THE SHORT FORM OF THE 10th STEP IS, “OOPS!”… I say it a lot! Lol

11 Sep

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AN HONEST PERSON IS ONE WHO TELLS THE TRUTH… EVENTUALLY!

11 Sep

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“Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.” BB pg 65

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING ‘ABLE’ OR ‘CAPABLE’ OF BEING HONEST: In hindsight I learned to be honest by practicing the principles of our program, which meant taking the steps. As a newcomer I was worried that I didn’t have the ‘capacity’ to be honest, then I heard someone shared a 55 gallon barrel has the CAPACITY TO HOLD 50 GALLONS ONLY WHEN IT IS EMPTY! IT MAY BE CAPABLE OF HOLDING 55 GALLONS BUT NOT ABLE TO HOLD THEM IF IT IS FULL – MUCH THE SAME WAY FOR US ALKIES… WE MUST BE RID OF SELF OR IT KILLS US… THIS INCLUDES ALL OF OUR LITTLE PLANS AND DESIGNS AND OLD IDEAS!

As the BB states, “Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts.”

“One day while all alone, I was reading my Big Book, the Chapter on How It Works. I came to the line that says, if they have the capacity to be honest, and something made me stop right there.

Reality struck me square in the face, and I realized then and there, thank God, that I had not been completely honest, and that if I tried again, right from the beginning,
maybe my life would be different.

At long last, I got down on my knees with all the humility and honesty that I could find within myself, and I did the 1st 3 Steps, with God as I understood Him now.

Since that day, my life has taken on a new meaning. I feel that the word honesty is the backbone of A.A. and my life. I have at last been able to do Steps 4 and 5 with complete abandon and honesty, and I can’t fully describe the relief and freedom that I have felt in the last 2 and a 1/2 years.

Since I honesty turned my will and my life over to the care of God and became willing to accept what He had in store for me, 1 day at a time, I have found serenity that I had never dreamed of. I realize now that not being honest was my main problem all those years. I pray to God that there are not too many like me, and I am really sorry for those who are.”~Harry

 

WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE MAKE AMENDS AND THE PERSON DOESN’T ACCEPT IT?

10 Sep

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“It’s water over the dam.” Big Book page 78

If you have asked, “what can I do to make it right?” and was, as the Big Book suggest us to be, very specific about the harm done you’re your sincere desire to make it right whether the person accepts your amends or not it is “It’s water over the dam.” and would be a form of egoic self-pride to think the harm we have done is so bad that even the power of God and AA’s 12 Steps, specifically the amends process could not heal this harm. Some people can be dogmatic and rigid. Remember the Big Book says, perhaps they like ourselves are spiritually sick too.

Two things I always remember when it comes to amends:

“A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fill the bill at all.” (Big Book, pg. 83, in the discussion about Step 9.) Prior to AA most of our lives were a long, pathetic useless litany of “sorry sorry sorry.”

An amends is much bigger than an apology. The amends process is about restitution. It’s about making things right. It’s about changing our behavior so that we don’t repeat the offenses we’re cleaning up. As one old timer used to frequently say, “you know your amends was sincere when YOU STOP the behavior causing the harm… I believe that is the truest depth and meaning of, “It’s water over the dam.”

When I am locked in to focusing on the rejection of others IU must double my resolve to move on no matter whatever the outcome of our amends, it is important not to wallow in self-pity, or to seek to attach blame to the other person. Far better to accept that things happen and if you can’t set them right, at least you did your very best to set them right. Even if you we make amends successfully, it is important to remind ourselves not to bring up the matter again in future, and we have chosen to move on from it.

• We can choose to focus on what’s ahead and don’t keep reliving whatever happened.

• Even if we don’t make up with the other person because they have made a decision that things are completely broken, we can make a decision to never hurt another person in this way again.

• We can use your experience from your mistake to have compassion for others who make the same mistake. Not only do we feel we understand them better now, but it’s possible we’ll have enough experience to help them work through to reach a positive outcome, without condemning them. This is a great example of the Big Books saying on page 124,” Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have — the key to life and happiness for others.”

• Self-forgiveness (which, in my experience, is at the heart of making amends) enables each of us, if we choose, to live in the present rather than the past, so even if things don’t work out, we can choose to be grateful for this gift. For by forgiving others and making amends for the harms we have done, we are healed.

Aside

STEP 10 Line-by…

8 Sep

STEP 10 Line-by-line

 

What the Book says

What I do

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along.

I don’t have to wait till night-time. I can correct what goes wrong as I go through the day. I don’t want to build up material for a review, and I don’t want to build up material for another Step Four, although I will undoubtedly do both.

To do this I will need to learn awareness and learn to respond rapidly when I realise I am off beam.

We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past.

We clean up the past in Step Four, so we start Step Ten when we start Step Four.

We have entered the world of the Spirit.

Whenever I am disturbed, my mind and heart are buried in the world of the material. I must step back, mentally, into the World of the Spirit, where I am safe, where who I am, as a child of God, can never be harmed, where I receive comfort, guidance, and strength from God.

From this place, I can see you too as a child of God, and in my mind communicate with that child of God in you, whatever I may superficially see on the surface.

I can pray to God from this place, but also know I am connected to everyone who has ever touched my life, living and dead.

Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.

This means I need to observe what I am doing, what is working and what isn’t, and ask God to help me achieve what needs to be achieved as simply and effectively as possibly.

This is not an overnight matter.

This means I need to be patient.

It should continue for our lifetime.

But today is the day I must practise.

Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.

These are the three things I must watch for and observe in my mind. Fantasy and nostalgia (fear and resentment in the making) are also useful targets for this observation.

When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.

We do not analyse. Quick! Ask! Now! The quicker you ask and say the Step Seven prayer, or serenity prayer, or other helpful prayer, the quicker you can return to your day. No delay is necessary, and delay can result in the thoughts in question becoming entrenched.

We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone.

I stop the day and contact others if I am seriously disturbed or am confused as to what to do. But only then. Otherwise, my attention should go straight back onto the business of the day.

Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.

And whatever task we are doing, even if we cannot see who can benefit, even in the long run or at a distance from us, we can do for God and others rather than for ourselves.

Love and tolerance of others is our code.

This means I must look at others as children of God, and recognise that ‘faults’ are only what I am observing and any genuine ‘wrong’ on their part comes from darkness and ignorance not malice.

If I do not want to feel attacked, I must stop attacking.

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone—even alcohol.

I must put down my weapons and defences and await instructions from God.

I must fight no one. But I can stand firm at times, and stand strongly for something.

If I am disturbed, I should ideally not speak but wait till I am at peace and then let God speak through me.

For by this time sanity will have returned.

When I am angry I am conflicted—I am not one with God or you. Sanity is wholeness. I need wholeness to return before I can act well or kindly.

We will seldom be interested in liquor.

But we sometimes will!

If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.

If I do not recoil but find myself bewitched, I should discuss this with others immediately …

We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically.

… for there may be something wrong with my spiritual status.

We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation.

Change happens to me; it does not come from me. I create the conditions (that is the thought and effort required by the Steps) in which change takes place, but the change itself requires no thought or effort.

We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected.

We can also actively imagine this: envision God looking after you, safe and protected, with nothing able to harm you.

As Emmet Fox says:

“We know that God is spirit, but what does that mean? Spirit is that which cannot be destroyed or damaged. It is the opposite of matter. Matter wears out, but Spirit does not because Spirit is substance. You are spirit. Spirit cannot die and was never born. Your true self was never born and will never die. You are eternal, divine, un-changing spirit, in your true nature. The whole universe is a spiritual creation. Reality is an independent spiritual world, unconditioned by the apparent world of sense—and this is substance.”

We have not even sworn off.

As Emmet Fox says:

“When you fight a thing you antagonise it and it hits back. The harder you fight it, the harder it hits.

What you neglect, or, still better, ignore, begins to fade away or die by starvation.

When you give your attention to anything, you are building that thing into your consciousness, for good or evil.

When you are faced with some negative condition in your own life, the scientific way to handle it is to withdraw your attention from it by building the opposite into your subconscious, and when you have done this the undesirable thing falls away like an overripe fruit.”

Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid.

Not by us—through us, for us.

That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

This means that my primary purpose is not to stay away from alcohol but to tend to my spiritual condition by living in all three sides of the triangle and practising steps Ten through Twelve on a daily basis.

It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels.

If we are acting based on emotion or reward, as soon as we do not feel like doing something, as soon as we lose hope in the reward, or as soon as we receive the reward, we will stop acting well.

We need a new basis for living: aiming for enthusiastically doing God’s will, but falling back to cheerful, unquestioning obedience to the simple spiritual principles of love and service when we get the rewards, when we lose hope, or when the enthusiasm wanes or disappears.

We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

The nature of spiritual backsliding is that it covers its own tracks—we do not realise how far off beam we are until, in some cases, it is too late. That is why the spiritual programme of action must be committed to as a daily programme, with a periodic run through the first nine steps, to ensure that backsliding does not take place.

Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.

The key word here is “all”. It matters less what we do with our lives and more how we do it, whether we are bringing love and service into all of our activities.

“How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly.

This is a pair of prayers that can be used throughout the day.

We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish.

We are not victims. If our thinking is off-beam, we must sometimes exercise a lot of willpower to bring our attention back to the business at hand to avoid getting lost in the substance-less miasma self.

It is the proper use of the will.

Again, the problem is not lack of will but the direction of it: our job is to direct our will at being present and helping others.

Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power.

This can be turned into a prayer—conceive first of the Higher Power having all knowledge and power (it helps to know whom you are talking to), then ask for strength, inspiration, and direction. These are the only commodities we really need, and, if we seek these, everything else we need will come to us automatically.

If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us.

Alcoholics are rebellious. Much like children. We must make a decision that we wish to outgrow this handicap. If we do, the dividends are endless. There is no value in self-aggrandising independence from God’s will.

To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense.

We may not realise we have become God-conscious—typically, if we are sensing strength, inspiration, and direction that was not ours a moment, a minute, an hour, a day, a month, or a year ago, we have become conscious of God. We cannot see God directly, but we can become aware of the presence of God, just as we cannot see wind, but we can see its presence manifest in the fluttering of leaves.

But we must go further and that means more action.

On to Step Eleven!

 

LETTING GO: HOW DO I KNOW IF I’VE REALLY LET SOMETHING GO?

8 Sep

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It’s very simple: if I haven’t got ’em! Now, that beats ya, doesn’t it? If I’ve got ’em, I didn’t give ’em away.

‎”We talked a little about writing down our inventory and sharing it and then giving it away. Giving it away. We ‘were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings’. And that I believe to be the only way that we can get rid of them. The only way we can get rid of them. How do I know if I’ve given them away? It’s very simple: if I haven’t got ’em! Now, that beats ya, doesn’t it? If I’ve got ’em, I didn’t give ’em away. So I’ve got to keep working on that particular act until it’s done, because when I give them away, I haven’t got them. They stay away for a while, and then they come back, because ego comes back, and that’s the reason for continuous surrender.” (Chuck Chamberlain, ‘A New Pair Of Glasses’)

Letting go of old ideas
“But the program of action, though entirely sensible, was pretty drastic. It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of the window.” (‘Alcoholics Anonymous’, 42:2)

 

“No matter how much one wishes to try, exactly how can he turn his own will and his own life over to the care of whatever God he thinks there is? … Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? Already a willingness has been achieved to cast out one’s own will and one’s own ideas about the alco¬hol problem in favor of those suggested by A.A. … But the moment our mental or emotional independence is in question, how differently we behave. How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act. Oh yes, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of every problem. We’ll listen politely to those who would advise us, but all the decisions are to be ours alone. Nobody is going to meddle with our personal independence in such matters. Besides, we think, there is no one we can surely trust. We are certain that our intelli¬gence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet the acid test: how well does it actually work? One good look in the mir¬ror ought to be answer enough for any alcoholic.” (‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions’, Step Three)

 

“Change your mind—and keep it changed
If some condition in your life is not to your liking, change your mind about it—and keep it changed. If someone is displeasing to you, change your mind about him—and keep it changed. If there is some sad memory that haunts you, change your mind about it—and keep it changed.

Most students of metaphysics are ready to change their minds about a problem, especially when they have just been to a lecture or talked with a teacher, but they do not keep them changed.

This is the crux of the matter. If you will change your mind concerning anything and absolutely keep it changed, that thing must and will change too. It is the keeping up of the change in thought that is difficult. It calls for vigilance and determination. But surely it is worthwhile, seeing that it is the key to Dominion.

Make an experiment now. Change your mind concerning some particular thing in your life and keep it changed, and I guarantee that you will be amazed and delighted at the result.” (Emmet Fox)

 

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (St Luke 15:33)

 

“As we [meditate] (particularly as we label our thoughts), we begin to recognise that we’re almost never just living our life as it is. Our lives are lost in our self-centered thoughts, the superstructure. (We are presuming that we want to see through this superstructure. Some people simply don’t). … Liberation is to see through this unreal superstructure that we’ve built. Without it, life just goes along as it goes along with no obstacle.” (Joko Beck)

 

“Am I my thoughts, the thoughts that I am thinking? No. Thoughts come and go; I am not my thoughts .” (Anthony De Mello)

“God had restored his sanity.” Big Book page 57

6 Sep

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INSANITY of ALCOHOLISM is the alcoholic’s persistent return to alcohol in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is destroying his or her life, over and over again. We have let this “disease” crap creep into the literature as much or more than the God-stuff.   The ‘disease concept” and the “disease model” are not in my 3rd edition book.  But since we now print pamphlets for every  sub-group known to man, we – the AA’s on these committees – have gotten sloppy.  Alcoholism is an illness – or as the big book says “the main problem of the alcoholic is in the mind, rather than in the body”.  This says to me, Mental Illness.  You can’t catch it at the water fountain!

There are some in our fellowship of AA who have serious mental problems, but most of us joke about how “insane” or “crazy” or “goofy” we are or have been, when what we really are talking about is our emotional immaturity, our impulsiveness, our lack of self-discipline – our character defects if you will. Most of us would have a hard time describing many of our thoughts and actions as being insane. In fact, in some areas of life, we may exhibit a high degree of sanity.

However, there is something about the way we perceive the world around us that has always caused us a great deal of discomfort in simply living our lives.

Our general discomfort with living has much to do with the way we perceive the effects of alcohol. Our falling short of what is called “well adjusted” is definitely a part of our makeup as an alcoholic. However, that alone does not separate us much from the general population. It is our physical as well as our mental response to alcohol that is INSANE, and that is what separates the alcoholic from the non-alcoholic.

There are two problems alcoholics have with alcohol: “(1) the obsession of the mind, and (2) the compulsion of the body, an incomprehensible craving. Somewhere along the line, early or late, we develop an obsession with the idea that alcohol eases our minds and solves our problems. Then, our physical response to alcohol manifests in what the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous calls an allergy. Our alcoholic bodies process the alcohol in a manner which causes us to crave more. The alcoholic insanity of our minds tells us that it is a good idea to drink to relieve our stresses and to have fun. Once we start, our alcoholic bodies tell us we must drink more to satisfy the craving.

As every alcoholic should know, that is where the well known cycle begins, and continues over and over again, leading to death, incarceration, or “wet brain” insanity. What Dr. Silkworth called the “phenomenon of craving,” manifesting as an “allergy,” is so overpowering that all else comes in second to our primary concern of getting the next drink, even life itself takes second place.

That, my friends, is the “INSANITY OF ALCOHOLISM.” It is only relieved and arrested by total abstinence, and as we have found, by the thorough application of the 12 Steps of AA in our lives, in all our affairs. to achieve a psychic change, a “spiritual awakening,” leading to growth and maturity, and a firm grasp of the reality of life and the world about us.

As a young man (with tears in his eyes) in his first AA meeting said:

…”I’m here because I just want to live … that’s it … I just want to live”…

It is as Simple as that!

MAKING AMENDS: THE WORLD IS FULL OF SICK PEOPLE… JUST LIKE ME!

6 Sep

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The Big Book tells us, ‘the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We wouldn’t be mean or critical or treat sick people that way.’

Usually, after I read the following I am eager to make amends to them;

“We were prepared to look for it from an entirely different angle. We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us. In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill. How could we escape? We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish the m away any more than alcohol.

This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”

We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.”