Friday, 5 August 2011

Proving the pudding

Sometimes there is a lot of talk in AA about the right way to work the programme, or the wrong way to work the programme. Or indeed to 'do' recovery in general.

Here are some Big Book quotations:

"Upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, we surely have no monopoly." (xxi:0)

"We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired." (28:2)

"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience." (95:4)

How, then, can one decide what the right path is?

"The practical individual of today is a stickler for facts and results" (48:2).

At the start of the journey, the key question seems to be, "Which people in AA have what I want? What path did ~they~ follow?" That then becomes the path I choose.

The question later one, say, after I have been trying a particular approach for a few months or years and/or have completed a set of Steps, is "How well is this actually working out for me?"

Here are some questions which can help make this question really practical.

1.     Has the path I have followed given me continuous, contented sobriety?
2.     Has fear been relieved?
3.     Has resentment been relieved?
4.     Have guilt and shame been relieved?
5.     Am I more happy?
6.     Am I more joyous?
7.     Am I more free?
8.     Has this path made me more useful?
9.     Am I now more focused on what I can give rather than what I can get?
10.  Is my conduct kind and loving in my home, occupation, and affairs?
11.  Is this path one that allows for continuous growth?
12.  Do I have hope?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If I have carefully followed instructions, and the pudding still tastes bad, I need a different recipe.

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