In San Antonio I saw 50,000 AA members play out one of our major paradoxes. As AA members counted down their years of sobriety we cheered like mad for the man with one day and the woman with three weeks. Then when the old timers stood up we screamed again.
We do this in our home groups too. We are thrilled for the person with 24 hours, five days or one month. We say, “All that any of us has is today”, and “The person who got up earliest today has the most sobriety.” Then we brag that our sponsor has 28 years or that our sponsor’s sponsor has 35.
A contradiction? A paradox? I think the reason we are in awe of old timers is that we know that if they have been sober that long then it has to be true that they have been through it all: love, loss, illness, death, success, failure, more success, more failure, new love and more heartbreak—and they stayed sober through those things that we desire and fear.
And that is what we want for ourselves—one day at a time.