chapter 5. How it works.
Pages 58 and 59 for those of you playing at home.

The opening paragraphs serve as a warm-up to the steps themselves. It’s also read during the opening of every meeting I attended. For some reason, last night I decided to close my eyes while this was being read and pretend I was in my car in a field listening to the radio. The words crackled in my ears.

Let’s start with the opening paragraph:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be­ing honest with themselves. There are such unfortu­nates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasp­ing and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.

Talk about high hat! What arrogance! Who the hell were these people, talking like Obi Wan Kenobi, only smugger? First you say you’ll help me, then you throw up your hands and say whatever; not our problem – looks like you were just born that way. Some people simply drown. We can’t have your personal bring-downs bringing us down.

It wasn’t what I was expecting: unconditional love. The program came with a caveat: in order to participate I needed to maintain a willing desire to stop drinking. That seemed somewhat doable, concrete, even. But I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the completely honest party. And how is that even achievable? I’ll give you “constitutionally incapable” as a dodge: that’s just spite. That’s “I will not”. That I understood.

What way causing me to piss myself was the “can not”. What if I have mental problems, beyond the scope of just alcohol? What if my environment was such that I now have no chance and don’t even know it? What if I’m one of the different ones? What if I’m special?

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a breakthrough!

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