The All Addicts Anonymous way of life is not something you merely read about and think about. It is something you do . . .
You start by learning a special technique with your alarm clock: You set it one hour earlier than usual, and when it rings you get up.
Do not underestimate (a) the importance and (b) the difficulty of this simple technique. It is important because it enables you to get what you absolutely need in order to get going on a new way of life — that is time. Unless you make time for it, you will go nowhere. And if you are an alcoholic or involved with drugs or sick sex or some other kind of hard hang-up, you can’t afford through mere carelessness to lose your chance. So listen to this talk about the alarm clock, will you?
You set the clock one hour earlier than usual and get up. It is hard to do. Be prepared for that.
You can see why. It is hard because at first you do not set a high value on it. If somebody were to pay you one hundred dollars for every morning that you got up an hour early, you would do it very cheerfully every day. This new way of life gives you something more valuable than an hundred dollars a day, but who is convinced of that in the beginning? Nobody. All you can do is catch a glimpse from somebody else’s experience and hang on to that first.
It is hard to keep the rule of getting up one hour early every morning in order to do the work, but it can be done. And after a while your own direct personal experience will show you that there is something even more terrific than money or sex to be had. After that it will be easier to get up in the morning and do whatever else is necessary, because even in the face of great difficulties it is easy to do what we love.
I am not theorizing or guessing here but reporting to you out of actual practice. If you will hang in there and really use this hour in the morning, a basic change begins to take place in your relationship to yourself, to the people around you, and to God. If you will merely do it, something very big begins to happen. This way of life requires an investment of your time, your interest, and yourself. It pays off very large on the investment; but with no investment, nothing is possible. A great deal hangs on that hour in the morning.
What do you do with the hour? There is a lot of room for using your own judgment and following your own tastes, but it helps at the outset to follow some kind of schedule that has been worked out and found effective in actual practice by a number of people who have really been doing this thing. The following is such a schedule:
You divide the time in three periods of twenty minutes each. In the first period you read. In the second period you pray or meditate. In the third period you exercise.
Remember when you are reading program literature that you are studying for know-how and not just fun. There is a great bunch of stuff to choose from out there — and a lot of this literature is tremendously intriguing and fascinating, but all of it has a desperately serious underlying purpose: to communicate to you the reality of God and give you practical knowledge as to how to live from day to day. From your reading you can learn how to get started in praying, meditating, and exercising. Soon you will be able to learn from, and also to help, other people, and that will really begin to change your life.
In conclusion, let me challenge you: Follow the above program faithfully for only one month. If nothing happens, if you don’t feel that anything at all has taken place in yourself and your life, let me know, and I will eat six pages of any All Addicts Anonymous literature on white or rye bread, whichever you specify.