Now, this an extreme example of what I think of when I hear the phrase "going to any length." And I have to admit, it's probably more than I would have been willing to do in order to get sober. I think I would have insisted on seeing some connection between what I was being asked to do and how it would help get me sober. But then, I'm one of those people who was in danger of being too smart to get the program.
Despite what "How It Works" has to say about being willing to go to any length, my experience is that if I put part of the effort into getting and staying sober that I put into getting and staying drunk, then my HP will get and keep me sober. So far, I think I've gone well beyond that. Consequently, I think I enjoy pretty good sobriety. And, lest you wonder, so does my sponsor. LOL. My aim is spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Since I was a teenager—and that was a long time ago—I've been fascinated by the balance between God's grace and human freedom. Grace was pretty much an intellectual concept at the time, and remained so until I came to AA. Today it is very real. Today I believe two things very strongly1. One, that I have to do certain things to remain sober. The Big Book tells us this over and over again. Its promises are contigent upon our maintenance of a solid spiritual foundation. Two, it is completely a matter of God's grace that I am sober today. I am a living example of God's grace and of God's mercy: of his grace in that I got something I didn't deserve, and of his mercy in that I didn't get what I did deserve.
Sometimes I think everything that's really important can be expressed as a paradox. I find them over and over again in the rooms of AA. Neils Bohr said, "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." Put another way, Bohr recognized "two sorts of truth: trivialities, where opposites are obviously absurd, and profound truths, recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth."
Wow, I really have come some ways down off that icy mountain-top of intellectualism.
1Okay, I believe in more than just these two things. But here they are anyway.