For those in recovery keeping an open mind is very important. Prior to my recovery I had a closed mind to most everything. It was closed to suggestions that my drinking may be getting in the way of my life. It was closed to the idea that there may be some sort of higher power. It was closed to the idea that I had to look inward for happiness rather than outward. Once I reached a mental, emotional and spiritual rock bottom I was able to open my mind to those ideas and start to get better.
I’ve learned over the years that Keeping An Open Mind is just as important in long-term recovery as it is in early recovery. Being around AAers for as long as I have I’ve been seeing that some have closed their minds to everything outside of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the Foreword to the Second Edition of the Big Book it states, “upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, we surely have no monopoly”. To me this says we do not close our minds to non-AAers who are trying to help the still suffering alcoholic. Bill Wilson formed great relationships with non-alcoholics such as Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Carl Jung. He was not closed minded to what they had to say even though they did not have the experience he did.
Don’t get me wrong if it were not for Alcoholics Anonymous I would surely be dead (if not physically than spiritually) and no one can reach an alcoholic like a fellow alcoholic. Despite this I have been heavily influenced as I trudged the road of Happy Destiny by people who were not alcoholic and had achieved a spiritual, recovered, life in a journey that did not involve the 12 Steps. These people helped me see my character defects in a light that I hadn’t before. They allowed me to increase my self-awareness and improve my conscious contact with my Higher Power.
When I hear fellow AAers put a person’s opinion down because they are not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous it makes me cringe. For that is as much a closed mind as I had prior to finding the rooms of AA. Who am I to judge another person’s spirituality and way of life? I was taught to Live and Let Live. I run my program and allow others to run theirs be it a 12 Step one or otherwise. The same goes for the AAers I hear at the front of the rooms who mock treatment centres. I know many the AAer who got his or her introduction to recovery through a treatment centre and are successful in their recovery today. The farther I’m from my last drink the closer I am to my next one. Keeping an Open Mind helps me stay away from that next drink.