The Big Book is pretty much all out Christian. I mean sure, you can deny it if you like, if denial makes more room for you and your own philosophy. Some deny Christianity simply because they don't like the word or what they believe it represents.. I know I did? I couldn't even say the word God in the beginning so any willingness to believe was directed to a Higher Power not God. God meant religion. Religion meant Catholic. My cousin was Catholic and I hated my cousin so I hated Catholics.
It's just when you stretch the Higher Power thing out to include a doorknob? As if a doorknob represents an object with no human power? You lost me in the end zone. That old school is a bit too old for me. I say reel it back in a few years to atleast when people did read and follow the 12 Step directions in the Big Book. Or both Books, Big Book and 12/12.
Bill with his documented mixed beliefs, his willingness is progressive. Beginning in the Big Book with the "my own conception" suggestion? Ending with calling the one true God by name in the 12/12 with a nudge and a wink. He means Jesus! See! I told you! It's a Jesus thing! SUCKERS!
Oddly I don't seem to care once I see it for what it really is. Jesus? Ok, what's next. At least I'm not following Jim Jones to Ghana. I can follow Bills experience, his experience is safe. I identify with Bill. I can do this, I can be open minded. I'm all alone now anyway so who cares what I believe?
Then comes Bob with his heavenly Father story and Silkworth co-signing it all. Ok fine, AA is loaded with Christian undertones but what about me? The suffering agnostic alcoholic who has but a tiny chip of willingness? I lean toward Bill. Bob is creepy and Silkworth represents authority so he's out. So that's settled. All hail Bill W.. Have I chosen wisely? For me? Yes. All of it was too overwhelming so I needed to choose a side. If not I would compare until I compared myself out of AA altogether. Sabotaging my recovery as usual because I couldn't figure it all out and control it. I would need to quit, cut and run. Again.
Everything changes with or without me.
The Jesus thing? It's been my experience that Jesus doesn't make too hard terms for washing you clean. Desperation seems to help, sure. Hopelessness and despair maybe, but I can't speak for anyone but myself on the Jesus bus.. It's a willingness to believe that seems to be key. I myself alone was willing one day. I was in severe hopelessness and in despair. I fell to my knees and asked Jesus for help. He came in from above me and down through my soul washing my selfishness and fear away with a final wipe of my feet. I felt it. The warmth, the comfort, I had been restored to peace and ease in a few seconds time. I will never forget it. The experience cannot be denied. Yet still? To many believers I am not a suitable Christion. So hey, let me suggest this. If you walk with the one true God? You don't need the strength of numbers. It's you, your demonstration. Your Christmas celebration. There's no need to defend yourself or fight anyone for it. If you want? You can simply do what I do. It does work for me. I get a chance to share myself as I want to be, as who I want to be, I can give without expectation. I'm not perfect of course but I am pretty much free of my selfishness. My willingness is strong. For someone like me? This is good. I can give freely that others may benefit. In my own way? I give the glory to Jesus on Christmas. I celebrate the freedom from self.
I have a way that works I'll share. Anybody can do it. You don't need real money. I do my shopping at the dollar store actually. Last year I scored winter hats, a lot of winter hats. But it took me days of putting cheapo boxes together and the tissue paper stuff, Then wrapping every one in Christmas paper. Marking which were adult or kids, boy or girl. Then dropping all of it (a carload of presents) at the Women's family shelter or shelters and the night staff has to spread it out. It's a lot of work. Don't get me wrong here it was great but still, a lot of work. Plus the pile of presents for people to give to others that initially didn't have anything to give due to their present circumstances. And understand, some circumstances are brutal. Unimaginable.
So I myself choose to not read too much into it. I'm not going to fix anybody or even understand their plight. I am simply offering the downtrodden a free no strings attached gift on Christmas. An anonymous gift as if it fell from the sky or simply appeared out of nowhere. I am not attached to it. Why? Because I can give without expectation or selfish expectation today.. Because I am sober and can see others needs whereas drunk? I only saw my own. I am grateful. I want to give what has been given me. The gift of giving without any reward I never knew existed in my selfishness and fear, my untreated alcoholism.
This year it hit me as I was wandering the dollar store waiting for a shipment of hats to show. I was thinking or recreating last year. Then they caught my eye. Coffee mugs! Christmasy coffee or tea mugs that come with a teabag or hot chocolate packet and are already in a box. So all I need to do is wrap them in Christmas paper! Brilliant! I'll take 100. Make it 200. This will be much easier than last years hats scarves and mittens. If I start now I will have plenty of time to get this done before Christmas eve. I'll bring my laptop to the garage and set up a couple of tables. Watch movies and wrap. This works, Plus it's fun really. I'm out in my own world at night wrapping.
A couple of helpful hints or tricks. Cut about 20 or so 2 inch pieces of tape and stick them along the edge of the table where you're wrapping. This way you can just grab one without fumbling with the tape dispenser every time. Also if the boxes are the same size like the coffee mugs or hats or whatever? Cut the wrapping paper before hand and have the pile of precut paper there on your wrapping assembly line. Also? Try to make the presents personal in some way either by age or gender or unisex. Sizes or colors. Bows are nice on each box but by the time everything is gathered up in big yard bags to bring to wherever your dropping them the bows fall off. My experience anyway but that's with dollar store bows. Basically everything is from the dollar store so don't expect the highest level of quality. I'm not calling it junk I'm just suggesting limited quality on some things like bows that stick.
So like Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to eat a good meal no matter who you are? Christmas can be a good time to give of yourself freely.. Sober even!
I should mention I am aware of the blistering adult child issues surrounding many family holidays. The tunnel vision, the horrors of addictive behavior. The distorted images of abuse sexual or otherwise tattooed on the soul of the victim. The trains of fragmented circumstance. The unresolved histories of the alcoholic showing themselves in recovery as slowly developing emotional security at best. I know it's not easy. I'm not even suggesting it's worth it. Honestly all I know is what I know about myself and that? Well, that can be a crapshoot depending on my spiritual condition daily. But I have found this one way out that works. This seemingly insignificant thing to represent myself in my sobriety. Where I feel good about myself with no cosigners or ticket tape parade. The grace of God? The Big Book 12 Steps? My willingness. It all comes together in a trip around the dollar store with a few hard earned bucks in my pocket. A willingness to share what has been gifted to me. Yes I participate in life. I meet my responsibilities sober. I work with others. But this is my thing. This is just for me. If I wasn't out in the garage wrapping for days on end, nobody would even know what I was doing. It's anonymous, I mean really anonymous. If you knew who I was I wouldn't be writing this.
Christmas is coming. It brings a great opportunity to do something for yourself. To make amends to yourself, to go deep. In AA 12 Step recovery? This is something that should not be missed. To give that another may benefit. Hey, the tree the lights and all. It's a fun time of year. A good excuse to celebrate sobriety and the gift of a new life.
When your a kid you can't wait to get your new bike. When your an adult you can't wait to buy one and give it away.