I must admit that there are parts of the Big Book I’ve never read. For instance, as a singularly single, bachelor alcoholic, now past 40, I have never felt it necessary to peruse chapter nine–The Family Afterward. But, as in so many other cases when I’ve cunningly cut corners, I also shortchanged myself.
My sponsor rudely brought this to my attention in response to one of my self-centered laments. Actually, he simply asked me, “When was the last time you read the top of page 133?” I had to admit that I had no idea.
I made it a point to check out page 133. It turned out to be part of the chapter I had earlier dismissed. I read: “We are sure that God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery. . .”
Apparently, he was trying to tell me something.
In another instance, in reply to my moans about financial insecurity, my sponsor again suggested that I look at a passage from that chapter: “For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded.”
I guess the point I’m trying to make is simply this. For too many years, as I bounced in and out of this program, I myopically and mistakenly chose what I thought was good for me. Meanwhile, winners like my peaceful sponsor took advantage of the entire program–which included every page of the Big Book. By trying to prejudge the value of something, I had unwittingly ignored the sage observation on page 570 that “there is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
Sobriety is too precious to shortchange myself.