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A 12 year long odyssey across the country and the world collecting
profound wisdom from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Off the Walls

Wisdom from the Road of Happy Destiny

Don G. (Temple, Texas)

Don G. (Temple, Texas), Off The Walls: Wisdom from the Road of Happy Destiny

Use them for meeting starters
in your discussion group.

Put them in intergroup newsletters
for human interest.

Study them for your own
daily meditation.

Copyright 2009 by
December First Publishers
Temple, Texas

Questions and comments are
welcomed by the author and publisher at

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  Don G. is a 20-plus year sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and other Twelve Step recovery programs. An experienced writer and speaker, he has traveled the United States and the world carrying a message of recovery. His numerous articles have appeared in the Grapevine, AAís international "meeting in print" magazine, and various recovery publications. He was a seminar presenter on the topic, "Humility: A Power Greater" at the worldwide AA International Convention in Minneapolis in 2000. A retired licensed M.S.W., he currently resides and writes with his wife, Cynthia, in Temple, Texas.

Over a twelve-year period, Don carried a notebook with him when he visited Alcoholic Anonymous and other twelve step meetings across the United States and around the world. He made it a point to listen in each meeting for something that had intense meaning to him and his experience -- something strong enough to make his head nod up and down. This would not happen in every meeting, but when it did, he wrote down his thoughts rather than trusting them to memory.

In this book he has collected over a thousand of the best of these pithy little sayings, sometimes laugh-provoking but always insightful. There are pieces of wisdom here both for beginners and for those who have been around for a while.

There but for the grace of God

A small sampling

100. My definition of an alcoholic was someone who drank more than I did.

335. I was busted, disgusted, couldnít be trusted, and sitting in a chair at an AA meeting.

375. When youíre laying flat on your face, trudging looks like moving at the speed of light.

376. An alcoholic drinks like a fish doesÖjust because itís in front of him.

389. All my life, I turned my will and my life over to the care of God as YOU understood him.

480. The outstanding characteristic of an alcoholic is defiance. 99% of my energy was negative.

509. I was convinced that I was better than all the people who were stepping over me.

556. If you hang out in front of a barber shop long enough, youíre gonna get a haircut.

592. For many years, I was a figment of my own imagination.

594. Alcohol gave me wings and took away my sky.

666. When we were drinking we thought everything was coming together when it was really falling apart. When we got sober, we thought everything was falling apart when it was really coming together.

722. I woke up every morning and there at the foot of my bed was my disease saying, "Glad youíre up. Iíve been waiting for you."

750. I thought God was there to pick up the pieces after Iíd screwed up. I didnít know He was there to show me the way to not screw up in the first place.

794. I thought Iíd had all of my ducks in a row. But I found out that some of them were decoys, some were geese, and some of them were predators. While I was trying to figure out which was which, they all just wandered off.

1091. I used to think that balance was about rotating my obsessions.

251. When I first got here I was like a first timer at a nudist camp. I could compare, but I couldnít relate.

346. One time I asked my sponsor if he was God. He said, "sometimes."

424. You have a right to kill yourself and I have a right to not watch.

435. These meeting rooms became like a communion cupÖthe one that everyone in church shares and drinks from.

439. Faith meant I had to do something when I didnít know what was going to happen.

524. The first word of the 11th stepÖ"soughtÖ" meant Iíd have to do some work.

733. I said I didnít believe in God, but I knew I was scared of Him. How could I be scared of someone I didnít believe in? Thatís when I started to believe.

905. This program was about learning how to humble myself. If I canít figure out how to do that, God would do for me what I couldnít do for myself.

993. You taught me how to feel and touch in here. Today, I can touch with loveÖnot just other peopleÖbut I can touch my God too.

1026. Even though Iíve got the monkey off my back, the circus is still in town.

25. I will bloom wherever I am planted.

252. Sometimes I can settle myself down enough to ask, "What would you do if you were not afraid?"

291. I still have insane thoughts. But itís not those thoughts that make my life chaos, itís my action on those thoughts. Today, I donít translate my insane thoughts into insane actions.

443. Every day in prayer I ask God what would make Him happy. If I can find what makes God happy, I will be happy.

582. Around here, we donít shoot our wounded.

679. Today, I have a core inside myself that is separated from the outside world. My true insides are not connected to everyday things out there.

701. Today, I am willing to be disappointed. Itís not one of my favorite things, but I am willing to do it.

746. Iíve been sober long enough now to where some of the committee members in my head are starting to get sober.

789. Today, I am present in my life.

871. God and I are gonna dance today.

937. When I have to wait, it bothers me because Iím afraid of the unknown. So now I pray when I have to waitÖ"yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the unknownÖ"

1023. Those of us who have remained here were chosen to be sober. Because of that, we no longer have the privilege to remain neutral. Weíre charged with the responsibility to carry this message.

1099. Itís delicious to be sober. I know this because I can taste life for the first time in years.

1109. My heroes have changed.

1119. Since coming here the transformation of my life is so great that I canít come in here anymore without feeling like Cinderella.

26. Laughter is the sound effect of recovery.

85. Arrogance is covering up shame. Feeling shame is one thing. Hiding it is another.

94. The purpose of grieving is acceptance.

135. Weíre responsible for what is possible, and God is responsible for what is impossible.

142. Thereís a difference between loving yourself in egoism and loving yourself in humility.

184. The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

288. If you tell me something, Iíll forget it. If you show me something, Iíll remember it. If you involve me in something, Iíll understand it.

364. God doesnít love me because Iím good. God loves me because Heís good.

400. Donít ever draw a line in the sand for God ... He will step over it.

428. When I leave here, the only thing Iím going to be allowed to take with me is my soulís integrity.

484. You know itís from God if it touches your heart and clears your mind.

602. In every situation and every problem, when I pray, I need to pray for all concerned, not just for me.

611. Life is not about being happy. Life is about being whole.

627. Expect NothingÖBlame No oneÖDo Something.

800. How cheaply am I willing to sell my serenity?

801. Anger is like a piece of red hot charcoal you pick up and throw at someone else. You may or may not hurt them, but you are certainly going to burn yourself.

804. Participating in a resentment is like drinking a glass of poison and then waiting for the other person to die.

819. There may only be just 3 prayers ... Help ... Thank you ... and Wow.

935. For me, thereís a God-self and a self-self. God uses me for His works, and if Iím in tune with that, my life goes well. My self-self will cause me to implode.

1033. Iíd rather walk in the dark with a friend than in the light alone.

1116. Weíre climbing a mountain that has no summit, which is better than sliding down a valley that has no bottom.

1154. People talk about heaven and hell. To me, heaven is here and hell is when I turn my back on my Higher Power.

1189. AA is the only place where they give you a medal for running out of a burning building.

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