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Why Alcoholics Anonymous Works Where All Else Fails… and Also Why It Fails; Part Three of Many.


Part Three in this series is going to be fun.  Part One is (here), Part Two is (here).  I’m going to get into why AA fails for the abundant folks who can’t (or won’t) grasp this simple program.  For those who won’t, this will be an uncomfortable journey.

While Alcoholics Anonymous is simple, it isn’t easy.  We are asked to grapple with thoughts, emotions, actions, and the ramifications of those actions – all while accepting that we are egocentric, which must be squashed immediately – and with the hope that once we do, we’ll be free of addiction’s grip.  We call this our return to sanity.  Millions have experienced this exhilaration, indeed, it isn’t to be missed.

The problem is, the work sucks.  It’s hard.  And who would want to do that $#!+ anyway?!  Normal people don’t go through all that crap!  We even have to give up righteous indignation if we’re to truly be happy. It means ceasing to place blame, pointing the focus squarely on the person we see when we look in a mirror. Most of us can’t even look ourselves in the eyes in a mirror when we first waltz through the door – not without bursting into tears.  Try it – and don’t give me one of those bullshit quick glances – really look in the mirror and look into your soul.  That’s it.

In the scheme of things, though, is it really all that bad when one considers we’re battling a disease?  I’d never complain about my lot contrasted with that of a cancer patient.  Now, imagine being able to look in that mirror and be happy with who you are, with your flaws and imperfections being ground into the backdrop by the good you do – by the person you’ve become.  Imagine contentment, being glad just for another day like the last one.  That’s what you have to look forward to if you’re willing to work for it.

In the end it boils down to one simple idea:  AA doesn’t work for those who aren’t willing to work at it.  Alcoholics Anonymous is an active program of recovery that takes constant work and effort for as long as one chooses to stick around.  Simply put, if you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready yet.  Come back when you don’t have any options left and you’re willing.

Once you’ve hit “F*** it”, it’ll work like a charm.  I’ve never see a person fail who’s thoroughly followed the path – and I’ve seen a $#!+-ton of failure.


  1. Eliza says:

    AA works. It’s not the only way. I’ve learned so much from AA. The principles and messages and life skills that are best for really everyone to know. I’ve learned from the positive I’ve seen and from the negative. What I want to be, and what I don’t want to be. It’s still the first thing I’d recommend to some people – others I’d tell them to go through the 12 steps coz it can only help. As they sum it up – it works if you work it, so work it – you’re worth it. I love the summation and definitely think it’s true. And why do I ramble so much on your blog????
    Love, light, and glitter

    • bgddyjim says:

      I’ve never said or suggested AA is the only way. Ever. I like it because it helps the user fix what ails them… at the same time, I have friends who found a different path that works for them. If I get people thinking, and they tend to ramble a bit, I’ve done a good job and am happy for it. I take it as a compliment you do.

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