There are many teachable moments on our journey to becoming recovered alcoholics available to us if we are willing to do the inventory needed to embrace them. There are at least 21 specific examples in the first 164 pages of the big book where the author calls them out for us. Here are just a few…
“It relieved me somewhat to learn that in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though it often remains strong in other respects.”
MORE ABOUT ALCOHOLISM
“We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics.”
“We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions.”
HOW IT WORKS
“We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people.”
WORKING WITH OTHERS
“Tell him how baffled you were, how you finally learned that you were sick.”
A VISION FOR YOU
“You will learn the meaning of “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
I created this section of the site to share alcoholics’ most teachable moments in an effort to let that experience, strength and hope help others. CLICK HERE to share your most teachable moment and I will be happy to post it here. Any moments you share with me will be anonymity protected and will follow the guidelines as outlined in Tradition 11.
Yesterday I woke up full of squirrelly thinking. I immediately prayed and told God I surrendered to Him and I wanted him to guide me throughout the day. I didn’t immediately feel better!! I was still squirrelly! I knew I had some AA homework from my sponsor to read a chapter of my big book. Feeling frustrated at God, I read pages 56-57 and there are two lines that stood out to me. “For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator.” & “when we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!”. In that moment I realized I was resentful at God for not immediately stopping the squirrelly thinking just because I prayed. I realized I was trying to control when I felt God working in my life. I learned from that reading that He is always with me whether I feel Him or not. It is my selfishness that gets in the way of my relationship with Him AND my ability to feel His presence. He didn’t abandon me because I was squirrelly. I was trying to control God moments y’all😅. I felt immense peace, realizing my defect here and called my sponsor. Had an awesome day after that.
– Ben S., Roanoke, Texas
“Here’s a little story of the early in sobriety Actor who wanted to run the whole show…forever!
I was elected as the Group Secretary. I performed the work very well (supersized ego), I changed, organized and streamlined several processes in my measly 6 month term. I was busy – just look at “me” go!
All for the good of the group, of course.
Here comes the time for me to transition with the new secretary. I share why it is so important and of such value to carry on what I was doing.
I graciously offer to help check her work.
And so the months continue and I continue to arrange the outcome of all work performed by the new secretary.
The term is up and no one stands for the position. I offer to temporarily help until someone stands. And I go do what I do of much organizing and streamlining.
By this time, I really don’t know how the group survived for 30+ years before I showed up.
I’m sure, somewhere in my mind the thought was that I must have been called upon to save this group. “My real purpose….”
Long story short, about a year more and I’ve now thoroughly pissed off a new secretary and have been sat down for a couple of “talking to” by concerned parties.
Let me not forget that at some point during this time, I’ve also been called “out of order” a few times during the business meetings.
I’m a real cupcake! Or we can now just call me the extreme example of Self will run riot…
I don’t really know when the Principle of Rotation finally kicked in for me. I do know it took ALOT of God to move the mountain once I finally showed up with my shovel of willingness.
I’m now happy to report that I stay far away from our Group Secretary and in my last Group Trusted Servant commitment, I truly handed over the reigns and just sat back open to help IF asked.
Grace has been given to me by my HP. My hat is off in gratitude to each home group member that had to watch me or run up against me during my causing of confusion rather than bringing harmony. Or maybe best described as one of my best tornado seasons.
Someone advised me a couple of years ago that my rough edges are starting to soften (barely). I can continue to practice all 36 Principles and perhaps, in another decade or so, someone else will share with me that my rough edges have soften just a little bit more.”
– Anonymous Actor (Not Director), North Texas
“In early 1991, I had achieved 4 1/2 years of continuous sobriety after having been involved with the fellowship since 1987. I had finally reached a point in June of 1996 that I “couldn’t live with alcohol or without it”. At that point I did what had previously been the unthinkable; I got a sponsor and took the steps as outlined in our textbook.
I was active in my home group, chairing meetings, had a service position at the group, and attending a lot of meetings around the country as I traveled as part of my job. My oldest daughter had come in to AA the previous November and was working what proved to be a good program; life was good! I had arrived!
However, something just didn’t feel right. The way I described it then, as well as today, was “I just felt squirrelly”. I made a stop in Lufkin, Texas to call on an old customer of mine. It was somewhat of a courtesy call that I made a couple of times a year. The guy had become a good friend as well as a good customer, so I always got to town the night before so that we could have either breakfast or lunch together to get caught up.
I dropped in on a 6pm meeting at a local clubhouse. It was 12 x 12 step study that consisted of the chairperson, me and a guy getting his paper signed (who definitely did not want to be there!). We finished the step in about 20 minutes and rather than to go on, we closed the meeting.
The chairperson, Dave invited me to go eat with him, which I did. In the course of our meal Dave started sharing a bit of his story. He told me that around 6 years sober he began to feel “squirrelly”! At the mention of that word I began to pay attention! He said he drove up to Tyler to talk to an ex-airline pilot who was in the program. I immediately knew that had to be Rod C. who I had once met, but respected greatly due to a couple of his sponsees I knew very well!
Dave said that after a few minutes of his bemoaning his condition, Rod stopped him and asked him “how many new men are you currently sponsoring?” Dave’s answer was “none”. Rod told him to go find a sponsee and call him in two weeks.
Dave said he stopped at a meeting in Jacksonville on his way home, and at the end of the meeting, he stood up and said “ I need a sponsee, who here needs a sponsor?” When he left that meeting, he had two brand new sponsees. What Rod realized was that Dave was working an 11 1/2 step program!
And that is when I realized why I too was feeling squirrelly! I had been using my traveling job as an excuse to not sponsor men. In hindsight, I realized that my real reasons were fear and laziness! As God would have it, a couple of weeks later a friend of mine came into a meeting basically dragging a young man with him. He looked at me and said “Joe, this is John, we work together and he’s almost like a brother to me, I want you to sponsor him! He and I are too close.”
So John and I started a journey that continues to this day. I no longer sponsor John, but after a couple of years off for bad behavior, John is sober today, but more importantly for me, I have continued to work with others through sponsorship and carrying the message into “windup joints” ever since. And guess what? That “squirrelly” feeling has never returned!
This IS a 12 Step Program!”
– Joe B., Garland, TX
“As the years go by, it doesn’t matter how much step studies, tradition studies or other book studies I attend, meetings I go to, how often I work with my sponsor or the amount of service I do, the only thing I will perfect in Alcoholics Anonymous is staying sober one day at a time. The rest is left for negotiation after investigation.”
– William M., Waianae, Hawaii
“At 29 years sober while on a business trip in NYC, I was staying at a hotel and I woke up one morning and the coffee maker in my hotel room was broken. UGH! I put on my clothes, go down to the front desk and ask, “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” The clerk says, “Ok, walk out the front door, turn left, walk down the sidewalk to the next corner, turn left, go two streets, turn right….” (blah, blah, blah – that’s what I heard). So instead of saying something snarky like, “Are you kidding me with this?” I said, “Thank you.”
I walked out the door and as I was walking, I noticed there is a Hampton Inn connected to the hotel I was staying in. If you’ve ever stayed in a Hampton Inn, you know what they have in the lobby. FREE COFFEE! So, just like I was staying there, I walked in the front door, walked over to the coffee station, got me a to go cup, and walked out the door – JUST LIKE I WAS STAYING THERE. So, at 29 years sober, my untreated alcoholism (in that moment) told me it was okay to basically STEAL a cup of coffee. Without going into all the gory details, my HP didn’t let that selfishness, self-centeredness, and dishonesty last long.
Because I do want to have the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery in my life, within 15 minutes I was standing in front of the hotel manager at that Hampton Inn making an amends (making it right – not saying I’m sorry), paying her for the coffee and doing the next right thing. In that moment, one of my biggest teachable moments occurred… “Insanity Doesn’t Have and Expiration Date.” 2 days, 2 months, 2 years or 20 years…. if I am not hyper aware of my defects of character in the moment as they are happening (and connected to a God of my understanding), I stand the chance of my alcoholism becoming untreated once again.”
– Rick W., Grapevine, TX