Gina F. has been weighing in with some very heavy AA concepts and an in depth analysis of the morning meditation ritual she participates in with others in recovery. In this entry she finishes discussing pages 60-63.
Read Gina’s Previous Entry: The Roots of Discontent
We have been learning that it our own alcoholic thinking may be the cause of our own demise – not the world around us.
The book points out that “our troubles we think are basically of our own making, they arise out of ourselves and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self will run riot though we usually don’t think so.”
What is that trying to tell us?
Over and over again we alcoholics put ourselves in situations (through our own decision making process) that lead to unhappiness (ours and the people around us). This comes as a result of running on self will that is driven by our own selfish motives.
So how do we get rid of this selfishness?
The book says “God makes that possible and there is often no way of entirely getting rid of it without his aid.”
At this point, God comes in and this is where people start to balk. They claim to know God, they have been good church going members, they prayed but it hasn’t worked for them so far. (Or is it that they haven’t WORKED for it so far?) God doesn’t move parked cars, we need to get in and turn the key.
If you remember the ABC’s [see article about morning meditation] , (c) said “God could and wouldIF he were SOUGHT“.
That means we need to take action. The book continues to tell us the first thing we need to do is “quit playing God. It didn’t work.”
Two things I heard from my sponsor at this point that helped me in my recovery:
- There is a God and your not it!
- The difference between me and God is he doesn’t go around pretending to be me all day nor does he want to!
So we need to completely “let go and let God” as the saying goes. He is the Director, he is the principal, he is the Father, in other words, he is in charge – not us.
Passing Through the Gateway to Recovery
Continuing on, the book states that “most good ideas are simple and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we pass to freedom.”
What? How many time have we read that and just kept going? Keystone? Arch? What a concept?
Ok, I get “most good idea are simple” So keep it simple. But what concept are they talking about? Well, if God is going to be our Director, our Principal and our Farther, those are all role of leadership and guidance. So the concept they must be talking about is the 3rd step: Made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understood him. This the book states that this is the keystone. What’s a keystone you say?
1. Central stone in arch: the wedge-shaped stone at the highest point of an arch that locks the others in place
2. Supporting element: something on which other interrelated things depend
Wow, that makes it sound pretty important. So, if we don’t have the keystone in place by making “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God” we can’t build an arch to pass through to freedom. Without the keystone the arch will not stay up.
It sounds like you can enter treatment, get a sponsor, go to meetings, and “do all the right things” but if you don’t surrender to the program of AA then your arch may crumbles and you will relapse. In this case, you didn’t do the “inside work” and so you are still relying on yourself and not God.
Freedom from Self
What is this freedom the book is talking about? Freedom from what? Freedom from self.
Freedom from that miserable condition of always thinking about ourselves.
Freedom from living by the credo”what’s in it for me?” starting to think about others. The book continues to say that if we sincerely and truly take such a position we have a new employer. Our new employer=God and he is all-powerful and he provides for us what we truly need, not what we think we need. How do we know what is God’s work that we are to be doing? It’s outlined in the first 164 page of the Big Book – working with other alcoholics and being of service is two of the big ones.
The book says that if we start down this path of thinking what we can do for others we will become less interested in ourselves and we will see what we can contribute instead. By contributing to others and not constantly taking from them our own lives will begin to change. The meditation claims that we will become more connected with our higher power. We will begin to lose fear of living and we will be reborn. If we will be reborn, then that means that some part of us had died. Part of is was broken, either spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
This bring us to the 3rd step prayer. Saying this each morning to a God of our own understanding.
God I offer myself to three, to build with me and do with and to do with me as Thou wilt.
So we start by saying that we are freely giving ourselves over to God that he can do whatever he wants with us.
Relieve me from the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Help me to quit thinking about myself so much so I can focus on what you want me to do.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy way of life, May I do Thy will always!
Let other see that I solved my problems or walked through my problems with your help, that through you all things are possible. May I always live according to your plans.