The Alcoholics Within Us

An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature. Our struggles with them are variously strenuous, comic, and tragic. ~ Bill W., pg. 16.

The 12 Step is all about working with other alcoholics and being of service. I use the term “of service” instead of “doing service” purposefully. We are human beings, not human doings. This is a spiritual program of recovery. So, we are encouraged to be of service, to be with others, to be a part of AA, etc. To just “do” service brings to mind that we are doing chores like mopping, dish washing, etc. To be of service encourages us to be in the moment, to be present, and to give our full attention to the person or group we are working “with.” I was curious about the phrase “man in his cups.” Roughly translated it means someone drinking or fighting.

Note: The origins of “A man in his cups”: 1 Esdras 3:22 seems to be translated as ‘when drinking’ but follows the translators’ idiomatic tradition, by using ‘in his cups‘. The Septuagint is available online, but what is needed is an overview of the Hebrew/Aramaic variations – the Greek was not literal, as idiom was used to convey meaning.

What I love about AA is put simply. For the first time in my life (I know I am not alone in this) I experienced unconditional love, acceptance, and understanding. The AA’s in my meetings could finish my sentences. There was a sense of belonging I had never known before. Even within my family, community, church of origin, schools, etc, I always felt apart from. I felt isolated even in large groups. So, it has been a blessing to have what offered to me for free. That is what I try to offer each new person who walks into the rooms. Active alcoholics are not very lovely, but they are lovable. We will love them until they can love themselves.


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