Sunday, 10 June 2012

Alcoholism in fifty words


Physical craving. I have a faulty off-button: I press the button, but nothing happens.

Mental obsession. I have a faulty on-button: the button gets pressed, but I didn't press it.

Spiritual malady: treat with the Steps, and whoever has been pressing the on-button stops, but never quite leaves the building.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Are we ever perfectly relieved of character defects?


The problem lies in the framing of the question.

A character defect is either a mental attitude / belief or the action flowing therefrom.

All mental attitudes / beliefs and therefore all actions are available in principle to all people at all times.

They do not belong to us; they are not what we are; they are paths down which we may travel in time.

Someone with many character defects is not someone who possesses them (or is characterised by them) as one would be characterised, say, by having brown hair or liver spots. He is merely someone who habitually resorts to particular thoughts or actions in preference over other ones.

Freedom from character defects would therefore be the ability through God's help to go down different paths of thought or action.

That the choices made will never be perfect is obvious.

However, if, in any moment, one is not angry, one has been perfectly relieved of that anger, in the same way that, if I am not walking down Main Street but am walking down Hyacinth Avenue, am I entirely and wholly walking down Hyacinth Avenue.

Part of the problem with defects is precisely the identification with them and the belief that we are stuck with them because that is who we are.

If we are identified with Main Street, we will always feel uncomfortable with Hyacinth Avenue and always yearn for Main Street because that is where we believe we belong, whatever suffering Main Street may bring.

It is exactly the same with, say, anger and equanimity.

We are so identified with anger that equanimity feels fraudulent and alien.

Perfection can be attained moment by moment: I can be perfectly free of anger for a moment. Or more.

What is not promised is permanence. That is quite a different proposition.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Dreaming, ego, candles, and the Big Bang


'He's dreaming now,' said Tweedledee: 'and what do you think he's dreaming about?'
 Alice said 'Nobody can guess that.'
 'Why, about YOU!' Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. 'And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?'
 'Where I am now, of course,' said Alice.
 'Not you!' Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. 'You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream!'
 'If that there King was to wake,' added Tweedledum, 'you'd go out—bang!—just like a candle!'
 'I shouldn't!' Alice exclaimed indignantly. 'Besides, if I'M only a sort of thing in his dream, what are YOU, I should like to know?'
 'Ditto' said Tweedledum.
 'Ditto, ditto' cried Tweedledee.
 He shouted this so loud that Alice couldn't help saying, 'Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise.'
 'Well, it no use YOUR talking about waking him,' said Tweedledum, 'when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real.'
 'I AM real!' said Alice and began to cry.
 'You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying,' Tweedledee remarked: 'there's nothing to cry about.'
 'If I wasn't real,' Alice said—half-laughing through her tears, it all seemed so ridiculous—'I shouldn't be able to cry.'
 'I hope you don't suppose those are real tears?' Tweedledum interrupted in a tone of great contempt.
Someone said that the ego consists in mind-made false ideas of self.

Who I am, according to the Big Book, is a child of a loving creator (page 28). That means that, as a child of that Creator, I am of the same Substance: perfect, loving, creating, complete as part of that Whole (the Unity of Tradition One), an extending extension of the Big Bang of love into the infinity of each moment.

I am not other people's ideas of me or my ideas of me, rooted in a world that does not exist, a world of money, power, and prestige, sex, looks, and comfort: sure, the atoms that form the 'stuff' exist, but the meaning and value I ascribe to those things and from which I gain my egoic identity (in breach of Tradition Six, lending my name to an outside enterprise) lie only in my mind, a mis-gift of emptiness mis-given to emptiness.

If you wake up and realise I am a child of God, if I wake up and realise I am a child of God, that mis-creature I have mis-created disappears—bang!—just like a candle!

In this line is summed up the entire solution:

If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed, or color are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable terms as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try. (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 28)