The Inventory and the Accent of Mt. Everest – Insights from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and Great Sponsorship

There is a great promise in our literature. It is one of those statements that can be good news for some and terrible news for others.

This is it – “We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world.” – BB Into Action, p.73

Now follow along with me as I now understand this short phrase. If I am not entirely honest with someone, I can never expect to live long, nor attain any true happiness in this world. The reversal is that if I am entirely honest with somebody I can and will live long and have happiness in this life of mine.

Here is another little possible ominous warning from the text –

“We went back through our lives, nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.” – BB How It Works, p.65

Along with that, there is this –

“Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience (the 4th & 5th step) they have turned to easier methods.
Almost invariably they got drunk.
Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell.
We think the reason is that they completed their housecleaning.” – BB Into Action, p. 72-73

I once wrote a short story about Mount Everest. Hundreds if not thousands of mountain climbers from every corner of the earth come to the mountain seeking the glory of an Everest Summit. These men and women are some of the very best mankind have to offer. Some, or most, prepare for the trek with years of dedicated training and practice, hoping to stand above all else. The effort and financial commitment are astounding.

From all nations, they arrive, as there are many paths to the first destination – basecamp. They come packing tons of supplies and equipment. They spend days acclimating to the high altitude. When they have adjusted to the depleted oxygen in the atmosphere they prepare for the accent.

Now, do you believe that anyone these gallant and brave mountaineers would ever attempt to climb for the summit along without assistance, or go for the peak without a guide? Nope, that would be crazy, right? Not one man, or one woman on the face of this planet, and for all the history of mankind, has ever attempted such a tremendous feat alone. Any attempt to climb alone on Everest is truly a most deadly task.

Sir Edmund Hilary is mostly known his being the first man to reach and summit Everest. This is what most people know as common knowledge. What the truth is, is that our good man Edmond had a fellow climber with him. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay stood side by side with him on that glorious day when they both rose above the world and stood on the top.

As with the perilous task of ascending Everest, overcoming drug addiction and alcoholism can be daunting and as deadly an ordeal if attempted alone and without guidance. The tragic histories of thousands and thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts can attest to this as absolute fact. Those who take on their addiction alone and without help usually perish from it. Most, like a lost climber on the steep slopes and icy sheets of Everest die alone.

Again I quote from the book. BB. There is a Solution, p.17

“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.”

Using my story of a man climbing Mt. Everest we might read it this way.

“But the experience mountain climber who has successfully reached the peak of Everest and who is properly armed with the knowledge and experience of successfully climbing to the top, can win the entire and complete confidence
of those seeking to do the same within just a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.”

It is my personal belief that in today’s world as it is, with the overwhelming opiate epidemic striking down without mercy, our friends, sons and daughters, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, addiction and alcoholism is a much more dangerous endeavor as it is to climb this earth’s highest peak.

If we are to survive it we must find a pathfinder, a guide or as my friend calls it, a sober Sherpa. Someone who has climbed out from the terror and horror of addiction. This country greatest threat. We much reach out and give our confidence to those who are free from the grip.

This is the attitude I had with my sponsor as he guided me in the process of the 4th step and stood by my side as we cleared the path to freedom with the 5th step. It all started with my contact and commitment to make the journey as he had taken before me. As soon as we rose from my 3rd step petition he reached into his briefcase and produced a simple notebook and a black pen.

He stated with a firm voice – “OK Chris, this is it, are you ready?”

In my next session I this ongoing series of stories I shall share what it was that my Sober Sherpa did next. It saved me from dying alone.

Thanks again for your time today, always in your service, Chris Freeman.


If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction and are seeking treatment, we would love to talk with you and see how we can help you. PLEASE CALL (855) 430-9426. Our counselors are available to guide you through the process.

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