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Central Bulletin, Vol 23 No 9, June, 1965

AA doesn’t work on our own terms! Our guarantee of sustained sobriety can be achieved only if we study and apply the Twelve Steps thoroughly, and without questioning their validity and practicing the principles advocated in all our affairs.

Alcoholism is a lifetime disease. It is also a progressive disease. In the 30 years of AA existence, men and women in our fellowship of every degree of intelligence, education and social status, highly educated and hailing from well-respected circles. As well as those with little education have provided absolute proof that AA never fails – IF the candidate completely surrenders and follows the advice and examples of his successful advisors.

Sobriety is the beginning, not the end. The candidate must begin practicing a life of integrity in all his affairs. He must develop a faith in a Power Greater than himself, from faith in his successful sponsors to an ultimate faith in God. He must learn to trust Him completely, even when his pleas for material blessings are slow in coming.

AA doesn’t work on our terms, but on the will of that Power greater than ourselves. Membership in AA doesn’t guarantee great material wealth or success. But, does guarantee continued sobriety if a candidate disciplines himself or herself to listen to his successful predecessors, has sustained faith, discards all of his bad habits, learns to obey the laws of the land (without cheating just a little), willingly accompanies his sponsor on visits to another applicant and listens and watches his technique, learns in the meantime the method of carrying the message to others.

In our humble opinion, success can be accelerated by constantly reading the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous – reading it, absorbing it, following its philosophy daily in all our affairs. When you’ve read it through once, read it again and again. On the second and third reading you will be amazed to discover answers to questions and doubts which infiltrated your mind on the first reading.

We would also recommend reading and studying much of the literature in pamphlet form which most groups have available at their meetings. They elaborate and explain many of the principles which have possibly been enigmas to you. Couched in simple language, they cannot but help you to fortify yourself against temptation, particularly when your faith has begun to waver.

We would also insist that you go to as many meetings as you can and finally select a group which lays particular emphasis on the program and less emphasis on social activity. Fun is fun, and the alcoholic always is ready for it. All too many groups tend to emphasize fun and often make it their goal rather than that which should be – carrying the message!

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.