One Step at a Time

Andy Crooks writing as Andy C
2 min readMar 28, 2024

“I wanted to simplify the Program, so I stopped at Step One.”

The AA speaker got a laugh, but he was touching on a serious problem. We often see newcomers come in, sober up, and when things are back on track, they become complacent and stop working the Steps.

I know the problem because that was my story.

But to be clear, I was not trying to keep it simple. If I had asked myself why I stopped at Step One, and if I was honest, the answer would have been: “I am lazy,” or “I was not sure where a spiritual path would take me, so I stopped,” or “My life was back on track, so I did not need God anymore.”

Whatever the reason, I stopped my spiritual journey. It was not fear; it was lack of desire. It was not avoidance; it was apathy.

At AA meetings, I often said, “I come to meetings and don’t drink in between; that has kept me sober.”

Interestingly, the other phrase I recited at meetings was, “Life is a bitch, then you die.” Which could trigger either laughter or nodding heads of agreement.

I was content with the small amount of serenity I had been given by not drinking. Complacent, I was not greedy for spiritual growth, and because life was running well, I was not desperate for spiritual growth.

I had a choice between sleeping in and rushing to the office or spiritual disciplines that connected me with the ultimate power, the creative force of the universe, the Lord God. Every day, I chose between a routine life or a fantastic life, between a limited life and a full life.

I chose routine and limited.

Not just once, but over and over until life presented problems that gave me a desire to take the remaining Steps.

The lesson of life: If I stop at Step One to keep it simple, it will get complicated later. If I stop at Step One because I am lazy, I will work harder later. Complacency is work avoidance now, which means more work later.



Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.