Level 5 Member
Sunday, June 10, 2012, 9:30 PM
Here are the steps we took:
12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
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 the three suggestions which follow.
READING FOR STEP ONE
|Big Book:Chapter 7, Working with Others.12&12:Step 12
STEP 12a. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps....
The price. This little quote sums up the price we pay to get to this point:
My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements. Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.
[Big Book, page 13, line 29]
Awakening as the result of what? The result, or consequence of taking the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is a Spiritual Awakening. Please reflect that this step does not say the awakening comes as the result of taking steps 1 though 11, those preceding Step 12. On the contrary, the awakening comes as the result of taking these
(all of the twelve) steps, including Step 12. (If you disagree, that is wonderful. Keep on digesting these steps.)
An exclusive result? Notice, too, that the result of these 12 steps is a Spiritual awakening. We have heard that this awakening is the sole or exclusive result, otherwise our authors would have said "...a..." result. Careful reading of the Big Book, however, makes clear that there are many results of taking the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, even though your Spiritual Awakening may be the cardinal, or most significant, result.
Who/what awakens? The original draft of the Big Book said the result was a spiritual experience. However, experience was changed to awakening, because the experience was so subtle for most of us that we couldn’t really say when it happened, what it was like, or whether it had ever happened at all. Some folk believe that it is the Spirit, the God-head within us that awakens as the result of our taking the steps. Upon deeper reflection, however, we come to doubt that we could have ever gotten into A.A. and through the first 11 steps without the guidance of a Spiritual Power. Therefore, the Spirit has not been asleep to awaken. It is we, who have slept in the presence of the Sprit, that are now quickened to consciousness of the ever-presence of God.
Where do we find God? The awakening concept also clears up the question as to where and how do we find God. The answer, is, of course that God was within us from the very beginning. As to the where, the Big Book tells us at least twice exactly where God is:
With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience.
[Big Book, page 569]
Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us. We can only clear the ground a bit. If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway.
[Big Book, page 55]
You may recall the song, the Blue Bird of Happiness, in which the bird–after being sought all over the place–is eventually found right in one’s own back yard.
How do we find God?
As to how we establish conscious contact with our Spirit, the Big Book offers a simple and fool-proof spiritual starter kit for all who seek. Its four tools are sub-steps 2.1 through 2.4:
Our Spiritual Starter Kit
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 our experience, God is revealed to us when we allow and participate in removal of the blocks we have placed before His countenance. These impedimenta are removed slowly, and
...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]
An evolutionary awakening. Most of us have become aware of His Presence only in retrospect, that is, by realizing that He is simply there, as He has been for some undetermined time:
The first evidence of the awakening is usually in the change that takes place in our actions. We stop doing the things that injure ourselves and others. We begin to do the things that demonstrate constructive service. This is because most of we alcoholics do not think ourselves into right actions, but we can act ourselves into right thinking.
Next, there is an evolution in awareness. The mind has discarded its old habits, and new habits and ideas are in charge.
Finally, we discover that the promises in the Big Book are coming true in our lives. The essence of these is the presence of an internal peace that would have been inconceivable were we still drinking and carrying-on as we once were.
The smears on the window of the Spirit within have been removed. His radiance and power shine upon the world and others through us. The light is not of our making, we are simply the channels through which it flows. But, we play a vital role in all this. It is ours to:
keep the lens free of the stain of ego
to keep the nozzle of God’s power opened
and to train it upon those who are desperate for sobriety and healing.
STEP 12b. ...I have tried to carry this message to alcoholics, ...
Carrying the A.A. message is mandatory.
You have learned by now that carrying the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to those who still suffer is an indispensable component of your own sobriety. You can uncover many quotations in the Big Book to affirm the absolute necessity of your carrying the A.A. message to other alcoholics. Here are but two examples:
Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.
[Big Book. page 20, line 1]
PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill. [Big Book. page 89, line 1
Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. [Big Book. page 89, line 15]
Where do newcomers come from? Circumstances in which we carry the message have changed significantly since the Big Book was written. In the old days, the drunk was found by or referred to an A.A. member, who qualified his prospect, often taking him through Step 3, before sponsoring his attendance at a meeting. Now-of-days, the prospect may call into a telephone exchange that either sends some of us out for a visit or arranges for the prospect to attend a meeting; the prospect may just show up at a meeting alone or with a friend; he may have met some of us at a hospital or penal institution; he may "graduate" from a drying-out institution; or, a judge might sentence the poor guy or gal to a number of meetings (without ever consulting with us first). Thus, open meetings and a cup of coffee afterwards serve as the primary screening vehicles through which we come into contact with raw recruits. We have, for the most part, learned that many of the drunks who really need to sober up are often reluctant to try the A.A. approach. Unfortunately, It is typically necessary for them to take the first move in seeking recovery.
Experience is indispensable. Given that we feel compassion for the suffering alcoholic and are willing to spend some time with him, the only real tool we have is experience. Your experience with recovery, though vital, is of less importance with the very new than your experience with alcoholic drinking preceding recovery. The best experience is your own experience. The new prospect will know right away that you are authentic. Without his being able to validate you, you are wasting your time, and his, too. Of secondary benefit is your ability to relate the experience of others you know in A.A. But, second-hand experience will usually suffice only to get the prospect to a meeting where he can meet a sober member with personal experience of an alcoholic situation similar to his own. The other tools in your kit, of course, are those which open the channel to a Higher Power.
With whom should you work?
With alcoholics. The first suggestion is that you carry the message to alcoholics. Lots of people come into A.A. with major problems that a compassionate member would like to help them out of. If we try to relieve newcomers from problems other than alcohol, we can get ourselves into uncharted waters in a hurry. Quite often we eventually discover that our own egos play a part in our trying to rescue those in need. Those with medical problems should see doctors. Those who are really out-of-balance in the head should see therapists. The financially strapped can usually manage to survive. Repair of a catastrophic family situation should probably be left to a counselor. Our unique domain of excellence is avoidance of the next drink, although it is natural for us to try to be useful in other areas as well.
With alcoholics who really want to recover. When you are asked to help another, you are quite in order to ask, "Are you willing to go to any lengths to stop drinking alcohol?" If they are, continue. One of the worst traps we can get into is to try to sell A.A. This puts us on the defensive, where we cannot afford to be. If your prospect is not sick and desperate enough to grasp at about any straw, then he might have to try another approach. A.A. is the "best deal in town for a buck". But, there are others, too, and they might seem more palatable. Sometimes, we weep at how often real alcoholics turn, again and again, to the ultimate teacher–alcohol. If your prospect continues to drink in spite of your assistance, he just might be better off under the guidance of someone else.
With alcoholics who ask for your help. Continue with those who ask for your help. But don’t be misled that all the things which might be asked of you are valid "A.A. requests". Carrying the alcoholic for more than a day or two, if ever, is something we avoid. It may come to the point that you must decide what you think the newcomer really needs, and you then offer that to him or her. If that isn’t what they want, then they have plenty of other sober members to find it from. There comes a point, too, at which the prospect either follows the A.A. path, or he wants to do it his own way. Sometimes we need to give him enough slack to stumble. Hopefully, he doesn’t also "slip".
Getting the right help. In many instances you might believe that the newcomer will be better off with an organization other than A.A. or with a different A.A. member, and you should try to steer them there. A good ground-rule is that you should have gotten out of the kinds of predicaments the newcomer is in, so you can explain what you did to get out. Otherwise, you can provide only head-learning where actions taken and experiences learned are needed. We mentioned elsewhere that A.A. is like a three-legged stool. Each is necessary to keep it from falling on its face. These are:
The 12 steps. They will work to recover from just about anything.
Fellowship. Working with other recovered alcoholics is necessary. Those lacking direct personal experience in alcoholism carry the message poorly.
This whole thing works only in the presence of and under the direction of God.
Do not short-change newcomers by letting them depend upon you to help them out of situations outside our own experience. In addition, it is usually not a good idea to undertake extensive therapy with a candidate you are or might be sexually or emotionally attracted to. With rare exceptions, women work with women, and men work with men.
What is the source of recovery, anyway?
Few of us have escaped the exhilaration of getting a new prospect sober–or kick ourselves for letting him slip into the debauch of relapse–only to realize that we didn’t do it. At most, we carried the A.A. message and offered some compassion and comfort, for a while. We have also come to know that the newcomer didn’t bring about his own sobriety, either. Nor did the Group or the book. It was the result of you and your prospect using the other tools in your recovery tool-kit. Yes, we gain the certain knowledge that God, the Creator of the Universe, Himself, does the work. Period.
The best 12th step might just be you.
Words are often cheap. The message that best gets through the haze and cynicism of the alcoholic is you–your situation and behavior. Do you have what the newcomer wants, not so much in terms of your possessions, but, more correctly, would the newcomer want to be like you. This takes us right to the pay-off. Your life has been spiritualized and you are living by the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.
STEP 12c. ...and I have tried to practice these principles in all of my affairs.
These Principles? And which principles might be these principles, pray tell? Most members answer with, the steps. They are partly right. For the moment, let us resolve that these principles are the Alcoholics Anonymous principles of recovery as set forth in the Big Book (and the 12&12). They are not some other collection of principles.
Principles. To be sure we know what we are talking about, it is necessary to decide just what a principle really is. A principle is a fundamental or basic tenet, truth or rule. Principles are the foundation of truth underlying the laws of nature, and, especially, belief systems. For the purposes of A.A., principles might be thought of as basic action guidelines. They represent the belief system against which we measure thoughts or actions.
We have compiled a listing of many of the principles of recovery in the Big Book in Principles ... The principles of recovery [rev. 4/17/1997]
But, the "principles" addressed thus far are but a few of the principles that should guide our lives. For example:
Patience, tolerance, understanding and love are the watchwords. [Big Book, page 118 line 13]
These are four additional principles we affectionately call PLUT (Patience, Love, Understanding, and Tolerance). If you continue in the latter chapters, you will also encounter inclusion of Compassion and Kindness amongst the necessary virtues for recovery. Thus, our favorite acronym, PLUCKT, comes about. It is perfectly correct to suggest that others who know this bit of inside knowledge should "Get PLUCKT" for serenity. (grin) [NOTE: since this was written, PLUCKT has expanded to GSSSHHHPLUCKTTM. Please refer to the topic following entitled Virtue ....... Virtues for Sound Human Relationships GSSSHHHPLUCKTTM [rev. 3/30/1997]
You are going to have an exciting time identifying and practicing A.A.'s principles. It is suggested that you and some friends start with the first printed page in the Big Book (then the 12&12), and that you each read a paragraph while the others ask themselves if the paragraph contains any basic action guidelines for recovery from alcoholism, for quality living in general or for spiritual growth. If so, write them down.
In all of our affairs.
Once we have learned the talk, we walk like we talk. Knowing what the principles of recovery in A.A. are is the easy part. The key to Step 12 is that we practice/exercise or act in accordance with these A.A. principles in all of our affairs (thoughts, words and deeds) 24 hours of each day during each day of every year. Wow! Now we understand better what is meant by:
What an order, I can’t go through with it. [Big Book, page 118 line 13]
But we do. Of course we can’t be perfect (saints). We just get better and better and better....... New habits eventually displace old habits, and we don’t even notice the dramatic changes that have taken place in our attitude and behavior. The rest of the world notices, though. They really do appreciate our new and constructive contribution rather than the destruction we once delivered.
So, we are new people, behaving under new guidelines; we describe and demonstrate to other A.A.s the message of A.A.; and we have a spiritual experience. Each of these three parts of Step 12 reinforces the other two. Each is vital to recovery.
Graduating from A.A
. Newcomers sometimes feel that coming into A.A. is something like attending school. There are classes, home work, grades, and graduation. While there is some validity to this analogy, ponder these Questions are Answers:
1. Q. How long do I have to attend these darn meetings? A. Until you want to. 2. Q. How does A.A. work? A. Very, very slowly.
Back to the school idea. A.A. does resemble a country school, where all grades are taught in the same class room:
Students in each grade teach those in the grade below what they ought to learn.
Each student prods those on the same grade to advance to the next, so that they can pull him up there when they finally arrive there.
Each grade teaches all the other grades what they ought to unlearn.
Those who do their best at teaching become the best learners.
Nobody is in charge but the Spirit. As one advances, life gets better and better. Who could want more? We don’t even think about graduating. Why would we want to? This is what happens......
....alcoholics have ... what are called vital spiritual experiences. ...They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them. [Big Book, page 27, line 14]
Writing: There is no writing assignment. Just keep trudging on the broad highway.
The principle of Step 12. ______________________________________
Sunday, June 10, 2012, 6:55 PM
All things must come to an end. I can difficult when relationships are over but some people are only menat for a season and not for a life time.
Saturday, June 9, 2012, 2:11 AM
If anyone out there is familiar with Identity Theft I need your help!
Here's the situtation in 2007 someone used my Real Estate Broker's License number and made $80,000.00 over the amount that I had made and filed taxes in my name.
Needless to say, trying to get anything done with the IRS is let pulling teeth. Anyway, they just cleared my account in which the tax franchise board attached a $6,000-.00 tax lien on.
O.k., Now the problem is getting the to remove the tax lien. They sent me a letter stating that they would remove it from my credit report and that I did not owe any monies to the tax franchise board. But they have yet to remove it and it as been 5 months now.
How do you say sue the State?
I have several other accounts on my credit repair in which I was told would be removed because of identity theft but they seem to be taking their time. Actually, their moving in slow motion, very slow motion.
Some with experience in this matter please give me some information. My score has gone from a 703 to hell.
Friday, June 8, 2012, 12:42 AM
Here are the steps we took: 11) Sought to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
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 steps 11a and 11b, below.
READING FOR STEP ELEVEN
|Big Book:Chapter 6, Into Action.From: Page 85, line 28 Thru: Page 88.Appendix II, Spiritual Experience, page 56912&12:Step 11
We have included the first full paragraph on page 86 of the Big Book within step 10, because that is where it belongs, but there is nothing wrong with your reading it again. This step is about coming closer to your Spiritual Power (step 11a) and your seeking to fulfill His plan for you (step 11b).
STEP 11a. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve your conscious contact with God (as you understand Him)....
Evolution of God-consciousness. At the outset, let’s look at the phrase " improve your conscious contact..." Talk of improvement advances the belief that you already have achieved a beginning of conscious contact, otherwise there would be nothing to "improve" upon. Here are some examples of the evolution of God-Consciousness through the steps:
When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.
[Big Book, page 51, line 5]
This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. [Big Book, page 130, line 9]
Step 2. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. [Big Book, page 47, line 4]
If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.
[Big Book, page 55, line 24]
He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from bridge to shore. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator. [Big Book, page 56, line 25]
Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming "God-consciousness" followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. [Big Book, page 569, line ]
Step 3. 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. When we sincerely took such a position, 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. 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 were now at Step Three. [Big Book, page 62, line 27]
On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything necessary. His wife came, scarcely daring to be hopeful, though she thought she saw something different about her husband already. He had begun to have a spiritual experience.
[Big Book, page158, line 9]
Step 5. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
[Big Book, page 75, line 12]
Step 10. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God- conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action. [Big Book, page 85, line 28]
Step 11. I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within. [Big Book, page 13, line 21]
In Step12 we are advised that we will experience a "spiritual awakening". It is now clear that the awakening is simply the end result of a growing consciousness of the Spirit. Step 11 focuses exclusively upon nurturing this consciousness through prayer and meditation. But, first, let’s discuss the "as you understand Him" phrase which appears in both Steps 3 and 11. What this phrase means is:
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion or a church.
Steer clear of A.A.’s who try to con you into believing in their understanding or name of God as being "right". They are at variance with the steps and traditions of A.A. However, it is quite proper to lend ones own conception of the Spirit to another member until they are comfortable with their own conception—which could be the same one, still.
A.A. has no formula or dogma about God that you must or should accept. (Although careful reading of the Big Book and the 12 & 12 do offer some pre-conceived notions that you may or may not adopt. Some of these are that God is one, all-powerful, universally present, forgiving and loving.)
It is quite acceptable to use the A.A. Group as a Higher Power for a while, or to borrow an understanding from another A.A. member or a church. But, eventually the Spirit you come to have conscious contact with will be that which is manifest to you personally.
You may or may not "understand" your God. The extent to which you have a mental grasp of the name or nature of God is not what is being talked about. " Understanding" refers to the choosing, not the knowing.
The point of the phrase is that the name and nature of the Higher Power you came to seek in Step 2 are yours and yours alone. Your Spirit will be revealed to you as you come nearer to your Spirit.
Prayer and Meditation.
On page 25 of the Big Book there is mention of a spiritual tool kit. Have you thought about the tools that might be in it? Certainly prayer and meditation are there. The reading assignment on page 1 above distinguishes between prayer and meditation. In brief, prayer is the act of asking God for guidance. Meditation is the act of receiving His power and wisdom. The 12 & 12 suggests that reciting the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (enclosed herewith) can be useful. It further suggests that meditation upon its message can also bring about change within us.
The method of prayer & meditation.
We often hear it said in meetings that the speaker "hits his knees every morning." Not being brought up Catholic or Muslim, we envisioned that slapping of the knees might be spiritually significant in A.A. When we discovered that the act of prayer was being referred to, we asked why A.A. tells us to get on our knees to pray. We were informed that A.A. makes no such suggestion. In fact, reference to praying on the knees, in the original draft of Step 7, was explicitly removed to prevent the misconception that such a practice was suggested. Moreover, to be on one’s knees as a prior condition to prayer will prevent prayer at many opportunities during the day. If you or your sponsor think that you should be on your knees for correct prayer, then by all means do so. It might just be the best way to pray. For the content of prayer, see Step 11b that follows.
There are hundreds of books about meditation. It is a good idea to peruse these and to try their suggestions out. It is an even better idea to ask your fellow A.A.s how they meditate. In Southern California there are a number of A.A. meetings that include a 5 or 10 minute meditation as part of their format. The most essential element in meditation is withdrawal of self, giving the stage of conscious attention to the Spirit. Because it is almost impossible to totally eliminate conscious thought, you might try focusing upon just one thought. Some folks concentrate on a candle, others a chime. Many witness the breath passing in and out of their nostrils. There are those that chant, and others that adopt a special posture. For most of us, though, sitting quietly as comfortably as possible, usually alone, is preferred. Try to find a scheduled quiet time each day for your meditation. Five minutes will suffice. Up to a half hour might be possible. But, remember, meditation is not an experience in which you are the Master of Ceremonies, nor is it a planning session. Its purpose is to come into harmony with your Spirit.
The frequency of prayer and meditation.
While avoidance of concentration upon other activities is necessary for effective prayer, why pass up any opportunity to relate with the Creator of the universe? Two terrific times to make prayer a habit are first thing upon arising and last thing before retiring. The tenth step review on page 86 of the Big Book is a valuable exercise prior to the evening prayer. Why not also take time at the beginning of each meal to express gratitude, to thank your Father for His presence, guidance and power; and to thank your companions for their company. They don't even need to know that your statement is a prayer.
STEP 11b. Pray only for knowledge of His will for you and the power to carry that out.
Who is here to do for whom? What does the Big Book mean when it tells us He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves?
"God will do for us...."
But my friend sat before me, and he made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself.
[Big Book, page 11, line 14]
[Big Book, page 116, line 16]
[Big Book, page 70, line 31]
[Big Book, page 71, line 1]
We have heard these statements interpreted as meaning that God can (and will) make us healthy, wealthy, wise and amorously successful. Looking at them in context, however, their meaning is very limited: In the first instance, Ebby is pointing out to Bill that God sobered him up when he could not do it by himself. In 2., the family is advised that God’s sobering up of Dad is a sign that He can fix up the rest of the family as well. In 3. and 4. the point is that God can sober us up and remove the self-imposed obstacles that prevent us from doing His will.
Even though life in God’s camp is enormously fulfilling, be assured that God is not here primarily to take care of us and our desires. He is here to give us the tools and the power to do His work, not ours.
Be assured that we are not describing an arrow in the balloon of joyful life. Quite the contrary, the will of God is infinitely more satisfying than anything we could plan for ourselves. If you are not so sure about this, stick around until you are. You will be amazed before you are half way through.
So, there is ample direction in the Big Book about the proper use of prayer.
What to Pray For
I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure." [
Big Book, page 13, line 20]
To sum up about sex: 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. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. [Big Book, page 70, line 15]
It may be that both will decide that the way of good sense and loving kindness is to let by-gones be by-gones. Each might pray about it, having the other one's happiness uppermost in mind. [Big Book, page 82, line 6]
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. [Big Book, page 87, line 10
If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing . [Big Book, page 87, line 23]
The secret for successful sobriety. We are often amazed that some A.A. members—many of them anything but newcomers—seem to have missed the foremost secret of success in A.A.
If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.
[Big Book, page 44, line 4]
You have undoubtedly run into the A.A. must-sayers, who proudly tell you how may times the Big Book uses the word, must. (Write us for the correct answer and all the examples, if you must have them.) Maybe they should also count and note the message of the "only"s if they want to know what is really important. According to the quotation above, just how much lattitude do we real alcoholics have in avoiding the only thing which will conquer alcoholism?
You have noticed by now that Big Book chapters 3 through 7 are organized in the same sequence as are the steps. Just as each step has its guiding principle (see our discussion of Step 12), each step contains a problem to be overcome. Moreover, each of the problems is solved by one or more prayers consistent with the principle of the step.
Problems are Solved by Prayer Associated with each Step
Step 1.Problem: self-indulgence. Solution: surrender & abstinence
Step 2.Problem: defiance. Solution: open-minded willingness
Problem. belief in self-sufficency. Solution: God-dependence
God, I offer myself to You —to build with me and to do with me as You will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Your Power, Your Love, and Your Way of life. May I do Your will always. Amen.
[Big Book, page 63, line 14]
Step 4.Problem: ignorance about self: Solution honest data gathering:
(..the number one offender. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease ...When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically."..the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill.) Solution: We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."
(..an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve.) Solution:...we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play a role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity. ...we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.
(Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead?) Solution : . We subjected each relation to this test—was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed... In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it. God alone can judge our sex situation... we let God be the final judge. : 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. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.
(We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can.) Solution: faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him.
Problem: fear. Solution: Returning home (after taking the step) we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done. We thanked God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better.
Problem: denial. Solution: Can He now take them all—every one? If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.
Problem: arrogance. Solution :: My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.
[Big Book, page 76, line 8]
Problem: guilt. Solution: Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We must not shrink at anything.
Problem: ego. Solution: Before taking drastic action which might implicate other people we secure their consent. If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we must not shrink. . So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love. The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.
Problem: procrastination. Solution: We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. 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. Love and tolerance of others is our code. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.
Problem: distrust. Solution: After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. 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. 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 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.
Problem: sloth. Solution: . God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then.
Writing: What are your favorite prayers?
The principle of Step 11________________________________.
Thursday, June 7, 2012, 3:57 AM
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:30-44 ESV)
When your in a desolate place use what you have. Jesus demonstrated in feeding the five Thousand with two loats of bread and the five fishes that all God requires of us is to use what we have and he will do the rest!
Jesus was fully aware of the principles of God he knew that you dismiss or to not take advantage of what God has already provided what be abuse.
1. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege.
2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.
3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.
4. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.
5. Obsolete To deceive or trick
To misuse anything that God has given us is abuse.
1. Misuse of resource produces mismanagement
a) Gen.3:6 Adams and Eve abused the fruit on God's one forbidden tree.
b) They did with it what it was not made to do-they ate it
c) Whenever you misuse resources, you have beccome a mismanager
d) When you mismanage what God gave you, you will lose it
2. Misappropriation of resources brings disqualification and quilt.
a) Whatevery you mismanage you will lose. Matt. 25:24-28
b) You must use what you have for the purpose, which it was intended.
c) Being a child of God doesn't qualify you for God's blessings, but it is your
ability to manage the things o fod that qualifies you for his blessings.
d) God will forgive you for mismanagemenet of his resources but you must
learn to do the right thing before trusting you again.
e) People who are disciplined in this area attract God to them.
f) The meek shall inherit the earth, meek denotes self-control and self discpline.
the result is rulership over earth's real estate
3. The responsibility of management cannot be transferred
a) Because you are breathing, it is you who are responsible for the management of
b) Adam tried to transfer his management responsibility to Eve
c) Be careful that you are not manipulated by other people through your emotions,
because that could lead to the misappropriation of your money. I Tim. 5:3,11
4. What ever you mismanage, you will lose
a) Gen.3:23 Adam not only lost his job-he also lost his home
b) The devil didn't put Adam out of the garden-God did
c) God is so serious about manage ment that he assigns angels to guard his property
from you because o your mismanagement. Gen. 3:24
d) God doesn't waste his property, John 6:12
e) If you wnat to attract much, manage the little
5) Mismanagement may be personal but it is never private
a) When you mismanage, you are not the only one affected
b) Adam's mismanagement affect every man and women on earth. Romans 5:12
So you see Jesus knew the five principles of mismanagement which are stated above.
That is why he did not send the disciples out for food. He used what God had already provided blessed what he already had than increased it.
WE MUST USE WHAT GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN US! MANAGE IT RIGHT AND THAN ASK FOR AN INCREASE!
Yeah, I know I had a lot of repenting to do too. If you can't say Amen, say Ouch!
Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 1:59 AM
I have gotten a several messages in my inbox from the opposite sex wanting to communicate through various email addresses.
I appreciate and am very honored that you find me interesting. I too love people and love meeting and talking with various people.
But I DO NOT DO INTERNET LOVE.
Simply because I like talking to all my prospects face to face. I like to see your facial expressions, your body gestures, your eye movements and your smile.
So, please don't take offense it's just my person perference.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 1:11 AM
Here are the steps we took: 10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
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:
Continue to take personal inventory. When you are wrong promptly admit it.
READING FOR STEP TEN
|Big Book:Chapter 6, Into Action.From: Page 84, line 16 Thru: Page 86, line 18.12&12:Step 10
Your reading in the 12&12 pointed out that there are four varieties of tenth step inventory:
Although all inventories are alike in principle, the time factor does distinguish one from another. There's the spot-check inventory, taken at any time of the day, whenever we find ourselves getting tangled up. There's the one we take at day's end, when we review the happenings of the hours just past. Here we cast up a balance sheet, crediting ourselves with things well done, and chalking up debits where due. Then there are those occasions when alone, or in the company of our sponsor or spiritual adviser, we make a careful review of our progress since the last time. Many A.A.'s go in for annual or semiannual house-cleanings. Many of us also like the experience of an occasional retreat from the outside world where we can quiet down for an undisturbed day or so of self-overhaul and meditation.
[12&12, page 89, line 7]
These varieties of inventory differ primarily in their timing—when they are taken, and the span of time that they cover:
10a. The spot check inventory. Steps one through nine have sensitized us to see the truth about our own behavior and the manner in which the rest of the world, especially people, respond to our actions. Having developed this awareness, we come to see, during each moment of each day, what is really going on. In other words, we are living in the truth of the moment. We have, in addition to a new awareness, also developed some measure of ability to actually control our actions. No longer are we simply sleep-walking under the direction of old habits—habits, the way we think and act when we are not thinking about what we are doing, and our elaborate delusions. The process of exchanging good habits for destructive old habits is, unfortunately, laborious, and we don't always respond in accordance with the principles of A.A.. (In fact we never do get perfect—at least not in this lifetime.) But here are some of the ways in which the spot-check inventory works:
- Just as we begin to render the digit of disgrace to a "lousy" driver while driving, we become aware of what we are doing. We also recognize that lousy drivers don't deserve our preoccupation, they will not be improved by deprecation, and we have better ways to behave in the presence of the unwashed. We discover more and more that we do not render the sign at all, and when we do slip, we don't respond to his finger with a shaking fist and a red face. We either break off the escalating exchange or we force out a smile—even if it is not a sincere smile. Responding with grace, incidentally, is one of the most perfect ways of "winning" an argument.
- When our boss tells us he didn't like what we did on a recent assignment, and we tell him to go to hell, we try to respond immediately with an apology for our inappropriate reaction. Next, we don't enter into a long string of excuses about why we did what we did, but we try to find out what the boss is really saying. If he doesn't have all the facts we give them to him. If he does not foresee that his approach might cause unfortunate consequences, we gently discuss what we think might happen. But, we don’t try to protect him too much against his will.
If, given our "invaluable counsel", he still wants us to do things differently, we make sure we understand clearly what he wants us to do, and we tell him that we will try to do it that way from now on. And we do it, all the while trying to bring about his objectives and keeping him from getting egg on his face—even when we think he deserves it. Is this a tall order? Not really, it’s actually fun if we learn not to take it too seriously. Besides, all the other alternatives are worse.
10b. The daily review. Most of us try to set aside a time every day for meditation. One constructive activity just prior to meditation is the daily inventory.
...we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions. When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflections, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
[Big Book, page 86, line 3]
There is no need to embellish upon this direction. One point of interest, however, is that the topic in our mind when we drift off to sleep tends to remain in the unconscious mind during the night. Here are some things to avoid thinking about prior to sleeping: having a big fight with a coworker, taking revenge upon the ex-partner, having wild sex, being persecuted or victimized, performing destructive or unlawful acts, and the like. These ideas will keep us fighting, exercising or suffering all night. When we wake up we will be demoralized, bereft of the sunlight of the spirit and all pooped out.
10c. The periodic review. There will arise occasions when we feel a stock-taking will be a good idea. Maybe we are thinking about becoming engaged, and we want to avoid some of the pitfalls we have had in prior relationships. Our work partnership may be faltering or a new job could be coming up. Maybe we are stuck in the seeming malaise of the curse of living, and we just want a new start, or at least something.
The suggested format for a periodic review could well be the same as that used for Step 4. Why not reread our discussion of that step? It is a good idea to follow-up a periodic inventory with a Steps 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, too.
10d. The annual house cleaning. This might be like one of the occasions just discussed. It’s a good idea.
Promises. In the Step 5 guide we repeated the promises that follow that step. Well, check out the bottom of page 84 for these from Step 10:
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone —even alcohol.
For by this time sanity will have returned.
We will seldom be interested in liquor.
If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.
We react sanely and normally, and
we will find that this has happened automatically.
We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.
We are not fighting it,
neither are we avoiding temptation.
We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected.
We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
We are neither cocky nor are we afraid.
That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
With promises like these, who needs booze? No, really! What were the promises of the bottle during our final months of drinking? We know, for a fact, that sobriety in A.A. beats drinking anytime. Yup, every day.
The principle of Step 10 is __________________
Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 10:08 PM
This is a prayer for those who need healing. A healing for any body part.
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise. I praise you, mighty Father. You forgive all my iniquities, and you heal all my diseases. Thank you, Lord. When I am sick, you send your Word, and it heals me and delivers me from all destructions. Your Word is life to me, and it brings healing to my flesh. Thank you for the healing power of your Word, Father. I will never let it depart from my eyes. I will keep your Word deeply implanted within my heart. Praise your name, holy Father. I love you, and I thank you for healing me and keeping me in good health.
Monday, June 4, 2012, 12:40 AM
You know it's bad when you go to church and the word that your pastor brought forward was powerful then you go to get into your car and it's all scratched up the devil is busy!
Why did you scratch up my car? What did my car do to You?
I can understand that you may be angry with me but why are you angry with my car?
Pray for me! Thank God he's changed me!
Go get some anger management or here's some advice try being more mature next time and expressing your feelings!!!
Sunday, June 3, 2012, 2:38 AM
O.k., your almost finished. Remember you didn't drink cause you were molested, abused, mistreated or an outcast there are other people who have been molested, abused, mistreated or an outcast and they didn't drink alcoholically.
So, give your Mama, Daddy, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, Grandma and friends a break!
Stop feeling sorry for yourself! You now have a chance to create a new life! Take advantage of it!
"DON'T MESS WITH IT AND IT WON'T MESS WITH YOU"
Now let's get started...
Here are the steps we took: 9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
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:
Make direct amends to the people you have harmed except when to do so would injure them or others.
READING FOR STEP NINE
|Big Book:Chapter 6, Into Action.From: Page 82, line 17 Thru: Page 84, line 15.12&12:Step 9
Our experience with Step Nine prompts us to emphasize four ideas about this step.
1. Token amends will not do!Just what is an amend? Here is what our trusty dictionary says:
|a-mend :(uh mend') v. . v.t.2. to change for the better; improve.3. to remove or correct faults in; rectify.v.i. <4. to grow or become better by reforming oneself.
Later in this document you will see an extraction of words and phrases that the authors of the Big Book used to describe what they meant by the word amend. Their true meaning, while including the definition above, is more like the synonyms for the word, rectify:
|rectify : v.1. right, set right, put right, make right, correct, adjust, regulate, straighten, square; focus, attune; mend, amend, emend, fix, repair, revise; remedy, redress, cure, reform.
One might even use the definition of the word, "repair", to express their meaning:
|re-pair : (ri pâr') -paired, -pair-ing . v.t.1. to restore to a good or sound condition after decay or damage; mend.2. to restore or renew.3. to remedy; make up for; compensate for.
Extracted words and phrases as examples of "amends":
BB = the Big Book of A.A., Alcoholics Anonymous 12&12 = Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
SELF CORRECTION ...sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will. [BB, page 76, line 22] ...demonstration of good will [BB, page 77, line 13] ...sweep off our side of the street [BB, page 77, line 32] ...sit down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it. [BB, page 83, line 2] ...We clean house with the family... [BB, page 83, line 7] ...asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love. [BB, page 83, line 8] ...The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.. [BB, page 83, line 11] ...Our behavior will convince them more than our words. [BB, page 83, line 15] ...There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. [BB, page 83, line 19] ...Some people cannot be seen—we send them an honest letter. [BB, page 83, line 22] ...We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping. [BB, page 83, line 25]
RESTITUTION ...repair the damage [we have] done in the past. [BB, page 76, line 21] ...set right the wrong [BB, page 77, line 12] ...straighten out the past [BB, page 77, line 32] ...arranging the best deal...[of repayment]...we can [BB, page 78, line 21] ...reparations [BB, page 79, line 5] ...sent...money [BB, page 79, line 29] ...willing to go to jail [BB, page 79, line 30] ...make a public statement [BB, page 80, line 15] ...[make]...good to the wife or parents [BB, page 82, line 19] ...reconstruction [BB, page 83, line 1]
APOLOGY ...confessing our former ill feeling [BB, page 77, line 27] ...expressing our regret [BB, page 77, line 27] ...we let these people know we are sorry [BB, page 78, line 21] ...admitting faults [BB, page 79, line 28] ...admit our fault [BB, page 81, line 21] ...asking forgiveness [BB, page 79, line 28] ...A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill at all. [BB, page 83, line 2]
2. Don't rush into amends without guidance. You can mess up yourself and others unless the best judgment is used. And, when we are new to sobriety, our judgment is often not so swift. Please read again the words we offered for Step Eight, which is the planning of your amendment step.
3. Your amends must never harm others. Both of the books make clear that we cannot seek atonement at the expense of others. Be especially careful not to implicate or injure other people in your wrong-doing.
4. Don't forget to take the hidden step–forgiveness. You will recall that in Step Four you listed the people who had harmed you as part of your resentment matrix. None of the steps emphasizes sufficiently that the ultimate process of resentment eradication (and they must be wiped out) is forgiveness of those we resent. If you have not yet cleaned up your resentments, finish them off in Step Nine. It then becomes the double-edged sword that cuts you free from all harms done by you and to you.
There is a difference between being forgiven and forgiving, however. Our amends to those we have harmed are made at our own initiative and directly to the person harmed, whenever possible. On the other hand, when we are forgiving others, it is rarely appropriate to approach them to let them know they are forgiven. Why?
- They might have no idea that we have resented them. After all, the resentment is ours. Letting them in on our problem cannot do them any good, and may cause them considerable hurt feelings or aggravation–even anger.
- We have been learning not to play God and to avoid ego-serving activities. Approaching other to let them know they are forgiven would usually be thought of as self-serving. This we avoid.
If, on the other hand, the injuring party has let us know that they feel guilt about what they have done, it can often be a true act of kindness to let them know they are off the hook as far as we are concerned. We do this with true humility and compassion. We never give the impression that they owe us something for our act of forgiveness. We then try to treat them the way we want others to forgive us for our own wrongs.
Some of our members believe that the other side of the forgiveness coin, that we are forgiven for our transgressions, is a necessary goal of Step 9. There is no need at all that we be forgiven by the person we have harmed after we make an amend. If they choose to tell us we are forgiven, that is a fine gesture–one we might cherish. However, the real goal here is that you cease to know guilt stemming from your prior acts or omissions. The removal of guilt is the exclusive domain of your spiritual power.
You may also wish to visit Forgiveness
On your way. Your Step 9 can last from several weeks to many years. Start it when you have finished step 8 and are told to do so. Continue until you are done.
PROMISES OF STEP NINE Here are the 20 promises starting at the bottom of page 83 in the Big Book. Some people think these are the only promises the Big Book makes. Little do they realize that each step has a set of promises, and that there are many more besides. There are even a few guarantees. Drop us a line if you have found the 173 promises and guarantees in the Big Book that we have found.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,
we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom
and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past
nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and
we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness (will disappear)
and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and
(we will) gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people (will leave us) and
(fear) of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.
Writing: It would be a good idea to update your amendment plan (step eight) when each amendment is done. Check it off. Make a note as to their reaction. If an agreement was reached concerning further action on your part, write it down. We even know one sponsor who keeps Step 8 lists of his step partners on a computer (on an encrypted file for total privacy). Every month or so, the list us made current.
The principle of Step 9 _______________________.