Thursday, 30 June 2011

Could I stay sober without God?

 It is axiomatic that, if an alcoholic is someone who, left to their own devices, is powerless over alcohol, anyone who can stay continuously sober over a considerable period of time without a power greater than themselves is not alcoholic in this sense ... they have power.

Words are symbols of symbols, twice removed from reality. I am an alcoholic. This means I have no power, left to my own devices. I have been sober since 1993. The neat bit of this syllogism is that a power greater than me ~must~ have been keeping me sober. That is the ~reality~. That is ~power~.

The ~idea~ representing the reality is entirely up to me. The ~word~ used to represent the idea is entirely up to me. Hence: words are symbols of symbols, twice removed from reality.

If 'God' is the codeword, i.e. the cipher for the idea, and the idea, the conception of the power, is down to each individual, there is nothing to argue about.

When, earlier in my recovery, I was indeed atheist or agnostic, it did not mean that a power greater than myself was not keeping me sober. It meant I couldn't see it. Again: we're back to the axiomatic point from the top.

When I say God, people attach to that conceptions of God that they have had imprinted since childhood, and believe I believe that ~that~ conception is keeping me sober. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is why it is so important to remember that words are symbols of symbols, twice removed from reality. The power is exists. The power is real. If it didn't, I would be drunk.

My brother died of alcoholism in his twenties.

I believe that God's grace falls equally on everyone. The power is available. But a space is needed for that power to rush in. The power did not rush into my life until I was defeated.

There is, as it were, an enclosed space in the control room of my life. Its basic condition is to be filled with ego. To the extent that ego exits or is booted out, to that precise extent can God rush in.

My ego was first truly defeated in 1993, and the power rushed in. My actions since then have not kept me sober. My actions since then have kept my ego sufficiently at bay for sufficient power to remain in my life to keep me sober. There is a big difference!

I must never become like the ant on the log going down the river, saying to his friend, "look at how well I'm steering this!"

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The mind that created the problem cannot solve the problem

To me this is a total relief. I used to think I was unhappy because of circumstances. I am never unhappy because of anything external, anything anyone says or does. When I am unhappy, it is only ever because of my mental reaction to the circumstance in question.

It FEELS as though I am going straight from external trigger to internal emotion. What the Steps have done (particularly Step Ten ... "continue to WATCH" (84:2)) is sensitise me to the THINKING that bridges the stimulus and the emotion. No bridge of self-centred thinking ... no negative emotional reaction.

The idea that the problem centres in my mind (23:1) relates not just to the phenomenon that a drink will periodically seem like a good idea to me despite the years of experience that it is not (which is why I need something greater than my mind to keep me sober. Knowledge fails!)

This idea is universal. If you say a terrible thing to me, I can be upset only if I take it in, form an opinion, accord it significance, extrapolate future events, draw conclusions ... All of these are mental activities. Every piece of suffering thus created is SELF-inflicted. Every time I recall it and feel sore, it is me recalling it, not you repeating it.

This is the SELF-imposed crisis it talks about on page 52.

My troubles (my disturbance) are of my own making (62:1), whatever the circumstances.

If my troubles are of your making, boy, do I have a big job ahead of me. If my troubles are of my making, boy is there hope!

Knowing that I am not the solution to my own problems ought to be a relief.

The solution is ALWAYS God. The only things I lack are direction and power, and my experience tells me I cannot consistently produce direction and power from my own mind.

God is eternally, universally available.

But, to find God, I have to be willing to dis-identify with my own thinking. Being 'abjectly faithful to the God of Reason' (54:1) is the only major block ... Start questioning my ideas (on the basis that, judging by the evidence, they do not work) (52:3), and my cathedral to despair starts to tumble.

And what shows up is the huge, huge sky.

Practise WHICH principles?

Every problem in AA (or any other fellowship) has indeed been encountered before. The natural instinct appears, oddly, to try to rethink the matter from scratch. What is great about the Traditions and Concepts is that they are the principles born of years of practical difficulties ... They need to be my first, not my last, resort.

The Steps prepare me to engage in the world and set right my relationship with God, which realigns my relationship with the world.

The actual endeavours I engage in with the world, when I run into problems, are best governed by the Traditions and the Concepts.

If I'm running into difficulty and getting bogged down in the muck and the mire, the most regularly useful Traditions and Concepts/Warranties to apply are these:

(1) Tradition 10 ... Let me have no opinion on that which does not concern me. And, as it says in the long form ... Oppose no one!

(2) Tradition 5 ... Let me stick to what this is really about!

(3) Tradition 4 ... Let others be wrong; let others do what they do; let's be sensitive to each other; but others have the right to go down the wrong path!

(4) Tradition 6 ... Do not let my NAME (i.e. identity) get dragged into the endeavour ... I keep the endeavour at arm's length from me, or I will make it personal, and that will distort my input.

(5) Tradition 9 .... Do not over-organise!

(6) Tradition 12 ... Principles before personalities.

(7) Concept III ... Right of Decision ... Let the people you appoint get on with it, as part of their DELEGATED authority, provided that there is a mechanism for them to be accountable to the whole, which is where the ULTIMATE authority resides (Concept I).

(8) Concept X ... Make sure that the authority is matched by responsibility ... Those doing the work are the ones who have the say; if you don't want to do the work, you don't get a say (cf. Right of Participation, Concept IV).

(9) Concept XII ... All important decisions are met by discussion, vote, and substantial unanimity ... Remaining democratic in thought and ACTION.

(10) Concept XII ... Avoidance of public controversy; silence in public when attacked; private correspondence when there is public misinformation.

The Big Book is really helpful, too, with tips on how to operate in the world in human endeavours:

"... cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim." (89:3)

"We avoid retaliation or argument." (67:1)

"It is of little use to argue and only makes the impasse worse." (126:3)

"We do not mean that you have to agree ... whenever there is an honest difference of opinion. Just be careful not to disagree in a resentful or critical spirit." (117:3)

"Live and let live is the rule. If you both show a willingness to remedy your own defects, there will be little need to criticize each other." (118:2)

"Love and tolerance of others is our code." (84:2)

"... demonstrate that he can be sober, considerate, and helpful, regardless of what anyone says or does." (98:1)

In any situation, I need to practise the principles in all our affairs. So, once I have run the situation through the Steps, the Traditions, and the Concepts, and the advice in the Book ... THEN I can do the blue-sky thinking and brain-storming and reinvent. Thing is ... by then ... the path ahead of me is clear.

These principles have never let me down.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Step Six willingness questions: 2. Am I willing, without reservation, to jettison every idea, emotion, and attitude that my Steps Four and Five have shown to be the cause of my ruin, both drunk and sober?

Willingness is different from wanting to. I’m willing to go to the meeting this evening. I don’t want to, however, particularly. Actually, I actively want NOT to. But I am willing to go.

Willingness is about the recognition that there MIGHT be another world available, one behind the clouds, and that, if there are actions to get me there, I will take them, reluctant as I am, oddly, to leave behind this world, being the only world I know, and my ideas being, at times, the only self I know. Who would I be without them?

There comes a point where you realise the fabric of your mind is a set of coded illusions … Even the discernment of what is true and false may itself be one of the illusions.

I look at the IDEAS contained in my mind, and I am willing to concede that I cannot trust, implicitly, the thoughts that cross my mind like the images on a wall of television screens. I am willing to turn away and ask to be shown something different.

Step Six willingness questions: 1. Do I believe I will die if I remain trapped in self-centredness?

The hyperbole is overstated, at times, and this distracts from the actual point being made.

If I drink or drug, there is a big possibility I will never find recovery again. The drink or drugs may kill me directly. Or I just may die at 50, 60, 70, or 80 after years of horridness with moments of oblivion. Or there may just be a gradual decline into despair. Who knows? If I go back into active addiction, however, what makes life life will be gone, and I might be trapped inside my own goldfish bowl of thought, passing through the world with the blinds down. That is a death, and a death that refuses to die and yield to what comes after.

So, the question, here, is really whether, if I remain trapped in self-centredness, I will eventually relapse. Eventually, yes. Because the state of extreme self-absorption always resolves into recovery or relapse, unstable as it is.

It’s not as simple as: drink, BANG, dead.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Scribes, Pharisees, and angels dancing on a pinhead

Do you believe that only direct quotations from the Big Book constitute valid advice or do you believe that experience based on implementing the instructions or elaborations of how to apply them in all our affairs are valid too? In other words: is the message limited to the words of the first 164 pages or is the message anything consistent with the PRINCIPLES contained therein?

Someone in another Book distanced himself from the 'scribes and Pharisees'.

Where are we in AA in danger of becoming just such scribes and Pharisees?

Sometimes, in the small corner of AA which believes in the principles in the Big Book, there is infighting: a tendency to attempt to outdo each other in orthodoxy and precise adherence to the wording. The cries of 'heretic', the witch-burning, the reformation and counter-formation, and the establishment of 'one true churches' remind me of religious history. For some, no one is quite pure enough, no one is quite precise enough ... Words are pored over. Nuances are agonised over. "Workbooks are killing newcomers!" "That's not in the Book!" "That's in 'To Wives' ... it cannot apply to alcoholics, too ... you can't take it out of context."

And, instead of cooperating to help reach the people who need are help, we have angels-dancing-on-a-pinhead arguments and dismiss others' wisdom and experience because it does not fit our template, which, of course is the only one that is valid.

The people who wrote the Book did not, individually, take precisely the actions outlined in the Book.

When one reads on 263 how Dr Bob took people through the Steps, one would have to conclude that he and his sponsees would be disapproved of for not working the Steps 'properly'. Was the inventory REALLY thorough? Was there a whole hour reviewing Step Five afterwards? I'm being slightly naughty, here, but you get the point.

I keep coming back to this, which was written by Dr Bob as the last word on the matter of tolerance.

"During nine years in A.A. I have observed that those who follow the Alcoholics Anonymous program with the greatest earnestness and zeal, not only maintain sobriety, but often acquire finer characteristics and attitudes as well. One of these is tolerance. Tolerance expresses itself in a variety of ways: in kindness and consideration toward the man or woman who is just beginning the march along the spiritual path; in the understanding of those who perhaps have been less fortunate in educational advantages, and in sympathy toward those whose religious ideas may seem to be at great variance with our own. 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."

The absurdity of the argument also reminds me of this, by Anthony de Mello:
 A saint was once given the gift of speaking the language of the ants. He approached one who seemed the scholarly type, and asked, "What is the Almighty like? Is he in any way similar to the ant?" Said the scholar, "The Almighty? Certainly not! We ants, you see, have only one sting. But the Almighty, he has two!" Suggested postscript:
 When asked what heaven was like, the ant-scholar solemnly replied, "There we shall be just like Him, having two stings each, only smaller ones."
 A bitter controversy rages among religious schools of thought as to where exactly the second sting will be located in the heavenly body of the ant.

Top ten tips for when you are shaky

(1) Pray to whatever power has got you this far for strength. God is within, waiting to get out (p. 55:2, Big Book). Let out the power and watch it keep you safe!

(2) Write a brief Step Eleven review (86:1) and share it with a friend who shares this process. Listen for corrective measures.

(3) Whoever you're angry at, forgive them! Anger blocks you from God, and you need to be free of it to live (66-67).

(4) Whatever you're scared about, ask God to remove your fear and turn your attention to what he would have you be, right here, right now (68:3).

(5) If you need to apologise, check it out with a sponsor, and do it now! (87:1, 77:2).

(6) Find a newcomer to help. Ask God to show you what in your dark past can be used to help them: by showing them how you were given help (124:2).

(7) Call someone who has adopted the Twelve Steps described in the Big Book as a way of life and follow their direction.

(8) Go to a meeting early and ask for service.

(9) Share at the meeting and ask God to demonstrate through you His power in having kept you sober to date (68:3).

(10) Go for fellowship after the meeting with solution-oriented people and see what you can bring, not what you can get (128:0).

Step Eight instructions

Step Eight instructions

For each person on your Step Four whom you have harmed and anyone else who comes to mind whom you have harmed when you pray to be shown who ought to be on the list, take a separate small sheet of paper or index card and write:

(1) What action you took.
(2) What you should have done instead.
(3) How that person suffered as a result, physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or socially.

The second question is relevant because not every action that causes suffering causes harm:
e.g.
(1) taking razor blades from a child
(2) an examiner failing a student who has not reached the required standard
(3) leaving a relationship one has no business being in.

Harm can be caused only where we have diverted from the path of right action.

What does not belong on Step Eight: complex analyses of motivation; how we felt; rationales, excuses, and rationalisations; back-story; other people's conduct; what we were thinking at the time.

We want bare facts: our action or, rarely, inaction.

We also do not make amends to ourselves.

The harm we have done to ourselves is best amended by making amends to others and adopting all Twelve Steps as a way of life.

The amend is essentially a conversation. This requires two participants. There is only one of me. I do not need to have a conversation with myself.

Suggestions and musts

If your solution to your drinking problem is "don't take the first drink" and you have the willpower to follow that instruction under all circumstances, you are strictly not powerless over alcohol in all senses and do not, therefore, need the twelve-step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous to stay sober, whose purpose is to enable you to access power you do not ordinarily have.

The programme may help you to live more comfortably, sober, but that is up to you, and the Steps are largely optional, with timing dependent chiefly on how quickly you want to stop hurting.

I didn't stop relapsing until I treated every instruction I was given as a "must", as it indeed was, because, when I was following only those parts of the programme that struck me as convenient or appealing, I kept relapsing.

Not all of us are the same in AA. Many people can stay sober without fully giving themselves to recovery, fellowship, and service. Everyone with a desire to stop drinking is welcome, though. I cannot say that you "must" do anything in AA, because I cannot know whether you are an alcoholic of my type or whether you innately have the power, based on self-knowledge, to not drink no matter what.

Furthermore, I can't give you a "must": the responsibility for the action and the consequences must lie with you, not me. Hence "suggestions".

The same principle rubs both ways, though: you can say that there are no "musts" for you, but it is perhaps unwise to tell a newcomer that there are no musts for him. He may be powerless over alcohol and unable, without God, the Steps, fellowship, service, and sponsorship to access the power necessary to follow that instruction. Newcomers should be aware that, for some, the suggestions are indeed "musts" if they do not want to drink and, ultimately, die.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Some sponsorship principles (thanks to Jim W.)

Sponsorship

1. I will not help you stay and wallow in your own sickness.

2. I cannot give you dreams or “fix you up,” simply because I can’t.

3. I cannot give you growth or grow for you. You must grow yourself by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.

4. I cannot take away your loneliness or pain.

5. I cannot convince you of the crucial choice of choosing the scary uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of not growing.

6. If I care for you out of pity I will kill you and I will get sick if I care more about how you feel than whether you live or die.

7. You must know that my help is conditional. I cannot get close to you if you refuse to grow. If you want to get well, I will walk to the gates of hell with you. If you don’t want to get well, you will have to go there by yourself.

8. That being said, my job is to walk with you day-by-day, side-by-side on the path of spiritual progress. This is a commitment for both of us and I will put as much into it as you will.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The trifling treasures of the ego

"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." (23:1)

The ego is like this, too ... at certain times, the satisfactions of the ego do indeed, work. But, at certain times, they do not. We wear them out.

"All went well for a time, but he failed to enlarge his spiritual life." (35:3)

It does not say how long things went well for Jim ... a few days, a few months, 20 years ... We know, in fact, that it was a few months, but I have had the experience of a materially based life with occasional forays into the realm of the spirit actually working pretty damn well for years.

I had something of a nervous breakdown at seven years sober and another, more dramatic one at eight years sober, because of attachment to a material world which gradually turned on me, ultimately quite viciously.

I couldn't find any further sustenance in the money, power, and prestige (in all of their manifestations), and the frustration killed me, because I had no further source of nourishment. The spiritual life was a dead set of rituals for me. Psychology, also, failed, because it gave me information without power. I was, indeed, Rowland Hazard (26), the equivalent of the good church member with a full understanding of the intricacies of his own mind but unable, nonetheless, to life usefully and happily. He drank. I did a bunch of other 'stuff' for which Twelve-Step fellowships are available.

I do not believe God is offended when I follow the material life. The price I pay is not punishment from God but punishment by the law … If I jump out of the window, I will eventually hit the sidewalk. The sidewalk is not punishing me. The law of gravity is not punishing me. The laws are simply operating impersonally. If I live for too long too attached to the material world, I will suffer under the spiritual law that, when I worship other 'Gods' (money, power, and prestige in all of their manifestations), I will become disconnected from my true source of power. Lending my name (my identity) to outside enterprises (Tradition Six) will eventually divert me from my primary purpose—serving God—the unlimited power within me, beyond my ego.

At seventeen years plus sober, I am still drawn to material things, my ego is still flattered by prestige, and power still gives me a thrill. Step Eleven reviews are necessary to keep these in check.

However, grace afforded through the Twelve-Step programme and all three sides of the triangle and sometimes despite my deviation therefrom generally keeps me safely in the world of the spirit on most days, and the world and its pleasures are somewhere I am visiting rather than somewhere I depend on for my sustenance. The trinkets are just that—trinkets. They are no longer the source of my power.

If my relationship with God—the source of my power—is the most important relationship in my life, my question is how much time I am spending with God. I would be a hypocrite in any other relationship, claiming it to be the most important yet spending no time with the person.

The more I attach to God as the source of my power and my strength and direction (85:2), the more the other attachments fall away and become decoration of my life.

So, I don't have to get rid of the Prada overnight bag or switch from wearing Cartier fragrance to a Walmart own brand. This is not about renouncing the world, because whatever you renounce you become even more attached to. It is about dropping the attachment to and reliance on the world.

God's channels switch constantly, and I need to switch with them.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tolerance and action

Love and tolerance of others is our code (84:1). Additionally, we must be free of anger (66:1). Anger will arise, but we must let it pass through us and not hold onto it. Or we die, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

Whenever I am angry at someone else's wrong, I am the one in trouble. Hence I pray for ME to be saved (from the anger) (67:0), so I can be useful.

Lack of love and lack of tolerance are never justified. Holding onto anger is never justified. Resentment is never justified. Lack of acceptance is never justified.

This does not mean, however, that action is not required.

There is cruelty in the world, and people need to be protected; there is harm in the world, and that needs to be rectified; decisive action is regularly required.

In fact, the most loving thing to do can appear quite cold and cruel, at times.

The overriding principle lies in Tradition One—unity. The common good comes first; the personal good comes a close second.

Whether in AA or out of AA, action regularly needs to be taken to protect the group from the individual, because, if the group fails, the individual will fail also.

Is this intolerant? Absolutely not. Intolerance consists in observation, judgement, and attack. And judgement and attack only worsen the separation felt by the individual at fault.

When I see a door left open, I close it. I do not need to judge the person who left the door open or feel victimised by the draught.

When I see a child playing with razor blades, I take the razor blades away, even though the child may scream. I do not need to judge the child.

Clear, decisive action is best devised and taken from a position of total peace. Then, the action will be right. Emotional disturbance will always muddy the waters, because getting rid of my emotional disturbance will inform the decision and override other factors.

An example: a good AA group will encourage good conduct in its opening notices, suggesting or requesting that, for instance, disruptions be kept to a minimum, cross-sharing be avoided, and discussion be kept to the topic. The individual is then left to comply or not comply. My observation is that, when this approach is adopted, compliance levels are high, and the occasional extreme infraction can be dealt with by the loving hand of the group. A loving voice showing total respect for the individual concerned but suggesting an alternative course of action, in my observation, always works if persisted in.

Additionally, any such code must be agreed on in accordance with Tradition Two and Concept Twelve, with God speaking through the group, and the decision being reached by discussion, vote, and substantial unanimity, under the principle that the group is a single spiritual entity. Decisions should not be made in secret or negotiated under the table between business meetings.

Alternatively, some groups are run with rules and regulations rather than suggestions. They are over-organised (see Tradition Nine). "Repeated disruptions [e.g. leaving the room during the meeting] are not acceptable in this group" is one particularly aggressive notice I've heard, and I hope, in that case, that no newcomer with a bladder complaint attends the group. I've seen policing of sharing, too, either before, during, or after the meeting. This creates an atmosphere of discipline rather than love, and fear in the place of tolerance.

Tradition Two suggests our leaders are but trusted servants ... they do not govern. I can lead by example and I can contribute to a Tradition Two discussion about how to implement Traditions One and Five in the group. But I cannot be the one who dictates the group's conduct or the conduct of any individual member. I'm not the AA police. I'm a co-guardian of the Traditions and Concepts, along with every AA member. One voice. One vote. That's it.

To sum up: there is no exception to the code of love and tolerance. But tolerance refers to a state of mind and is not a charter for inaction, and love is the guiding force of action: what is in the best interests of all?

The peace of God passes all understanding, and it is in peace, not shrill self-righteousness, that real strength lies.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

"I drank on ..."

If I drank to treat excesses of negative emotion:

(1) Why do only a small proportion of those thus afflicted suffer also from alcoholism?

(2) Why, when the drink did not work and made the emotion worse, did I carry on into outright drunkenness?

(3) Why, even though the consequences of drinking worsened the emotional predicament, did I keep going back?

(4) Why does everyone in AA who is full of negative emotion not drink then and there?

(5) Why do people slip when things are going well and there is no emotional predicament to solve?

The spiritual malady consists in disconnectedness. My ego will attempt to solve that by getting me to chase after the 'gifts' of the world. But that is a mere symptom which, in turn, will create emotional disturbance as I collide with myself and others.

The first drink treated that disconnectedness. In treating that disconnectedness, I was shuttled into a different world where the negative emotions du jour were, on a good day, suspended.

The good news, therefore, is that I'm not going to drink if I have a bad day or feel terrible.

The bad news, however, is that I will drink if I don't get connected some other way.

Sometimes people take a meeting hostage to share their negative emotion "so they don't drink", this being the justification for disregarding the primary purpose of meetings.

Fortunately, this is an illusion. What is needed is connection to God, which can be rapidly achieved through connection via others in the fellowship of the common problem AND common solution. That means we do not need to rely on the pressure-valve of exhibitionist sharing and can instead rely on the fullness of the three-side-of-the triangle solution in every part of our lives.

Connection is universally available to those who seek.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Step Three idea

The Step Three idea appears to me to be this. God is the Director and, in fact, fulfils all of the roles other than actor, which is my role. Motto: "He has no hands but yours."

My role is vital: I cannot play anyone else's ... I can play only mine, and no one can play mine for me.

I am no longer in charge of the overall plan (director) or detailed execution (producer). I am no longer in charge of other people's moves (choreographer and stage manager). I am not there to prompt anyone if they forget their lines. I am no longer in charge of writing the script. I ASK the Director for my lines, instead. I am not the audience, either, nor the critic, nor the theatre-owner worried about the overall profit or loss the play is making.

My role is to remain in communication with the Director. The Director's voice is quiet, however, so I need to be quiet, too. Worldly clamours need to be silenced or at least hushed.

Worldly clamours consist in resentment (disturbance at the way I think things are or have been), fear (disturbance at the way I think things will be), or shame/guilt (disturbance at what I think I have been or done).

The next six Steps are needed, promptly and in their entirety, to silence these worldly clamours. Steps Ten and Eleven are needed to stop the clamours returning and to prepare me for the work of the actor, which is Step Twelve.

My job, therefore, is to stay close to God as my source of direction and power and to perform His work well, which means fulfilling Tradition Five (spending much of my free time engaged in Twelfth Step work) and applying the Steps to be of service in all areas of my life.

The promise on page 63 is that I get given all the resources from God as a loving parent provided that I fulfil these conditions.

My other "job" as one of God's kids is to love, learn, grow, and play.

And, as a kid of God, I do not need to be worried about the seven areas of self. These are now God's business, not mine:

(1) Pride (what I think you think about me)

(2) Self-esteem (what I think of myself)

(3) Personal relations (the script I give you)

(4) Sex relations (the script I give you inside the sexual arena—a subset of 'personal relations')

(5) Ambitions (what I want in order to be happy and satisfied (p. 61:1))

(6) Security (what I need to be OK)

(7) Pocketbooks (money and what it means to me).

To adopt the role of actor to God's Director, therefore, I need to take the remaining Steps promptly.

I do not need to work out how to get God in my life. All I need to do is to make the decision that that is what I want and take the remainder of the Steps.

I think carefully before this decision, because a Step Three will tend to set in motion a process in which that which is hidden within me starts to surface, and I need to make sure I am processing what is arising as it arises.

Step Three without a follow-through will give me awareness but no power. That is hell.

When I'm ready, I adopt the position described above then say the page 63 prayer to seal the deal. Then, immediately, I start writing the list of names for the Step Four resentment inventory.