‘A.A. is not a plan for recovery that can be finished and done with. It is a way of life, and the challenge contained in it’s principles is great enough to keep any human being striving for as long as he lives. We do not, cannot outgrow this plan As arrested alcoholics, we must have a program for living that allows for limitless expansion. Keeping one foot in front of the other is essential for maintaining our arrestment. Others may idle in a retrogressive groove without too much danger, but retrogression can spell death for us. however, this isn’t as rough as it sounds, as we do become grateful for the necessity that makes us toe the line, and we find that we are compensated for the consistent effort by the countless dividends we receive. A complete change takes place in our approach to life. Where we used to run from responsibility, we find ourselves accepting it with gratitude that we can successfully shoulder it. Instead of wanting to escape some perplexing problem, we experience the thrill of challenge in the opportunity it affords for another application of A.A, techniques, and we find ourselves tackling it with surprising vigor.

The last fifteen years of my life have been rich and meaningful. I have had my share of problems, heartaches and disappointments because that is life, but also I have known a great deal of joy and peace that is the handmaiden of an inner freedom. I have a wealth of friends and , with my A.A. friends, an unusual quality of fellowship. For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objective and newfound faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding and love – without strings, without obligation – we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless.

There is no more aloneness, with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing before, could ever reach it. That ache is gone and never need return again.

Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom.’

Alcoholic Anonymous – ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’ chapter 9 – pgs. 275-276