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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: April 20, 2015.

I can’t, He can; I think I’ll let Him—AA Slogan


In Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as other programs for addiction, people mark their progress by the amount of time they have been alcohol and drug free. Longevity is celebrated, and it should be. Because I have nearly twenty-three years of continuous sobriety, this means that what I have to say carries more weight than someone who has far less time. Again, this is how it should be. This isn’t rocket science.


Those new to sobriety are taught to pay closer attention to “Winners” in the program than others, and the wise newcomers learn to do so. In the South, we use a chip system to acknowledge our time in sobriety. For those just coming in, they pick up a white poker chip, signifying a desire to not drink for that day. After thirty days of continuous sobriety, another chip is given, followed by a chip for ninety days, six months, nine months, one year, and for multiple years. A blue chip is given for each year of sobriety, and I have twenty-two. When I pick up my twenty-third-year chip, people will clap and congratulate me, acknowledging that my tenure means I have done a great deal of work successfully.


This is the focus of AA. The emphasis is on longevity. There is no recognition given for the quality of a person’s sobriety. By working the program, most do become better people—sometimes much better people—but this isn’t measured. It is just assumed that the longer you are sober, the better person you will become. While this is more often true than not, it isn’t always the case.


If you have trouble with alcoholism, or you are concerned that you might be a problem drinker, what I am recommending is that you take an alternative approach—at least in your mind. From the time that withdrawal from alcohol ceases to be a problem, you need to focus on your character and measure the quality of your sobriety side by side with your longevity.


By doing this, you will enrich your life appreciably. By focusing on character development, rather than just staying clean, you can become the person you want to be. Instead of just assuming your character will transform, which may or may not happen, make character change your emphasis. If you do, the longevity will inevitably follow. You can count on this, and you should.


So, if you are willing to renew your mind and make a radical transformation, let it begin today, by joining me in the following prayer:



I have walked the wrong path for so long,

Often hurting others and causing them pain.

I deeply regret my actions and self-serving ways.

Now, with Your help, as I try to straighten out

All that I have done that has been so destructive,

I want to get past this phase of my recovery

Quickly and easily, but I know life doesn’t work

This way; nor is it a good idea that it should.

I recognize this. I understand that the way back

Will require as much concerted effort

As I am capable of mustering.


But I want more for my life than just getting beyond

All the pain and suffering I have caused others.

I want my life to be filled with love, joy, peace and kindness.

With Your help, I want to learn my life’s lessons

From all the pain I created, so I will never do it again.

I know that, with Your help, I can make amends

And finally set the record straight with others.

Allow me to feel the pain and heartache I have caused,

So that I can grow from this and become a better person.

Father, allow my future good to far eclipse

The willful and callous destructiveness of my past.

Walk with me, Lord, side by side, and help me

Begin a bold new chapter in my life,



If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NAS)



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