WE AAs are everywhere developing a keener sense of our history and the meaning of its turning points. Moreover, I believe that we are getting a right sense of our history; something of the utmost importance indeed. The world’s past reveals that many societies and nations have fallen victims to fear and pride, or to their aggressive designs. Thus they lost their sense of meaning, purpose and right destiny, and so they disintegrated and vanished. Neither power nor glory nor wealth could in the least guarantee their long-time survival.
There is little on the record of AA’s first quarter-century to suggest such a fate for us. In our personal lives, and therefore in our Fellowship itself, we have steadily striven to lay aside all those vainglorious clamors for prestige, power and possessions which had ruined so many of us in the drinking days. With those fearful experiences vividly before us, it is not strange that AA’s Twelve Steps continually remind us of the stark need for ego reduction; that our Twelve Traditions warn heavily against the perils of concentrated wealth, the vain pursuit of fame and the ever-present temptation to controversy and attack.
We did not come to such wisdom by reason of our virtues; our better understanding is rooted in our former follies. In the nick of time, and by God’s Grace, each of us has been enabled to develop a growing sense of the meaning and purpose of his own life. Because this has been the essence of our individual experience, it is also the essence of our experience as a Fellowship. We have suffered enough to learn something of the love of God and of each other. Thus we have been taught to choose those principles and practices by which we can surely survive and grow. This is the spiritual climate in which we AAs are today privileged to live.
Even our sometimes erratic behavior in sobriety has never changed this all-pervading climate of humility and love. This, we think, is the spiritual condition which has invited into our midst so much wise and Providential guidance. We say this in no conceit; it is an obvious fact of our experience. We only need to ponder the long series of apparently correct choices that we have been enabled to make over the past twenty-six years; choices respecting our principles and right methods of communicating them. Not a single one of these major decisions has yet shown the slightest sign of being a mistake. Up to now AA seems to have taken the right turning at each new crossroad. This could scarcely have been our doing alone. Our Fellowship has afforded a convincing proof of that wise old adage which declares that “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” This being our record, we can surely face the next hour of decision in confident faith.