Saturday, 17 September 2016
To the man with the hammer
To the man with only a hammer, everything looks like a nail. There is a phase that some people go through once they recover from alcoholism through the instructions set out in the Big Book, in which a rigidity develops. For while after I recovered, I developed a contempt for anyone who did not subscribe to the same ideas as me, and was derisive and dismissive, although I cloaked this with a presentation of benevolent motives or humour, or feigned neutrality or indifference. I was also unable to engage in any good-natured discussions. My discourse was reduced to 'Do what's in the Big Book!', 'Read the black bits on the page', 'If it's not in the Big Book, it's not AA', and other similarly unhelpful soundbites.
Fortunately, this phase passed, and, whilst still following the instructions in the Big Book strictly, I have come to appreciate a lot of features of AA that are not outlined, stipulated, or envisaged in the Big Book but are undoubtedly helpful to many, including me, and are furthermore consistent with the principles set out in the Big Book. Regular home group attendance, sponsorship, and service within the AA service structure are good examples.
The marvellous thing about the set of spiritual tools laid out for me in the Big Book is that they are a set of tools for unlocking unlimited spiritual tools. I no longer have just a hammer, although I would not forego the hammer, either.