by: "the Bard"

  GODDESS: Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
           the COURAGE to change the things I can,
           and the WISDOM to know the difference.....!

                                  -the Serenity Prayer 


                            Aw, f**k it!
                                -Serenity Prayer (short form)


(DISCLAIMER: the opinions in this article are my own, and should not, and
must not, be taken as necessarily the opinions of AA as a whole. AA does
NOT endorse ANY specific religious belief.  To quote the standard definition:
"AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or
institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses or 
opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other 
alcoholics to achieve sobriety." GOT THAT?)


                        JUSTIFICATION 101

 Taoists say, "Shit happens."

 Buddhists say, "If shit happens, it's not really shit."

 Zen says, "What is the sound of shit happening?"

 Hindus say, "This shit happened before."

 Muslims say, "If shit happens, Allah wills it."

 Protestants say, "If shit happens, let it happen to someone else."

 Catholics say, "If shit happens, you deserve it."

 Fundies say, "If shit happens, the Devil did it!"

 Jews say, "Why does shit always happen to us?"

 Baha'is say, "If shit happens, it's a Spiritual Experience!"

 Wiccans say, "There's gotta be a pony in here someplace!"


        Alcoholics don't take lovers...they take hostages.


  "Hi! My name's "the Bard," and I'm a grateful alcoholic and Recovering 

  (Hi, Bard!)

        Now, for those lucky ones of you that are reading this who are -not-
drunks.....maybe none of this applies to you, tho you could perhaps learn 
something from it. Just bear in mind that if you haven't "been there," then 
you don't truly understand what it's like. Try to bear with us; we're not 
finished yet... 

        Probably the best way to start is to talk about the Twelve Steps of 
AA....and comment on them from a Pagan point of view. Being Pagan doesn't
make us any better that anyone else, but it does affect our view of the
Universe. Being alcoholics, however, we will tend to do what every other
alky does, and start logic-chopping and complicating even the simplest things
into utterly unrecognizable impossibilties...and when we do -that- we can
say to ourselves, "It's too hard for me. I can't do that."

        Keep it SIMPLE, stupid!

        A question to think about: To properly work magick, you must be in
full possession of your faculties. You think you can work magick -drunk-?
HAH! That's kinda like giving an armed nuke to a three-year old child.....
Maybe it'll work out OK, and then again.......odds are pretty good that you'll
get a BIG hole in the ground REAL soon!

        Another question to think about: do you wonder, sometimes, if you
maybe -are- an alcoholic? Well, ole hoss, if you gotta wonder about it, then 
you probably are.......alcoholism is a DISEASE. It is -not- an immoral defect
in you. It is NOT a "failing." It is simply a disease, and there is NO cure.

        There is, however, a way to recover from it. Read on!


STEP ONE: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives
          had become unmanageable.

    This one is pretty obvious, and doesn't need a lot of comment. It
    applies the same to the Fundie as it does to the Pagan. If you
    just can't handle alcohol, you just can't handle it. Period.
STEP TWO: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore
          us to sanity.

      What is the Goddess/God -but- a "power" greater than ourselves?
      There IS a "Higher Power." Call it what you will. Call it God, 
      call it Goddess, call it Ralph, if you wanna, but it IS there, 
      and surrendering your EGO to it is necessary for it to work. 
      Brad Hicks said that "Nothing so chokes Magick as EGO," and he
      was right!

STEP THREE: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care
            of God, as we understood Him.

      Now, PAY ATTENTION! It says "as we understood.." Yeah, it says
      "God" and "Him." So what? This was written to reach out to people.
      Ya want it to say "Goddess" and "Her?" FINE! Say it that way to
      yourself. I know a guy that said "Ralph" and "It." Worked fine!
      -Don't- get hung up in semantics. You got an agenda, take it 
      somewhere else. You bring it into AA, and you'll stay drunk.

      I notice that fella in the third row right is having problems with
      the semantics here...he's associating "God" (or "Higher Power")
      with that Big Fella with the Long White Beard that sits up in the
      Great White Throne of Judgement and writes down everything bad you
      do so He can punish you for it. I thought we had thrown out that
      concept of the Punishing God! We ain't talking Fundie here, boy!

      By "ego" I do not mean your free will. This you have. This you will
      always have. I mean surrendering that part of you that sits in the 
      corner and screams defiance at an uncaring world. The "child-self," 
      if you will. "Child" is selfish, uncaring, and manipulative. These 
      are things we need to recover -from-. "Child" will manipulate by many
      techniques, one of which being "people pleasing." (We need to recover 
      from -that-, too.)

      Besides, if you are a practicing alky, your "will" consists mainly of
      finding a way to get drunk. Pbflth! That ain't "will." That's an

STEP FOUR: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

      OOPS! Here's a hard one! That icky buzzword "moral!" I hear a
      LOT from Wiccans about the differences between "morals" and
      "ethics." Frankly, if the actions/attitudes are harmful, then they
      can be called immoral/unethical. "An ye harm NONE, do what ye will."
      If your actions hurt someone, YOU need to realize it, and admit it.
      See the next step. Logic-chopping at this point will only get you
      into trouble. If you wanna read "ethics" for "morals," go right
      ahead....just be honest with yourself. As a practicing alky, you've
      lied to yourself long enough.

STEP FIVE: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the
           exact nature of our wrongs.

      So tell the Goddess (or Ralph) your problems with dealing with
      life, liberty and the pursuit of tapioca pudding. Tell it to
      yourself, too. GET A SPONSOR and talk to them about it. Pretty
      simple, really.

STEP SIX: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of 

      Talk to your sponsor about this one. The Goddess (or Ralph) will
      do it, if you can get out from behind your own EGO long enough to 
      let it happen....

STEP SEVEN: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

      Notice it says..."humbly." Contrary to the belief of -every-
      single alky I've ever known, we are NOT the Center Of The

      As amazing as it may sound, the Goddess runs the Multi-verse quite
      well on Her own. -You- can't even handle alcohol on your own, so
      what makes you think you can run the Multi-verse?

STEP EIGHT: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to
            make amends to them all.

      Yeah, I know, Karma has taken care of it. But that's on the level
      of the whole Multi-verse. Make your list. This helps you to admit
      to yourself (see the steps above) just where you were being a jerk.
      Notice also it says "...became willing..." This does not mean "made
      amends." It means you are WILLING, sincerely willing, to make those
      amends. Karma has already stomped on you, if you think about it, but
      for your own growth you MUST cop to this.

STEP NINE: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when
           to do so would injure them or others.

       This is pretty obvious, don't you think? You got questions about 
       this, ask your sponsor.

STEP TEN: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong 
          promptly admitted it.

      "I thought I had made a misteak once, but I was wrong." 

      (Good epitaph for anyone who died drunk! You die drunk, you stay 
      drunk next time around, until you get the wanna do 
      that, go right ahead. Call me when you become teachable.)

      It's always pretty hard to admit to making a mistake...Wiccans and
      other neo-Pagans are no different than anyone else about that one.

STEP ELEVEN: Sought thru prayer and meditation to improve our conscious
             contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for 
             knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.

         No problem here for Pagans, is there? I mean after all, isn't 
         this exactly what we're trying to do in the first place? You
         ain't gonna do diddely-squat with magick without the Higher
         Power, anyway.....and this step is a doggone good lesson in
         what real magick -really- is all about. Think about it for a

         It is your Will that wants you to get sober. It is your EGO that
         keeps you drinking, along with the physical "allergy." Take that
         EGO, that spoiled child-self, and turn it over to the Goddess. Or

STEP TWELVE: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps,
             we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice 
             these principles in all our affairs.

             So whattya think I'm -doing- here ?


      Just for funsies, let's look at those steps in -reverse-......


                    THE 12 STEPS IN REVERSE 


1. I stated that I could handle liquor and/or drugs, and I was master 
   of my fate. 

2. Firmly believed that I was entirely rational and sane in every 

3. Made a decision to run my own life and be successful in all my 

4. Made a searching and thorough inventory of my fellow man and found 
   him wanting. 

5. Admitted to no one, including God and myself, that there was 
   anything wrong with me. 

6. Sought through alcohol and/or drugs to overcome my responsibilities 
   and escape the realities of life. 

7. Got drunk/stoned to remove these shortcomings. 

8. Made a list of all persons who had harmed me, whether imaginary or 
   real, and swore to get even. 

9. Got even whenever possible, except when to do so would injure me. 

10. Continued to find fault with the world and with the people in it, 
    and when I was right, promptly admitted it. 

11. Sought through conniving and hypocrisy to improve myself 
    materially at the expense of my fellow man as I misunderstood him,
    asking only for the means to get and stay drunk or stoned and escape 
    from reality. 

12. After having a complete moral, physical and financial breakdown, I 
    tried to drag those who were dear to me down to my level, and to
    practice these reasonings in all my affairs. 



        It may be that you are still a practicing alcoholic. You are still
drinking and drugging and making everyone around you miserable. I won't
preach to you. If that's what you want to do, then that's fine with me.
That's -your- problem, not mine. I am dealing with -me-, today, not with

        When you hit bottom, whatever that may be to you, whether it is
winding up in the drunk tank, or squatting in a corner with DT's, or
being thrown thru the roof of a car at 65 MPH (and surviving it), or having
blackouts, or losing everything you have, or, Goddess forbid, killing some
one else with your car.....and the Goddess FINALLY gets your attention,
then remember that AA is out there, and CAN help you.

        Call your local Central Office, and get the location, date and
time of a meeting near you. If you need a ride to it, they'll be glad to
help out. Get a copy of the Big Book, and read it.

        Go to meetings. Read the Big Book. You don't even have to -say-
anything in meetings. Just sit there and listen for a while, if that's
what you feel you need to do.....but GO TO THE DAMN MEETINGS!

        This is being published, initially, over BBSes. Your local BBS,
if it is FIDONET, may carry the RECOVERY echo. It is available on the 
backbone, and can be brought in by your local SysOp. Ask for it. Read it.
It's for -you-.


        Blessed Be!
        Sober, one day at a time:

                                                -the Bard
                                                 Yule, 1990 CE