A Simple Program for Complicated People

A Simple Program for Complicated People . . .

I am one of the more fortunate people, because when I got to AA I was beat.

I am lucky because I got a sponsor who believed in me and more importantly he believed in the program of recovery as it is written in the Big Book of AA. I started to take the steps with him, not out of necessity, but out of true desperation. I was scared, ashamed and most importantly, in need of some guidance so that I could start learning how to live sober. Through the steps, I was able to start receiving the gifts of recovery. Through the steps, I was able to change and enjoy a new way of life.

Lately, I hear more and more about the slow process that some people choose, a process which actually denies them of the freedom that working the steps provides. I hear newcomers talk about being grateful for their amazing sponsor who is taking them through the steps . . . one step a year!!!

Or I hear about the procrastinator who has been writing the perfect fourth step for the last two and a half years. I mean, I am not trying to take anyone’s inventory. I’m really not. We all have different journeys before and after getting to AA. But having had the experience, and benefiting from the spiritual awakening promised through this amazing program of action, I just wonder why people would not want that. Why would you sit in your own juice longer than you need to? I don’t get it.

And the truth of the matter is, that often sponsors are failing the sponsee. Maybe this is the way they were taken through the steps? Maybe it’s the exact opposite? Misinformation is being passed on, to and by misinformed people. It’s really such a simple program . . . I wonder why we need to complicate it so much.

If we take our time and read the Big Book, nowhere does it say that we have to take a given number of days, weeks or months to do the steps. And although that is true, we see that in the early days members sometimes took all the steps in one day. There were groups that would take the newcomers through the steps in four meetings. Very simple, yet we want to complicate a process that has helped millions of alcoholics get sober, stay sober and enjoy a freedom never imagined.

Give yourself a break without complicating the process. Sponsors, if you are not sure, ask your own sponsors or other people’s sponsors. Ask the old timer in your group. Sponsees seek out sponsors that don’t only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Let’s keep this simple program simple and allow ourselves to enjoy the promises that will always materialize if we work for them.


C.L., Grateful recovering alcoholic