Friday, 27 January 2017

Step Eleven in the morning: colour-coded

Blue represents instructions
Red represents prayers
Green represents promises
Strikethrough represents things not to do

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with 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. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why. If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer. As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. It works it really does. We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Turn off the television

Turn off the television

Wading through treacle

There are times, irrespective of the length of sobriety, when so much mental garbage accumulates during the course of every day that major spiritual surgery seems required each morning to even begin to cope.

Be aware that such phases are normal. They are not a sign that the truth is a lie and that goodness will not prevail but that the ego is putting up a stout fight, maybe because it is being bolstered by identification with other egos.

Continue continuing, and the road will get easier. And then harder. And then easier. And out of every such season, if you lean into the wind, more blessings will accrue to you and those around you than in easier times.

Here's a simple template for the Step Eleven Review

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.

NB: "But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others."

Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?

R [what I was resentful at; where my thinking was wrong]:
S [where I was selfish; what I should have done instead]:
D [where I was dishonest; what I should have done instead]:
A [what I was afraid of; where my thinking was wrong]:

Do we owe an apology [to whom? for what?]?

Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once [what? whom should I discuss this with]?

Were we kind and loving toward all [note positives and negatives]?

What could we have done better [just a few items will do]?

Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time [note instances of self-absorption]?

Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life [note positives]?

After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken [list any general corrective measures not itemised above].