- The Four Questions
Of people in recovery, others sometimes inquire. Why can't you just leave your past
behind you? Make a clean break, don't dwell in the past: rehashing it again and again.
You've stopped your habit, pulled yourself together. You're clean now, sober and
respectable. Why go back and sit in a room full of people like yourself, people who may
still be doing the crazy things you no longer do. Who are still the sick person you used to
be, talking it over and over and over? Is it healthy to live in the horror story? Look to the
future. Don't talk about the past as though you had some kind of disease. You glorify the
program and call it Recovery, treating it like a Dialysis machine or Iron Lung without
which you could not live. Why can't you be like a normal person?
The youngest person sitting at the table is usually the first to ask the "four questions".
The youngest is usually the newcomer, and these questions are natural to the newcomer.
1. Why is our disease so all-encompassing, so all-excluding?
Other people have their hobbies, recreations, pleasures, how come we can't enjoy these
things like they do? Why did we have only "THE BREAD OF OUR AFFLICTION"?
The symbol we use for the object of our obsession is the unleavened bread - Matzo. Our
world had shrunk very small.
2. How come there was no pleasure left in what we were doing?
No amount of "acting out" could rid us of our real feelings. Everything we did to relieve
the pain merely substituted or increased it. The symbol we use for the bitterness and pain
is "MAROR" (bitter herbs). There are two more questions commonly asked by the newcomer.
They refer to the process of recovery.
3. Why do we treat ourselves so well in Recovery? Why don't we just get on with
life? Why pay so much attention the way we feel? Whence the slogan EASY
DOES IT? Surely a little more discipline, more will-power, a tougher daily
regimen, all would work more efficiently than this gentle touch with which we
The relaxed attitude we adopt is symbolized by the "CONDIMENTS" (dipping food into
4. Why do we take Recovery so slowly? Surely we ought to be rushing to get
well? We need fixing now!
The pace at which we expect changes to occur, is symbolized by the "LEANING".
Sprawling and reclining as though we were "in our cups". Why does all this take so
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