Monday, 23 February 2015

Step Eleven morning prayers

1. God, please direct my thinking.
2. God, please divorce my thinking from self-pity, self-seeking, and dishonest motives.
3. When considering plans for the day: God, please show me what to do today and how to do it.
4. When considering plans for the day: God, please show me how to apply the corrective measures from last night.
5. When indecisive: God, please give me inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision.
6. God, please show me throughout the day what my next step is to be.
7. God, please give me whatever I need to take care of problems.
8. God, please free me from self-will.
9. God, please help me show patience, tolerance, kindness, and love.
10. God, please show me how I can help the person who is still suffering.
11. When agitated or doubtful: God, please show me the right thought or action.
12. When agitated or doubtful: God, Your will be done (I am no longer running the show).

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Third column. So what?

In the third column of the resentment inventory, we discover that we are unhappy because various people and circumstances are affecting the seven areas of self. Many people stop there.

A new perspective is necessary on all seven for us to move beyond victimhood.

Pride. This is where I am concerned with what others think about me. The lesson: what others think is of no significance. What I am and what I am worth are unaffected by good or bad opinion. Approval is a vile, worthless drug. Drop the senseless, childish vanity and know who and what I am.

Self-esteem. This is where I am concerned about what I think about myself. What I really am is spirit, born of God. I inhabit a human existence where I play roles assigned, but I am not the characters I play. What I am is of infinite value and changeless. Drop all external identification and live with integrity, and self-esteem ceases to be a problem.

Personal and sex relations, plus ambitions. This is the set of scripts I have given others to follow for my plans to be fulfilled, plus the fulfilment of those plans. The plan (the ambitions) and the scripts need to be dropped, as we have decided in Step Three that our plans for money, sex, power, prestige, comfort, thrills, and appearance largely bring anxiety, frustration, disappointment, and despair. The decision has already been made to drop these plans in return for doing God's will. Now it is time to put my money where my mouth is and recognise these plans, scripts, and ambitions as worthless.

Security and pocketbooks. These do matter but are rarely well managed directly. Serve God and these take care of themselves.

If I genuinely wish to jettison my false images of self, my false attachments, and my little plans and designs, instead to serve God, knowing I will be given everything I need for health, happiness, harmony, love, joy, peace, and connection, I can, in turn, be free of unwanted disturbance, if, that is, I am happy to completely abandon myself.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Get a life

Sometimes people say one should not sponsor so much or do as much service because one should, as they put it, get or have a life.

The fallacy is that sponsorship and service are not living and that the experience they afford is somehow the second prize, with something elusive called 'life' being missed out on elsewhere.

This is really code for the idea that, instead of serving God by serving others, one should engage in selfish pursuits.

Now, of course, serving God needs to be done outside AA as much as within, in the family, work, and the community or society at large. Some fun does not go amiss either. Life also needs some basic maintenance.

The bottom line is this, however: for most of us, living life based on self is the second prize. To really get a life, stop seeing your life as your own and see it as God's. That is how you access the real riches.

Puppetry

When I am upset, I have forgotten that I am only spirit. As spirit, I am called upon by God to play particular roles: worker, teacher, boyfriend, sponsor, etc. These characters are the puppets; my job is simply to pull their strings, in accordance with the direction of the Director. When circumstances or events appear to be affecting me, they are really affecting the roles, the puppets, and I have mistaken myself for the puppets whose strings I am pulling. Sometimes I am called upon to favour one puppet over another, say I am asked by God to work a little harder and play a little less, or vice versa. The puppets then complain, and I must remember not to take their side against the Director. They are just puppets. Their voices are not real but imagined.

When the imaginary voices die down, the real, silent song of the universe emerges.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Honesty

'Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God. These give a fair cross section of our membership and a clear-cut idea of what has actually happened in their lives.
We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad taste. 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." ' (Alcoholics Anonymous)

The AA message is carried through stories.

The stories in the back of the Big Book are sometimes humorous, often deadpan, and apparently very honest.

The stories told in the meetings—likewise.

When I listen to podium talks from conventions, conferences, etc., a different picture emerges: the speaker, very often, rather than telling an honest, candid story, presents a disparaging caricature of himself (for it is usually men who do this) as an utterly selfish idiot drinker and newcomer.

I, for one, struggle to identify with such stories, not because I was not utterly selfish and foolish as a drinker and newcomer, but because the picture is woefully incomplete: as a drinker and a newcomer, I was nonetheless a fully-fledged, complex human being, with a full range of emotions and experiences.

The reduction of public discourse to one-dimensional comic parodies of ourselves does not, in my view, further communication.

If AA is to grow to the next level, I believe that the choice of speakers at this very public level must move from stand-up comedian to individuals who may not have as much showtime to them but who have genuine, profound experience of spiritual growth and are able to be genuinely candid.

More substance, less glitter and gutter, please.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

F*** fear

"Can I have some suggestions on how to walk through fear."

Don't walk through it. Eliminate it. Fear comes from the delusion we're under threat. We're not. We're spirit. Our material lives can be threatened; we cannot. If we are identified with our material lives, we will be afraid. That is what self-reliance means, and that is the root of fear (page 68 of the Big Book).

Challenge your delusions instead. As my sponsor says: f*** fear.

We get to choose to be victims of our delusional thinking or servants of God, aware of our permanent safety when we remember who and what we are, simply playing roles in this earthly realm.