As a freshman member of Alcoholics Anonymous, my father memorized its renowned twelve steps. My memory of his success is recounted on page 62 of Before the Door Closes: A Daughter’s Journey with Her Alcoholic Father:
“More than fifty years earlier, Daddy had memorized its twelve-step program. ‘Listen to this, Judy,’ he said, taking a card from his wallet. Striding around the room, he repeatedly read aloud the dozen principles. Day after day he thundered them until they were rooted in his mind. That accomplished, there were times, it seemed, when he needed a reminder. Roping the family in it, he would unexpectedly walk to the middle of the living room, square his shoulders, and deliver each step perfectly.
“He sounded every bit like a fervent evangelist when his assured voice thundered, ‘Step Two. Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.'”
Thinking back on that now, I believe those were times when Daddy was asking his family for patience. At his core he desperately wanted to quit drinking–never succumb to another slip. Making us listen to his recitation was his way of reminding himself and us.
The plea of Daddy’s heart was epitomized in a maxim in the late seventies/early eighties, abbreviated PBPGIFWMY: Please be patient; God isn’t finished with me yet. Also during that time Joel Hemphill wrote the gospel song “He’s Still Working on Me.”