We often learn more by questions, than answers. Did you ever hear a question that caused you to think for days or even weeks? The questions which have no easy answer are often the key to the truth. However, in this series on the four absolutes, we are concerned with the questions we should be asking ourselves over and over again in life. The integrity of our answers to these questions will determine the quality of our life, may even determine the continuance of our sobriety.
A good question to ask ourselves on love might be, “Is it ugly or is it beautiful?” We are experts on ugliness. We have really been there. We are not experts on beauty but we have tasted a little, and we are hungry for more. Love is beauty. Coming from the depths of fear, physical agony, mental torture and spiritual starvation, we feel completely unloved, impregnated with self-pity, poisoned by resentment, and devoured by a prideful ego which with alcohol has brought complete blindness. We receive understanding and love from strangers and we make progress as we in turn give it to new strangers. It’s as simple as that. Fortunately for us love is inspiring from the very beginning, even in kindergarten which is where many of us still are.
The old song tells us that love is a many splendored thing. In giving it we receive it. But the joy of receiving can never match the real thrill of giving. Consider that this great mission of love which is ours is seldom experienced by the non-alcoholic, and you have a new reason for gratitude. Few are privileged to save lives. Fewer have the rich experience of being God’s helper in the gift of a second life. Love is a poor man’s beginning toward God. We reach our twelfth step when we give love to the new man who is poor today, as we were poor yesterday. A man too proud to know he is poor, has turned away from God with ot without alcohol. We have been there too. But if he has a drinking problem, we can show him the way through love, understanding and our own experience.
When we live for our own sobriety, we again become beggars in spiritual rags, blind once again with the dust of pride and self. Soon we shall be starving with the hunger of devouring ourselves, perhaps even lose sobriety. Love is “giving of yourself” and unless we do, our progress will be lost. Each one owes the gift of this second life of sobriety to every other human being he meets in the ceaseless presence of God, and especially to other alcoholics who still suffer. Not to give of himself brings the desolation of a new poverty to the sober alcoholic.
When we offer love, we offer life; are we prepared to give it? When another offers us love, he offers his life; have we the grace to receive it? When love is offered, God is there; have we received Him? The will to love is God’s will; have we taken the Third Step? Ask yourself, “Is this ugly or is it beautiful?” If it’s truly beautiful then it is the way of love, it is the way of AA, and it is the will of God as we understand Him.
-This article is referenced to a pamphlet titled “The Four Absolutes,” printed by Cleveland Central Committee of AA