Yes it’s true, I’m one of those who believe that Alcoholics Anonymous was and continues to be a gift from God, or if you prefer, our Creator. When a person learns about the history of AA, it would be foolishness to see all the key characters and near-misses as just pure chance. From Dr. Karl Jung to Henrietta Sieberling to John D. Rockefeller to Jack Alexander, the history of Alcoholics Anonymous was balanced on the thinnest of wires at many key moments and yet it all came together at a time in the world that was about to see the most horrendous murder and destruction up to that point with WWII. Estimates today are at around two million AA members throughout the world – has the time come when AA has saved about as many lives as what WWII destroyed? The answer here really isn’t all that important – we AA’s know that such speculations only bolster our already big egos and yet on an individual level, we know that our lives have been saved and that without The Steps and the Fellowship of this program, we too would surely have been destroyed by a living hell on earth. I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me, I know where the credit for my sobriety is due – a long chain of people before me who cried out to a God they may never have known or believed in and who somehow found the musty rooms of AA with its Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts at work. Let’s not think ourselves so intelligent, intuitive and creative to believe we were capable of saving so many lives, including our own.
And if we are honest with ourselves, do we too often take credit for the gift of running? We think it wise not to take such credit. To be blessed with the anatomies of our bodies – the multitude of bones, muscles, tendons, fascia, down to the very atoms of our hearts and to the unseen workings of the atmosphere through which we are able to move gracefully – are we so self-absorbed and full of ourselves to talk about how hard we trained, about our little victories in seconds and minutes in the face of the eternity of the stars and galaxies above us as we run?
The answer is of course, yes. Yes, I am that self-centered, I am that blind at times and I do not give credit where credit is due – not often enough. The next time I’m asked “how do you run that far and for that long?,” I hope that I smile and remember to talk about the Power that is with me on each and every run, every morning, every race. It’s the Power that I give thanks to as I wake in the morning and before I go to sleep, the One I try to bring to all my interactions during the day, the One I cried out to in desperation and never knew. I hope I remember to tell them about that loving Power in my footfalls and in my spirit, but I know that I will sometimes forget or be too self-conscious to always do so. Our Big Book says the following about our dependence on God:
“We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 68).
So if I forget to say it, this sobriety and this running I enjoy is undoubtedly a gift from the God of my understanding. Sometimes I am brought to tears when I remember it and meditate on it – I am so lucky and so loved that I have a chance at these even though I didn’t do anything to deserve such grace – and all I did was take the next Step to where it would lead. Sobriety and running led me back into the arms of a loving God I never really knew.
AA Grapevine Joke of the Week
She said accusingly: “I saw you coming out of McCarthy’s saloon last night!” Said he blearily: “Well, I had to come out sometime.”
New to the Site This Week:
A “synchrocast” with the other podcasters in the sport. We all weight in on the following question: “How To Make Your Race Day Perfect.” Check out the contributing podcasters for their take on it: East Coast Trail & Ultra Podcast, Heartland Running, Southeastern Trailrunner Podcast, Sugarstride Podcast, and Ten Junk Miles, Ultrarunner Podcast