Building the Arch Through Which I Will Walk a Free Man at Last

The photo below was taken from a bluff overlooking the Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountain Range of Alaska. Let me share with you the story behind it.

The AA Big Book describes the arch through which we can walk to freedom on page 75: “We are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last.” I very much desire to walk through this arch and I know by working the first three Steps I am creating this arch through which I can pass in working Steps Four through Nine.

So, how do I proceed to build this mysterious arch? As in everything else in the program the Big Book tells me everything I need to know to build it.

The start to any building project is to lay a strong foundation on solid ground. As I came into the program, I was lonely and an expert at escaping. I could isolate in a room full of people. When I was feeling any strong feeling, I would run away and turn inward, turn to my addiction.

Coming into the program I had to learn to open my soul and be vulnerable. I had to rely on others and be there to support others. Page 97 says that “helping others is the foundation stone of our recovery.” For me this began by making phone calls and sharing in meetings. This was Step Zero which was the foundation of my program and my arch.

To affix the stones together a strong mortar is needed. Page 17 says: “The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in this powerful cement which binds us together.” The main component of a mortar is the cement. It is the bonding agent which holds the mixture together and the stones.

For me I know I have a fellowship that can understand where I have been because they have been there themselves. Just like when Bill W. and Dr. Bob walked into a hospital room in Akron, Ohio, just a couple of drunks to save a third. They shared their common peril and saved a man. When I took my First Step, I admitted to myself, my sponsor, and my fellowship that I was powerless over lust and my life was unmanageable. I took this Step as others had before and shared in that common bond of all sexaholics.

On a strong foundation are placed the cornerstones. Large stones that support the entire arch. Page 47 asks me “am I willing to believe there is a power greater than myself … It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”

My relationship with my higher power was one way. What could my Higher Power supply to me today? I never doubted God was present, but I had to change the way I approached my relationship with my Higher Power. I had to change from a self-centered view of Him to, as it says on page 56, to living in conscious companionship with my Creator. Thus, I fixed my cornerstone in place through taking the Second Step.

At the top of the arch is the keystone. This small stone which holds the rest of the arch up. It is the final stone placed and requires two people to place it. Page 62 says, the keystone is “I must quit playing God; God was our Director; He is our Principal, we are his agents; He is the Father, we are his children.”

In working my Third Step with my sponsor I had to memorize this section. I had to fully turn my life over to my Higher Power. In doing this I placed my keystone of my arch with my sponsor saying the Third Step Prayer on the bluff I mentioned in the beginning of the story overlooking such a beautiful part of God’s creation.

In the first three Steps I built the arch to freedom. Before I walked through it fully it had to be checked. After taking the Fifth Step the Big Book has me on page 75 check on the arch by asking “Are the stones properly in place? Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand?”

I know my arch is built on a solid foundation of fellowship and trust, with strong cement of a common bond with those brothers and sisters. It arches up to heaven and my connection to my Higher Power; with whom I walk through the arch to a new way of life.

Thad H., Anchorage, Alaska

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