Some key questions and perspectives from our founder written at AA’s 25th anniversary. His thoughts still ring true and relevant for what may be facing today (Excerpted from longer article)
There is among us AAs the ever-present need for further spiritual growth. Here most of us show a heavy deficit, and I’m a notable example. The simplest self-questioning can reveal such deficiencies. For instance: “Am I trying to ‘practice these principles’ in all my own affairs? Or am I simply complacent and quite content with just enough spiritual nourishment to keep me sober? Do I really possess the spiritual resources to see me through some rough going? Or do I think pretty well of my spiritual demonstration because (a) things are pretty good at home, (b) I got a big raise, and (c) they made me vice-president of my lodge? Or if things go badly and I begin to be jittery, depressed, anxious, or resentful, do I then justify my resulting self-pity and guilt by blaming my ‘bad breaks’ or, more usually, the behavior of other people? Or do I fall back on the old refrain that I’m a ‘sick alcoholic’ and therefore not responsible?”
Nearly all of us, when we think about it, agree that we are a long, long way from being anywhere near grown-up, from almost any point of view. We can clearly see that our job as individuals and as a fellowship is to keep right on growing by the constant use of our Twelve Steps.
Of course, we may be certain that this will be a slow business. But we also know we can never take our plodding progress as the slightest alibi for setting ourselves second-rate goals. Our high aim can be emotional sobriety, full emotional maturity–and that’s good. However, I think most of us may prefer a still larger definition, one with a still broader and higher reach. Perhaps there can be no “relative” in the universe unless somewhere there is an “absolute.” To most of us, this “absolute” is “God as we understand Him.” We feel that we were born to this life to grow–if only a little–toward that likeness and image. However small and prudent our next immediate step on the path of progress may be, we of AA can never set any hampering limitation upon the ultimate destiny of ourselves and our Fellowship, nor any whatever upon God’s love for us all. Individually and collectively, structurally and spiritually, we shall ever need to build for the future. We are still laying down the foundation on which all coming generations of AAs will have to stand, perhaps for centuries.
Our Fellowship has been permitted to achieve–though still in miniature–the “one world” dream of philosophers. Ours is a world in which we can hotly differ, yet never think of schism or conflict as a solution. As a fellowship, we ask nothing of wealth or power. As we better use “the language of the heart,” our communications grow apace: Already, we find ourselves in safe passage through all those barriers of distance and language, of social distinction, nationality, and creed, that so divide the world of our times.
For so long as we remain sure that our “one world of AA” is God’s gift, rather than any virtue earned or created by ourselves; and for so long as our “one world” continues to be ever more inclusive of those in need; and for so long as we speak and try to perfect the language of love–for just so long may we count upon making whatever rendezvous with destiny that God would have us make.