Now I go out and clean up my messy past. Who would have thought? Certainly not me. I was doomed to an alcoholic death or worse, the ongoing insanity surrounding the first drink of the day, every day, would be happening right now. But that's all changed, everything has changed for the better. Laugh, even scoff if you want too, I have been reborn. I am no longer the skeptic, I am not afraid.. There isn't anything really in my entire life history that hasn't been inventoried, analyzed, and set in proper perspective. Sure it is ruff around the edges but to me? It is perfect. My whole attitude and outlook on life has changed. Like the Book said, a psychic change sufficient to overcome alcoholism. I have solved the drink problem, I will not drink today. I have become accountable in my 4th and 5th Steps, let my Higher Power know that I know who I am and who I've been. Humbled myself to God and man. Now, I will make my best attempt to answer to my fellows for my unacceptable conduct. My active alcoholic conduct. I have my answers and do not see myself as the producer of confusion with great motives here. I am willing to tell the truth and where I can set these unsettling matters in my past history straight. Yes I still have fear at times. I am not Spiritually fit at all times, I am willing to be but have yet to experience the safety of Steps 10 11 and 12 on a daily basis. My maintenance for now is my faith and willingness to take responsibility for myself. I have yet to gain the security of experience. I am living one moment at a time and quite comfortable. All I think about really is the Higher Power and my Big Book 12 Step work.
I am ready to finally at 27ish years old put my big boy pants on.. It's 1982. I am alone with my God and AA Big Book 12 Step sponsor. In my selfish self centeredness, I have used up every imaginable person, place, or thing in my selfish arrangements, my last ditch efforts at survival had failed. I am honest with myself, I didn't make any grand decisions to join AA, I had no thoughts left, no choice in my recovery. I was rescued, I know it and am not ashamed. All the people who constantly dominate my thoughts are loosing their power over me as I grow in understanding and effectiveness on the Spiritual Path. It was by the hand of AA I was yanked up and out of my emotionally baron void of existence and plopped down in the front row of the Looney Nooney. A 12:00 main street Hyannis AA meeting. Thru the heavy fog of tourists, people, families everywhere on this hot August summer day. I remember having difficulty crossing the street not sure if it was the cars or me that was moving and the guy who was 12 Stepping me holding onto my sweat soaked flannel shirt sleeve for guidance. Jake with the strange high pitched voice was chairing. Weird what I can remember, I hope this isn't forgotten. This is who I had become under my own power. I had proved my father right, I really was a failure to society and surely would never amount to anything..
It hadn't been more than a year and now I sit in my truck that I own which is registered and insured. I rent a decent place to live and work daily. I have my new smaller notebook with all my amends written out from my 4th Step list. The list where I admitted my faults and was willing to set these matters straight like it said in the Book on pages 70 and ...67 I think? In my 8th Step I went back like it was suggested to my 4th Step list. Now, It doesn't actually say to re write this amends list. Some people just use a highliter or check off the names where amends apply, but I needed to. Truth is I have changed remarkably yes, but I shouldn't kid myself here. I was not "all fixed" and still crispy around the edges if not just plain burnt at times.. I was a thousand percent better but still under certain conditions easily dominated by people, especially in any confrontational situation. My nervous system was junk really, I would shake and sweat or become emotionally unstable at the slightest bit of agitation. In other words I was still weak. Anyway, It was important for me to know what I'm doing there and also back it up. My amends was focused on my selfishness and fear. This selfishness and self-centeredness was familiar to me as I had seen my conduct over and over again.
The Book suggested that selfishness and fear was the root of my problem so that's where I focused. Not them, me and my selfishness and self centered fear only. Much of my amends were about me explaining to my formerly burned stage prop "who ever they were" where in my selfishness or self-centeredness, or just outright fear, I made decisions or arrangements that suited myself only. I was too selfish to think things through and only thought of my own emotional security. How to have my needs met, pump myself up, use others for a self esteem boost I was unable to generate on my own. A thief, I stole my emotional security by deceiving others as I was unable to generate any by myself. I lived to survive. Most people approached with this heartfelt truth are willing to listen. I'm not putting words in their mouth or incriminating them in any way. I am also careful to not dredge up their past. I am simply amending my own conduct. I must also remember my amends is not to fix them so using them again with a seemingly better motive, I'll feel better about myself all over again. I must remember that although much has changed, my selfishness as subtle as it is waits under the surface for an opportunity to provide a quick fix, instant gratification. This new attitude on life just happens as I myself see the facts, the truths and am willing to share them with others whom I have effected with my defective conduct. I am safe and protected. In a strange way I am eager to get going, I feel strong like I have purpose or something positive to add. I am a part of, an equal. I feel I am no longer alone just running my game.
So out into my past I went. I fell on my face a few times and learned a few valuable lessons. One biggy was just because a situation appears good and must be Gods will for me? Doesn't mean it is. I am still capable of playing God or controlling the roll I believe he has assigned me in my wondrous and fantastic sobriety. In time with the rest of the 12 Steps I have leveled off but a few times there in the early 9th Step I walked right into the ring leading with the chin and got knocked out immediately. Only to later on become fortunate enough to find my way back with a totally different and successful approach that followed much self searching, much prayer and meditation in my search for guidance...I finished my amends taken from my list. I had many face to face meetings, a couple of letters at the cemetery, a few I felt a interruption to their current situation would be driven by my own selfishness so I remained willing to make this amends if we were ever brought together by chance? in the future. At this point my sponsor suggested I start praying for a pigeon as I'm not going to be able to keep my recovery unless I am willing to give it away. So I did just that. I found Step 10 to be easy really. I wanted to be this new person. I was beginning to actually like myself but yes there is more work to do. After all is said and done, to be recovered from alcoholism it's still just a daily reprieve.
HERE'S ANOTHER TAKE ON STEP 9
For those like myself that are deeper into the Big Book 12 Steps than the average Joe and see the work as a Spiritual journey, a process? To live sober and participate in life with a primary purpose, to serve the Higher Power and the man who still suffers? I look at "willingness" as indispensable still, "willingness" is the key. It's the willingness that has brought me here at the threshold of Step 9. I was willing to put the drink down in Step 1. Sure I needed help but I was also willing. This willingness brought me to Step 2. I was willing to admit I could not even at my best control the insanity of the lurking first drink or settle my mind enough to participate in life on the simplest of levels. Admitting I was alcoholic, admitting probably no human power could relieve my alcoholism, admitting that my new found Higher Power concept could? I was willing to make a 3rd Step decision. In the idea behind the 3rd Step prayer I saw my willingness to surrender myself as a catalyst to helping others. God help me so I can help others by your will. The Great Affect for me in my 3rd Step was the willingness to launch out on Step 4 which I had never attempted. I was no longer powerless, no longer unable to help myself if I stayed on the Spiritual Path. The Book said in the Chapter How it works, rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path, this was the Spiritual Path of the Big Book 12 Steps. I get it now. This is all real and not just another philosophy of life. I was willing to pray for courage and strength to pick up the pen and put it to the paper. To write down, face, and be rid of the things in myself that keep me from the sunlight of the Spiritual Path suggested in the Book. I am willing to pray to write? I write. I don't pray for willingness? I don't write. Simple really but why so difficult to accept?
My sponsor is willing to help me or guide me every day. He says that all I will need to do when I get to Step 12 is keep my own house in order or keep Spiritually fit and help others who still suffer with alcoholism by giving freely of myself. THIS IS ALL ABOUT HELPING OTHERS. That's what they meant by the 3rd Step IDEA. The prayer wording was optional as long as I expressed the IDEA voicing it without reservation, yeah! So, I am willing to write, I have purpose as this is not all about me anymore. I'm willing to admit and expose my defective character, humble myself to my God and man in the 5th. I let God know that I no. I'm done with secrets. In Steps 6/7 I am willing to have my Higher Power remove from me all the things that are questionable. I surrender the good and bad, all of me. I pray I may better serve the Higher Power and my FELLOWS. There it is, help others? Go out from here to help my fellows? I am beginning to get the hint.
So, Step 8. Willingness has brought me this far. Now for Step 9. How does Step 9 effect my working with others, my purpose. I know for me I had trouble everywhere. Being the self centered back stabbing alcoholic my world was quite small by the time I did finally sober up and get into the 12 Steps. I am uncomfortable at the Mall or any large crowds. Going down Cape is always a trip down anxiety lane with all my insecure fearful history. I've got myself into trouble just about everywhere. How can I be of service to a new man, sponsor anyone in the Big Book 12 Steps with this fear and anxiety, these unresolved issues hanging over my head everywhere? I can't, I would just be a phony. The Big Book thumper do as I say not as I do guy, I didn't want that. I had seen it in others already. I wanted to be honest, as honest as I could be. I knew these messes must be cleaned up if I am to walk a free man without tripping over my past everywhere I turn, if I am to continue with the work that is. Continuing is what I wanted, what I prayed for willingness for. I am willing and armed with my morning meditation and my notebook full of amends I head down Cape. It took some time but I clean up my past from Bourne to P Town. Today I can go anywhere down there to be of service to a new man. I have cleaned up the corners of my mind with the suggested willingness also. I have opened my heart and feel safe on my Spiritual Path. I am sober today, a free man with purpose today. I am capable of rational thought and am no longer driven by insanity. I no longer constantly try to set my stage with people in an effort to have my own selfish needs met in my delusional arrangement. I come and go as I please and am no longer bound by people or my own self centered fear. I am recovered, I have solved the drink problem one day at a time as suggested in the Big Book 12 Steps. I have cleaned up my past and been reborn to a new way of living. I am free to help others, to live my sober life with purpose each day. to come and go as I please as long as I continue to trust in my God and be willing to keep my self in healthy Spiritual order. This is not difficult as I remain willing. The first 8 Steps have prepped me for Step 9. When I got here I was ready. I have begun to live this Big Book 12 Step work every day. My new life has become open and free for the taking. I have nothing to steal. This attitude I will offer to the new man as it was offered to me.