‘Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.’
‘There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi.’
‘We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.’
‘If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others.’
‘… a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.’
‘Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice.’
‘Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.’
(All quotations from ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’)
An expanded list of things I find helpful when I am bothered by intrusive, negative thinking:
1. Do some step work (either my own or working with others).
2. Read a basic text chapter of the Big Book looking for identification, inspiration, and instruction. If there is relevant instruction, follow through.
3. Do the same with one of the stories at the back of the Big Book.
4. Listen to a spiritual speaker over the Internet.
5. Read prayers or passages of spiritual literature out loud.
6. Listen to an AA speaker tape (preferably from a step or Big Book workshop or weekend).
7. Find someone to read the Big Book together with and take turns sharing how we identify.
8. Find a newcomer or someone else in trouble and see what experience I have that may be able to help them.
9. Phone a sane and experienced friend who trusts in God and ask them to supply a more healthy view of my situation than I have and make the decision that I will believe them not me because they are doing better than me in that moment.
10. Go to a meeting and pray to God to show me how I can share a solution and help out practically.
11. Pray the Step Three prayer and ask God to guide me in constructive action for the benefit of others for the rest of the day.
12. Pray the Step Seven prayer and ask God to bring me back to my constructive plan every time I am tempted to think unhelpful thoughts.