Dr. Bob on Humility
Two years ago while my job, my family, my health, and my sanity were all in jeopardy from my drinking and drugging, I realized my bottom as I found myself cold-heartedly calculating if it was better to carry out my own suicide or follow through on my plan to murder my husband. I did not feel that I had any other options, so I believe God put his finger on me right then and turned me towards AA one last time, where I found myself in an online women’s email group like this one. The support from those women just amazed me! I found my sponsor there, and even though she lives 2000 miles away from me, it works!
Despite the distance, I believe it works because we are both willing: she has always been willing to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous and tirelessly share her experience, strength, and hope with me, while I, for the first time in my life, have been willing to listen and follow directions no matter what I thought about it.
I immersed myself in AA online and locally and knocked myself out to follow directions because I was terrified of what I might do if I drank again. I learned that my problem is that I have alcoholism, a three-fold disease (physical, mental, and spiritual), that I have an allergy to alcohol, and that when I drink I compulsively want more no matter what the consequences might be or what my intentions were not to drink again after the last time I sobered up; I am powerless over alcohol.
I learned that the solution to my alcoholism is not in my hands; it is in my Higher Power’s hands to restore me to sanity, but I have to be willing to ask for the help and do the work. My sponsor taught me to pray on my knees first thing every morning and ask my Higher Power to please keep me sober that day, and then thank my Higher Power on my knees again last thing at night for keeping me sober that day. I did not really understand what was happening, but I followed directions, and the miracle was that for the first time in my life I was staying sober!
I will never forget when I was about a month sober I was going to drink over a family drama early one morning. It was too early to call my sponsor, and I sure wasn’t going to call anyone else, so I had one foot out the door with my car keys in my hand to go buy a bottle of vodka when I realized that if I talked to my sponsor she would tell me to get down on my knees and pray for my Higher Power to please keep me sober.
I really didn’t believe it would work, but I went into my bathroom, locked the door, got on my knees and really prayed for the first time in my life; I begged God to please, please keep me sober! It was an amazing experience, and when I stood up I did not have the compulsion to drink anymore! It has become my truth now that I have never drank any day, any time, any place when I have asked God to please keep me sober–it is a relief that I do not need to worry about drinking today, so long as I keep following directions!
My favorite line in our Big Book is “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” I really thought I was too sick to get well when I got here this time, but I took that line to the bank when I surrendered first to following my sponsor’s directions and then to my Higher Power as we worked the steps.
I think the beautiful thing about this program is that my experience is not unique, it can be duplicated by anyone who gets a sponsor and just follows directions. There is not one area of my life that has not been markedly changed for the better as a result of immersing myself in this program!
I love all of the AA literature, but by far my favorite reading is about humility in “Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers.” When I am in meetings in my home group, they usually pass the reading to me to read because they know how much I love it. Here it is; I hope you get as much out of it as I do.
“Christ said, ‘Of Myself, I am nothing — My strength cometh from My Father in heaven.’ If He had to say that,” Dr. Bob asked, “how about you and me? Did you say it? Did I say it? No. That’s exactly what we didn’t say. We were inclined to say instead, ‘Look me over, boys. Pretty good, huh?’ We had no humility, no sense of having received anything through the grace of our Heavenly Father.
“I don’t believe I have any right to get cocky about getting sober,” he said. “It’s only through God’s grace that I did it. I can feel very thankful that I was privileged to do it . . . If my strength does come from Him, who am I to get cocky about it?”
On his desk, Dr. Bob had a plaque defining humility:
“Perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble.
It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore;
to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing
done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises
me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a
blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the
door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace,
as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about
is seeming trouble.”
(Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, p. 222)
Please share about anything I have touched upon and especially please about Dr. Bob’s plaque defining humility, for it describes the way I try to live my life sober, and it always does me good to hear how you try to live your life sober! Thank you for my sobriety today!