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The Most Controversial Sentences in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Consider the Title of this post and most people will complain that anything to do with a Higher Power is the most controversial line(s) in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  85% of the people on this planet believe in a Higher Power, so the HP doesn’t even get close.

I won’t taunt or go for the delayed surprise last line of the post “ah ha” moment.  I’m going to jump right in with the most controversial sentences, by today’s standards, in the Big Book of AA:

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being
fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They
will always materialize if we work for them.

There’s no hedging.  No equivocation.  Let’s look at what is promised if one works the program as outlined in the first 164 pages of the Big Book:

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity.

We will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Name any treatment program other than the Twelve Steps that will promise an addict or alcoholic anything beyond a need to keep paying for more treatment.

If you’ve read my blog at all, especially in the last month and a half during COVIDcation, you will know without question that those promises have come to be in my life and there’s no question I’ve worked for them specifically and with intent; fear of people and economic insecurity, my whole attitude and outlook upon life changing, and the feeling of uselessness and self-pity disappearing to name three.

The fact that I made it through our state lock down with money left in the bank, vehicles in great repair, mortgage still paid and with ample food on the table (and two packs of toilet paper [!]) is a testament to the fear of economic insecurity leaving me – even without bailout money, I’d have made it (though it would have been difficult, no doubt about it, and I’d have had to work some magic on the mortgage).  The fear of people is still one I work on, but that’s to be expected as I run into new people and new experiences regularly.  I have to learn how to adapt to new experiences – but I don’t fear having to do this anymore, so perhaps I could still call that promise good.

I’ve experienced more peace and contentment over my decades of being recovered from alcohol, it would almost seem unfair but for one simple truth; I worked for it.

And therein lies the rub.

Back to work today, my friends.  It’s time to rebuild an economy.