Level 5 Member
Monday, April 23, 2012, 6:27 PM
the BIG BOOK BUNCH
Taking Step Four
Version I 6/9/2000
USE BY COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATIONS OR SALE ARE PROHIBITED © All rights reserved by the Big Book Bunch, firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTICE This is not an official site of, nor does it represent, Alcoholics Anonymous. You may contact A.A. at Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
The BIG BOOK BUNCH
We are the Big Book Bunch group of Alcoholics Anonymous. Our origins are the Students of the Big Book group, which has met in Woodland Hills, California since December of 1985. Our goals are to live the spiritual process through which sobriety is obtained and enhanced, and to publish (at no charge) our experience for other recovering alcoholics. We have absolutely no affiliation with any organization or cause other than our membership as individuals in A.A..
Our written materials are not official AA literature. They usually do, nevertheless, contain information from the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) and other conference approved literature owned and published by Alcoholics Anonymous. All A.A. material used identifies the source from which it is quoted. References in our documents to Big Book content exclude its stories. Included is all material from inside the front cover through page 164, plus Appendices I (Traditions) and II (Spiritual Experience).
You may reproduce materials of the Big Book Bunch, provided: a) that sources of materials (AA or the BBB) are identified, b) that no charge is made for the materials, and c) that they are not distributed by an organization or process that charges a fee. If you have corrections or improvements, please pass them on to us using the mailbox at the bottom.
Here are the steps we took: 4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
That is what the authors of the Big Book and millions before you did. To personalize the step for your study and action in the here and now, however, you may wish to rephrase it as:
STEP FOUR. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.
READING FOR STEP FOUR
From: Page 63, line 32: "Next we launched ,
Thru: Page 71, the end of Chapter 5
is considered to be the big written inventory step. And we have seen many, many ways in which it is recommended to be taken. A variant in the 12&12 uses the "seven deadly sins" as its basis. An early member of AA used a list of 20 defects of character as his outline. Many sponsors propose a life history be written. And, of course, the Hazelden people have a variety of guidance systems. There is even a PC computer approach that asks all sorts of revealing questions about one's sex and family life. If you are reluctant to take this step, then you may want to procrastinate further by exploring all these alternatives in depth before you start—at some future date. If, on the other hand, you want to get on with the sober life, then let's get on with the tried and true method in the Big Book. It consists of five lists. The words that follow here will then assist you, but don't forget that your reading, discussing and understanding the Big Book in depth is essential. Do not rely solely upon the document in hand.
A written inventory. Between pages 64 and 71 you will discover at least 10 clear statements that your inventory is to be written. Please look them up now. Unless you are physically handicapped, there are no exceptions to a written inventory. Put aside your tape recorder, and get out your pen and paper. If you type with a high level of expertise and think freely at a key-board, your sponsor, however, might allow a typewriter or PC.
But, remember that you are not writing the great American novel here. To do so would be a gross imposition upon the person with whom you will take your fifth step. Moreover, the thought of setting forth your life history completely misses the point. You are to write an inventory—not a narrative. And, what is an inventory? In 1939 Webster said it was, "...an itemized list of goods and valuables [stock or a person's qualities], with their estimated worth;..." The preferred synonym is LIST, and that's exactly what you are to do—write the list(s) outlined by the Big Book.
A moral inventory.
mor-al (môr'uhl, mor'-) adj.
of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
conforming to accepted or established principles of right conduct (opposed to immoral); virtuous; upright: a moral man.
expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct: a moral novel. based on fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on law, custom, etc.: moral obligations.
capable of recognizing and conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
It is clear that we are not counting possessions. Nor are we really listing people, institutions, principles or, even, actions in order to count them. We are seeking to illuminate the basis (or underlying cause) of our actions. In other words, why do we resent the world the way we do?
In fact, the most essential results of this step will be 1) to provide enough data for you and your guide to write down a statement of the nature of your wrongs (defects of character) in step five, 2) to provide data for step eight, with an initial listing of persons you have harmed, and 3) to reinforce your process of psychic change.
How many inventories? The formal written inventory of step four need be taken only once in your sober career. There is ample provision in step ten for spot-check, daily, periodic and annual refresher inventories.
How thorough? We are told that nothing counts but thoroughness and honesty. But, what should you do with very sensitive information? Many recovering alcoholics have one or more significant experiences in their past that they are highly reluctant to put on paper—either because the incident is one about which they feel great shame (the horror of which we dare not speak, the big one we plan to take to our grave untold) or because its revelation might cause severe personal or legal injury to ourselves or others. We suggest:
- Always keep your inventory in a safe, private place so that no other person will ever see it unless you reveal it to them. Anticipate that there will be others with inquiring minds, and take precautions to assure your privacy.
- Leave nothing out of your inventory just because it is a major item.
- If you have good and prudent cause to take extraordinary precautions against unwitting disclosure of some part of your past, you may wish to encipher the incident or character trait as "Topic A" or the like (it's up to you, though, to remember what Topic A really is). This will prevent its disclosure to any person reading your inventory, but it will still satisfy the need for the topic to be included. How you then deal with this topic in step five will be discussed in that step.
On the other hand, how can you avoid undue length? Leave out needless repetition of resentments, fears, wrongs, etc. when the associated character defect has already been revealed. If, for example, you resent smokers who blow smoke in your face, it is preferred that you do not list them all. An entry such as, "Sam Smoker and all the other inconsiderate boobs who blow smoke in my face.", should suffice. In a more serious vein, maybe you have known violence and have had many bloody fights. You will probably want to list the major protagonists, especially ones who have suffered severe injury at your hands, and enough experiences to illuminate the different provocations or seeming justifications that led to your fighting in the first place. It is also prudent to include persons to whom you expect you might be making amends in step nine.
Warning! Besides protecting yourself from premature embarrassment or even incarceration due to unintended disclosure of your inventory, you should also avoid making amends without guidance. An intentional, but premature, disclosure as part of the mending process can also be very damaging—to you and others. Except for minor matters or exceptions you have discussed with your sponsor in advance, you should make your amends in step nine where they belong.
When to start your inventory. The completion of Step 3 is described on page 63 of the Big Book. Notice that the very next paragraph says,
Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action ... at once...[Big Book page 63, line 32 & page 64, line 3]
In the early days of A.A. when a newcomer asked when he should begin his inventory, he was told, "When you want to stop hurting". When do you want to stop hurting? We will now show you how to divide the job up into simple pieces. Write the first column of list 1 today. It will take from 5 to 30 minutes. Don't big-deal yourself into inaction.
How many lists? The Big Book mentions five (maybe four) distinct lists. Each of these lists is discussed in more detail below. If you have a pressing need to add additional information, or if your sponsor suggests further material, go for it.
Step Four is composed of these lists:
STEP 4a. Resentments. [Page 64, line 23] STEP 4b. Faults [Page 67, line 21] (may be combined with 4a). STEP 4c. Fears. [Page 68, line 3] STEP 4d. Sexual Injury. [Page 69, line 12] STEP 4e. Harms. [Page 70, line 30]
Writing: Step 4a, RESENTMENTS, columns #1 through #3.
Step #4a RESENTMENTS Column #1 Who
|I'm resentful at:Sam Smoker, et. al.Peter PunchMotherFatherIRSWife #1
Column #1 is the WHO column. Who is the person, or what is the institution or principle that you resent? A resentment is a negative feeling more intense than dislike and less violent than anger. Resentment is often referred to as smoldering anger, and the list should include both those you resent and those with whom you are angry (or even hate, which is more intense yet).
In this first column, just list the name of the person, institution or principle. Next, rearrange the list so that the names are ranked from the least resentment at the top to the most intense resentment at the bottom. If you have more than fifty items, you probably have too many. Ten may be too few.
It would be a good idea to get together with your selected fifth step person at this point to see if you are on track. There is another reason for the contact. Making up the list is not a major undertaking. It can usually be done in several hours. By breaking the 4a list up into columns, you will not be intimidated nor held back with the perception that the inventory step has to be a big deal.
Step #4a, RESENTMENTS Column #2 What they did
I resent:Because they:Sam SmokerSmokes at meInsulted mePeter PunchHit meMotherSided with DadDiedFatherBeat meIRS$ AttachmentsWife #1Left me$ Attachments
Column #2 is the WHAT column. This is called the "Cause" column on page 65. It describes briefly just what the resented party did that triggered your resentment. It does not describe how you reacted to their action. The example in the Big Book seems to be pretty clear. Expand what you began when you filled in the WHO column. Where they (the source of your resentment) performed multiple actions, put in as many as will provide the needed learning experience. It will probably be necessary to rewrite the entire list, because you will need more lines to amplify the reasons.
Step #4a, RESENTMENTS Column #3 the basis (Why)
|1. Ambition6. Pride2. Fear7. Self esteem3. Financial security8. Sex relations4. Physical security9. Health5. Personal relationship10. Sense of justice .
|[1. - 8. are from the Big Book. We added 9. & 10. because we thought they were needed]|
Column #3 is the WHY column. Just as column #2 required more thought than column #1, this column merits some deep searching. Just what is it about you that was triggered by the other person or their actions? Include as many triggers as apply. The first 8 triggers listed here are [affects my] found in the Big Book: We have added another, 9. (Health, which may be included in 4) and the catch-all, 10., to take care of drivers who cut you off on the freeway, and people who look at you funny. Again, it is a good idea to consult with your sponsor after you have filled in the whys for the first 4 or 5 items. Figuring these triggers out is no easy task.
Writing: Step 4b. Faults. This list can be treated as a fourth column of the resentment list. What the book says is,
The inventory was ours, not the other man's. When we saw our faults we listed them.[Big Book page 67, line 21]
Remember, the Resentment List (Step 4a) deals primarily with people, institutions and principles that you resent. Usually, your resentment is based upon a wrong you believe was done to you. The fourth column identifies your own part in causing the injury to yourself and to others as well. If you choose not to make it part of the resentment list, then make up a separate list, showing the name of the person resented and where you were also wrong.
Step #4a, RESENTMENTS with #4b, FAULTS
|#1 WHO #2 WHAT #3 WHY #4 MY ERRORI resent: Because they: Affects my: My Fault Was:Sam SmokerSmokes at meHealthInsulted meSelf EsteemStimulated his fearPeter PunchHit meSecurityInsulted himMotherSided with DadFearDiedRelationshipMade her get sickFatherBeat meSecurityBroke his trophyFearIRS$ AttachmentsFinancialDidn't file returnsWife #1Left meRelationshipCheated on her$ AttachmentsFinancialNo child support
Step #4c, FEARS
|I'm afraid of:Getting cancer from smoke (Sam Smoker).Being broke. (IRS, Wife #1, Mr. Brown, etc.)Being attacked and hurt (Peter Punch).Being celibate (Mr. Brown, My Wife).The purple monster in my dreams.Being shunned by others because I'm getting fat and ugly.
Writing: Step 4c.
Fears. Create another list. You have already indicated on the resentment table some actions that cause you to react in fear. Skim through them and list the feared pattern. Add other things you fear even though you do not resent them.
Step #4d, My SEXUAL CONDUCT has Injured:
|Who:What I did:Their hurt:Wife #1Denied her affectionHer self esteemMy wifeTook a mistress Her self esteem Slapped herFearMy nieceAroused herFear
Writing: Step 4d. Sexual Injury. This is the list of our sexually related conduct in which we have been selfish, dishonest, inconsiderate or hurtful; or where we have unjustifiably aroused jealousy, suspicion or bitterness. This list will look very much like the resentment table, except that here they could resent us:
Step 4e, HARMS I Caused:
|Who I hurt:What I did:Peter PunchInsulted him about his ageMike MaulerBroke his nose in a barEmployer #1Stole $546.65Wife #1$2500 Child support unpaidFatherBroken trophy WifePhysical abuseMy sonConned him out of Med SchoolMotherWorried her to death
Writing: Step 4e. Harms. "We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct..." This is a preliminary version of your list for step eight. It doesn't need to be complete at this time, but it should contain all the persons and institutions on lists 4a through 4d that you have harmed.
If the injury has already been amended, as with the IRS in our example, it does not need to be included. You may also defer to step eight the willingness to amend your harm. In other words, document what you did, not what you are willing to do about it.
Evaluation. You have finished your written inventory. It wasn't nearly as big a task as others make it out to be, was it? But, you are not done with step 4. The Big Book is clear that you are now to review your lists, analyze what they mean, and learn something from what you have written. Your analysis will be reviewed in depth in step five, where we deal with the points introduced in the Big Book one-by-one.
Return to Table of Contents
The principle of Step 4 is _______________________.
Sunday, April 15, 2012, 12:26 AM
Step 3 "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
O.k., the saying goes "There were three frogs sitting on a log and one made a decision to jump off, how many frogs where left on the log?
answer: )3) Three because he only made a decision.
Remember: Decisions also take Action.
Step 3 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
If the writer of a textbook has an understanding of a word, but the reader of the book has a DIFFERENT understanding of the SAME word, then the information that comes through will be garbled and incomplete. There are three words in the "lampshade on the wall" version of Step Three that are important to understand.
Most people think that the Third Step says that we turn our will and our life over to the care of God. But it doesn't say that. What it says is that we MAKE A DECISION to turn my will and life over to the care of God. So the first word that needs to be understood is the word DECISION, which is defined as "making up one's own mind." Let's say my car breaks down. Although the DECISION to get my car fixed is a vital and crucial step, that decision alone does not get the car fixed. I will ALSO need to take the actions necessary to get it fixed. For any decision to mean ANYTHING, it ALWAYS requires further action.
If we decide, or make up our own mind, to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand God, that decision ALONE will not turn it over. We will have to take the actions necessary to turn it over. The first three Steps are designed to bring us to the point where we become WILLING to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Higher Power, Steps Four through Nine are HOW we turn our will and our life over, by removing the blocks that prevent us from actually doing so; and the last three Steps are how we KEEP our will and our lives turned over to God indefinitely.After a period of time though, our ego (or self-will) begins to reassert itself again; and because of our "human-ness", we fall short in maintaining perfect spiritual focus in all of our thoughts and activities. That is why , even if we have worked the first nine Steps to the best of our ability once and are living in Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve, we will still need to eventually go back to Step One and begin the Steps cycle again and again for deeper awakenings and further growth in other areas where we have God blocked off that we may not be currently aware of.
The other two words that are important to understand are the words WILL and LIVES. The words "will" and "lives" are concepts way over our head and are way too large to relate to or comprehend. But these words can be better understood by explaining that our will is our thinking and what motivates us, and that our life is all the actions that we've taken up to this moment. That explanation makes the words a little more down to earth and easier to comprehend. So the Third Step can then be reworded as saying that I decide to take the actions necessary to turn my motivations, my thinking, and my actions over to the care of God as I understand Him.Also, what motivates me drives my thinking and my thinking directs my actions, so I need to go deeper than just acting my way into right thinking. If my motivation and thinking is God-directed, I will make the right decisions (whether it seems that way at the time or not), then the actions taken will also be right. But if my motivation and thinking is self-directed, I will usually make the wrong decisions (even though I may not realize it at the time), then the actions taken will probably also be wrong.
The Third Step in the "Big Book" begins just below the middle of page 60. How do we know that? Well, in this case, the "Big Book" authors tell us:
"Being convinced, we were at Step Three,..."
Convinced of what? If we've taken Steps One and Two, we are convinced that we are alcoholics and that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. Sometimes the word "sanity" is misunderstood. Other words that capture the essence of what is being said here are restore us to reality, or restore us to honesty, or restore us to peace of mind or restore us to balance; whichever you prefer. Now we need to get out of the way and let God direct our lives.
On pages 60 through 63, the 'Big Book" authors discuss self-will and God's Will in great detail. At the bottom of page 60, paragraph 4, they explain we are like actors trying to control every detail of a play:
"The first requirement (please notice that it says "requirement" not "suggestion") is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion (not just alcoholics but MOST people). Each person is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits."
"What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be SOMEWHAT at fault, he is SURE that OTHER people are MORE to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest (which means "take away by force") wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages (or manipulates) well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his BEST moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?"
Does anyone here NOT relate to this page?
We seem to be always trying to prove to everyone else that they would be better off if they just did things OUR way. I'm sure you'll agree that that's a bit of self-centeredness and a form of playing God. I think the word that comes to mind is "manipulation", but you can call it whatever you want.
In the first paragraph on page 62, the authors declare that it is this selfish and self-centeredness that has gotten us into trouble. We need to take responsibility for our selfishness and ask God to remove this shortcoming from our lives. Page 62, paragraph 1:
"Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the ROOT of our troubles. (And I always thought that ALCOHOL or other people was my problem.) Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably (which means "constantly") find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt."
"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. (This brings a message of hope because it is neither necessary nor possible to change others. But if we, with God's help,can change ourselves, we will find that no other changes are needed. If other people or life were to blame for our troubles, there is absolutely nothing we can do about that. But if I am to blame for almost all of my troubles, there is something I can do about that because I am the only person that I can change. Like a wise man once said, "It is easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world." The book continues.) They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. (It's important to know that this includes before we started drinking, while we were drinking, and even prior to taking Step Three since we've STOPPED drinking.) ABOVE EVERYTHING, we alcoholics MUST be rid of this selfishness. (Please notice that it says, "above everything" and "must.") We MUST, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We HAD to have God's help."
So it's saying that the ONLY thing that we have going for us, which is self-will and self-knowledge, or MY life run on MY will, is the VERY THING that will lead us back to drinking (at best) or progressive misery as time passes (at worst). Let me repeat that. So it's saying that the ONLY thing that we have going for us, which is self-will, or MY life run on MY will, is the VERY THING that leads us back to drinking and/or progressive misery. If we are trying to make ourselves "un-self-centered", we are STILL being self-centered. A self-will problem cannot overcome self-will, a sick mind cannot heal a sick mind, we cannot USE the problem to SOLVE the problem. That gets rid of any hope we have of not pursuing this Higher Power stuff. Now what? Since Step One says that we are powerless over alcohol, what we need is the Power with a capital "P". And since our lives are unmanageable (especially our mental/emotional/spiritual life, whether we are drinking or not), what we need is a new Manager with a capital "M". Because anything at all that God has in mind for me is better than anything at all that I will EVER have in mind for me!
So the AA program ultimately asks us to make TWO surrenders, not just one. We need to surrender to our drinking alcohol (we do this in Step One), but we also need to surrender to our self-will (or "my life run on my will", and we do THIS in Step Three). Unfortunately, many members of AA only make the first surrender and inevitably do not experience all the freedom, joy and serenity that the AA way of life promises. Because of not surrendering their self-will, they are often miserable and/or go back to drinking.
Then at the bottom of page 62, the authors tell us what we have to do in order to rid ourselves of selfishness:
"This is the how and why of it. First of all, we HAD to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His Children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom."
For those who do not know, the keystone is the supporting stone for the ENTIRE structure, so the Third Step decision is the supporting Step for the rest of the Steps. Now this decision is starting to sound important. The Big Book just stated that we need to let God become our Director, so we need to be doing what we think our Higher Power would have us do. In other words, we need to be staying in the moment, being directed by unselfishness and love, and doing the next right thing. It also says that we need to move in the direction of being God's agent, and since an agent is given the power to represent the Principal, we are deciding to start acting in a way that would represent our Highest Power. It then mentions being God's children, and if we are all God's children, we need to start acting as if we are ALL equal brothers or sisters. So you can see that this paragraph says a lot, and actually contains the essence of what the Third Step decision is all about. The book continues and this next paragraph contains the Third Step Promises.
"When we SINCERELY took such a position (the position of God being our Director, our Principle and our Father), all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, IF we kept close to Him AND performed His work well."
So, now we know our place in God's Universe. Contrary to what we may have thought in the past, the whole world does not revolve around US. Once we step aside and put GOD in the center, we are amazed at how much better our lives become.
In the Second Step, we are told that we need to come up with some sort of "God of our understanding" or "Power greater than ourselves." A.A. gives us a lot of respect by allowing us to believe whatever we wanted to believe about this Power. But there is a little unseen footnote next to Step 2 that states, "So long as WE are not it!" The Big Book says again and again that my belief that the universe revolves around ME is a big part of my problem, so this "center of my universe" needs to be replaced with some belief in a Power greater than human power. Then in Step 3, it introduces us to an important attribute that this Power needs to have when it says, "...the CARE of God as we understood Him." So our concept of the Power now needs to include the fact that this "God" cares and is caring. This may be difficult for many of us because our original concept of our Creator may have been more along the line of a "judgmental, harsh, He's going to get me, something to be feared" kind of God. We may need to completely scrap these old ideas and start over because this isn't the kind of Higher Power that one turns to for help.
By now, we have moved toward becoming more aware of the presence of God. Starting with line five on page 63, the authors explain this awareness. These are also more Third Step Promises:
"Established on such a footing, we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn."
We have been delivered from the gates of Hell, and we have come back to tell what it was like. It isn't a pretty picture. But, now we realize we never have to go back there again, as long as we don't forget to allow God to be our Director.
It is decision time once again. "The Big Book" authors tell us we are now ready to take Step Three. The middle paragraph on page 63 contains the Third Step Prayer. This prayer is an affirmation of the decision we are making at the bottom of page 62. Before we say this prayer together as a group, there are some considerations we need to look at first. About 2/3 of the way down page 63, beginning with the last line of paragraph 2, they provide us with the directions and a warning:
"We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly (or completely) to Him.
We found it very desirable to take this spiritual step with an understanding person, such as our wife, best friend, or spiritual adviser. But it is better to meet God alone than with one who might misunderstand. The wording was, of course, quite optional so long as we expressed the idea, voicing it without reservation. This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once."
We are so fortunate that, in the years since the Big Book was written, the fellowship has grown to where very few, if any, newcomers have to take the Third Step alone. We're here tonight to take this monumental Step with you.
Because it says, "We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready, that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly (or completely) to God"; we would like to take a moment for personal reflection for those of you taking the Steps with us. Could we please have a moment of silence, for about 10 seconds, to think about whether or not you are ready to decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of the God of your own understanding
Information taken from Barefoot Twelve Steps.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 1:55 AM
"Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity"
Just a review of Step 2 before we go to Step 3 tomorrow.
verb (used without object)
to approach or move toward a particular person or place: Come here. Don't come any closer!
to arrive by movement or in the course of progress: The train from Boston is coming.
to approach or arrive in time, in succession, etc.: Christmas comes once a year. I'll come to your question next.
to move into view; appear.
to extend; reach: The dress comes to her knees
So that means that you have already made a decision. You now believe that a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.
Now let's look at the word restore.
verb (used with object), re·stored, re·stor·ing.
to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish: to restore order.
to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition, as a building, statue, or painting.
to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor.
to put back to a former place, or to a former position, rank, etc.: to restore the king to his throne.
to give back; make return or restitution of (anything taken away or lost).
To Sanity now let's define the word sanity-
the state of being sane; soundness of mind.
soundness of judgment.
This means that I believe that my Higher power can restore (give me back) my sanity(soundness of mind).
I believe that my Higher power who I choose to call (God) can take away the drink obession.
Now you're ready for Step 3.
Sunday, March 25, 2012, 12:13 PM
I am closing the beliefnet.com account any of my friends ( those verified as being my friend) not those choosing to just be judgmental can email me.
Friday, March 23, 2012, 3:26 PM
In reply to the email sent to me I want you to know that it hurt me to the core of my being and if church folk are like that I would prefer to take my chances with the heathens. Wow! It's incredible what people will do and say in the name of the Lowd! (Lord).
I don't think I will be doing church for awhile.
Thursday, March 22, 2012, 6:38 PM
Please forgive me I am very ill today and extremely tired. I was told that it may be cancer so pray for me.
I will be continuing with Step 2 soon if I feel better tonight I will post more on Step 2.
Thursday, March 22, 2012, 1:41 AM
You ever met someone you and you've been around them for a while just observing them? And finally you think to yourself this may be an interesting person and then you discover that they are a comitaphobe?
Comitaphobe-someone afraid to commit to a relationship.
It's like someone delivering a beautiful present to you exquistely wrapped in the finest of paper and a silk bow on top. But then you open the box and to your disappointment what's on the inside is not what you want or expected to get.
O.k., Comitaphobe? I am out.
Step 1 "My life is unmanageable and I am powerless over comitaphobes."
Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 12:23 AM
"Came To Believe That A Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us Sanity."
Here are the steps we took: 2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
That is what the authors of the Big Book and millions before you did. To personalize the step for your study and action in the here and now, however, you may wish to rephrase it in the two halves that appear below.
READING FOR STEP TWO
|Big Book:Chapter 4. We AgnosticsAppendix II. Spiritual Experience12&12:Step 2
Step 2 is also separated into its first and second halves:
STEP 2a. Came to believe in a power greater than myself...
Having taken Step 1, you have already admitted the existence of a power greater than yourself. Think about it. Isn't alcohol a power greater than yourself? And, having also admitted that your life has been insanely unmanageable, your goal is to find some other power (besides alcohol), which is greater than yourself, and will produce saner consequences.
Your Higher Power should:
A.A.s who eventually achieve some time sober invariably acknowledge that their Higher Power is a spiritual power. Anticipate that yours will be, too. However, for the time being, your power may be any power that meets these four conditions. If you haven't noticed already, the word God is used in AA. In fact, the name appears in four of the twelve steps, but in two instances it is followed immediately by the expression "as we understood Him". (meaning, according to your present conception of a Spiritual Power). A.A.'s use of the term, God, does not necessarily mean that we believe in "God", and it does not mean that we have a common understanding of what we do believe in. The term, God, is used only as a convenient way of referring to the Spiritual Power of our respective choices. And, have a Spiritual Power, we must!
When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. [Big Book page 47, line 1]
Later in this document we will discuss the way that many of us have come to have conscious contact with a spiritual power of our own conception.
A.A. literature makes it clear that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion. It possesses no theology or dogma to be swallowed by anyone. In addition to using the term, God, the Big Book also refers to our Father, our Creator, the Spirit of the Universe, the Great Reality deep down within us, our Power, and many other names. When AA literature is translated into other languages, the name of God is translated also. He is called Dios, Gott, Yahweh, etc...
Please forgive our authors, too, in using the masculine pronouns, He, Him, etc... There is no intent to suggest that God is masculine, or that He possesses gender at all. A.A. has simply followed this age-old convention—until a more enlightened manner of speaking might be adopted.
Be assured, though, that God knows what His name is. You don't need to be so arrogant as to tell it to Him. Perhaps you might ask Him directly which name is best for you to use. Whatever name seems right to you is the one you should adopt for your intimate relationship with your Higher Power; but, when it comes to discussing your Spiritual Power with others, you also may wish to use the term, "God", strictly as a matter of convenience in communicating with your fellow alcoholics.
Writing for Step 2a: Make a list of powers greater than yourself within the following three classes:
- Physical: (Examples: alcohol, pistols, policemen, bosses, cancer....)
- Mental: (Examples: alcohol obsessions, greed, anger, pride, lust...)
- Spiritual: (God...)
STEP 2b. Came to believe that the Power selected as greater than myself could restore me to sanity. When A.A literature refers to insanity it is not using the dictionary definition of insanity. The Big Book is talking about the insane thinking of an alcoholic when he decides to ingest alcohol. In this sense, we all, without exception, have been insane. Moreover, our plight was hopeless. It is necessary, therefore, that our Higher Power be sufficiently able and willing to restore us first to the sanity of total abstinence.
Writing for Step 2b: Review the powers you listed in the writing above. Place a check mark to the left of each one that meets the condition of being able and willing to keep you from taking the next drink on a continuing basis. Your choices just became narrower.
Notice, too, that we come to believe. Your ultimate belief is unlikely to be obvious to you right away. We just keep at it. Be as persistent in promoting belief in your Higher Power as you were in justifying your drinking. In fact, why not ask your Higher Power to affix in your consciousness the certainty of His Reality. He will, if you let Him!
If you are not yet at the stage of talking to (let alone hearing from) a spiritual being, you may wish to follow A.A.'s suggestion that you begin with your favorite A.A. group as a power greater than yourself. Then, by following the A.A. spiritual starter kit, you will come into conscious awareness of an even higher Power.
Many of us have been downright confused about the idea and nature of God. Here's a discussion that has been helpful in sorting things out:
theists: First, we find the theists, those who worship one or more deities (God). Nearly all theists believe in a theology (their approved set of religious beliefs) espoused by one of the many religious institutions. These institutions often rely also upon antigods (devils) or a book alleged to be a faithful rendition from antiquity. Too, most claim exclusivity in the correctness of their system. Throughout human history (and certainly true today) some theists have been known to fight with each other. Yet, many wonderful people, including a great many A.A. members, attend church regularly and worship its deity successfully.
atheists: The letter prefix A means not or against . Atheists are believers that there is no God. They tend to take issue with all the theists.
From the diagram you just saw, and based upon the opinions of the theists and atheists, there seem to be only two choices for you to make—their way or the wrong way. It often appears to the AA newcomer that he must pick one of the churches (on the left above) or join the anti-church church (on the right). While some of these may be valid options, you might also resolve that you just don't feel comfortable being on the theist-atheist scale at all. After all, once you have picked a belief system, you have, as a consequence, rejected all the other systems you didn't pick. Maybe you feel you don't have any business making decisions about God's business.
Fortunately, you have at least four options, not just two. You could even opt to be agnostic, as the next diagram shows.
Agnostics: The agnostic cannot buy into the theologies (both pro and con), and he simply says, "I just don't know." The agnostic is on a wholly different plane. The theist-atheist plane is based upon the head or intellect. The agnostic is a(without)-gnosis(knowledge). And, with only modest imagination, we can remove the a and conceive of—you guessed it—the Gnostic, or knower. Moreover, the gnosis (knowledge of the existence and will of the Higher Power) is of the heart rather than the mind. You may have heard it said in an A.A. meeting that the longest journey in the universe is the one from your heart to your head. One of the meanings of this expression is that you need not play the mental and emotional game of the churches at all. Deal directly, instead, with the Spiritual Power that reveals itself to you.
The spiritual starter kit. All of this theology stuff can seem downright confusing. It can even appear to be a barrier in the path of sobriety. We A.A.s are fortunate in having a spiritual starter kit, so to speak, in chapter 4 of the Big Book. It is suggested as a sure fire method of coming to know a spiritual power. Here it is (we have supplied the bold style to selected characters):
Step 2.1. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and...[Big Book page 46, line 15]
Step 2.2. ...express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God. [Big Book page 46, line 16]
Step 2.3. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you...we had to begin somewhere, so we used our own conception, however limited it was. [Big Book page 47, line 4]
Step 2.4. ...As soon as a man can say that he does believe or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. [Big Book page 47, line 16]
In short form the kit might read: a) Set aside all prejudice (both belief and disbelief about God and religions), b) Become willing to believe, c) Study all spiritual concepts, and formulate an initial—even conditional or tentative—conception of God, and d) Be persistent in testing the state of your belief and knowledge.
It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. [Big Book page 47, line 19]
Notice that our step 2.3 above quotes that we used our own conception...of a Higher Power. Some of us were so spooked by the thought of a spiritual power that we had to begin with something more tangible. We have actually heard of newcomers using a door knob, a light bulb, a tree, or a moving van as their Higher Power. Such material objects, even animate ones, are not recommended. Two interim powers, however, seem to be effective for starters:
1) The A.A. group. Your A.A. Group is certainly a focal point of spiritual power, and it and its individual members can provide counsel and direction to straighten out your life if you wish.
2) A borrowed Power. You may know an A.A. member who seems to be comfortable with an effective Higher Power. It's quite acceptable to ask him or her to describe their Power to you, and if it is not offensive to you, you might ask to borrow their Power until you have your own. We are sure they will be delighted to comply.
Many of us have adopted schemes like these for a quick start in step 2. But, of one thing you may be sure—your own conception of a Higher Power will change with time as long as you are actively willing for Him to manifest Himself within you.
In our discussion about step 3 we will talk more about your right—actually, duty to yourself—to find a spiritual power of your own personal understanding. If that deity happens to be worshipped within a church, that is perfectly acceptable. However, do not accept statements from well-meaning A.A.s that so-and-so is the real and original Higher Power in A.A, and that you are short-changing yourself with any other. They are dead wrong! Take your A.A. spiritual counsel from those who follow the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Ultimately, you will find that your spiritual counsel will come directly from God himself.
(We have made)....clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives. (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism. (c) That God could and would if He were sought. [Big Book page 60, line 15]
We are fortunate in having a summary of the first two steps directly from the Big Book:
Notice that no non-spiritual power could have relieved our alcoholism, and that God could and would! This is a very comforting guarantee, provided we meet the condition, if He were sought. And, what a relief. He does not need to be found, only sought.
And, take further comfort in these promises:
He humbly offered himself to his Maker—then he knew. Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him. When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us! [Big Book page 57, line 8]
The principle of Step Two is ________________________. (It's time for you to uncover the principles of the steps on your own. We will compare notes when we discuss your writing.)
Information is taken from the Big Book Bunch.
Monday, March 19, 2012, 10:20 PM
I rec'd several requests to continue the Steps and I was reminded that it saves lives and for that I am reponsible.
Here is a video I would like you to watch on Step 1. Tuesday will be our last day on Step 1.
video.search.yahoo.com/video/play Go to Yahoo Step1 and Step1 of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?p=st... O.k., try this one.
Monday, March 19, 2012, 1:28 PM
I am not feeling well today. It's not because I am physically sick it's because I am emotionally sick.
I am surrendered my relationship over and over with someone very close to me and I keep going back hoping that things will change.
But things aren't changing. I think that I have grown and matured. But I think my mother misses the old me. The one who stayed intoxicated and in-coherent. A state in which left her in total control.
Now, this has not happened in many years but the belittling, critizing and hurtful words continue. O.k., finally enough is enough.
I have set boundaries and you ignore all of them so now I must keep my contact to you to matters of importance.
It's very painful to have to let a parent go especially when society says "You Should Be Close To Your Parent." But what if your parent is hurting you?
Hears the other thing what if your a christian and the bible says to "Honor your Mother and Father That your Days may be long upon the earth." I heard that one alot growing up.
Here's the flip side of that coin "Parents DO NOT provoke your children to anger."
Yeah! I know you don't have these problems. Well, some of us do so do and for those who do I am writing this to you because I don't want you to think that there is something wrong with you.
You DON'T HAVE TO DO TOXIC ANYMORE!!!!
Who wants to bring old toxic behaviors and beliefs into new relationships?
I know my Mother is a wonderful person don't get me wrong. She's just not wonderful to me.
There's some good in the worst of us and some bad in the best of us.
If someone has been in a verbally abusive relationship for decades so much so that they now think this behavior to be of the norm there is nothing you can do to change them. But there is something you can do to change you.
'THERE IS A BIG OLD PINK ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM AND EVERYONE CHOICES TO IGNORE IT."
Dr. Susan Forward with Craig Buck has a wonderful book it's called "Toxic Parents" Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life.
She also has another book I recommend reading and it's called "Emotional Ballckmail:
When People In Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You
My reality is that I may never have the relationship with this parent that I wold like to have and at this point I have stopped trying because it is just to painful.
I think that I have matured a log emotionally but talking to that person sends into a state of deep depression. I know that I allow it to happen. Here's how I allow it to happen "by expecting them to be someone other than themselves."
Like Maya Angelpu says "When I person shows you who they are believe them."
It doesn't stop the pain but I can set you free!
And tell God "Thine Will Be Done." Or "God grant me the serenity to except the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
I may hurt for awhile but I will get better with time.
We'll do Step 2 tomorrow. I need to lick my wounds!!!