This I cannot give up…

February 1, 2021

If we place instincts first…we will be pulled backward into disillusionment.

The line is from the Twelve & Twelve – a book Bill Wilson authored some twenty years after writing the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Cliff notes for the 12 Steps. He suggested recovering alcoholics begin removing their character defects lest they fall back into drinking. In keeping with the program’s Christian pedigree, defects were defined as the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride.

Lust wasn’t first on the list for nothing. Bill Wilson wrestled with his sexual appetites before and after getting sober and writing his manifesto. He adored his wife, revered her. But history suggests he liked the ladies, too. In the Big Book substantial text was devoted to prurient urges run amok. “Now about sex,” he wrote, “Many of us need an overhauling there.” You love AA was written by a man whose flaws did not go away after putting down the bottle.

Perhaps we shall be obliged in some cases still to say, “This I cannot give up yet…”

You’re not so depraved as to think this a loophole for misadventures. But you’re not willing to stop all of them either. You hadn’t been pulled backward into disillusionment. You were not bewildered by your actions. Yet. You were not dying inside. Yet. Nor were you drinking and using.

Yet.

The word clung. You didn’t need a sponsor to tell you how thin the ice was getting. You knew that you were playing a dangerous game, not only with your sobriety but with your family as well. In fact, you talked about it with your sponsor. Told him everything. He knew the primary reason you hadn’t stopped. You liked it too much.

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