To Thine Own Self Be True.
This is a phrase we find on AA medallions and other related AA paraphernalia. Just exactly what does this phrase mean? What is this “self” they are referring to? It appears that most AA members find their true self through the working and application of the 12 steps.
When we come into the program, we are riddled with character defects. Most of these defects have been added to our personalities by ourselves. Character defects were what we used to navigate this world that we found ourselves in. We added things like anger, pride, lying, cheating, stealing, holding grudges, promiscuity, manipulation, and envy. The list could be endless. These were the tools we used to navigate situations we found ourselves in.
We filled our persona with negativity and carelessness. We became these character defects. Somewhere along the line in our lives we thought that it would be a good idea to use these tools to get through our daily existence. Coupled with our drinking we became quite unpleasant people to be around. Most of us find at the end of our drinking careers we have burnt bridges with almost everyone in our lives. We were lucky if we had one friend left.
Coming into the program and beginning to take the 12 steps, they began to show us the uselessness and futility of using these character defects to get through life. We saw the necessity for their removal from our personas. But how were we to accomplish this daunting feat? We needed to be restored to the creature that God had intended for us to be in order to live a happy and sober life.
Through the process of taking all 12 steps some of these defects fall by the wayside. Other character defects require time and energy in order to be removed to a manageable level. Whatever the case may be, the 12 steps do remove the character defects that stand in our way of our usefulness to our fellows. We are transformed into the creature that God intended for us to be. We may be hardly recognizable to old acquaintances.
So, this self we are talking about in the slogan is this newly, transformed self. We have a new set of guiding principles for our lives. We no longer resort to using a defect of character to get through a situation. We find that the truth works better than a lie. God has given us the gift of this transformed self through our work and application of the 12 steps. This is the self we want to be true to.