By Clarence Snyder the author of “Home Brewmeister” in the first edition of the Big Book asserted that in this life-changing 12 Step program, the growth process never ends.
On February 11, 1938, I had my last drink. I was a chronic alky, and through a long, involved miracle, I met my sponsor, Dr. Bob, one of our Alcoholics Anonymous co-founders. He put me in Akron City Hospital for treatment, where I met the alkies who had preceded me in the Fellowship.
Fifteen months later, I organized the Cleveland, Ohio AA group. The activity in the Cleveland area was hectic. I spent practically all my time obtaining and following up on publicity for AA, lining up cooperation with civic and church groups, hospitals, and courts, and helping new groups to start.
So what do I do now, thirty years later? I have never quit being active, although my position in the Fellowship has modified over the years. I attend an average of two meetings per week, when I am home. I am also asked to speak at various groups. In addition, I am invited to take part in numerous group anniversary programs and AA roundups around the country (and sometimes out of the country). Many people call upon me for counsel and advice on both personal and group problems. I have an extensive correspondence, since I have made so many friends in AA from coast to coast. Once in a while, I sponsor someone. Cases where about everything has been tried, by everyone else, often wind up in my hands.
I have not found the program to be difficult, and I maintain that if it does seem difficult for anyone, he is not doing it “right.” Certainly, when I came to this Fellowship, I was in no position or condition to handle anything difficult! I kept things simple. But I must add that when I first began I was well sponsored.
I took measures now summarized in the first nine Steps of the program: admittance of need (the First Step), surrender (Second through Seventh), and restitution (Eighth and Ninth). Having done this, I no longer had a drinking problem, since it had been turned over to a Higher Power.
Now I had – and still have – a living problem. But that is taken care of by the practice of Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. So I don’t have to be concerned about anything but a simple three-step program, which with practice has become habitual.
Step Ten enables me to check on myself, and my activities of the day. I have found that most things disturbing me are little things, but still the very things that, if not dealt with, can pile up and eventually overwhelm me. My daily checkup covers good deeds as well as questionable ones; often, I find I can commend myself in some areas, while in others I owe apologies.
Step Eleven is done after my daily inventory. I usually need the peace resulting from prayer and meditation, and I do receive guidance for my life and actions.
Step Twelve, to me, does involve not only carrying the message, but extending AA principles into all phases of my daily life.
I learned long ago that this is a life-changing program, but that, after the change occurs, it is necessary for me to go on making the effort to improve myself mentally, morally, and spiritually.
This is my simple program, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a good life and is willing to do his share of helping.
C.H.S., St. Petersburg, Florida
Clarence had over 46 years of continuous sobriety when he passed away in 1984.
Clarence Snyder, ‘I’ve Never Quit Being Active’. The article was originally published in the November 1968 issue and reprinted in the November 1999 AA Grapevine, under the category of “Big Book Authors.”