I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people coming into the program these days want to put in minimal effort and expect maximum results. It’s almost as if they want drive thru service from AA. They want to know how to stay sober in under 10 minutes.
I remember coming into the program and spending time getting well and learning about the disease and how to live and apply this design for living that AA offers. Sure, I wanted 20 years yesterday BUT I was willing to go to any length to get it. I was committed to doing what it took even if it was inconvenient. I set up and chaired meetings, I washed ash trays. I served coffee. I stacked chairs and tables. I answered phone calls. I got involved in the service structure. I jumped into the program and all that it offered because I wanted a way out of the misery I was in. I was 16 years old when I came into AA and a junior in high school. I still had responsibilities outside of the doors of AA BUT I made my AA responsibilities a priority. They came first because I knew if I wasn’t sober, I would fail in school, lose my relationships with my family and lose my job. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I wanted to feel better. I was willing to do whatever it took to stay sober and I was committed for the long haul.
I believe there is a lack of commitment in this new generation of AA’s. Nowadays people don’t take the responsibility to chair meetings or get involved because they say they don’t have time; let someone else do it. Most people coming into the rooms today will not go to any lengths to achieve sobriety they will only do what is convenient for them and what feels good at the time. The result is more relapse and less long term sobriety.
Does it mean that the program of AA doesn’t work or that it’s stopped working? No. It means that it isn’t being worked and taught like it used to be. Instead of placing sobriety first in lifes’ priority list, sobriety gets squeezed into the empty spots of life. I’ve seen so many people come into the program get a little better and give nothing back. It really makes me sad to hear them say that “they have a life now”. I guess they forgot why and how they have that new life. They forgot all the time people took with them to show them and help them when they were new. They forgot all the meetings they attended and how there were people there to chair the meetings so they could attend. Now they have a life. I guess all the people that were there when they came in never had a life. I’m so glad that Bill and Bob never had that attitude or this society of Alcoholics Anonymous would never have been born. They knew that only by giving away what they had could they keep it. They were committed to sobriety for the long haul. They weren’t just trying it out to see if it would work. They had to find a way to live life sober and there very lives depended on it.
Today I have a life because I came to AA. There I was taught to find a God of my understanding that would solve my problem. In order to keep what I have I need to give it away. If I fail to give it away then I’m in danger of not keeping it. I’m not in this program for drive thru service quick and easy. I’m committed to recovery and am willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay well. I don’t want drive thru service that will only temporarily cover up my sore spots. This program has given me a design for living that works to not only clean them up but heal them as well. Today I am whole and am comfortable in my own skin. I no longer am reaching outside of myself to make myself feel better and this is all because I took the time to allow God and this program to work on me.