“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.” ~Anonymous

Michael R., Alumni

This is one of those sayings that got my attention because it kept coming up repeatedly over the past couple of weeks. I finally got the message that maybe my Higher Power was trying to tell me something: to pay attention to the importance of the idea of community in my Recovery—that I am not best able or equipped to do this work of sobriety on my own.

The idea behind the quote at the top of the page and of the concept of the “We” that literally starts off our Twelve Steps, are almost physical in their simplicity. But they are not natural to many of us who seem to be normatively programmed to try to do some things—often, ironically enough, the very hardest things—on our own.

Yet most of the greatest achievements in the arc of the human experience, whether looked at individually or collectively, have been brought about by cooperation, interaction and community. This past summer when we remembered the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, it was breathtaking to recall how many thousands of people were behind that one man’s single foot print being made on the surface of a never before trod upon world.

It always helps me to remember that the anniversary of the way out of addiction for most of us (June 10, 1935) is not based on when Bill Wilson got sober on his own but rather when he interacted so powerfully and efficaciously with Dr. Bob Smith. Similarly, I’ve never attended a powerful or effective Meeting where I was the sole participant!

In the end, there will always be a time for going fast and for going far; for going alone and for going with others. Still, like many of us who’s default mode is to be a loner, I need to be regularly reminded of the basic difference between the two choices and where they’re likely to take me.