There are several ways of avoiding doing the programme whilst doing the programme. ‘Doing the programme’ essentially means staying close to God and performing His work well, in line with page 63 of the Big Book.
Here are three ways of avoiding this under cover of doing this. I have been guilty of all three.
Firstly, one can be a Pharisee. A Pharisee is concerned with the letter of the law but not with the spiritual essence or the relationship with God, to whom he is subservient and whose will he must seek in all matters. AA Pharisees are keen to point out to everyone what they are doing wrong but don’t go to God directly asking for strength and inspiration. They parrot the words but miss the message. Loveless and dry, little good comes of this approach.
Secondly, one can be a busybody. A busybody is full of action, sometimes right action, but the actions are frantic, not targeted, and not necessarily well thought through. There is interference, bad temper, and controlling behaviour. The job may get done, but maybe at the expense of better work and certainly at the cost of a huge expenditure of personal resources. Here, again, the problem is relying on self not God for strength and direction. Usually the heart is in the right place, but plugged into the correct source, namely God, the results would be perfect harmony and impressive progress rather than confusion and bluster.
Thirdly, one can be a hermit. Hermits are keep on staying close to God but not so keen on performing God’s work well. Step Eleven is great, but the purpose is not to achieve oneness just so one can get high off the feeling or run away from the world and its responsibilities.
The solution is to combine the good elements of all three and then to ensure that God is the source of direction and strength in all cases. This is simply achieved: we do need to know the letter of the law, we do need to be active, and we do need on occasion to be quiet and to retreat into the presence of God. Real wisdom derives, however, from combining all three of these judiciously and dynamically in response to ever-changing internal and external environments.