Too Smart for AA

alcohlics anonymous

“To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman, many AA’s can say, ‘Yes, we were kike you – far too smart for our own good… Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brain power alone.'”

AS BILL SEES IT, p. 60

There has never been a man too imprudent for Alcoholics Anonymous; to gullible or easily duped or naive. But plenty men are too smart for AA, and those are the men that struggle; fight to disprove God and change the rules until they ultimately drink themselves to death. Alcoholism is the only disease known to man that can be cured by a major shift in moral standing coupled by the willingness to belief in a higher power. A spiritual experience and a psychic change – this is what will heal us; this is what will restore our will to live. How can it be so? When we first come into the rooms of AA, we may look around and think to ourselves, “What a bunch of credulous fools! These people have been brainwashed, look at them. Those smiles can’t be real. They can’t possibly love one another so much – what an act they’re putting on! I won’t fall for it.” And we leave, shaking our heads and returning back to our dingy apartments where we pour ourselves a mug of lukewarm vodka and vow to never drink that awful Kool-Aid.

AA and Drinking the Kool-Aid

What we fail to recognize is that the happiness we so bitterly observe is authentic, and we are simply denying ourselves the opportunity to partake because we believe in our intelligence and little else. We are too smart for AA, we are too smart for God, and by default we are too smart for joy and fulfillment. We are dying of thirst, and this Kool-Aid is the only thing that will quench it. But we refuse to drink it, because we fear that we will not like how it tastes. Without ever having tried it, we judge it harshly, refusing to take even the smallest sip. We are stubborn and condemnatory and narrow-minded – are those the traits of brilliant men? Maybe not. Maybe a little open-mindedness and willingness and cooperation will do us well. Maybe a shift in attitude will end up saving our lives.

Overthinking is Second Nature

We all have a tendency to overthink things. One of our very favorite pastimes is ruminating over reasons why things will not work until we are blue in the face, and just as confused as ever. One of the most well-worn AA slogans, ‘Keep It Simple’, might just be the best advice we ever receive. Getting sober is not a complicated process. AA is a simple program for complicated people, and in order to fully embrace it we will probably need to learn to quiet our brains down a bit. How do we do this? Easy. We commit to going through the motions – to taking the necessary steps, and questioning them as little as possible as we do. We commit to taking suggestions even though we may sincerely believe that we know better. We commit to considering that maybe, seeing as we have been unable to stop drinking or drugging for long enough to begin picking up the pieces of our self-destroyed lives, we don’t know as much as we think we do.

In Reality, We Know Very Little

Some of the most brilliant men in the world have been brought to their knees (and many to their graves) by the powerful disease of alcoholism. We simply cannot think ourselves into sobriety. Intelligence is a wonderful tool for those who are lucky enough to possess it – a God-given tool, much like the ability to draw with proficiency or dance in a way that not everyone can. But intelligence does not make us better than anyone else, and we need to remember that. In the realm of recovery, in fact, it can hinder us quite significantly. If we want to gain imperative knowledge, we need to open our minds up to the possibility that we know very, very little – as strange as that might seem. We must remain teachable, and be completely open to trying things differently. After all, how do we know that something will not work for us if we have never tried it? Contempt prior to investigation kills many, many men. Why are we so resistant, and what are we so resistant to?

Self-knowledge avails us nothing, and we will come to regard this as more and more true the longer we stay sober. It can be scary to take a leap of faith into an unknown realm; a realm of spirituality rather than education, science, and fact. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is based on fact, however. And the great fact is this – thousands of men and women have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Ask yourself… what have you got to lose by trying?