Big Book Musings: “The remorse, the horror…”


The first part of Bill’s story in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that really spoke to me was when he was talking about being the throes of his addiction:

“The remorse, the horror, and hopelessness of the next morning [after a drunk] are unforgettable.  The courage to do battle was not there.”

How well I am sure we alcoholics and addicts can relate!  He is basically saying that his life had become unmanageable.  It’s not just that I identify with him about yet another morning of self-condemnation, loathing, remorse, and hopelessness.  No, it’s that it is a reminder of where I used to be in life.


For me to be successful in recovery, not only do I have to keep close friends in Acceptance and Gratitude, but I must always remember my history of madness as an alcoholic.  Bill’s simple sentence is a reminder to me why I can never drink.

And, if I ever find myself harboring resentments about not being able to drink–sound familiar?–I would do well to remember this one simple sentence.

I am missing nothing by not drinking.  I am not going without.  I am not depriving myself of anything.  What I am doing is fixing my mind and body.  What I am doing is living a life of sobriety that does not include chaos and remorse.  What I have is the courage to do battle with life on life’s terms.


What I am doing is beginning to see that I am worth this journey, that I have a new life and it doesn’t include alcohol.  I don’t have to remain a prisoner of the feelings that kept me chained in front of my television.

Yes, Bill’s simple sentence may not seem to say a lot, but it says a lot to me.  It is a reminder of the madness I pulled myself out of.  Think you want a drink today?  Put Bill’s sentence on your bathroom mirror and be mindful of it…always.


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