It Takes Practice to Be Human – Grapevine Article December 1977 by M.B.

Constant work with the Tenth Step shows us what we are and what we can become

DURING MY drinking days, it seemed that I was either a god or a devil–but never human. I was either so grandly above everyone else that they were unworthy of my love or so desperately below the level of everyone else that I felt myself unworthy of their affection. When I was in my deluded god state, I was perfect, all good, and almighty. When I was in my depressed devil state, I was totally useless and worthless, hopelessly flawed.

After I stopped drinking and started to work the simple program that AA gave me, I gradually started to experience life in that condition between godhood and devilhood called humanity. Little by little, I came to learn that, while I wasn’t as great as I sometimes fancied myself, neither was I as loathsome as I often felt. Passage of time and reworking of the Steps taught me that I was neither a god nor a devil but rather a human being. Eventually, I learned that a human being is neither wholly good nor completely bad, but that a human being has the capability of doing either good or bad (or both).

I now believe that it is my lot as a human being, during my brief life, to help and harm, give and take, create and destroy, for I am neither perfect nor wholly evil. I also believe that my life will be a good life rather than a bad one if, at its end, I can honestly say that I helped more than I harmed, gave more than I took, and created more than I destroyed.

AA has taught me that the only way to work toward that goal is to do it on a day-at-a-time basis. So each night, I think of the Tenth Step and ask myself, “Have I, this day, helped more than I’ve harmed? Given more than I’ve taken? Created more than I’ve destroyed?”

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