The last of the three essential ingredients for success and sobriety is open-mindedness. The first thing we have to be open-minded about is to stop drinking and to stay stopped. For some people this may mean going through a detox program. For others who do not have access to a detox program they can stop drinking and go to meetings. For this person it is critical to make some new friends at meetings and collect phone numbers to call when a weak moment occurs. After identifying as a newcomer at a meeting they may find members approaching them after the meeting to talk or go to coffee. The newcomer should take advantage of all of these offers.
Being open-minded means being able to do things differently. Our old life was not working, and we had to drink ourselves into oblivion usually on a daily basis. In the new life everything changes, and we are now living life on a different basis. We need to be open to change and incorporate it into our new life. We may think some of the suggestions are just plain silly. Or we may think that the slogans don’t make sense. If we keep coming back to meetings and begin to work the program all of these things will begin to make perfect sense to us. It helps to have a sponsor who can explain things to us as they crop up. Many of our questions are answered through the sharing that takes place at most meetings. There are speaker meetings where one person shares their experience, strength and hope through the telling of their life story. This is a good time to sit back and relax and enjoy the meeting. We will find ourselves identifying with many things that are shared.
Being open-minded allows us to try new solutions to our dilemmas. We may have felt that there is no solution to a particular problem we may have. After talking with our sponsor about it and sharing it at a meeting if appropriate we are able to find a workable solution. The 12 Promises state that “we will intuitively know how to handle situations that use to baffle us.” This is very true, and many members can attest to its truthfulness. This all comes about by being open-minded and taking the steps and applying them in our lives. We are no longer befogged by alcohol and drugs. We now have a sense of clarity with which to live life.
At out first reading of the steps we may exclaim that this is crazy stuff. But we will be reassured by sober members that they thought the same way at first. They remind us that we start on step one and need not worry about the steps ahead of us. When the time is right, they will manifest themselves to us with our sponsors help in just the right way and in the right time. Just as long as we stay open-minded toward the information in the Big Book, we will gain sobriety for ourselves.