“…completely give themselves to this simple program… “
– Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Page 58
This is actually only a partial sentence from the first paragraph of How it Works, which is commonly read at many meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. The larger sentence reads, “Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” – page 58 AA Bigbook.
The larger sentence carries one point, however inside the sentence are a few other statements. I have found in the past, when I focus on a particular clause, it can change my perspective slightly on recovery and help me understand a point a little better. For example, think of the weight that is carried when looking at the simple statement of “completely give themselves to this simple program”. This implies first that If I give myself fully, completely to this simple program, then I will begin to understand recovery a little bit better.
I can actually translate this statement into an action. With ‘completely give’ with the phrase completely give being an action, I can simply give myself to the steps 100 percent. The moment I do this, I begin an entirely different approach to life, an entirely different mindset develops inside of me.
When I completely give myself to this simple program, then I have let go of my old ways. Then, I am open to new ideas, then I have developed the quality of willingness that is necessary to do the steps. When I completely give myself to this simple program, then I am teachable. I am in a position to learn new and interesting things about me.
The steps, the 12 steps of recovery, they are actually quite simple statements to live by. Guides to life, stepping stones to spiritual principles, a solution to live by. This much I am certain of. While initially this program may not seem simple, once I am willing to completely give myself to it, that willingness, that openness, helps to create the simplicity found in 12 step living.