For me, it's really REALLY important to always keep in mind the "slant" that our founders had. It tells me their aims which I believe was inspired by some "Spirit of the Universe" Who chose to work through those people.
Today you hear "percentages" that say 3-6% of people going to AA meetings will actually have a "successful" recovery. How did that change from the early years of 50-75% recovery with over half of 1st time relapsers "getting it" the second time around?
Sure a man ot woman who is "in and out" 7, 8, 9, 10 or more times is welcomed back. But look at the cost. Now this is just my opinion, and please forgive me if I rub anyone the wrong way, but how can a person that relapases this many times and is still "off and running" say they are "sincere in their desire to stay sober for all time" as Dr. Bob said. He relapsed, but it happened only once. Then he lived and died sober "for all time".
The book has a few words that get overlooked. I think about how many times this is spoken at meetings when "How it Works" is read:
"With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start."
I think that was the intent of the founders and that first 100 alkies that wrote this book. What do you think it means "With all the earnestness at our command"?
If a person works the 12 steps with that kind of "earnestness" which means "everything you have", they probably won't relapse. I don't know anyone who went back out drinking that was giving this program "all the earnestness" at their command.
What about "fearless and thorough from the very start"? That pretty much says to me "do it right the first time".
That sentence which gets reads (and ignored) so many times at meetings is the thing that is supposed to explain what "a sincere desire to stop drinking" really means. It tells me where my desire to stay sober needs to be so I can recover instead of waste time. Yes, I'll get welcomed back if I screw up - many times. But to do it over and over and over again takes its toll on the men and women who are active and sponsoring me, and it puts a new prospect who might be able to "get it" the first time on a "waiting list".
Please forgive me for putting it this way, but continual relapsing is a selfish thing that others in the fellowship have to pay a price for. It's not just a "little slip" or a "thing" to do that becomes a habit because it's "tolerated". Somewhere in the "perennial" relapses that I've seen in prospects, I can't help but wonder if each "try" at this program was honestly made with "all earnestness" or with the "sincere desire" that Dr. Bob speaks about in the pamphlet. Once again, this is only my words and I don't speak for AA as a whole
Can I wonder about these things without "taking somebody else's inventory"? Is it wrong for me to assume that somewhere a "price has to be paid"? If I look at, say, a retail store when someone shoplifts and isn't busted - the remaining shoppers pay a higher price. When I see a prospect "on paper", and I look into his eyes and see that he doesn't really want what I have, that he's just "going through the motions", what I see is price tag which is much higher than the man who has "nothing left".
I see it and "tolerate" it. Why? Because I haven't walked in the fellow's shoes. "I don't know". That's the only thing I can come up with as far as my attitude goes. But I honestly don't think it's asking too much of a "chronic slipper" to sit down and read that sentence and ask him to get serious before I give him the same "gift" of time that I received from so many others in this fellowship.
Am I scolding? Sorry.
I LOVE sobriety! I want everyone in the fellowship to enjoy a life that is as fun and fulfilling as mine or better. What a trip! I just had an "epiphany!" - right now as I'm posting. That sentence just came to life for me. Now I get it!
I'm BEGGING you, WITH ALL THE EARNESTNESS AT MY COMMAND, to be fearless and thorough from the very start! Let's keep the price of recovery down.
God bless each of you, especially those who've relapsed a number of times. See how much you help me?
PS - Also thanks TIM. You're the first person I've ever seen post "guacamole", and then get the spelling right. I'm totally impressed!