Tuesday, September 15, 2009




A few days before I left on my solo scooter ride from Naples Florida up the east coast to Virginia, I bought a GPS. A Garvin nuvi 260W, at Costco...probably a closeout model.

The first time I used it I was disappointed, frustrated. It did not perform how I wished. It kept leading me to wrong street names, wrong turns, wrong house numbers. There was a problem with its distinguishing between E and W and SW directions. In other words, it worked somewhat--but as I rode my scooter through many miles of busy streets of Orlando, Florida, holding a GPS, trying to read it and listen to the "voice", somewhat was just not good enough.

A few days later, I had called my host in Richmond and whined, "I cannot get there from here." She said, "Use your new GPS, Dummy". (I don't know if she really said "Dummy".) I told her, well it is quite useless, and when she asked why, I had to admit I had left the User's Manual back at home in Naples. A lot of good help that provided for me in Virginia!


Well, not for everyone, but certainly for me, my recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous would be utterly useless without directions. As I walked through that door for the first time, I had not had a drink since the night before at midnight. I was in a hazy daze, which would continue for a number of years. In this state of ill health, broken body, broken spirit and broken brain, I needed to be told immediately after the meeting, what I would do.

I must have explicit, detailed instructions on what to do, and how to do it. Otherwise I'd have done it my way--the easier, softer way. Otherwise, I would have failed. I'd have died drunk many years ago. That is fact.

My Owner's Manual--or user's manual--for AA is our Big Book. Everything I need to know (this is ME I'm discussing here!) is in the first 164 page of that book...including the "Doctor's Opinion." This is my textbook, my never-changing day-to-day volume.

The AA "User's Manual" teaches me how to behave in almost every imaginable situation, what to say, and when to say it. It teaches me how to live life on life's terms. And it shows me how to pray and meditate. It even practically orders me to laugh. It gives me a list of things to write about. The Big Book shows me how to be rid of fear, guilt, remorse, anguish, and heart-pain. And so I learned in the Big book, how to be Happy and at peace.

I learned--am still learning--how to live again. I gratefully praise God, from Whom came my gift of sobriety. It arrived to me through AA members, and continues to be dished out to me by you Blogger Peeps.

I pray for you all to enjoy some peace in your lives!


wolfie185 said...

Thanks Steve that was what was on my mind also. I was dismayed that the clients at the treatment center aren't reading the first 164pgs, instead they read the stories which are great and contain some good advice but they aren't the program of recovery. I was going to write a post about this and probably still will since the passion is there. I like what you wrote and believe it to be true for myself.

Just Be Real said...

Stevie, appreciate you post. Blessings dear one.

Scott said...

owner's manual/Big Book... yea that's exactly right lol

I like that!

dAAve said...

Please don't confuse me with the facts.

Findon said...


You provided the best, loudest, most chest heaving laugh of the day. Left the manual at home. Classic. You're a star.
Of course I have NEVER done anything like that!!!

Tall Kay said...

My sponsor has a cover on her Big Book with the title "LIFE 101". It's all so basic, but we just tried to go through life without reading the 'users manual' and ended up very lost...just like with the GPS! Excellent analogy.

Dulce said...

Those manuals when not at hand > you get lost: Good analogy, yes.
I laughed when you wrote on Maggie's blog that 'Dulce was commenting there.' Let me tell you I follow her and awarded her too- together with you. Now I don't know if it was a joke or what... Naples sense of humour could be so different from mine here... although i'm a linguist (grin) I can misunderstand these things, you know...

Margie said...

Have to tell you Steve....you are an inspiration!
So glad I have come to know of you!

Happiness and peace to you, always!


Shadow said...

one person's left is another one's right, but ultimately, the goal is the same. but whatever happens, i'm glad you find your way here every day steve.

John DeFlumeri Jr said...

You might say a new class in living begins each morning!

Ed G. said...

I love our book of experience, strength and hope. It has helped me and many others find a power sufficient to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

Blessings and aloha...

Syd said...

Yes, it is an owner's manual. I am such a nerd that I read manuals when something isn't working. So I did read the BB and many other books in Al-Anon as well. Thanks for the post. It's good.

Gin said...

I'll take some of that peace and use it and give you some back. Love to you Steve.

Akannie said...

Ain't easy teaching old dogs new tricks...


Anaya said...

Thanks Steve. I never thought about the BB as an owner's manual. But I haven't read much of it yet (pg. 54). I'll keep this analogy in mind when I read further because I feel like I need a GPS for my recovery.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I liked your GPS story. Even with a manual I have troubles. I guess that is why I stay married. My husband's brain works in ways that do not even need him to read an owner's manual. It's all instinct! (Must be nice, is what I think, when I find myself taken to some godforsaken place not on any maps by my nasty GPS when I am traveling without my technological other half.)

Cheri said...

I love your post! In my house, everyone always expects me to read the owner's manuals and tell them what they said! But I find that you must read the owner's manual for yourself to get the most out of it, if you know what I mean! My "owner's manual" is my Bible. I heard it once described as

B - asic
I - nstructions
B - efore
L - eaving
E - arth

I thought that was quite clever. Wish I'd thought of it!

Have a beautiful day,

Cheri said...

Oops, I also meant to say thanks for dropping by our Glass House Ministries blog.


Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

God Positioning Service...that's what AA does for me :)

Glimmer said...

Are those your angel's trumpets? I am obsessed with them up here in Virginia!