We don’t have opinions in the program, I heard at the meeting; we do have experience, strength, and hope. Now, that’s actually useful.
- An opinion is a point of view, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
- Experience, however, is knowledge with understanding.
When I came into AA, even though I came by way of Al-Anon, I had a few opinions blocking my acceptance of my own disease. The big one: that maybe I was over-reacting, and joining AA without having a credible drunk-a-logue.
Seriously . . .
But the experience of so many assured me: the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. I had tried to stop drinking and felt better when I didn’t drink; so much better that I on at least two occasions, I came to believe I had the strength now to manage my drinking.
So, when I heard “if your life is unmanageable to any degree due to the use of alcohol,” I realized the scores I got on all those tests in magazines I took to see if I was a problem drinker, may have been telling me something.
I had the opinion those tests were less than reliable. But the listening to the experiences of many in the rooms, I accepted I was not a “social drinker.” Hearing what others experienced helped me change my opinion about my drinking, and avoid the literal hell others went through. (The Twelve & Twelve, page 23)
Today is as good as any day to get off drinking’s down elevator.
In time, I was able to admit, like The 12&12 went on to say:
By going back in our own drinking histories, we could see how that years before we realized we were out of control, that our own drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was the beginning of a fatal progression.
Another opinion I held was that giving up booze would mean the end of life as I knew it. But, the experience shows me that life needed to go. Sobriety is a gift that keeps on giving – even on hard days.
My opinion that a drink could help has changed. My experience is that now I understand, for me, drinking never took away a pain without depositing a deeper one.
Today, because of experience I have a choice, which is better than an opinion. And I have the hope, which I gladly share: recovery works – when you work it.
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful