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I was in a meeting where we had a couple of new people seeking help, one there willingly seeking help for self, and the other there via the auspices of another, a judge, who was managing life for him.
I was reminded in the course of the meeting, that each of us that gets to the program, whether by AA or NA or EA or SA or GA or any other implementation of the 12 Steps of AA, whether by way of the courts or nuthouse or by the help of the hideous Four Horsemen, Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration and Despair guaranteed by Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Ernest and Julio and the myriad of other "Good Ol' Boys" of a thousand other names, each of us arrives with Our Greatest Asset.
You ask "How can that be?"
Well, folks, if you are at all like me, I arrived with the lifetime of experience and memory of "Things That Do Not Work." That was my Greatest Asset.
Hell, it was the only Asset that I had!! I damn sure did not know what did work, and thank God, because if I had anything that was working, I would still be out there trying to make it work.
Yes, my Greatest Asset then was my History, and today, many years later, my History is still my Greatest Asset. Today though, my history includes not only "Things That Do Not Work" but also "Things That DO Work", the things taught me by the simple daily practice of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to the best of my limited ability, one day at a time.
In the course of the meeting, a member brought out that HOW, Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness were the essence of the first 3 Steps, the Honesty of the Admission, the Open-mindedness to accept the premise that some power could restore us to sanity, and the Willingness to give it a try. He also brought out that Alcoholics Anonymous too has a History of the "Things That DO or Do Not Work." That AA, too, has gone through periods of "Dry Drunk" in the process of growth. That is the value of reading and studying the history of AA as presented in books like "AA comes of Age", "Dr. Bob and The Good Oldtimers", the many "Guidelines" published by GSO, all of the literature in the rack at the meeting, for it is in these that the "History", AA's Greatest Asset since the beginning, since the publishing of the BigBook, is presented.
It is in that history that the reason for the AA "Singleness of Purpose" is brought out, a simple matter of identification by the individual as he or she seeks help. Of course, each of us arrives with a myriad of problems that we despair of ever solving, as brought out in The Doctor's Opinion on page xxvii. But each of them can be solved, singly, one at a time, if we solve the primary problem first, that of our disease of alcoholism, by the simple expediency of following a few simple rules in our approach to daily living.
Yes, when I arrived, and even today, I am "An Alcoholic, amongst other things," and as I remember the one primary thing, my alcoholism, "The Other Things" which I have denied, and lied to myself about, are handled, and I cease being so damnably "Terminally Unique."
If I forget my Greatest Asset, my History, if we forget AA's Greatest Asset, its History, or if we deny or don't inform ourselves of it, then we are liable to make the same mistakes again, and again, ad infinitum.
This brings to mind a sweet story:
Puppies for Sale
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies for Sale". The signs have a way of attracting children. Soon a little boy appeared at the sign and asked, "How much are you gonna sell those puppies for?".
The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30-$50."
The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37, can I look at them?"
The store owner smiled and whistled. Out of the kennel came his dog named Lady, running down the aisle of his store followed by five little puppies. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy.
The boy asked, "What's wrong with that little dog?" The man explained that when the puppy was born the vet said that this puppy had a bad hip socket and would limp for the rest of his life.
The little boy got really excited and said, "That's the puppy I want to buy!"
The man replied "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll give him to you."
The little boy got upset. He looked straight into the man's eyes and said "I don't want you to give him to me. He is worth every bit as much as the other dogs and I'll pay the full price. In fact I will give you $2.37 now and 50 cents every month until I have him paid for."
The man countered, "You really don't want to buy this puppy, son. He is never gonna be able to run, jump and play like other puppies."
The little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the man and said, "Well, I don't run so well myself and the little puppy will need someone who understands."
The man was now biting his bottom lip. Tears welled up in his eyes. He smiled and said, "Son, I hope and pray that each and every one of these puppies will have an owner such as you."
In life, it doesn't matter who you are, but whether someone understands and appreciates you for what you are, accepts you and loves you unconditionally.
A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks away.
That is the "magic" of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other Anonymous fellowships in our lives. This we learn from our history, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Love and Peace, Barefoot
As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!
KEEP COMING BACK!
On the Web August 29, 2001 in the Spirit of Cooperation
Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY