In its deeper sense AA is a quest for freedom–freedom under God. Of course the immediate object of our quest is sobriety–freedom from alcohol and from all its baleful consequences. Without this freedom, we have nothing at all.
Paradoxically, though, we can achieve no liberation from the alcohol obsession until we become willing to deal with those character defects which have landed us in that helpless condition. Even to gain sobriety only, we must attain some freedom from fear, anger and pride; from rebellion and self-righteousness; from laziness and irresponsibility; from foolish rationalization and outright dishonesty; from wrong dependencies and destructive power-driving.
In this freedom quest, we are always given three choices. A rebellious refusal to work upon our glaring defects can be a ticket to destruction. Or, for a time, we can stay sober with a minimum of self-improvement and settle ourselves into a comfortable but often dangerous mediocrity. Or we can continuously try hard for those sterling qualities which can add up to greatness of spirit and action–true and lasting freedom under God, the freedom to find and do His will.
For most of us this last choice is really ours; we must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victims of our inheritance, of our life experience, and our surroundings–that these are the sole forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.
Similarly, our whole society, and every group in it, will constantly face these identical decisions. Shall we settle for destruction? Shall we try only for the temporary comforts of a complacent mediocrity? Or shall we consistently face the disciplines, make the sacrifices and endure the discomforts that will qualify us to walk the path that invariably leads toward true greatness of spirit and action?