We talk a great deal about working the program. Actually what we do is to practice what we’re learning. It’s like studying a second language. A student reads books and attends classes, but this only gives him technical knowledge. To be able to use the language he must be around those who speak and understand it. The student practices listening and speaking while continuing to read. If they stay with it, in time it will become a lifelong skill.
So it is with many of us in the program. We begin with little knowledge and many misconceptions. We go to meetings, learn about alcoholism, and study AA literature. But to actually be able to use this knowledge takes time, patience, and effort. We spend time around people who speak the AA language, especially those who are making a strong commitment to practicing the principles in their own lives. We continue to listen, to read, and to learn. In this way the steps sink in until they become second nature. Because we are constantly changing, we have opportunities to learn and practice.
If I want to become skillful at applying the AA program to my life, I need to do more than go to an occasional meeting. I must make a commitment and practice, practice, practice.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”