Sunday, August 31, 2008

Handing over...

At some point each and every day, I hand my will and my life over to a power greater than myself.

On bad days it is when I am at last wrestled into sleep.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Life is a privilege not a right

Normal people wont relate to this... but anyway... One of the most amazing things I have learnt in the last few years (in my 40s mind you) is that it's okay not to want to do something.

I seem to have grown up (or not) believing that when there was something I didn't want to do, such as clean the house or wash sheets etc, there was something wrong with me if I didn't get some sense of satisfaction from doing it.

I have learnt that it's okay to not want to do stuff - and I've learnt to just do it anyway.

Monday, January 23, 2006

It works - it really does

"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."
On reading this I was reminded of something I've heard about prayer in AA many times. That is, that it's okay to pray for something specific so long as you tack on the back "...if it be Thy will."
That has never fit very well with me.
Put simply, I don't trust myself - not in that sense anyway. I suspect that if do pray for something specific I have an agenda that, regardless of how nobly I want to package it, I will still try to get a certain outcome.
Anyway, look for the similarities not the differences.... and stop taking other's inventories....
On a more positive footing and back on the subject, I don't necessarily practice this concisously. I do, however, often say The Serenity Prayer, a 3rd Step Prayer or simply sigh and/or count to ten.
Of course I do not do this perfectly in all circumstances by a long shot. But when I do the rewards are as stated: mor efficient, more energy (less being wasted on resentment) etc.
"Carrying a resentment is like drinking poison, hoping my enemy will die."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

If circumstances warrant...

"If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation.  If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also.  If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing.  There are many helpful books also.  Suggestions about these may be obtained from one's priest, minister, or rabbi.  Be quick to see where religious people are right.  Make use of what they offer."
I have a two year old son and I work 9 to 5 - I reckon that qualifies me at the moment as being one whose cicumstances generally do no warrant. I also do not belong to a religious denomination.
However, I have memorised a few set prayers, one in particular which, for me anyway, emphasises "the principles we have been discussing", the 3rd step prayer. Not to mention the catch all phrase (sometimes said in exasperation) "They Will Not Mine"
I guess another point worth noting:
"There are many helpful books also."
This is probably truer today than it was when this was written. There are a wealth of "daily readings" books, the original and probably best know one (which is not officially AA approved literature) is "Twenty-Four Hours a Day". It's over 50 years old and a bit too "religious" for some.
There are now (probably) hundreds of others of good quality (in my never humble opinion) ranging in flavour across different sexes and genders (there is a difference!), varieties of addiction and different levels and versions of spirituality.
I can certainly vouch for some of the other Hazelden books (the earlier, simpler ones) from the '80s and '90s as well as a couple of top quality AA approved ones, most notably "Daily Relections" and "As Bill Sees It" (both of which are available from many meetings).
The beauty of these books is twofold:
1.   They provide a structure and a focus to the process, usually a reading and a reflection of some sort, often followed by something to focus on for the rest of the day, sometimes in the form of a prayer; and
2.   They always seem to be relevant to that day (but I think this is another of God's little tricks - everything spiritual is always relevant to every day!)
If you're anything like me - the topic to focus on seems to disappear about five minutes after I walk out the door - but I still treasure the days (before my sober cup of life filled beyond overflowing) when this was the only way I could have started the day.
I must find time to do this again!!! (Take that as a prayer.)
PS. Only noticed after I posted this how relevant my previous post (contempt prior to investigation) was to the concluding sentences of this extract:
"Be quick to see where religious people are right.  Make use of what they offer."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Contempt prior to investigation

I've decided to deviate from my current path of a review of the Big Book version of Step 11 and post one of my all time favourite quotes (which I just happened to stumble across yet again).
Like many other quotes in AA literature, it's not from a member of any twelve step programme (the man who it's attributed to died 30 years before Bill W got sober) but has been adopted over the years.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
Kind of a cock-eyed double negative almost sarcasitic statement (it was stated or written well over a hundred years ago) but once distilled it makes sense to me and rings true of the way I often judged the world until about ten years ago (when I became teachable):
If I choose to live a life where I refuse to open my mind to new ways of thinking and new experiences then I will remain in the same place I am now - nothing will change.
That's how I read it anyway.
The quote is particularly relevant to my life experience of coming to grips with a "God as I understand him" (or do not understand him as the case may be).
It's very easy to prove the non-existence of my old version of God (the guy with the white beard dishing out thunderbolts) - and I never failed to win those arguments.
It was not until I let go of that particular old idea absolutely that I started to see things differently, at first a little and then, later, a lot.
I'm obviously not alone as it is quoted at the end of an appendix to the Big Book Appendix II - Spiritual Experience.
This particular appendix is tucked away right away at the very end of the Big Book, which is kind of a shame. For me (a disillusioned non-believer) it was a great insight... But I guess you get to see these things when the time is ready: "Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake.". But that's the subject for another post.