A paradox is “a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.”

The 4 Paradoxes of AA

“1. We SURRENDER TO WIN.
On the face of it, surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. We have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we find despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.

2. We GIVE AWAY TO KEEP.
In order to keep whatever it is we get in A.A., we must give it away to others, for no fees or rewards of any kind. When we cannot afford to give away what we have received so freely in A.A., we had better get ready for our next “drunk.” It happens every time. We’ve got to continue to give it away in order to keep it.

3. We SUFFER TO GET WELL.
There is no way to escape the terrible suffering of remorse and regret and shame and embarrassment which starts us on the road to getting well from our affliction. There is no new way to shake out a hangover. It’s painful. And for us, necessarily so. We suffer to get well.

4. We DIE TO LIVE.
That is a beautiful paradox straight out of the Biblical idea of being “born again” or “losing one’s life to find it”. When we work at our Twelve Steps, the old life of guzzling and fuzzy thinking, and all that goes with it, gradually dies, and we acquire a different and a better way of life. As our shortcomings are removed, one part of us dies, and another part of us lives. We in A.A. die to live.”

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