Friday, 22 April 2011

Step Eleven evening review—three considerations

When we retire at night we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. (87:1, 'Alcoholics Anonymous')

Three considerations:

(1) Whenever fear arises, I ask God what action, if any, I need to take regarding the situation, I write that on my 'to do' list for the next day, and then write the situation (e.g. the name of the person concerned or a description of the event, etc.) on a piece of paper and drop it into a 'God box' (a small box with a hole in the top, like a piggy-bank, with 'God' written on the side. A 'God pad' will also do, where I write the difficulty I am scared about.) Once I have my action plan and have officially transferred responsibility for the situation to God, no further thought on my part is necessary and in fact would spoil matters, like opening the oven door on a soufflé. When my mind returns to the matter, I dismiss the fear or fretting, in the knowledge that the problem is God's, not mine, resolve to mind my own beeswax, and return to MY business: my conduct of the day.

(2) Write down the corrective measures. I aim for a couple a day. No more. If I made several hundred changes a year, that would be more than enough. One or two a day suffices, therefore! Ideally they should be relatively general. Any specific actions go onto my list of plans for the day. Here, I am concerned with attitude and behaviour in general, e.g. "Do not take other people's anger personally." "Do not speak over other people." "Reject fantasy immediately." I then carry this list around with me. The list gradually increases. If a corrective measure is already on the list, I do not repeat it.

(3) Whatever comes up in my review is discussed. Anything that seriously disturbs me in particular MUST be discussed. Have a Step Eleven review buddy, with whom you SWAP the content of your Step Eleven review. I have two. If I let the rubbish build up in my consciousness, I soon become blocked and useless.

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