Big Book Step 10 suggests taking my own inventory "constantly". Can I see myself ? Or am I still self centered, driven by that revealing hundred forms of fear made clear way back in my 4th Step inventory. Is it possible I am still more than not dominated by people? Stimulus? At any time really I still selfishly jockey with others for a quick self esteem boost? Are people always going to be a threat, a chess piece of a different color?
Boy, I wish I could say NO, they aren't, I would stand up at my Big Book 12 Step conference and say YEAH! Over here! Look at me! I'm ALL FIXED! I have seen the light! I have studied the uber original original Big Book 12 Step program and now? I am no longer alcoholic, I am a normal adult. And THERE'S MORE! I'm sober and have found the one true God too. I mean how can I be alcoholic if I no longer drink and do Gods will everyday, right? I am one of the chosen few. I have answers now! I know why Billy Joe Mcallister jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge, I get it!! Hey was GAY!
Alright, proving myself level headed. The 9th Step promises have come true in my life? Even with all my Step work, a level headed stage presence is not going to be easy. I can't just leave it alone, I must direct. I'm all over the place still struggling for emotional security, I'm relatively new to the Higher Power Spiritual Path thing although I seem to feel myself an authority? This is a sign post. The 12 Step work is not over and well, applies to me. It's easy to practice my AA program at an AA meeting.
The hits just keep coming. I have not received my official Big Book teaching certificate, or been chosen to save the masses from the alcoholic pit of despair. At best I can be equal, a part of. Outside the halls? I believe the best I can do is focus on my daily reprieve suggested. What a hard lesson to learn, keep my own house in order first without the reliance on people for the instant gratification. I must rely on the Higher Power for courage and strength, sometimes I need to wait, and wait, this will take faith. I'm not saying that I haven't stood in front of thousands of people and been honest about my AA recovery, Sat at the coffee shop and hobnobbed with my AA homies after the meeting. I would consider myself a Fellowshipping Friend for sure. I'm just saying that on the real side? It could have been someone else, probably was someone else. The real me stays safe and protected in my selfishness. Much has been removed yes, I have experienced a drastic change in attitude and outlook but down deep where God only knows? I am still alone in my illness. I am still acting one way and thinking another.
In some cases I have changed completely, while in others I now have a choice, I do not always choose wisely. Oh! don't get me wrong here, I'm nowhere near as demented as I was before the Big Book 12 Step work of course but I am still relying on myself a lot of the time. I'm quick to cut a deal with God, my new buddy. After all, it is a 12 Step program and I am on Step 10. Sometimes I pray for direction, get some relief and then say, thanks, I'll take it from here God, I'm sure you're busy. I've been watching , I can do what you do. It's still a great conflict at times. My insides rarely match my outsides. I know everything about everything and everybody except I don't know when to shut up or just listen.
I can't, I'm always on guard, afraid, I cannot trust. There is never enough emotional security for me so I'll keep taking from others until I'm shut off. I can't stop until I feel validated, until I am secure in my arrangement. That emotional security, I must have my emotional security.. I never actually win in my mental debates. The usual is I just move on to a more important arrangement, new people, new security, fresh blood. The strong desire to overcome brings new power, strong self esteem like a new all consuming resentment. It runs in and through me, I am invincible in my anger and hate. King me!
So, are all of us the same in our Big Book 12 Step recovery? WE THINK NOT!.. I'm Big Book 12 Steps because I say I am. I have followed the black print to the best of my ability, dredged my polluted river so I can now come and go as I please as a free man. Am I still half crazy? Sure. Am I a danger to myself or others? no, never. For the most part I am here to keep my own house in order so I may serve the man who is still sick. Yes, I can speak fluent sick. I can move in and out of the depths of untreated alcoholism unharmed. This can work to my benefit and the new mans.
I am ready for Step 10, I am willing to monitor my own behavior each day. I will watch for selfishness. I apply my Step 10 as I commence to clean up my past with Step 9. The Book says constantly, I will work toward constantly. This has proven itself to be harder than it sounds. Constantly watching for selfish behavior, willing to set matters straight where I have been dishonest. Making honest amends, admitting my fault to another? Humbling myself daily?
Eh, I was kind of hoping I was ready to move right into the happy joyous and free part of AA everyone talks about at the meetings. Like the big vacation, I have certainly done a lot of work to get to this point. I've surrendered myself to my Higher Power, written a fearless and thorough moral inventory, humbled myself to my God and another human being, become willing to clean up my entire life, I quit drinking and smoking too, by the way! I don't smoke, that is so weird. So, doesn't that warrant a break? Apparently not. It's all about maintenance now, my daily reprieve. This whole thing is still just for one day, one day at a time.
I get it, I get to live sober and free today. I am getting the hint again here, this alcoholism is serious business, staying alive. It is still life and death with me. Doesn't really seem like it anymore but let me experience a good blast of selfishness and fear and I am again convinced. It's not gone forever, selfishness and fear, survival, it's a tool that just gets rusty and jagged with time. I will get caught grabbing at it, I will cut myself deep. Maybe next time I won't heal, I won't be so lucky. I won't be able to come home. So, between you and me here? I don't play with it. I take it serious and as poorly as I do at constantly watching for selfishness at times, I try everyday. I also understand deep down I am "still willing" to go the other way. Just like Lowell George.
I woke up this morning some 30ish years sober. In a nutshell, I drank 32 years ago because I didn't get the Big Book 12 Step, Step 3 thing. I didn't understand the idea. I was a hopeless case. Certainly I'm nobody you would think would blog on a laptop this warm beautiful July morning. Hoping to touch someone, help someone. I am formally uneducated, ignorant really. A violent self absorbed drunkard of the worst kind, nothing nice. I have eyes and ears and mouth in good working order yet do not know how to use them. My illness centers in my mind. In my computer if you will. So when I hear another AA suggest my final resting place is to become jails, a mental institution, or death? I understand. I know I am defective, I no longer fight it. No I'm not all obsessed over it beating myself with proof of my failure at life, but I do understand and am willing to work hard daily to insure my Spiritual reprieve.. Towards the end especially as I lived my nights in an empty building with no electricity or heat, a bonfire of enablers could not keep me warm. It was over for me. I have seen and accepted these truths about myself. I came to AA maybe the 3rd or 4/5th time, I can't be sure. The Big Book 12 Steps were made available to me, the work of the great Bill Wilson put together in masterly detail had shown itself to another hopeless alcoholic, I had been shown a way out.
Today I live with a direct focus on Steps 10 11 and 12. Oh sure, the 9 previous are always apparent but 10 11 and 12 seem to be my maintenance Steps. It's what all my hard work has led me to. To be able to surrender, to see myself as I am, to serve the man who still suffers as I have? This is it, my Big Book 12 Step work., This is my living happy joyous and free. Who would have thought life could be worth living, not me. I'm the one who wanted to kill themselves sober or drunk. I felt I just could not try hard enough. In my selfishness I related willingness to work. (I) have to do the Steps, (I) have to change, nobody loves me as (I) am, nobody wants me, (I) must do this or that for approval...Poor me, pour me. Work represented my ongoing effort to live up to others expectations, suffering to be loved. I must try because I am not good enough. I was always behind trying to keep up, always bad, a bad person doing bad things striving to be valid, never good enough. I sought to be empowered by others, it would rarely happen.
What a doomed existence, the hopeless alcoholic in the grips of his illness.
Today is different. I opened the Big Book to Step 11 upon awakening. I am willing to care enough about myself to take care of myself this morning. This small bit of Spiritual inspiration is huge to me today. I am grateful and am not alone while not using people. Like the new pair of glasses thing. I can be inspired. It is the key to my sober existence.
Step 11 suggests I relax and think about the 24 hours ahead upon awakening, not after coffee and shower or on the way to work, UPON AWAKENING..I have seen myself cut many deals with the Big Book over my time involved. Many suggestions that I felt didn't apply to me. Now for the most part I just do what it says. I have ceased fighting anything or anybody even alcohol. I have done this today. Prayed for the right thought or action, asked my God to direct my thinking. I realize in my new day as I was so fortunate to realize yesterday that I am no longer running the show. I have been awakened.. These days have added up to many, this has given me a history with little regret, memories, life experience, purpose. Not another day wishing for the end or when will this be over, I can't take it anymore, no.
Today I live.. It's a God thing, a Higher Power thing. The quicker I can get on the Spiritual Path each morning the better. So "Step 10 continue to watch" for selfishness and fear? Not a problem today. I want it. I want to remain willing. I want to be the person I have become on the Spiritual Path suggested in the Big Book 12 Steps. This is something I can have today. Something that can apply to me.
Yikes! I have already seen myself as I sit here writing and multitasking a bit. I didn't want to mow the lawn but it is Sunday and this is getting long. I also want to fix my motorcycle so I can ride later. I want to go out for pancakes and eggs and toast breakfast but my partner wants to have a healthy smoothie and clean up her flower gardens. She wants to go for a walk. Oh yay, a walk. How about spending the rest of the day Ballroom dancing? Women's clothes shopping? yeesh! It's not all about me here.
I live with others. I want to, my choice. Not because I need an emotional security blanket today. There are other people in my life from my partner to the guy I never met walking down the street. They're EVERYWHERE! PEOPLE! My sober life outside the security of the box. Outside the sanctuary of my meetings. Life comes at me fast, I must be able to remain on a level field. Life isn't about who controls the TV clicker. Every thought does not need a winner and a loser. There are others in my life in and out of AA with completely different thoughts on their days and lives. Our experiences vary right? We are generally people who would not mix, right?
Should I continue my struggle to selfishly control everything? Is that really what I want? Another Stepsherpa? I'm full of myself already! There's no room for anybody else right? no, definitely not. I have a hard enough time being me never mind controlling someone else who I expect to be like me. Someone to do what I do and want what I want when I want.. So, I'll do it today, I'll surrender, I'm totally fine with that, I give up. I will let my God empower me. I'll watch for selfishness and fear and like it says, when these crop up I will surrender the thoughts to my Higher Power.
I'll pass on the self inflicted beating today, thank you. The overwhelming self imposed crisis. I will be humble and admit my faults if I have harmed anyone with my selfishness. I don't have a problem with it, I want to be the person I have become sober. I am willing to do whatever it takes to live my daily spiritual reprieve today. I will work toward constantly watching for my defective character to crop up and to take action immediately. This means in the car, at the grocery line, on the net, at home, extended family issues, my past, everywhere I am, everywhere my mind goes today I will pray for Spiritual guidance. I want to be a part of life today and no longer just the producer of confusion rather than harmony with the best of intentions. Unable to understand why even as I try my best the world and it's people are not treating me right, always in my way. I am willing to practice Step 10.
I am willing to keep an eye on myself, my thoughts and conduct. Not just practice Step 10 after I get caught and pressured by guilt or shame, the fear of people pressuring me to take action..
When I make a selfish or self-centered mess and try to fix it myself alone? Survive on self will? I can get away with it on occasion but it usually leaves some kind of unresolved issue in it's wake that will come back to haunt me or us or whoever was involved. When can see my conduct harms myself or others? When I become extreme, the director, the arranger. When I am setting my stage with others lives as if I know what's best? With my Step 10 willingness I can see first hand my terrible destructiveness. I can pray for surrender, for the right thought or action. For courage and strength, willingness to restore my daily reprieve. I can be relieved of my self seeking burden and return to my spiritual path..
Like putting on my big boy pants. Today I'm willing to clean up after myself. I'm not perfect but hey..I make a mess, I own it and clean it up. I'm living as a sober alcoholic. Living a life that only seemed to apply to others who were surely better than me. Living in freedom. Nothing I'm doing today warrants a drink to cope with it or a few drinks to shut it down.
It's ok, It's all ok. I'm willing to live another day.