For a book I credit with laying out a road map which transformed my life, there are a few paragraphs that, for whatever reason, drive me nuts.
"The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, "Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin'?" -- "Alcoholics Anonymous" (AA's Big Book) Chapter 6, 'Into Action,' pg. 82
Oh, if only they hadn't said the word "Ma" in talking to his wife. That, followed so closely by "ain't," is just ... most modern readers get lost in either eye rolling or giggles.
I'm not being critical of the Big Book for using language which was commonplace in their region and their time. That's like judging Shakespeare for not having Hamlet say "Should I chill, or should I just kill myself? That's what I'm obsessing over." instead of "To be, or not to be. That is the question." Language changes. And there are many places where I find the way the Big Book puts something to be not just illustrative, but moving.
For example, I will always love:
"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while." -- Big Book, Ch. 5, 'How it Works' pg. 66
How evocative, how apt, how brilliant is both the point and the way it's made. Truly, "squander" in this context gives one pause to think back on all the times when we could have been enjoying life, but instead were lost in our heads, gnashing our teeth and rehashing old fights, or worse, making speeches during imaginary new ones. (A personal favorite of mine. I always know I'm not on the beam when I am in the middle of a huge fight -- that never happened.)
There's nothing "wrong" with the way The Big Book is written, but the point in my 3rd least favorite paragraph on pg. 82 is so important, so critical, and the storm analogy is so perfect (not like in my least favorite paragraph, where the analogy really hijacks the point they're trying to make), that it's a damn shame the antiquated phrases in use here have the double whammy of being particularly old/hokey.
Take the corn-pone dialog away for a moment and (maybe when they were writing this they'd just come back from seeing "The Wizard of Oz" and had Uncle Henry and Auntie Em in their heads -- if I'm not mistaken, the timing lines up on that. But I've already done a Wizard of Oz rant) what this paragraph is really talking about is amends -- and in my humble opinion is the jumping off point for the idea of Living Amends.
"We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough."
I believe that what the Big Book is expressing here is that just getting sober, just not drinking, does not even come close to balancing the scales for all the horrible toxic behavior we pulled when we drank. The people close to us may be so relieved that we've finally stopped getting worse that we may get a bit of a pass from them on things past -- but if we do, we can't take it. We have to make the rest of it right -- not just because it's the right thing to do -- and it is -- but because if we don't we'll drink again.
(Some alcoholics will use newfound sobriety as a way to subtly blackmail people into not holding them accountable, since if we get too upset we might drink again -- which is bullshit, in this context. Kind of like the resentment fueled con: "I'll show you! I'll hurt me! Then you'll be sorry!" Using someone's love for us as a way to punish them is one of the oldest alcoholic tricks. We're not bad people getting good, we're sick people getting well... but that's a very fine distinction, on occasion.)
Just because the storm of our active alcoholism has passed -- just because those winds have stopped blowing (and there's a full-of-hot-air joke in there somewhere) -- that's only the start of making things right. In no way is it enough on its own.
To me, that's what the paragraph is suggesting, "aint's" and "Ma's" and all.