The program of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that drinking is only a symptom of our disease. When I first heard that it was just another one of those abstract mystical phrases from a concept I didn’t grasp. I figured these AA people knew what they were talking about. I believed it meant something significant that only the “senior” members of AA understood. I was sure I’d understand it someday but I needed to get my feet underneath me first and keep that bottle away from my lips. I could not see how drinking was only a symptom of my problem. I thought drinking was my problem. Alcohol is every alcoholic’s problem right?
Well today I understand that no, alcohol is not my problem. Sure it is problematic to drink it and there sure were many unnecessary problems while I was drinking.
Alcohol is not my problem, it is my solution.
It says on page 64 in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “…for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.”
Notice that the first step is the only one that mentions alcohol. Hmmm. For a program with the word alcohol in its name this might seem kind of odd. But it is how it is. I can stop drinking for many days in a row, but I cannot stop my alcoholic behavior completely. “We are not saints…we claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” Pg. 60 So if you want to be technical, we all relapse almost everyday. We fall short of our “ideal” spiritual condition. Just think, when you snap at a co-worker or tell a fib, we fall short. But you know what, that’s ok. We just recognize it, and try again. We wake in the morning, ask God to guide us, then when we retire at night we constructively review our day, asking for God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
So when we get down to the details, we can see how we always have room for improvement and each day is a new opportunity for growth.
That’s what I think it means when they say all we have is 24 hours because we all “relapse” every day. Sure having lots of days under your belt is a fantastic accomplishment and one I by no means wish to discount. We have to be sober to be connected with our higher power. It’s our daily reprieve and our effort at living a better life which (in my opinion) defines us as recovered alcoholics.
I do it because it works.
I do it because I live a life of recovery.