Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
vinced. He had hit bottom as truly as any of us. John Bar-
leycorn himself had become our best advocate.
Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottom
first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to
practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom.
For practicing A.A.'s remaining eleven Steps means the
adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic
who is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes to
be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess
his faults to another and make restitution for harm done?
Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone medi-
tation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy
in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer? No,
the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't
care for this prospect—unless he has to do these things in
order to stay alive himself.
Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A.,
and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation.
Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to
conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be. We
stand ready to do anything which will lift the merciless ob-
session from us.