Bill Wilson, one of AA's co-founders, maintained a large personal correspondence throughout his sobriety, in addition to writing a number of essays for AA's monthly newsletter, "The Grapevine."
(I admit I was a total snob when I first heard of "The Grapevine." "Oh, a newsletter, how AA. How quaint." I thought. Playing at jaded cool was a hard habit to break when I was new, I came to AA not just a terrible drunk but a foolish and frightened boy as well -- but then I flipped through an issue and in the letters column came across an entry that started, "Dear Grapevine, My sponsor slept with my wife..." Holy Crap! That's a lotta things, but "quaint" isn't one of them. Not every issue is quite so zippy, but once more I was confronted with how stupid my bias's were, and how foolish it was to assume that just because the language of AA is a little hokey in places doesn't mean that the people practicing the Program are.)
Bill's writing is collected in a number of places, and one I like best is a book called "As Bill Sees It." (Originally called "The AA Way of Life" the title was changed some time in the 60's.) It has a phenomenal index of topics and is organized in numbered sections. Sometimes I use it as a daily reader, sometimes a Ouija Board ("Bill! Bill! What do you have to say today!" and then I open it at random. Just for fun. After 20 some odd years I have to be a little silly or I fear I'll get a little stuffy.)
Most interesting to me are the excerpts from the Grapevine and from his letters. Opening it at random today this is what I found, and felt it would be worth sharing here. From a letter Bill wrote in 1950:
"I don't think happiness or unhappiness is the point. How do we meet the problems we face? How do we best learn from them and transmit what we have learned to others, if they would receive the knowledge?
In my view, we of this world are pupils in a great school of life. It is intended that we try to grow, and that we try to help our fellow travelers to grow in the kind of love that makes no demands. In short we try to move towards the image and likeness of God as we understand Him.
When pain comes we are expected to learn from it willingly, and help others to learn. When happiness comes we accept it as a gift, and thank God for it."