Several years ago I was reading AA Comes of Age, and Dr. Bob & The Good Oldtimers. I got the urge to go up to Akron, Ohio, and visit the places I was reading about.
I remember standing in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel... where Bill W., stood... as he contemplated the idea.... "Maybe I could just go sit in that lounge and sip some Ginger Ale!"
This was about six months after he had his great "Hot Flash" White Light super spiritual God-experience in the hospital... He had been attending regular Oxford Group meetings at Calvary Mission in New York... he had been intensely working to try to sober up alcoholics... he knew very well about his own alcoholism, and the medical angle that Dr. Silkworth had passed on to him... and standing in the lobby of the Mayflower, he suddenly realized that the insanity of the next drink was in his head... and that he would get drunk if he didn't find another alcoholic to work with.
As I was trying to get a better feel as to what Bill was going through and to understand a little better how this deal of AA works... I understood that Bill probably knew more about alcoholism than any sober alcoholic of his time. He had already had his spiritual experience. And, as he searched the Church Directory, trying to locate a clergyman who could help him find another drunk to work on... he ended up calling on a guy, who was very religious... very spiritual... a strong member in his church... an active member and a regular attendee of the Oxford Group..(Our co-founder, Dr. Bob). Bill, later remarked that "Dr. Bob knew more about the spiritual angle and the Oxford principles than I did." Yet, Dr. Bob, couldn't get sober!!!
So... I began to wonder... what were the specific actions that Bill took to stay sober that day, and what was it... that kept Bill and Bob sober, after they got together? (after Dr. Bob's last relapse).
I believe I found the answer on page 15, of Bill's Story in the Big Book... where Bill is writing about his experiences in New York... in trying to sober up alcoholics. He writes "I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink, but I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day."
This is precisely the same actions that Bill took in the lobby of the Mayflower. And, it's precisely the same thing that Dr. Bob & Bill did. They got very active trying to find another alcoholic to help.
For myself, I've come to believe that this is the key principle and the same exact set of actions that has kept myself sober. For me... this is one of the primary reasons that I make continious efforts to stay active in Alcoholics Anonymous.... It was in AA, that I got sober... and it's been in AA, that I have stayed sober.
While it's true that "AA prepares me for a life outside AA"... without AA... I wouldn't have a life inside or outside AA.
At the rate I was going with my drinking, I have no doubts that I would have already died drunk!!! Each day that my eyes open... is a bonus for me! And, each day that my eyes open and I'm sober... is like hitting the lotto for me!
I like what I'm getting. My life today is good. It's better than I ever imagined it being. The good feelings that I have today... are the feelings that I was looking for in the bottle.
That's why I keep coming back! When I attend AA meetings I can always find a fresh newcomer to reach my hand out and to welcome them to Alcoholics Anonymous... to offer my number, and to let them know that if they ever have the desire to talk... they can call me at any time.
When I was very new in AA, I remember, as a newcomer... going to the meetings, and looking around the meeting to see if any alcoholics from the previous week... were still sober... and were at the meeting again. By seeing another sober member of AA show up to the meetings sober each week... it began to translate into the hope that I eventually developed... that AA might work for me, too.