Big Book Musings: “Hopelessness and Futility…”


big book musings on justruminating men's blog
In the There Is A Solution chapter of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the solution is clearly laid.  It says:

Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.  But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it.

In essence this is the 4th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

The solutions, up this point were admitting we were powerless, came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, finally decided to give ourselves up to God as we understood Him, and now some deep soul searching and inventory of ourselves.  It’s no wonder some can’t stay on the path, this sobriety stuff is serious business!


In recovery, as There Is A Solution points out, there is no “middle-of-the-road” solution.  As alcoholics we had to stop playing mind tricks with ourselves.  We had to stop thinking we could control our drinking, that we could somehow manage to slow it down or do controlled drinking.

No, once we accepted we were powerless and gave ourselves over to our Higher Power, it was time to have what a doctor tells Bill are “vital spiritual experiences.”  He tells Bill:

To me these occurrences are phenomena.  They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional dsiplacements and rearrangements.  Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.

So, nothing short of a complete reversal in behavior and thinking, is going to keep us sober.  With the help of a Higher Power, true sobriety can be had, and kept.


21 comments on “Big Book Musings: “Hopelessness and Futility…””

  1. Rob, great post. It wasn’t until I stopped attempting “middle of the road” thinking as you described and started to change my thinking that I could begin to accept the idea of sobriety.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow 😳 Rob your true words are a reality and if u have come across the great Ramana Maharshi he simply tells us to question ourselves “Who Am I”. From the awake state to sleep state this is what we need to ask ourselves. Only in hopelessness and unselfishness will we find Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, indeed, who am I. I believe I am of this great expanse. I am the tree, I am you, I am she. I am the oneness of the galaxy temporarily visit here in human form. One day, I will complete my karmic debt and join the Greatness. That’s who I am 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, I am one with everything and everything is one with me. I am a summer’s rain, the baying wolf. I have come into human form to pay my karmic debt. Once complete, I will return to the Expanse of Greatness

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I have not. Perhaps I should. I am just recently coming back to the precepts of Buddha, Samsara, etc. I need to get to the bookstore and start reading and joining myself to those concepts once again.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. K that would be great if u could go to any bookstore and find a book on Meher Baba it would be so great cause u will get to know more on the subject of what u r writing and u can even look online on the internet. Just a small request since I really like all your inspiring posts and all with one intention and that is to find your true self and for what we have come in this world of illusion and this is not our home.

            I simply love what u r doing. This is what I too aim to spread his words of Love and happiness with all the bloggers. He is the only one who is guiding all of us.

            Liked by 1 person

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