Falling off the beam but not off the wagon, an essay


The book Alcoholics Anonymous repeats over and over that we are filled with resentments, selfishness, ego, and fear. As I work through the steps, even after attending AA for almost 20 years now, I still battle this within myself daily. I still struggle with making sure that I am “on the beam” or that I follow the 4 absolutes to the best of my ability.
I fall short, very often. This is where steps 10 and 11 are key. It is also where contact with my sponsors is essential. My sponsors can tell me within a few short words where I truly am. This is often a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. 

I look at my character defects as a huge anchor holding me down. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it is a gorgeous day and my character defects have me stuck. My sponsors see the other side of it. They see me with the help of my higher power, chipping away at that anchor and making progress. They see me letting go of the worst of them, and move forward to work on another. They see improvement when all I can see is darkness around me. They also tell me when I have more work to do in a certain area. 

Yet, it is so easy to fall into self- pity.

Bill W. on page 60 said

   ” Many of us exclaimed, ‘What an order! I can’t go through with it.’ Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints.” 

Later on in the book, he says on page 85

“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. ‘How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done’ These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.” 

I have often wanted to give up. I then remember the first quote. I can not do this alone. I can not face each day alone. I am powerless over this disease and the pain and destruction it causes. I will not work this program perfectly and no one truly does. I need the direction and strength from God to get through each day sober. God is my Boss. I do what is in front of me to do, whether it is dishes or writing an essay, and God gives me the strength to get through it.

The words on page 85 also come into play here. I know full well that if I give up, then I am lost. When I stop focusing on my recovery, and stop working the program, I am swirling the bowl of life and heading down. I also keep in mind that working the program is truly the ‘easier softer way’ that I have been looking for. God will give me the strength to get through the long nights of pain. God will give me the serenity and peace to live each day. God has my back. He has me in the palm of his hand. He knows what my brain is trying to do.

I grab the kit of tools I have been given, and apply them to the problem. I work steps ten and eleven, and look at in black and white what reality is. When I can see the reality, I can work the problem. I can ‘science the s–t out of this’ and live with the solutions. I find balance, from working step ten. Step 11, is where I check in with God. I often do it in the form of a letter to God, asking for help.

My life has never been better. I put down both my successes and failures in my daily homework, and live each day one day at a time. I am reminded that I am a work in progress.

That’s all for today, if you have any questions or comments, please email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

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