Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. – Date unknown
In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, we are loved unconditionally, tolerated, cajoled, and treated with incredible patience. I came into this atmosphere after nearly killing myself with drugs and alcohol, filled with self-loathing and controlling behaviors and complete contempt for life and people in general. I brought all this with me into the rooms, as though armed against your good intentions and your love of life, which I didn’t believe for an instant could be real. I took from all of you greedily and gave back very little. I stayed unwilling to change and only learned things that I could use against you. I was determined to test that easygoing nature AA people seemed to have.
In my self-righteous attitude, I decided that all of the controversies about drug addicts in AA meetings was nothing more than a way to keep out people like myself, who abused many drugs along with alcohol. I believed that the underlying message was “We don’t want you here.” I decided that you people were not nearly so loving or so patient as you made yourselves out to be. It was just as I’d suspected all along.
Finally I was about to abandon meetings altogether. At yet another meeting where this topic came up during our group conscience decision, a fellow alcoholic/drug addict spoke up and said, “I am willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. If this means that I shouldn’t speak about my drug use at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings – well, then, I guess I can do that. These are the people who save my life and taught me to live a real life. I owe them too much to try to change them rather than change myself.”
It was just that simple.
Again the answer for me has been to be willing to change.
After months of struggling with this dilemma, I saw The solution. I have now joined a group that is definitely old-time AA, and we stick to the philosophy of singleness of purpose as it was mapped out for us by our original members.
I worry about Alcoholics Anonymous changing so much and I pray that we all learn to age gracefully. My AA world is still intact, and AA members are still the most loving and patient with me. I hope that I’ve learned never again to force my will on something so Solid. .
Kathy M. Montdale, Penn