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Overcoming a withered mind and becoming an adult

Sobriety in one sense is a goal, but in another sense, it is but a door, which permits us to step into a richer life. Sobriety in itself is meaningless if we do not develop our mental growth and acquire an honest spiritual understanding so that we can accept the things that life hands out to us without complaining that we are shortchanged.

Every good father and mother is proud and happy to see their children mature physically and mentally, but it becomes a tragedy when physical growth is arrested leaving a stunted body and the result is still more pathetic when the development of the mind stops and the body goes on growing, producing a man’s body and a childish mind.

In most cases the alcoholic’s body has grown to manhood, but the mind has ceased to grow, leaving a grown body and a withered mind filled with the corruption of babyish envies, ego and self-importance, with no respect for civil, moral, physical and spiritual laws.

And, when we were punished for violating any of these laws, we defended our actions with that childish excuse that adverse circumstances forced us to behave as we did, and we went into a tantrum when we were forced to make restitution’s for any damage we had done to others; causing much heartache and grief to all those who were near and dear to us. With such a body and bankrupt mind many alcoholics come into AA.

To develop muscles and a strong body, we must exercise and use our body and muscles, and the same is true with our mind. AA has all the facilities to develop a strong mind, if we will only practice and use the equipment that is provided for us. It is surprising how fast the swelling in our head goes down when we exercise our mind and practice the principles of AA in all or our daily affairs: thus, in reaching sobriety we are only on the threshold of a widening life that is richer in its possibilities and the fulfillment of all our hopes.

It is easy to delude ourselves that sobriety alone will bring us all these things that are necessary for a happy and contented life; but, life’s courts does not always run along a smooth, easy pattern. There are many curves, hills and rough spots which must be overcome – and each day will leave every one of us weaker, or stronger. If we hear the call for help by someone in distress and do nothing about it, we shall weaken the foundations of our character.

On the other hand, if we hear the call to AA for some need or service, and take one step toward it, we shall be that much stronger to meet and deal with our problem.

It is not in our power to change our intellectual heritage. Each of us is born with certain definite equipment and aptitude, which we inherit. Whether it is small or great, that is what we must go through life with. But, it does lie within our own choice to determine what we shall do with our gifts and talents. Misused or neglected, the finest endowment will count for little, but wisely used for a worthy cause, even limited gifts may win achievement.

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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.