Seeing Life Through the Prism of the AA Experience

A lot of the readers of Good Life know my Dad’s funeral was this week. I posted my tribute a few days before his death. This has made me acutely aware of our relationship. One of the few things that I remember my Dad saying about me was, The smallest things make her happy, don’t they? He was sitting in the front seat of the station wagon talking to Mom.

I remember being struck by his shaking his head and turning his back to me as he drove us away from the gas station. I was surprised by his rare comment on my personality. This was significant to me, thus I never forgot it.

Wanting to tag along with him, I had gone into the little gas station where he bought me a nickel trinket from the counter. It was a mock diamond ring. I wanted it because I liked holding the facets up to my eye and looking at the rainbow-colored world in the prisms. It was magical and mystical the way my surroundings changed when I saw them through the prism of the ring.

I’ve had a similar experience in AA. The smallest shift can change my perspective. I can walk into a meeting with my all my complaints about the volume of Heidi’s Little Life. Then I sit through the opening readings from How It Works and suddenly my attitude about my life and the challenges I face starts to shift.

You may exclaim, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. ~ AA p 60

Almost without fail, someone will share a problem that either makes mine seem trivial, or is similar to mine and I realize that it’s okay to have struggles. Even more, I remember life is supposed to have challenges. I adopt a spirit of survival again. I hear the language of the heart around the tables and I begin to see what has happened to my perspective. I’ve lost the glow because I’ve lost the focus. I begin to see the truth: what happens to me is not so tragic, not so insurmountable, not so grim.

More importantly I see that I am not alone in my struggles. I begin to relax and to enjoy the process of living my life again. Nothing has changed, yet it has. The color comes back into the whole and I feel more sure that God is in control.

Modem-to-modem or face-to-face, AA’s speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity. ~ AA xxiv.

I carried my love of prism colors into adulthood. The picture above is one I took when the light was refracted through a crystal sitting on the kitchen window sill.