1938 Original Manuscript for 1939 1st Edition BigBook Searchable 1976 3rd Edition BigBook On-Line
The Prescription
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The Dawn of Truth
The Awakening

"With desolation is the land made desolate,
because there are none who thinketh in their hearts."

Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is. Minus all the sham, the surface and the show, he then stands face to face with truth. Minus the deception of his own self-seeking and selfishness, he sees himself clearly outlined in the aura of God's grace as it tears away all the foolish self-deceptions and shows a man for what he really is - selfish, deceitful, full of excuses, dishonest even to himself and full of faults and failings.

To some few it may come in the green and virile freshness of youth when failures still are only theory and cocksureness still the order of the day. Blessed are they if they can then and there see the truth for what it is and follow it faithfully on down through all the subsequent years of struggle and still retain it as their guiding star even to the eventide of declining years.

To another the moment is delayed until remaining years are few and fast fading and the will is battered and torn by life's long struggles and hardships. But to them truth remains obscure, enmeshed over the long years in the deceptions and the excuses of "the world, the flesh and the ego." A miracle of providence and God's grace alone can pierce the hardened shell.

To most of us this moment comes at a time when many of life's battles and years have passed, but at a time when there still remains sufficient years, vigor and initiative to "seek truth and pursue it," in order to make it the motive of our living, the motive of our struggles and the security of our declining years.

This moment may be brought about by the death of a loved one, the loss of worldly goods, or it may be directly occasioned within by the grace of God speaking to the depth of our soul. To most alcoholics it comes at the instant when they face the inevitable choice: death, insanity or absolute sobriety. It often comes with a blinding flash that seems to tear away the very foundations of life, and alcoholic or non-alcoholic, layman or professional, young or old, there arises from the very innermost sanctuary of the soul and heart the cry "My God, what a mess I have made of things! How pitiful is the good done, how sparing my help to others, how innumerable my mistakes, the wrongs, - how all-pervading my self-seeking, how dishonest my every motive! How seamy the finish, but now battered the product!"

This "moment" may last for an hour, a day, a month, a year or for years. But whenever, wherever, however it comes - it is a dread and fearful moment, because upon that moment and the decisions of that moment may depend our very life and our eternity. And from that time on one can never be the same again.

For it is then that he sees fully and clearly without rhyme or excuse what he has so far made of himself and how he has done it. He sees the great and the small failures - the great and the small successes. He for once now knows things for what they really are in themselves and not in their labels. He sees the total effect of what seemed to be little compromises - the little treasons, the little dishonesties, the little failures to live up to God's plan. He sees himself and his life for what it is - an intricate tissue of choices in which the smallest choice has given direction to other choices - like the tiny strokes of the artist's brush, in themselves meaningless - but in their union with others bringing forth the full portrait. And so he suddenly realizes that he has been down through the years like the artist who ever lifted the brush to canvas but never produced a picture; like the musician who ever touched the bow to strings but never emitted a harmony; like the sculptor who ever placed the chisel against the stone but never brought forth a statue.

It is then that life's greatest decision must be made and then it is that it seems that an angel has him by the hands and a devil by the foot. And having caught, perhaps only for a fleeting instant, a vision of himself naked in the white light of truth and the piercing rays of grace - having seen the abyss that separates him from what he should be, from what he has believed or tried to believe himself to be - and having at the same time recognized his own complete helplessness, he can do one of three things:

FIRST - he may rush in confusion back to the old surface view of self and try by a thousand and one half-remedies to dress up the haunting vision, to explain away the stubborn reality, to excuse, and to attempt forgetfulness by courting the sham fancies of the night and by rushing headlong through the chores of the day. This is the choice of the vain man.

SECOND - the shock may be so great, the failure so undeniably real, the disillusionment so crushing that he despairs and in one way or another he seeks to destroy himself - either factually or by the bottle. This is the proud man.

THIRD - this is the way of the Prodigal Son, who dropped on his knees in the swine pen and cried: "Father, I have sinned" or with its echo "I am powerless...my life is unmanageable" - and perhaps for the first time in his life that man really prays and begins to meditate. This is the humble man. And day-by-day he prays and he meditates on truth lest again he fall back into his former dishonesties, into his former self-deception, into his former life-long habit of excuses. For the life of all is loaded with excuses - and systematic, persistent and consistent meditation and seeking of the Truth alone with dissipate them.

"....and the Truth shall make you free."

"We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery." BigBook p.30

"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." BigBook p.98

All else follows from that ..... "It works -- it really does." BigBook p.88

The Awakening

Index of AA History Pages on Barefoot's Domain

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!!

ABC Page 60 from the Big Book



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