I was leaving a meeting the other day and asked a friend “Will I see you tomorrow?” He replied, “God willing.” A little irritated, I said “Are you gonna be here or not? God is always willing”. Then, I had that ahha moment: what are other alcoholics favorite and not so favorite catchy AA slogans? ?
My first interview took place at 6:30 am service with a smile, this gentlemen pointed out that there are only three actual AA slogans which can be found on page 135 of the Big Book: First Things First, Live and Let Live, and Easy Does It.
His favorite slogan was “Live and Let Live” because, “I can let non– alcoholics live their lives and I can live mine. My interaction with other alcoholics is similar—just because I have to work a rigorous, honest program for my alcoholism doesn’t mean another alcoholic does. I can let them do what they need to do and not let that affect my serenity.”
I asked “How long did it take to get to the point of live and let live?”
“Probably like 15-18 years – it used to be the worst, I used to hate it. It took a long time for it to sink in, a lot of work, agony, meetings and reading literature until i found out what AA was and what AA wasnt’” he replied.
Onto his least favorite slogan, “It’s no where in any AA literature but somehow it made into the rooms. I have heard over the last 15 years or so, big in South Florida, Atlanta, and even a few times here in Park City. “Meeting Makers Make It”. He seemed disgusted: “I just think its a big dis-service to AA. My experience has been that meeting makers just make meetings. I just don’t like that little saying at all.”
I asked when you say dis- service what do you mean he replied ” When people come to AA they are searching for an answer they’re desperate; there needs to be a sense of urgency. The “meeting makers make it” phrase kinda just falls on deaf ears and that moment of clarity can pass by. Bill Wilson said ” Our chief responsibility was an appropriate definition of the program of AA to the newcomer”.
My second interview also took place at 6:30 am service with a smile. I asked a friend her favorite AA slogan and she replied ” Let Go and Let God because when I think that I am in control or when I think that I have the answers, it has only gotten me into trouble .This saying reels me back in. I went out after 10 years of sobriety . I couldn’t let go of stuff, I took charge, and eventually I drank . When I remember to let go and let god, it’s so much easier! As soon as I say I’ve got this, there’s a problem . Learning to let go and let god at the right time is a process; Progress not Perfection.
My least favorite AA slogan was KISS. She said “A long time ago a old codger said to me ‘just kiss’ and I was like yuck! Then he explained to me what it meant , “Keep It Simple Stupid”. Then of course I was resentful that he would call me stupid , but that was my ego. It was good for me to hear. I needed to learn every day that sometimes I can have an attitude—I’m not stupid, but I do stupid things. This is what it is and this is the reality: keep it simple, stay in the moment . I like it now, but it was a hard one for me at the time.
It’s been a real honor to sit down with these two friends and share stories of sobriety together. It takes a lot of courage to do what we do…life is definitely better than it was!
Your Humble Trustee , Evan