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Big Book 12 Steps, Step 11

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One day at a time. Well? I came around AA and heard "one day at a time" you don't drink, "one day at a time" you get to a meeting, get a sponsor and join a group "one day at a time". Everything seemed to revolve around "one day at a time". "One day at a time" you get a physical, get that nasty neglected mouth fixed, put some focus on eating a decent healthy meal. Although my mind did seem to reject these new AA concepts at the first self serving opportunity? I did get used to repeating the AA mantra over and over all day, everyday really, "one day at a time", everything is just one day at a time. Nothing can happen in my 24 hours that a drink or drug won't make worse.

  Step 11 Big Book pages 86-88. Living one day at a time.

Can I just repeat these words "one day at a time" over and over with or without clicking heals? Sure. Do I need the experience of the first 10 Steps to feel the effects of my Step 11? Not sure. If nobody told me about Step 11 and how to live one day at a time would I still stay sober? I haven't the slightest idea. I myself began repeating "one day at a time" before I ever cracked open a Big Book. I have been on both sides of the path, the program or 12 Steps of recovery have placed me as a willing sober individual, safe in the realm of Spiritual understanding and effectiveness.  The Fellowship of AA has offered support with it's instant gratification, it's strength in numbers, camaraderie and good generalship taking the lead.. Where or how you fit is your concern. 


Top of 86. Some say the day begins with the ending here or "when we retire at night" as if the new man or me has been introduced to the work and will begin his inventory practice when his day ends. Like when "we retire at night" comes before "on awakening" for this reason. I don't know, it's getting complicated to me so well? I cannot say either way. Do or think what you want. I myself will begin my 24 hours with the second paragraph on page 86, "on awakening." Ok, I begin my "one day," my 24 hours.


This morning I woke about 5 and like the Book suggests thought about my 24 hours ahead. I have no problem surrendering myself to the God of my understanding and have been doing this for quite some time. All this means for me is I have the content, the quality of it changes each day. I prayed for direction and as the usual mind racing began, I did relax and focus. I had planned to work today, just a bit to make up for slacking yesterday. Money is tight. I blew right over my usual financial insecurities and focused on more important matters, I did feel good about that, that self esteem boost. I know my partner had been up late with terrible radiation burns from breast cancer therapy. The initial purple blistering raw flesh now spreading under her boob and around under her arm. I remember when the nurse had said it's like a bad sunburn. Yeah, bad sunburn. Eh.. I myself am a blue eyed toe head who's hair was white as a young kid. I have seen open oozing blistering sunburns of the worst kind. This is no sunburn, radiation everyday for 6 weeks is not like a bad sunburn. I think getting in the firing line of a welders blowtorch would have been more appropriate comparison but whatever, the medical field, dealing with the masses, percentages and such. It's just a job. You go there and hope for the best.


 Right away I see I am quick to judge here. Have I myself done all I can to support my partner? Not really. Last night I held nothing back discussing her halfwit brother who lives at moms house at 55 years old stoned everyday.  Watching the discovery channel, hoping to find someone who relishes in the intensity of the migrating green ants of Australia. That probably wasn't too swift. Pushing insecurity on her by arranging her family dynamic to suit me. A standard he's screwed up and I'm not, ploy. I never saw it last night when I made my review either, I should do that now. Justified resentment can sometimes be so stupid. Stupid, there I said it.


Clearing my mind of wrong motives. WRONG MOTIVES. Back to that whole moral thing, right and wrong. So I'm thinking about my day and praying for inspiration. My partner is more important than money. I mean if I was flat broke that may be different but I'm not. My today's focus should be on her and not me or my dominating fear of financial ruin. I know I'm doing the right thing so I don't feel any sacrifice. I want to be the best I can for her today so, I'm staying home. I have asked my God to direct my thinking, divorce me from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. I feel confidant, secure in my decisions so far in and around my 24 hours ahead. My one day at a time. I know getting her a cold wrap or adjusting Netflix, tea or something to eat later, this stuff is all good but really? I learned in my previous 12 Step work that emotional security, that's what is needed. Part of my job, my purpose as a partner is to do my best to provide a safe place, make room on the Spiritual Path for as many as can fit.. I'm not talking about carrying a gun outside my coat safe, although that may apply in other areas of the world. I mean safe as in honest, trusting. No fear offered. A desire to be helpful only. With this attitude I am treating myself as I should be treated, I care enough about myself to take care of myself. This comes first, now I can give of myself that others may benefit. I believe this to be the proper use of my will.


So, I woke up. I immediately surrendered myself to the Higher Power. My head spun around a bit but no green pea soup so that's good, no real heavy garbage haunting me first thing in the morning, no major unresolved issues. I put the effort into Step 10 everyday or yesterday, so my Step 11 is generally straight forward. Once in a while something, some selfishness or fear falls through the cracks and gets skipped over until it comes around again big enough to see. Then it's up to me. Nobody is making me practice Step 11. This is my choice. Just like Step 10. Nobody is putting my big boy pants on each day. Monitoring my own behavior, that's my job now. Step 11, prayer and meditation? Keeping in fit Spiritual condition? Again, my job now.


It says when we are agitated or doubtful in our day we pray for the right thought or action. This should eliminate the "I'll take it from here God" stuff. Or this is just everyday life right? I'm not going to ask for help for simple things am I? Just the big stuff. Well, this is where I have always needed work. The line or boundary between what I think I can handle and what I have proven to myself I can't. When I am in fit Spiritual condition my day goes much smoother, my agitation line is narrow. I am quick to see the slow driver is just an old guy doing his best or some other possibility and not simply people are in my way and everyone is an idiot and should drive like me. The bill in the mail is not a automatic threat and provoking a fear laced reaction of anger or victimization. Agitation seems like such a soft word but really? For me? It spreads like wildfire. Who did this or that, looking to blame others for my selfish discomfort, people in my way, people don't understand who I am, my importance! Step 10 suggests constantly watching for my defective character to show itself. Unless I am willing to accept Spiritual help in Step 11? I'm probably not going to do much but survive my day, stay sober sure, but hope for the best. I can monitor my health each day or I can roll the dice. Today I will pray for direction, I am willing as I awake today to pray for inspiration, the right thought or action. I will do this as I go through my day. I am living one day at a time according to the Big Book 12 Steps.


Last paragraph on 88. We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the way we have just outlined. OK...The kid across the street has a new nail gun and is roofing at 7 am Sunday morning. I am agitated. I am supposed to pray for direction right now but no, I don't. I choose to correct my discomfort myself. I get out the laundry list of reasons why I think this kid is an idiot in hopes of feeling better if I can get the right combination of character assassination. Here goes? he got the house free from his ailing grandmother while I work for everything I get. I stop right there! I see myself, I've used the grandmother thing before with him to justify my agitation. Truth is he's young and probably doesn't know any better. He's always agitated every time I see him or hear him yelling about something. This kid reminds me of me when I was his age, married, baby.. Maybe I can't look at myself as my young wife and baby moved out on me. His hasn't. I keep revisiting my failure so everything he does is wrong. I hate the me I see in him and that's why I'm agitated. If he was my friend I'd probably be over there helping him. It's me and my attitude that needs to change. Sure, roofing at 7am on Sunday morning is inconsiderate to neighbors but how I'm handling it? That's the real problem. In my agitated state I can't focus on my partner or her needs, I'm pissed at the neighbor, resentment over rides everything. I'll stew, wallow.


I asked for help here and have pretty much forgotten why I was angry with the neighbor making all the noise to begin with. He was invading my space, my moral philosophy of life, society.. I'm God. I think he's stealing attention so I demand it back with retaliation. I'm not afraid to miss work today, I am willing to be the best partner I can to my sickly better half. I feel good again. Up down and sideways in an hour first thing in the morning. Hey, it's always like this with the agitation or doubt, the selfishness to survive my fear. It shows up at some point everyday for me. But for now? I'm back to the Spiritual Path suggested, this is my one day at a time so far, two hours into my day.. I have dodged a few bullets just sitting here. The selfishness is real, it comes and goes all day. When I watch for it, it can even be funny to see but when I wait to get caught? Caught acting on my selfishness? in my self seeking motives? It can be a real bad scene man, real bad. I can self destruct in the extreme selfishness. I have had my close calls... So, on the real side I pray to be aware of it, aware of me. To grow in understanding of me. To recognize agitation and doubt when it crops up and take action. Sometimes I can avoid it totally. It seems as it this has become a working part of my mind, just like the Book said it could. I'm alcoholic, right here, right now and take my Spiritual medicine.. Or maybe I've just grown up and take responsibility for myself in my day. Think what you will, this is me.


This Big Book 12 Step life is offered freely to a man drowning alone in alcohol. Living to drink is his purpose. The plague of fear and selfish tension that bogged him to a complete stop is his bondage. He is shut down, dead. The hopeless alcoholic in the grips, he cannot see, hear, talk or understand. He made his admission of hopelessness, he surrendered and wishes for the end. But all is not lost?  His God had restored him as a servant. He is reborn with purpose. To serve his God and the man who still suffers..This is his primary purpose.


Anyway, Step 11 "one day at a time" to grow in understanding and effectiveness with the Higher Power, something to think about today. All day.



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