Your Move – Grapevine Article July 2000 by Willa R.

False ideals

Readers tell us about their favorite passages in AA literature.

By the age of twenty-six I had all the ingredients of success as defined by our society: money, recognition, and the ability to buy all the trappings; yet I wasn’t happy and neither were the people I met who had the same advantages. I drank to reject this society. I remember getting drunk one Thursday afternoon, feeling so superior to all those slobs who went to work to pay the mortgage and raise the kids. I just knew it wouldn’t make them happy, so why would they put in such effort? I tried to buy friends with the money I’d been left when I was widowed, but having flawed judgment, I relied on all the wrong people and became a victim once again. There seemed to be no justice in the universe, as having what other people admired gave no peace of mind.

How long does a fancy car make you happy? Someone else always has a bigger, better, faster model. I always wanted instant gratification, so any delay or effort required to gain what I demanded just made me angry and I’d want another drink. In coming to AA, I demanded instant results and expected someone in AA to fix me. I resented the work I had to do and read every book published by the Fellowship looking for that illusive magic wand.

The following quote from Bernard Smith (nonalcoholic Chairman of the General Service Board) found on page 279 of Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Agereally spelled out my dilemma: “Alcohol simply served as an escape from personal enslavement to the false ideals of a materialistic society.” The paragraph ends with: “For the alcoholic first had to face materialism as a disease of society before he could free himself of the illness of alcoholism and be free of the social ills that made him an alcoholic.”

It was in seeing my alcoholism as the escape it really was that I became willing to do the work required for a happy and contented sobriety. This meant not only working and living by the Steps and Traditions, but also getting into service to make sure Alcoholics Anonymous will be there for coming generations.

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