During my 8292 consecutive days & nights... of being sober in AA, with no drinks, drugs, pot, powders or any other stuff in between... the one major lesson that I've learned is this:
We can all have different ideas, beliefs, concepts, thoughts, unbeliefs, faith or no faith, God or no God, sane or insanity, recover, recovery, recovered, sponsor or no sponsor, ideas on spiritual, spirituality, fit spiritual condition, unfit spiritual condition, .......... or whatever.......... and still stay sober!
We only have to believe, it seems to me, in one thing:
1. We can no longer drink alcohol -- at all -- nor whatsoever, in any form, shape or fashion!
And, the one thing that we ALL must do to stay sober is:
We can disagree on everything else and we often do disagree on everything else. We can believe all kinds of sane, insane, corny or logical ideas about everything... EXCEPT that it's okay to take the next first drink.
The work is the common solution mentioned near the bottom of the first page of Chapter 2, "There is a solution"...
Our book says... that WE COULD all agree absolutely... on the Solution... the 12 Steps. And, why we don't all agree on them absolutely... is probably due to our alcoholic Egos.
But, to me, as I see it, and as I've seen it in the last 8292 days, it's the WORK that will keep us sober. Regardless, of God and everything else there is a Power Greater than all of us... in the 12 Steps, if taken and applied.
The work is not about working on me, either.
The first 11 Steps prepare me for THE WORK. Step 12, tells me to GO TO WORK. And, without THE WORK... everything, regardless of what it is, will fail to keep me sober.
I can believe in God as much as Jesus did... and have as much faith as He did... but, there is a huge difference:
a. He was not alcoholic and I am alcoholic.
b. He had his work He had to do, and as a sober alcoholic -- I have my work that I have to do.
In the end, if I'm looking up to the heavens and asking "Father, Father! Why have you forsaken me!" I already know what the answer will be... it will be "Because you weren't working!"
You might be able to tell a tree by the fruits it bears... but a tree that bears no fruit... is only good for the bar or the fireplace.... or both!
Paul, mentioned it above in his quote from our book:
Big Book wrote:If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die.
The work works... when EVERYTHING ELSE FAILS...
Bill Wilson was not too spiritual nor did he have much faith when he stood in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel... KNOWING that HE WAS GOING TO DRINK AGAIN... if he didn't find another alcoholic!
He didn't get on the phone looking for a prayer meeting a prayer partner or prayer, or a revival... or to get spiritual .... He got on the phone frantically searching for another alcoholic to carry the message to him.
Bill knew two things:
1. He's alcoholic and he WILL DRINK AGAIN...
2. And, his ONLY HOPE of not drinking again, was to find another alcoholic and try to help that other acoholic to achieve sobriety.
That was it. That was AA in a nutshell. And, that nut, with those nutty ideas... impregnated the world with Alcoholics Anonymous. And, in a few days... a few weeks... another sober alcoholic was born, that would stay sober until the day he died.
This principle is examplified ind Dr. Bob's story. "If we're going to stay sober... we better get busy and find us another alcoholic to work on!"
He didn't say "If we're going to stay sober... we better hit our knees, polish up our message, insure we've got faith, or get spiritually fit, or recover, recovered, or whatever.......... He didn't say we better start a meeting or go to a meeting or find a sponsor!"
He simply said "If we're going to stay sober we better find us another alcoholic to work on!" And, they looked and they finally found Bill D., AA #3... and immediately they started looking for #4................
Sometimes, we can be focused on the black on the white... the ink on the pages in the Big Book... and we can find all of this profound and complex ideas........ and right in the middle of profundity... there are a couple or three or four words... that we miss entirely.
That's why Dr. Bob, said "Keep it simple. Don't louse it up with all kinds of Fruedian ideas or theology"....
a. You can't drink.
b. Go to work.
AA is not a program of Thinking... it's a program of ACTION. It's a program of DOING.
They told me a long time ago... when you spend too much time thinking you'll not be spending enough time doing! Leave the thinking to the Philosophers and Scientists... Leave the Psychology to the experts... Let the Theologians and preachers take care of the religious stuff... We as ALCOHOLICS that are sober in AA... have ONE JOB TO DO... ONE PURPOSE FOR GOD TO ALLOW US TO STAY HERE AND BE SOBER... and that is "TO BE TRYING TO HELP ANOTHER ALCOHOLIC TO ACHIEVE SOBRIETY!"
Why do so many spend so much time trying to convert other AA's "to their way of thinking?"... I think that question is just as important as "Why does an alcoholic relapse?"
If you've got too much time on your hands to spend thinking, and recruiting and convincing and converting......... I can tell you now... you're not busy doing THE WORK.