Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"To want nothing in return...."

Here's another lovely passage from the 1960s-era A Member's-Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous; my bold.
It is also apparent by now, I hope, that A.A.'s program of action is not the rushing to and fro so often envisioned by the newcomer, nor even the unflagging carrying of the message to other alcoholics. Instead, its action is concentrated for the most part on the inner man, involving his deepest sensibilities and values. Only three Steps - the Fifth, Ninth, and Twelfth - involve other people. The other nine concern themselves with the interior life of the alcoholic. Yet in their observance the ultimate result is to turn the alcoholic inside out - from himself to others.

An oft-quoted sentence from the book Alcoholics Anonymous is: "Self-centeredness ... is the root of our troubles." And one of the earliest evidences of the basic change in the personality of the recovering alcoholic is the slow, hesitant, frightened, but persistent offering of himself to others. Alcoholics are numbered among the great "gimmes" of the world. "Gimme a break ... Gimme a chance .. Gimme time ... Gimme understanding ... Gimme love." In A.A., these self-same "gimmes" come to be numbered among the great givers, and lo, some of them even learn to want nothing in return.

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