How will I know if AA will work for me is not a unique question; when I asked, I did not understand that AA’s working for me depended upon my working what was suggested. The suggestions and stories of other recovering alcoholics can be powerful tools; they are like the brushes, paints and canvas that every great masterpiece requires.
But until we actually use them – all we have is our inability to stop drinking.
The artist can use the tools they have, with the skills they have, to create a new painting. In the program, the friendships, meetings, the Steps, and the God of our understanding are our working tools, even if we don’t have a clear idea of what living without our drugs of choice will look like. All we know is that what we were doing isn’t working.
What part of denial is ever a good idea?
In some ways, the program is like a paint-by-numbers canvas; like that painting, our program will work better if we follow directions – the last thing most of us want to do! (Human Nature and Slips)
AA offers invaluable suggestions how fill our canvas – our lives – with new beginnings. Not every suggestion always applies – we have the freedom to take what we need and leave the rest.
Not every canvas – or, another person’s recovery – is something I want to imitate; but I can learn. It’s always good to know what has worked for others in situations I have yet to encounter: one, to avoid them; or, two, to get through them.
AA works best if
- I do my best to use what I am learning, and if
- I am willing to learn more, and maybe if
- I try something new.
That’s what artists tell me too.
The present quickly becomes the past – so how I use the gift of time right now will affect the future. (Matthew 6:33-34)
A platitude? Yes . . . but one that works. I can start my day over anytime I want, the way I can start over with a canvas that is not working, by asking God for help, and being willing for Him to restart me with a different attitude.
I am working on a canvas that will not make into the Metropolitan or the Louver, but I am happy to be working on it! And I am happy to be enjoying the program’s promises for this day that working the AA program brings.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. (The Big Book, page 84)