Tuesday, 29 September 2015

We had to let go absolutely

If you're swimming in a swimming pool, it's no good holding onto the side; you won't then gain the full experience of swimming, or indeed an experience that even remotely resembles swimming. Splashing about is not the sleek darting of porpoises.

Pray for weariness, the weariness of holding on. Whatever the dubious benefits of attachment, it's ultimately tiresome and tiring.

Join the French Foreign Legion. Abandon yourself utterly. Drop your identity. It is not yours anyway. You got it from somewhere and mistook it for you. It was an (undivine) thrusting-on. Run away and join the circus. Let go of the kite. Let it fly. You're the kite and you think you're the hand and the kite belongs to you and you're scared of losing it. So lose it and discover you're not what you thought you were, and, most importantly: the wind is not your foe.

The voices in your head

The voices in your head. They're not your voice. They're sounds you've borrowed that are doing an impression of you. They're bad wisdom. They're the voices of others shouting their bad advice, with their machinations, hollowness, treachery. They're no more you than the advertising jingles for waffles or chewing gum that recur unbidden and bewitch like sirens. In the silence is a voice that is yours, but all others must be silenced first. Drop the foppery once and for all.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Taking Step Three

Taking Step Three is like dropping your cards, face up, on the table for all to see, and, although still present at the game, playing the role of servant to the House.

Taking your will back, as people put it, is starting once more to lift cards and conceal them from others ... and the House.

There is nothing to play for. The House always wins.

Pick your side.

The real cost of resentment

Sometimes, resentments are permitted, on the basis that one is 'only' resenting, say, Sally, June, or Gerald.

Resentment casts longer shadows. Anyone who resembles Sally, June, or Gerald, in relation either to the feature in question or merely coincidentally, will be tarred with the same feeling. What is worse, though, is that resentment sets up a shield that blocks others from your humanity, and you realise you have immured yourself in your own turret.

It must be rooted out with identification and thence compassion and charity. That is all.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A checklist for oneself and one's sponsees

What is your homegroup?
Is it the best AA group in London, in your opinion? ('Best' = most programme-focused; most helpful in carrying the AA message)
If not, why is it your homegroup?
At your homegroup and other groups you attend, are you sharing the solution?
Do you do service at your homegroup?
Setting aside long-distance travel and illness, do you ever miss your home group because you schedule some other activity in its stead?
If you are currently in the process of taking Steps One through Nine, are you scheduling time to work on these Steps before you schedule other moveable activities?
How many people are you sponsoring?
Do you return phone calls/texts within 24 hours?
Do you offer face-to-face meetings with sponsees promptly?
If you have fewer than one sponsee for every year of sobriety, are you actively seeking new sponsees?
How many times a week do you have face-to-face fellowship with other people in AA?
Are you doing a Step Eleven review in the morning?
Are you discussing recurrent or problematic issues with a sponsor or equivalent, promptly?
Are you implementing corrective measures? What spiritual reading are you doing?
Are you keeping secrets?
Are you harming anyone?
Are you harbouring resentment?
Are you permitting fearful attitudes and thoughts?
How are you implementing new (or old) spiritual ideas in your life?

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Being wrong

If I'm judging you, I'm wrong. If I'm condemning you, I'm wrong. If I'm criticising you, I'm wrong. Even when I'm right, I'm wrong: even when the fragments of reality I perceive are actually there and are correctly perceived, the picture I construe is wrong.

Here's the corrective measure: always view the other in an optimally charitable light: everyone in innocent; there is blindness, and flawed thoughts and behaviour flows therefrom; but guilt is unreal. When I hold you guilty, I set myself apart: any unkind thought I allow diverts me into a dark nothingness, separate and crowned.

I do not think it is possible me to perfect my generosity of spirit. In a sense it is the only virtue, and its perfection the only task, as it is the calibre—in both senses—of the channel God uses to reach others through me.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Clearing up loose ends

Once the first nine steps have been completed and all of the amends have been made, there can be loose ends.

The following questions are helpful in identifying and tying up these loose ends:
  • What in my life have I left undone?
  • What obligations have I not been meeting?
  • Where have I betrayed my higher self?
  • What is missing in my life?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Is a sponsor a friend?

My role as a sponsor is this:

(1) To guide individuals through the Steps.
(2) To share what I have learned about how to apply the Steps to everyday life.
(3) To answer questions about fellowship and service.

Occasionally, there is a little chitchat, but only if the Stepwork is being completed. If I chitchat with drowning men who refuse to grab the life-preserver, I'm aiding their destruction. I won't do it.

Write it down

If you have a conversation with a sponsor, write down everything they say. You won't remember it otherwise. Make the most out of the relationship; make sure nothing is wasted.