Step 0

This comes from chapter five in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book, or BB):

“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps.” (The ‘certain steps’ are, of course, the Twelve Steps of AA.)

“If you have decided you want what we have…”

What exactly did the founding members and those who followed have?  Bill Wilson did a reasonably good job explaining it in the BB.  They each had a personal experience with a Higher Power (HP) of their understanding, and I would note this was an experience and understanding as individuals, not a ‘group consensus.’  They had a way of living, and a set of principles to follow, that allowed them to live happy, joyous and free without alcohol.  Even more importantly, they were living without fear; they were neither fighting to remain sober, nor avoiding temptation.  For them, the problem had been removed!  And as I looked at and listened to folks in the AA meetings I could see and feel that there were some here and there, though not many, who were also living happy, joyous and free.  That all sounded pretty good to me.

None of the above was mentioned in the various groups I had attended over the years; I had to pick it up by reading the BB.  Without question, my experience was that most of the members attending those groups had found a way of living abstinent of alcohol, but with fear of (often a morbid fear of) relapse.  They seemed to be living reasonably happy lives unless and until life threw them a change-up, whereupon they would more likely than not go back to drinking.  They did not seem to be able to “intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle” them.

I didn’t want that.  I wanted what the founders claimed they had.  And I got it! —that’s what this blog is all about.

How Long is a “Length?”

“…are willing to go to any length to get it.” Aye, there’s a big rub!  How much was I willing to do, go through, put up with, do without, add to my load….and change?  To be honest, I didn’t know; didn’t have a clue.  Just what length was my limit?  Nobody could tell me any specifics, because they had no idea.  So I thought to myself, “I want it really bad, and I can always bail if the cost gets too high.”  The cost actually did get too high for me, several times.  The fashionable term for this is ‘relapse.’

Eventually, I became willing to do whatever it took to get what they had.  Where had I heard that before?  Any length, whatever it was going to take, that’s what I became willing to do.  Because by that time, the pain of continuing to drink was surpassing the pain of stopping.

I had identified with Step 1 long before I became willing to go to any length to make it to the promised life of happiness, joy, and freedom.  Step 1 wasn’t much good without the rest of them, though, and for those I did have to go to extraordinary lengths.  At least at the time I considered them to be extraordinary.  I’ll be writing about those Steps as we go along.

Thus, Step 0—Made the decision that I wanted what they had, and became willing to go to any length to get it.

  1. I so agree with you on today’s groups and the members that attend them. luckily i was fully capable of reading and comprehending Bill’s writings and consider my self so blessed to have experienced that “vital spiritual experience”. Life’s not great by any means but i now know how to face my problems rather than hide from them with alcohol.


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I’ve Been Recognized!

Back in February, I received notice that had listed this blog in their list of 30 Top Alcoholic Anonymous blogs.   I am honored.

An Excerpt:

Top 30 Alcoholics Anonymous Blogs

alcoholism.jpgOne’s relationship with alcohol can be one of the most contentious aspects of life. There are safe and healthy pleasures that come with the sauce, but it can lead to abuse and self-harm. To get on the right track and sober up, many consecrate their lives to being safer and stronger with AA. Fortunately, writing about the experience can often help with recovery, and many AA members are blogging. Here’s our selection of the best of the Web’s AA-themed blogs.

Top Five

  1. The AA Blog: Anyone who suspects that they or a loved one may be falling into the grip of alcoholism may be wise to give this blog a visit. It’s a frequently updated and devoted page chock full of the latest information on recovery and support for this widespread disorder. It also provides a lot of insight and honest confessions about what participating in an Alcoholics Anonymous program is really like. This blog shows while it’s no cakewalk, it is absolutely worthwhile.
    • Why We Love It: Understand more about the ins and outs of AA meetings, and also dealing with your own alcoholism, with this site’s counsel.
    • Favorite Post: Taking Risks
  2. I’m Just F.I.N.E.: Blogger Syd maintains a level of blatant and piercing honesty in her blog page. Her bio tells how she was raised as a child by an alcoholic, and is now wed to someone struggling with alcohol. Valiantly, she carries on with her spouse through this journey away from the shackles of her pain and into freedom and peace. This blog is particularly noteworthy for its candor. Anticipate no song-and-dance routines here, only the searing truth.
    • Why We Love It: Understand the highs, the lows, and the spots in between on the path of redemption from alcoholism here.
    • Favorite Post: Holy City Blues
  3. Alcoholic Outsider Artist: What’s a man to do with the frustration, anger, and new growth that accompanies a struggle with alcoholism in AA? Make great artwork, of course. Blogger Parker paints enviably beautiful pictures in direct response to his experiences with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He describes his painting as distracted, to-the-point, and devoid of direction. None of that hampers the power of the paintings you’ll see here.
    • Why We Love It: A great blog that exhibits a healthy response to the immense internal struggles that alcoholism recovery can prompt.
    • Favorite Post: Favorite AA Pictures
  4. Don in London: The British have always entertained a boisterous and hearty interaction with alcohol. This blog makes an excellent case for many of the country’s denizens to evaluate their interactions with beer and wine and to make sure that they’re not abusing them. Blogger Don has commenced his blog page by providing a comprehensive walk through each of Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve steps. A great AA site for readers on both sides of the pond.
    • Why We Love It: This British blogger provides sharp insights into the process of alcoholism recovery, step by step.
    • Favorite Post: AA Step Two
  5. The Spirit of Recovery: A fiftysomething recovering alcoholic writes with spirit and with hope on the topic of relieve from the disorder. Blogger Ron has put in a lot of work in terms of personally conversing with other AA members and immersing himself in the available literature. This blog makes it clear that recovery is not the end of the road. Rather, it’s merely a coveted step in a veritable journey of relief that continues as long as one keeps living.
    • Why We Love It: This blog helps those interested in AA to understand what recovery actually means, and how to deal with it once it’s achieved.
    • Favorite Post: Recovered

See the entire list here:

To clarify, though, this blog has no affiliation with the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, other than I talk about that organization quite a bit.

And if anyone is wondering why I haven’t gotten this up until now, well, it took me that long to figure out how to put the little award thingy over there on right of the page!

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