward to this with a bit of anxiety anticipating that what he is going to conclude is going to necessarily require a good bit of personal commitment to a program of treatment which will be expected to result in improvement of what has become a chronically painful and incapacitating malady of my back and mostly lower extremity
    dis-use and dysfunction.
    Oh well! Just like always we will try to make the best of what we have to work with, eh’

    In my distant past I would have used this as an excuse otherwise known as a reason to take a drink of liquor. And you know what? The pain would still have been there and perhaps would have been worsened by what might have happened in a usual out of control drinking episode.

    So what is the better approach?

    It’s to face a problem, whatever it is with a clear thinking mind and the best resources for the best outcome.

    So I look forward toward the gratitude which is to come.

    I’m Harry, grateful alcoholic and devoted 12th stepper. – Georgia, USA.

  2. Someone taught me years ago that if one wants the benefit, he will have to endure the pain/misery/suffering required to acquire the benefit. If I want to enjoy good health and all its many benefits, I must suffer the pain of diet and exercise. The same with financial freedom, I can’t buy every bauble and trinket my worldly heart desires. Or freedom from alcoholism, I must first be deflated before I can be filled with His love. That ouches me.

    But they never told me this: once committed to the process, what I perceived to be pain turned out to be something quite different, a joyful acknowledgement that I was finally submitting to something transforming and necessary. My “light and momentary afflictions” are achieving something that all my treachery and rebellion and self-reliance never could. I’ve become a son, loved by the Father, worthy of his discipline and care. I might drink again, but if I do that will be because I’ve walked away, not because He’s left me. To paraphrase our friend Clay, it’s a good day to stay close.

  3. Top of the morning family,
    My old crusty platoon sergeant of my infantry days would always echo/elaborate to us, {“If”, is the middle word in life; If not you, then who?}
    It’s not the absence of ‘what-ifs’ that will give us peace but rather our choice to not let the ‘what-ifs’ rule our lives. Today, peace is found when I relax my spirit in and through Divine Mercy who is in control. God graces my heart and gives hope to keep marching forward even when my plans vaporize. His plan for my life will always trump my plans. My peace is proportional to my faith. He matches calamity with serenity.
    Today is a good day to let go of all my ‘what-ifs’ and trust in His truth.

  4. Kt here, grateful alcoholic, for the program, for this website, for freedom to read this 24, and I give prayers of comfort to Harry and his physical well being. I give prayers of strength and encouragement to SMB snd prayer of thanks to all the participants that share experience, strength, and hope. Kt

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