Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous
I have had a number of people ask me, “How’s the response been to you book “Little Book of Virtues?” By far the most vocal and positive responses have come from my friends who are involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. I posted some of those responses a few weeks back, including remarks like “this is the most important book I have read in a long time,” “This book is so on the mark and helpful,” and “I am going to be teaching a class using your book.”
These remarks have been so encouraging; I have been a huge fan of AA for a long time. I’ve seen the fruit from AA. Some of my best friends are a part of AA! One of my dear friends told me of a primary motto in AA: “Change…or Die.” Quite frankly, I totally understand that for people who feel they are doing well in life, have a good handle on life, consider themselves “good” people, the need to actually “use” Little Book of Virtues to improve oneself may not feel pressing. For most of us, our motto might be “Change…or Not!” If that’s you and you bought the book, consider giving it to someone who might possibly have a need for it.
I have found these responses really interesting and intriguing! And I have asked myself, “What is the connection between AA and ‘Little Book of Virtues’ that would cause those in AA to value the book more than others might?” You might have your own ideas about that, and if so I would love to hear from you! I have a few ideas of my own, and I’d like to take a look at them over the next few weeks. I think the best way I can do that is to go through the “Twelve Steps” and comment on them. Again, feel free to chime in with comments of your own. We will look at step One today:
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
1) “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
(The same friend who taught me the AA motto “Change or Die” also said to me that the “end game” of AA is to “become transparent and become authentic.” He said of step one above, “It takes courage.”
Do you see the words and phrases above that are Virtues? Words like “Transparent,” “Authentic,” “Courage.” The word “admitted” also jumped out at me; the word “admitted” is found in three of the twelve steps. It speaks of “Honesty,” “Humility,” and “Vulnerability.”
I don’t know about you, but I pretty much will do anything I can to keep my life from getting “unmanageable.” I confess I am a control freak, I don’t like it when my life gets out of control; I don’t deal well with chaos. Whoever wrote the well known book “Who Moved my Cheese” wrote it about me! But the Pandemic (along with my advancing age) has shown me how much my life is outside of my control! I may not be able to always control my circumstances and outside influences; but I do have some say in my responses to those circumstances. That’s what “Little Book of Virtues” is all about. That is at least in part what AA is about. Developing our “response-ability.”
Next week I’ll take a look at the next few “Twelve Steps.”
The funny thing about the twelve steps is that you can find something similar in the Bible for every single one.
AA does not ask anyone to be religious or even spiritual, just to admit there may be a power greater than myself out there.