I've been around AA Big Book long enough to paint myself into a corner of the sponsor debate. Initially attacked for using the word (sponsor) on a Big Book fundamentalist website? I was shocked and ready to fight. Learning quickly that we ceased fighting anything or anybody included the guy on the Big Book website. And the fact that I was Stepsherpa meant little when it came to pummeling myself with resentment.
I've sat quietly and listened while a self seeking AA archivist goes out of their way at a Big Book 12 Step meeting to prove their findings. Justifying myself momentarily in that they chose to run for AA theologian instead of writing a fearless and thorough 4th Step.
I've listened while purists suggest that to go through the 12 Steps, no help from anyone is needed, just God. Referring to those institutionalized or imprisoned and apart from society or trusted human contact..
I've witnessed a Big Book 12 Step group deciding to spend 7th tradition monies totally on Big Books to give away rather than support intergroup or world services. Some AA Big Book 12 Step groups don't register as AA meetings with their local intergroup office which is disturbing to me as AA saved my life not Bobs anonymous.. Not that Bob doesn't have the best of intentions.
While the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions or 12/12 Book, written some years later after the original Big Book 12 Steps were codified and made clear. The 12/12 uses the word "Sponsor" freely. In the Big Book original 12 Steps? It is not there.
I can't help but think selfish ignorance plays a part in the Big Book 12 Step fanatic's denial of the word Sponsor. It's a phase most of us go through mistaking happy joyous freedom from humility. Once a downtrodden drunk with absolutely no direction or hope? Shunned by family or friends? Now a politically correct intellectual genius with similarities to Jim Jones or the other war criminal guy. The frustrated dictator who is sure the AA world would be a better place if only everyone did what he does. Having just enough information to make them dangerous? The keen instinctive ability to interpret the Big Book as if a co-writer.
Here comes childish selfishness, I know something you don't know. I'm better than you are. Sober quality like mine is better than sober quantity like yours.
I was with a new guy last night who picked up on some negativity at the meeting and said he thought everyone was happy joyous and free in the halls? I said they are, pretty much. I said well you're there right? Are you happy joyous and free?
Disturbing really, how a lot of us who do get sober? Start where we became emotionally stunted to begin with. Where any hope for retaining coping skills fell away forever. So for me? I was about 9 or 10 years old emotionally when I finally got to AA's 12 Steps. About the time that emotionally I began running away from home. Then lots of wasted time bouncing off people. Especially in the later years drinking them. A shot of girlfriend, a bottle of police, a six pack of school.. My delusional arrangements drunk or sober now, my selfish and fearful imaginary mind manipulating wives and blameless children, employers, everybody really. The producer of confusion with the best of intention.
Just enough self centeredness still to keep me from listening and retaining? Sure there's a problem there always is. Yes I agree with everything and I want to participate or be a part of your solution but still deny anything applies to me. It's always as if I am extreme self will run riot on the outside looking in. The do as I say, not as I do guy all based on what I think you think.. Now, to be fair? If I could do as I say I would but I can't. I believe because what I think is best for you is mine and enough to offer others. I'm completely full of myself. You need me in your life, This is my gift to the world. And, well, I do have expectations..
I can only use others first to give me reason or purpose to react and be myself or who I think I should be. As if I use others first to build on. Alone I have nothing, no foundation . So without people nothing gets done. Plenty gets imagined sure, but nothing gets done. Still enough egoism and fear to keep me from being vulnerable, keeping me from the risk of letting go of self. I simply wander the universe bouncing off the faults of others to validate myself. This is extreme selfishness. I can find fault in anything. Once I can feel it I'm ok. If another co-signs it? Better yet. It's you and me against those failures. I'm now using you until you leave or move on. Next? Who or what's next to meet my needs? People places and things, over and over. Who will suffer with me today?
Without looking at say pages 17 through 23 in the 12/12 which explains in detail the actual purpose behind the two Books. I see anything written in the 12/12 as simply Bill W's essays and a attempt to make the original 12 Steps palatable to the world. Meaningless to the Big Book thumper.. And to the self righteous self absorbed Big Book Guru like myself, of course an insufficient easier softer way. And we can not have any easier softer ways where alcoholics or others come and read, retain, and apply the experience of Bill W.. No, you beat yourself as a hardcore drunk and now a sober hardcore martyr? You flog yourself in sobriety. After all is said we consider ourselves the real alcoholics. Did I say WE? I meant them.. I was hoping this didn't fully apply to me but well? It is what it is..
Anyway, nobody is going to steal the validation fire from them or us or me. They all must remain "less than" to offer selfish support. The extreme example of self will run riot must burn the brightest. Boundary's are for everyone else who is more or less a problem drinker at best. And at worst, simply drug addicts or overeaters who nothing can be done. Anything but the chosen few who are the originals, who own this AA Big Book 12 Steps. A bit harsh yes? And certainly not the rule in AA but unfortunately for everyone, not uncommon.
HE WHO SMELT IT DEALT IT..
I forget just who I'm dealing with here in Big Book or AA in general. I must remember that people don't get it together first and then come to AA, no.. They come to AA to hopefully get it together.
Still sadly justified, building my self esteem on the backs of others with the "they're screwed up and I'm ok" fog of self delusion. When that statement alone should tell me something about myself? But no, it's only a tool, a weapon to fix or win.. I am always focused solely on others. I hate those people, they're stupid, losers. I'm a worker and they're trust fund babies.
I dislike everyone equally to start. I complain to myself in my self-pity that nobody calls me and I have no friends yet when they do call I don't want to talk and when they want to be friends I'm struggling for control and am busy. I am an empty shell looking to use somebody, anybody. I just want to use you, I don't want to know you, I can't handle it. I'm sober sure and most certainly a miracle as the world that surrounds me is a ghetto. I am a survivor in this wicked place with all these wicked people. It's still all about me though I usually don't think so and would deny it. It's them. The problem is always them. How successful I'd be if only they weren't in my way. If only they respected me. If only they worshipped me like I worship them...If only they were addicted to me like I am addicted to them...
IS EVERYTHING GOOD BAD?
Living a pretty good life here and there, in and around AA. I develop my new sober reputation. Speaking everywhere, lots of meetings, helping other new guys. Better finances, hygiene, travel options, wolves at the door is rare. I pretty much come and go as I please yet while still using all the new people? I fail to enlarge my spiritual life. Letting go of people is not as simple as it sounds for me anyway. There's 12 Steps not just one or two. I'm seemingly hardwired to jockey for position and selfishly seek my own needs, my delusional high level of self worth, I still lower everyone else because alone I can't simply rise. It's a missing piece. It's just not there. I believe in the Higher Power concept sure. It does work for me but it takes so darn long. I need to feel and look good now, today. I can't leave myself alone. I'll make a quick grab for some instant gratification anyway I can get it. Like I said, I do believe in the spiritual realm but I look for results now. I don't have time to grow into anything. I want to feel good now. Be pain free this instant. Somebody? Anybody? Save me from myself.
I lack sufficient courage and strength to change on my own. I'm tired of trying to become healthy while still sick in the head.. Even sober a year or more and I don't even care enough about myself to help myself. I am making incredibly stupid decisions. I still wallow in guilt and shame doing my best to survive on people in AA. After all they are nice to me. They think my past is the problem or childhood maybe but I'm still creating shame as recently as days even moments ago. The people worshipper. My head races in an effort to create a new scenario to old memories I can't live with.
So I bring everyone down to meet me. The problem is? They don't generally stay very long if at all. I have nothing for them and just because they're here now doesn't mean I will stop using them for my emotional security. I use them up quick and then they leave and take me with them, my selfish or self seeking arrangements, my resentments? It's all with them, so now I'm gone too. Back to being the empty shell of a human being. The needy victim in need of a new score. They're gone and I'm still worshipping them as if they are right here right now..
I may be desperate for that last drip of emotional security but no matter, they're gone. I get no more response. They refuse to give me back to me! They are holding me hostage and they don't even know it. I become obsessed and they've forgotten about me. Now I must make them pay for my loss. Retaliate for how they are treating me. Then they'll really know who I am, then I'll be somebody. Hurtful language, harm them as I've been harmed. I'll say the meanest most vile thing in an effort to be noticed. Nothing works! Still unable to see myself with no reaction from them to mirror off of, it's their fault. It's all them. People are the problem and I can't see how I am creating it by using them for my every emotional need. I search diligently for someone new to fill my emotional void. Give me purpose, a reason for living. Mommy, fix me. Save me Mommy..
I justify character assassination or worse. Justified resentment. Some subtle self seeking behavior. Still blaming, unable to comprehend that there was never any me. All I see and feel is the world and it's people aren't treating me right. The self pity comes on hard and I validate myself as the victim. Poor me. I just want to do what's right and nobody gives me a chance.
Yes I am confused but also a survivor and used to the familiar confusion and chaos so I am ok settling for less. Settling for less and less, this is how to feel better without actually taking my own inventory? I am blinded by self centered fear and cannot see myself for fear of failing. 12 Step coping skills aren't an option so I must steal my security from others by finding fault in them or anything I think they can identify with. It's all about control.. Everyone feels for me in some way means everyone loves me. .
IT'S A CRAZY NUTTY WORLD IN HERE..
Change isn't always easy, I get that. Living sober on yesterday's sobriety runs down and out eventually also. Picking up the spiritual willingness and making an approach to the AA Spiritual path is a suggestion I needed to take to heart. I liked all the shuckin and jiving at the butt can with my new AA friends. I liked how everyone shook my hand and told me how good it was to hear me speak. I liked not drinking and having a sober life begin to materialize day by day. I liked the fellowship around me of like minded persons. The common bond we shared as we trudged one day without one drink. I liked it all and if it was still working for me I would be still at it. But it stopped. I was becoming the same person sober as I was when I was drinking. I needed to change my insides. I needed to make a decision to believe or not believe. I was procrastinating terribly each day as if paralyzed in fear yet still sober. To become a power of example or hope for the best as an example of power. I tried to keep fighting it. Well? Time ran out for me. I drank again and it wasn't pretty.
ALL WE HAVE IS TODAY. YESTERDAY'S HISTORY, TOMORROWS A MYSTERY.
When you drink again everything is removed. Weird. I had no idea how much I had until I awoke 3 days later from a severe bout of alcohol poisoning unable to move. Was I trying to die? Who's to say. Was I at the end of my rope? Yes, I was at the end of my self. The self hate. Living other peoples shame as my own. People dominating me my entire life with no relief. Was I back to drinking everyday? Drunk and pass out every night? What about the few possessions I had accumulated in my new sober life? How long would it all last...I came back to AA a few days later after I was clear enough to eat food and drive.
LIKE THEY ALL SAY, IT WAS DIFFERENT THIS TIME.
I don't know what was all that different but something was for sure. It's almost like I no longer cared what others thought, I was in trouble and needed help. I had no interest in people, in dating other newbies, in anything but making it to the meetings. I stayed away from the podium and was willing to just listen for now. Getting a Big Book 12 Step sponsor and surrendering to the Higher Power was a lifeline apparently I had lacked.. I concerned myself with calling him DAILY..Getting to a meeting DAILY. Asking the Higher Power for sobriety and direction DAILY. I began to think on a "one day at a time" basis. Everything was about my 24 hours of sobriety and soon I was committed, I was ready, the 12 Steps were there for me as if I had never seen them before. I may not have understood much but the willingness I felt was strong. Incredible really. All I wanted to do was learn to care for myself. I had seen the proof needed. I was the problem. It was me. It was always me. I was ready to grow in understanding end effectiveness in the AA 12 Steps. Just like that!
That day was many years ago. I can't remember what I did yesterday, but all those years ago? I remember everything as if it's happening right now.. My life changed. I was willing to let go of myself, my old life and begin a new. Lots of life has come at me since. I have lived as only others seemed to live. I have had great experiences that only applied to others before the change. I was willing to believe in the Spiritual realm of life and pursue it. Seek it. Live in it and let the old life of selfishness and self-centered fear fall away. I do the work today still. I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the chance to live as a free man, a sober alcoholic.
I believe today as I did yesterday, my willingness to grow spiritually will continue for my lifetime and I'm fine with it all. I already did what needed to be done long ago when the booze brought me down. I finally got a fragmented glimpse of myself. I could see I was the problem. I had found my answer in my self. I was willing to change..