"If you become a necessity to a soul, you are out of God's order. As a worker, your great responsibility is to be a friend of the Bridegroom. When once you see a soul in sight of the claims of God, you know that your influence has been in the right direction, and instead of putting out a hand to prevent the throes, pray that they grow ten times stronger until there is no power on earth or in hell that can hold that soul away from God. Over and over again, we become amateur providences, we come in and prevent God; and say – 'This and that must not be.' Instead of proving friends of the Bridegroom, we put our sympathy in the way, and the soul will one day say – 'That one was a thief, he stole my affections from God, and I lost my vision of Him.' "
What terrible resonance this has within AA! With regard to working with others:
"Be certain he … is not trying to impose upon you for money, connections, or shelter. Permit that and you only harm him. You will be making it possible for him to be insincere. You may be aiding in his destruction rather than his recovery." (P. 96:3, 'Alcoholics Anonymous')
"Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God." (P. 99:3)
I have believed, in the past, that my job is to fix the people I work with—to put out fires and to staunch the bleeding.
In doing so, I may be preventing the person from reaching a rock bottom—the realisation that a life run on self-will can hardly be a success. Every time I run in and pick up the emotional pieces, I am effectively encouraging that person to continue along the same path in the sure knowledge that there will be someone running after them with a dustpan and brush, a roll of sticking plaster, or a fire extinguisher.
This not to say that comfort is not given.
I can tell someone, that, if they keep close to God and perform His work well, he will provide all that they need, because He is all powerful. (Cf. p. 63:1)
To me, this is REAL comfort.
But it comes on terms. This promise comes after the condition is met: "When we sincerely took such a position …" The position: God as Director, us as actors, God as the Principal, us as the agents, God as the Father, us as the children, God as the Employer, us as the employee. I add, although it's not in the Book, God as the Potter, us as the clay (a great image from the Hebrew scriptures).
This is the price: the destruction of self-centeredness. To be willing to pay the price, we must be convinced that self-centeredness is a three-legged horse in the Derby of life.
And that conviction, in my case, came through defeat at the hands of my own thinking and actions.
Thank God no one tried to fix me when I was drinking! I was left to my own rock bottom. And, BOOM, I find myself in AA at 21.
So: "and instead of putting out a hand to prevent the throes, pray that they grow ten times stronger until there is no power on earth or in hell that can hold that soul away from God."
Disturb your prospect about the question of alcoholism—drunk or sober. "This is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. He will be more likely to follow your suggestions." (P. 94:1)
So, I do not prevent the 'throes', but, when a prospect, racked with the torture of untreated alcoholism, finally admits defeat, I need to be on hand with a cup of tea, the Book, and the line, "have a biscuit, dear. Now, let's talk about God."