Tuesday, 27 July 2010

SUMMARY OF PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS: Psalm 69 Golden-Keying®

1 NAME OF THE MEDICINAL PRODUCT

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying®

2 QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE COMPOSITION

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® contains extract of Psalm 69, solution for oral use.

Each dosage contains 428 words, although the scorelines (between verses) can be used to divide the product into smaller dosages, which can be equally effective.

For a full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3 PHARMACEUTICAL FORM

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® is black, typically printed on white to off-white paper.

4 CLINICAL PARTICULARS

4.1 Therapeutic indications

Prophylaxis of calamity caused by self-reliance and the annihilation of all things worthwhile in life.

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® is also indicated for symptomatic treatment of panic, indecision, worry, fretting, interference, and running in ever-decreasing circles.

4.2 Posology and method of administration

Posology

Adults and children aged >14: take once an hour until symptoms abate.

Method of administration

Close off all methods of external communication. Adopt kneeling position. Read out Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® like you mean it, investing it with your heart and soul [see 6.1 for extract of Psalm 69]. Do not, during oral administration, consider the problem in respect of which you are taking Psalm 69 Golden-Keying®—concentrate solely on the invocation of God's power.

After the dose has been taken, rest for a couple of moments, knowing that It Has Been Accomplished and return to maximum helpfulness to others or maximum service to God and the people around you, as instructed by your Treating Physician. Do not return, mentally, to the problem.

4.3 Contraindications

There are no known contraindications. Clinical studies have shown compatibility with all spiritual practices and beliefs. Hypersensitivity to the word 'God' may produce mild irritation, but there are no known cases of anaphylactic shock or other systemic conditions. For hypersensitive patients or those suffering from unreasoning prejudice or bristling with antagonism, formulations are available in which 'Spirit of the Universe'® (and other generic active ingredients) are substituted for 'God'. Clinical studies have shown equivalence of action and efficacy and greatly increased tolerability in such patients.

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® is toxic to unborn Little Plans and Designs. In such cases, parental health is not, however, adversely affected.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® interacts well with fellowship, service, and Steps Three, Seven, Ten, Eleven, and Twelve.

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® interacts poorly with self-absorption, self-obsession, self-analysis, self-reliance, remorse, and morbid reflection. Even low dosages have been shown in randomised clinical studies to neutralise completely the effect of these and other preparations in the same drug class.

4.6 Pregnancy and lactation

See 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® is unlikely to produce any but a positive effect on the ability to drive and use machines.

4.8 Side effects

Within each frequency grouping, side effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.

Very common (1/10), Common (1/100, <1/10); Uncommon (1/1,000, <1/100); Rare (1/10,000, <1/1,000); Very rare (<1/10,000), including isolated reports.

Very common: shock (at speed of efficacy), release from care, boredom, and worry. Spectacular positive changes in spiritual condition and, consequently, external circumstances.

Common: immediate consciousness of the Presence of God.

Uncommon: boredom, fatigue, nausea.

Rare: exacerbation of existing problems or difficulties.

Very rare: complete failure to make satisfactory progress.

4.9 Overdose

There are no known cases of overdose, although efficacy appears to be reduced if intervals are not introduced between doses, in order to allow God to perform His work without interference.

5 PHARMACOLOGICAL PROPERTIES

5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Psalm 69 Golden-Keying® immediately detaches the conscious mind from the problem it is seeking to address by willpower and reminds the patient that God is running the show and, like the captain at the bridge, has everything in hand, not even needing to be checked up on by the passengers of the great liner.

6 PHARMACEUTICAL PARTICULARS

6.1 List of excipients

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.
. . .
But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
. . .
But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.
Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.
For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.
6.2 Incompatibilities


Compatibility studies have shown this medicinal product may be mixed with numerous other preparations for oral use. Consult your sponsor.

6.3 Shelf life

Unlimited.

6.4 Special precautions for storage

Store on your person at all times. Keep out of the reach of no one.

7 MARKETING AUTHORISATION HOLDER

God.

The Kingdom of Heaven.

8 MARKETING AUTHORISATION NUMBER(S)

69:1–5, 69:13–21; 69:29–36.

9 DATE OF FIRST AUTHORISATION/RENEWAL OF THE AUTHORISATION

First authorisation: 1000–500 BC. Renewed in the early 20th Century by Emmet Fox.

10 DATE OF REVISION OF THE TEXT

27 July 2010.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Chapter Two: There Is A Solution (Considerations)

Before consideration, ask God to direct your thinking and divorce your thinking from self-pity, dishonest, or self-seeking motives (cf. 87:2) and to free your mind from old ideas (58:3) and lifelong conceptions (42:3).

Start with a blank mind and build up truth from scratch.

The basic method here is to use the Book up to 63 as a set of mirrors to reflect who you really are. We turn statements into questions and consider the questions.

Considerations

An illness of this sort—and we have come to believe it an illness—involves those around us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents any one can increase the list. (18:1)

What worthwhile things did alcohol annihilate (= reduce to nothing)?

What calamities did it bring?

Does this annihilation/do these calamities constitute good reason/sufficiently strong reason for stopping or moderating?

Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone. (20:5)

Has your good reason (see answers to the above) enabled to give up liquor entirely?

If not, you are not a moderate drinker.

Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason—ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor—becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention. (20:6)

Has your sufficiently strong reason enabled you to stop or moderate (= drink no more than 2–3 units a day on a consistent and permanent basis)?

If not, you are not a certain type of hard drinker.

But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink. (21:1)

Have you begun to lose all control of your liquor consumption once you start to drink?

How many years ago was that?

This is how long you have been a real alcoholic.

Now, 21:2–22:0—the Twelve Features of the real alcoholic:

(1) Here is the fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control.

Do you puzzle yourself in general?

Do you puzzle yourself especially in your lack of control over the first drink/over the subsequent drinks?

(2) He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking.

Is this you?

(3) He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Is this you? Are you a different person drunk and sober? Have you started to find the 'Mr Hyde' character (the drunk character) bleeding into your sober character?

(4) He is seldom mildly intoxicated. He is always more or less insanely drunk.

Is this you? When you start drinking, do you shoot way past 'merry' into drunkenness even after just a drink or two? Can people tell you've been drinking because of a change in the way you look or sound, even after one drink?

(5) His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly, and even dangerously anti-social.

Is this you?

(6) He has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong moment, particularly when some important decision must be made or engagement kept.

Is this you?

(7) He is often perfectly sensible and well balanced concerning everything except liquor, but in that respect he is incredibly dishonest and selfish.

Is this you?

(8) He often possesses special abilities, skills, and aptitudes, and has a promising career ahead of him. He uses his gifts to build up a bright outlook for his family and himself, and then pulls the structure down on his head by a senseless series of sprees.

Is this you?

(9) He is the fellow who goes to bed so intoxicated he ought to sleep the clock around. Yet early next morning he searches madly for the bottle he misplaced the night before.

Do you carry on even when your body is crying out for you to stop?

(10) If he can afford it, he may have liquor concealed all over his house to be certain no one gets his entire supply away from him to throw down the wastepipe.

What did you do to ensure your supply?

(11) As matters grow worse, he begins to use a combination of high powered sedative and liquor to quiet his nerves so he can go to work. Then comes the day when he simply cannot make it and gets drunk all over again.

What did you do to moderate or keep the consequences under control? Did every attempt ultimately fail?

(12) Perhaps he goes to a doctor who gives him morphine or some sedative with which to taper off. Then he begins to appear at hospitals and sanitariums.

Have you ever been detoxed? Have you ever been to hospital or a treatment centre because of your drinking?

NB if you identify with any of these twelve on any level, you are probably a real alcoholic. Non-alcoholics identify with none of these.

We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this. (22:4)

Does your experience abundantly confirm that, whenever you take any alcohol whatever into your system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for you to stop?

These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centres in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis. Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really make sense in light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself with a hammer so that he can't feel the ache. If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become irritated and refuse to talk. (23:1)

Many alcoholics drink to relieve emotional pain. However, their drinking worsened the pain. The insane alcoholic perspective is this: the small and unreliable relief I need now is worth terrible consequences I will have to face tomorrow.

Make a list of feelings you drank to escape (e.g. loneliness, depression, anxiety). Did drinking, over the course of your drinking career, overall, decrease or increase e.g. your loneliness, depression, anxiety?

Does drinking—in the light of this—really make sense?

Once in a while he may tell the truth. And the truth, strange to say, is usually that he has no more idea why he took that first drink than you have. Some drinkers have excuses with which they are satisfied part of the time. But in their hearts they really do not know why they do it. Once this malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot. There is the obsession that somehow, someday, they will beat the game. But they often suspect they are down for the count. (23:2)

Take every excuse you have used for taking the first drink, e.g. loneliness, depression, or anxiety. Did you also take the first drink when you were not lonely, depressed, or anxious? Are these 'excuses' really satisfactory?

The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic, the happy day may not arrive. He has lost control. At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is absolutely of no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected. (23:4)

Do you realise that, if you are a real alcoholic, the fact that you have a powerful desire to stop drinking will not keep you sober? Does your experience reflect this?

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defence against the first drink. (24:1)

Do you realise that, if you are a real alcoholic, your will power will become practically (= almost/for practical purposes) nonexistent? Does your experience reflect this?

At certain times, we can think through the consequences, and this will keep us sober. Is this your experience?

At certain times, we cannot, and we drink. Is this your experience?

Can you tell when those certain times will be or what they will look like (good day, bad day, up, down, lonely, in company, successful, failing, loved, unloved)? Even if you think you can predict the circumstances in which you are defenceless against the first drink, can you guarantee those circumstances will never arise?

The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defence that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove. (24:2)

Think back to the moments, minutes, hours, or days before past relapses.

Have you experienced the peculiar mental twist that distorts reality and makes drinking seem safe?

Is this true for you: 'to drink is to die'? Have you experienced the failure of the defence—against the first drink—that pulls you back from stepping in front of oncoming traffic?

The alcoholic may say to himself in the most casual way, "It won't burn me this time, so here's how!" Or perhaps he doesn't think at all. How often have some of us begun to drink in this nonchalant way, and after the third or fourth, pounded on the bar and said to ourselves, "For God's sake, how did I ever get started again?" Only to have that thought supplanted by "Well, I'll stop with the sixth drink." Or "What's the use anyway?" (24:3)

Have you experienced the strange mental blank spot of nothing coming to mind to deter you—drinking without even a fight?

If the above applies to you, the following also applies to you:

When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane. These stark and ugly facts have been confirmed by legions of alcoholics throughout history. But for the grace of God, there would have been thousands more convincing demonstrations. So many want to stop but cannot. (24:3)

If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return from human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort. (25:3)

Are you as seriously alcoholic as we were?

Has the middle-of-the-road solution in AA ("don't drink and go to meetings and take your time to work the Steps") failed for you?

Is life becoming impossible?

Have you passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid?

Do you really only have two alternatives: oblivion or spiritual help?

Do you believe you have other alternatives, e.g. sorting your external life out, getting a better job, sorting your relationships out, therapy, yoga, learning to love yourself, going to regular AA meetings, reading inspirational books?

Do you honestly want spiritual help?

Are you willing to make the effort?

Read Rowland Hazard's story on 26:1–28:1.

Psychotherapy plus religion failed for this alcoholic, in the opinion of Dr Carl Jung. Have either of these failed for you, separately or in combination?

What works is this, in the opinion of Dr Carl Jung:

Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me, these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them. (27:4)

Can you bring this about in yourself?

Will mere attendance at AA meetings bring this about?

Are you powerless to bring about the psychic change necessary to recover from alcoholism?

Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women, desperately in need, will see these pages, and we believe that it is only by fully disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing." (29:3)

Are you one of us?

Must you have this thing?

Friday, 2 July 2010

All steak and no sizzle: when Step Twelve goes wrong

When, after many years in AA, I was finally introduced to the AA programme set out in the Big Book by people who had been applying the programme for decades, my life was revolutionised and I was set on a path allowing apparently limitless spiritual expansion. "Happy, joyous, and free" (133:0, 'Alcoholics Anonymous') was no longer an empty platitude but the most accurate way of describing the new state into which I had been brought by a God in whom, just weeks earlier, I had not believed as anything more than an abstract cipher.

However, I developed a fresh new resentment—as my past was cleared, a fresh illusion rushed in. It was exhilarating. All of a sudden, I had a target for my frustration at my years of unhappiness in AA (despite a lot of footwork and willingness on my part). I was then thrilled to discover that this fresh new resentment was socially acceptable amongst many people working out of the Big Book. The target of the resentment—'middle of the road AA'. The unspoken definition of 'middle of the road AA'—anyone but 'us'; the definition of 'us'—the people of the Book: the light, the truth, the way.

This resentment was a dubious path (49:2) born of vanity (49:1).

The vanity lay in the belief that I could take credit for the gifts of insight and grace (= the power to choose God over self) and therefore blame those without the gifts of insight and grace. The truth: if what I had received—a growing understanding of the programme and the power to start implementing it at depth—was a gift, how could I blame anyone else for not having received it?

Even worse than this was the vanity that any insight given to me was the only insight worth having and any insight given to you was worthless—the vanity of believing that I was privy to the only path up the mountain to God.

This particular form of spiritual pride and the requisite tolerance as an antidote thereto is perhaps best illustrated as follows:

"I am reminded in this connection of the picture of a hub with its radiating spokes. We all start at the outer circumference and approach our destination by one of many routes. To say that one spoke is much better than all the other spokes is true only in the sense of its being best suited to you as an individual. Human nature is such that without some degree of tolerance, each one of us might be inclined to believe that we have found the best or perhaps the shortest spoke. Without some tolerance we might tend to become a bit smug or superior—which of course is not helpful to the person we are trying to help, and may be quite painful or obnoxious to others. No one of us wishes to do anything which might act as a deterrent to the advancement of another—and a patronizing attitude can readily slow up this process. Tolerance furnishes, as a by-product, a greater freedom from the tendency to cling to preconceived ideas and stubbornly adhered-to opinions. In other words it often promotes an open-mindedness which is vastly important—in fact a prerequisite to the successful termination of any line of search, whether it be scientific or spiritual. These, then, are a few of the reasons why an attempt to acquire tolerance should be made by each one of us." (Dr Bob, 1944)

This resentment was also a dubious luxury (66:2). The luxury element lay in the cushioned smugness of being 'right'. What overshadowed the momentary luxury, however, was the price: "[A] life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness." (66:1)

Unhappiness: certainly true; the grumbling, sniping, and fulminating left me separated and sour.

But futility? Surely it is my job to bring as many people as possible to the 'truth' of how most effectively to apply the AA programme in order to recover from alcoholism?

A man said to me in a recent Step Five, "how many people have you condemned to death because they disagree with you?" This hit home hard. I am still alive today because people who had recovered from alcoholism approached me with the solution, not with sniping, not with condemnation, not with finger-wagging, not with self-righteous criticism of how I was operating in AA, but with love and tolerance as the spoonfuls of sugar enabling the truth to be swallowed.

The way I was operating in AA—believing I was the shield and buckler of 'Big Book truth'—was grossly handicapping my effectiveness.

My faults:

• I was not attuned to the welfare of others (161:2).

• I was not putting myself in the place of those I wanted to help, to see how I would like to be approached if the tables were turned (90:1).

• I was criticising rather than cooperating (89:3).

• I was imbued with a spirit of intolerance which was repellent to "alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity" (103:1).

• I was of little use, as my attitude was one of bitterness or hostility—and (ex-)drinkers were not standing for it (103:2).

• I had certainly not stopped fighting anybody or anything (103:3)—I was on the warpath against certain people, certain institutions (particular AA meetings), and many, many principles (AA slogans and advice).

• I was not letting people see that I wanted to be helpful rather than critical (111:4).

• I was not following the first principle of success—that I should never be angry (111:1).

• I was neither patient nor of good temper (111:1).

• I was exhibiting a passion for crusade and reform—I was talking down to people from a moral and spiritual hilltop (95:1).

• I was promoting, not attracting (Tradition Eleven).

In fact, the list of principles set out in the first 164 pages that I was actively flouting is pretty endless. To sum up: love and tolerance (84:2) of anyone in AA not believing or acting precisely as I did was not my code.

So, what does work?

My defects of character have certainly not been eliminated in their entirety, let me hasten to add. I fall short and fall flat on my face on a regular basis. But I have indeed learned a little bit more about what is effective in carrying the message.

I largely try and stick to this (58:1):

• What I (not 'it') was like.

• What happened to me (93:0)—how I was brought into a way of living infinitely more satisfying and useful than the life I had been living before (43:0). Me—as the passive recipient of insight and grace. Even my willingness (which forms the basis for action) is a gift for which I can take no genuine credit.

• What I am like now—not what I believe, what I think, what I judge to be right and wrong, etc. The more I conceal the joy in my life under a carapace of smug superiority and contempt, the less true to the gift I am.


If what I am like is not attractive, what I have to offer will be of no interest, period. It does not matter, then, what is true or not true—no one is being helped, least of all me, because I have cut myself off from the one Power that keeps me sober by cutting myself off from you.

To sum up, all I have to do is follow the instructions on p. 51:0.

"Once confused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, they show the underlying reasons why they were making heavy going of life. Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory. They show how the change came over them. When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith."

There is no place in this for criticism, intolerance, or condemnation.

(My) resentment is the number one killer. Not just of me, but of those I would help of God's Power, Love, and Way of Life (63:2).

"The slightest sign of fear or intolerance may lessen your husband's chance of recovery." (120:2)

Fear—of what would have become of me had the message not been carried to me—and intolerance—of anyone or anything or any principle in the fellowship of AA as a whole must be extirpated—cut out at its root—if I am to be of maximum service to God and the people around me (77:0).

In rereading this, I realise how much further I have to go towards this ideal. I thank God, therefore, that all that is required, if we make mistakes, is that we have the honest desire to let God take us to better things (70:1).

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The physics of love

"All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence" (49:0, Alcoholics Anonymous)


"Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power." (85:2)

If God is the source of all knowledge and power (= truth and love), my only problem is accessing that knowledge and power.

Most difficulty in my life has flowed from muddling the source, the channel, and the product. All goodness that has come to me—knowledge and power, truth and love—does indeed come from God, but I get attached to and fall for the channel (often an individual or situation temporarily granted 'channel status' in my life). I think I am infatuated with or dependent on the channel, when, in fact, my yearning relates chiefly to the product. Like a dog, I will wag my tail at anyone who will throw me a bone. Then, for whatever reason, that channel dries up, the individual or situation ceases to be a channel—for me—of knowledge and power, truth and love, and I blame the channel. This is like blaming the light switch for a power failure further up the line.

The truth is this: if God truly is big, strong, clever, resourceful, creative, and caring, I have to trust that God's Scoobie Snacks are indeed still available—I just need to look elsewhere for the channel and become ready to receive.

When I was newer in the programme, I was largely a recipient of knowledge and power, truth and love, indirectly through other people, rather than directly from God.

Pretty soon, however, the relationship with the power, the channel, and the source, had to start changing.

Today, the model is this:

God is an infinite reservoir of knowledge and power, truth and love.

I am (we are) the channel(s) between God-As-Source (the realm of the spirit) and the realm of the material (God-As-Manifestation). Like pipes connecting the reservoir with the world, knowledge and power, truth and love flow through us.

"trust in God and clean house" (98:2)

I came to AA like a clogged pipe. I was blocked with resentment, fear, and guilt & shame at past conduct. I tried turning on the outlet tap at the bottom of the pipe to let this out but could not, on my own power, release this poison. The first order of the day is to trust in God—opening the inlet tap at the top of the pipe to connect me to the infinite reservoir of knowledge and power, truth and love. That requires trust. Simple physics does the rest, though. Once the inlet tap was opened at the top, flow was possible, and all of the resentment, fear, and guilt & shame started to flow out of me. Steps Four through Nine start to ease loose the accumulated residues, but, essentially, the natural force of gravity—the weight of heaven that desires nothing more than to descend to earth ("Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down." (Psalm 144:5))—does the work.

So, I am now connected with the power at the top end; the channel is unclogged.

What next?

"work and self-sacrifice for others" (15:0)

"My wife and I abandoned ourselves with enthusiasm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problems." (15:1)

This, effectively, is keeping the tap at the bottom of the pipe open at all times, to let God's knowledge and power, truth and love flow through me.

Trouble is, selfishness gets in the way. I become scared that God is something less than the infinite reservoir of knowledge and power, truth and love, and decide I need to hold on to the water flowing through me, in case I run out ("he may try to hug the new treasure to himself." (129:0))

A second problem: spiritual pride. I decide who should be the recipient of what I have to offer; I discriminate; I become a 'respecter of persons'; I ration, hold back, try to direct the flow as I see fit. And the outlet tap at the bottom of the pipe gradually gets turned off.

I stop sensing the inflow of knowledge and power, truth and love at the top, and become still more selfish and still more discriminating, as fear of lack and limitation cause me to become defensive. Pretty soon, I am giving nothing and receiving nothing. Once I am in lack and limitation, the fallacy that I need to receive by grasping—by wresting happiness and satisfaction from this world (61:1)—takes hold once more.

What is worse, the small, residual quantity of knowledge and power, love and truth—the standing water in the pipe—becomes stagnant and sour. Then I am really in trouble.

The answer is counter-intuitive. In the realm of the material, anything hungry needs feeding. In the realm of the spirit, anything hungry may need, instead, to feed rather than to be fed, to be fed by feeding. The answer, if I am feeling no inflow at the top, is to turn back on the outflow at the bottom, to let out the small amount of knowledge and power, love and truth I have left.

I need to give up my last ounce, to give everything I have, not out of my abundance, but out of my poverty.

"And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." (Luke 21:1–4)

I need to give everything I have to those around me. All of my time, all of my thought, all of my energy.

"He may not see at once that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends only if he mines if for the rest of his life and insists on giving away the entire product." (129:0)

This is the fate of the servant who does not invest the gifts of his master but tries to hold onto them out of fear that God will not provide:

"For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:29–30)

As soon as the flow out of me starts, as soon as the tap at the bottom of the pipe is turned on, gravity does its work, and heaven comes down to earth through me.

Finally, the last, great mistake is this: I believed that the "pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal" (Revelation 22:1) was the joy itself, the inheritance, that for which I was working, the purpose behind the Steps.

I have learned that the joy is not in the presence of the water of life in me but the flow of that water through me.

Moreover that flow works both ways: as I love, I am loved, not only through the flow of love into me directly from God but as reflected back at me when I work with others. That is what has healed me: the love I have received from others has chiefly been love reflected back at me that I have channelled to them, with God as the original source.

"Show him these things in yourself and they will be reflected back to you from him." (118:2)

As long as I remember that God is the source, I will always be secure, because the love I receive from the world starts with the love I give to the world, and no one can cut off my connection with the source of that love but me.