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Some things I just can’t Relate to with other Alcoholics…


I was at a meeting yesterday and the topic was, as read from the chapter “We Agnostics” out of the Big Book of AA, the Higher Power as you understand Him/it…

I always love the ego involved in those who won’t (for whatever reason) grasp the concept of a Higher Power. You want to hear an overuse of ‘I’ or ‘me’, just sit back and smile.

I had my fill of “I” and “me” yesterday.

When I sobered up, at my first meeting out of treatment, one old-timer said something to the effect of, “It’s bumpy. Best to grab your ass with both hands and hold on for the ride”.

Who has two thumbs and was grabbin’ cheek?

This guy.

Twenty-five years ago, I’m sitting in the top bunk of a treatment center bedroom, shaking, sweating and hurting. DT’s suck.

Anyway, I’m laying up there in that top freaking bunk and life is sucking pretty bad.  I’ve got enough trouble piled up that the whole entire State of Michigan decided I should sober up.  I’d been through two weeks of groups at that point and the topic of a Higher Power came up in quite a few of them.  Many of the counselors and other patients I spoke with told me believing in a Higher Power would help me stay sober, based on the instruction part of The Big Book (the first 164 pages).  I had a problem with that, though.  Being a Catholic from Confirmation, I was pretty sure God didn’t want much to do with me after how I lived the last six years of my life.  I figured I was in a Fire and Brimstone time out.

So there I am and true as the saying is about atheists and foxholes, I begged for God (as I understood God at the time) for a deal.  I’d give sobriety everything I had if He’d help me get through it.  Twenty minutes before that was the last time I wanted to get drunk more than I wanted to stay sober.

When I made my decision to sober up, for real (that would be up in that top bunk) and made my deal with my Higher Power, I accepted that I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to sobering up.  The best I’d done prior was two weeks, and they were two miserable weeks!  I needed to be teachable, so I stowed my ego away and let others who knew better than I how to stay sober, teach me.  I did as they said and I managed to put a few 24 hours together.  I cleaned up the wreckage of my past to a point where life didn’t suck so bad.  Then I got to a point where I didn’t want to have to go through all of that shit again and had something to work for, to stay sober for…

To this day I still remain teachable because as I grow in my sobriety, I run into situations that I don’t necessarily know how to handle.  I take those situations to friends (usually my sponsor) and try to figure out the right way to handle them.

See, here’s the problem; We know that our problems are of our own making, for the most part, and that our lives using alcohol or drugs were based almost entirely on self-will run riot, right?  Right.  Folks, if my whole problem is a life lived on self-will run riot, the last thing I want to use to fix that is more self-will.  This is why something greater than me worked where I failed.  Miserably.  Every time.

I can’t relate to those who think they’re so great that they don’t have to remain teachable.


  1. tammi1438 says:

    Amen. 🙏

  2. Gail says:

    Just when I think you couldn’t possibly write anything else that I could agree with or relate to, you smack me in the face with this. So accurate, it hurts me.

  3. Dorothea says:

    I think learning that you’re teachable, and never stop being so, is a good lesson for anyone, not just those trying to stay sober…

  4. saoirsek says:

    “ AGod of my own understanding “ When I’m struggling with the concept of a HP I go to the power of the collective sobriety in a room. Tried staying sober on my own for long enough, as Dr Phil would say… “ How did that work out for ya?”

  5. sophie12hours says:

    This is very interesting… I wouldn’t call myself an atheist, it’s more that the higher power/energy/intelligence/love I believe in I find hard to define. It’s handing over to a higher power that hasn’t clicked for me and I hope that’s not down to me thinking I’m too great or what have you (at least I don’t consciously go around thinking I know better or am too this or that). Personally, I got to a point where I just saw alcohol for what it is: an illusion (celebrate something by numbing ourselves?!) that brings nothing but devastation. I’ll never be able to drink “normally” – to whatever extent it’s normal to ingest ethanol, that is – and I can’t believe it took me this long to discover how colourful and amazing life is without that crap. But I’m not denying a higher power and perhaps there was a guiding hand I just couldn’t see, I do like to think so. I was pretty much laughed at by my sponsor when I told her how I felt, she seems to be of the same opinion as you and clearly thinks I’m really stupid. And perhaps I am but better that than drunk. 🙂 Anyway, love your blog, will no doubt pass by again. All the best, Sophie

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks, Sophie. Stupid isn’t it, as much as semantics. Your seeing alcohol as it is happens to be right on… truer words were never written. The HP comes in when we try to fix the real problems. Drinking is the symptom, sister.

      Whatever your story, our attitude and outlook change with time. Keep coming back and doing the next right thing and the rest will work out in the wash. Oh, and one last thing… When the final bus shows up for me, I’d rather believe and be wrong than not and be wrong. 😉

  6. Jenni K. says:

    Thank God in AA we don’t have to have an understanding in the beginning. In fact, the 12 steps are all about finding that power by which we could live – “That’s exactly what this book is about.” (We Agnostics, p.45). Newcomers, and even some who have been around, often struggle with the concept of a higher power, but from my experience, the steps lead them right to it.

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