The Book suggests in the chapter (A vision for you) giving freely of what I find living sober on my 12 Step spiritual path. In that way I am joining the rest of those who have surrendered to the fellowship of the spirit in AA. The God of each AA members own understanding. The new life offered with a willing approach in Step 2, followed when ready by a simple 3rd Step decision. I have established a willingness to grow in understanding and effectiveness.
As days add on to days living sober the one fact remains clear. No human power can relieve my alcoholism. Not mine? Not another's? Not a combination of the two. The alcoholism problem being selfishness and self centered fear is centered in my self destructive mind. Sure, human power can relieve many symptoms. Science has proven itself as a great asset in relieving symptoms. Even clearing a direct path to the causes and conditions. But the alcoholic like myself, somehow doing an about face and relying on new arrangements of people to solve their alcoholic problem? Well..I haven't seen it. Problem drinkers? Sure. Those who have felt the bite of abusing any of the many anesthesia's available. But alcoholics who have lost the power of choice and fallen deep into their selfishness as an effort to survive or somehow manipulate their malady? No. Unless they undergo a complete psychic change in attitude and outlook? They are seemingly a doomed lot. I speak for myself here and my experience. I'm sure as with anything there are exceptions.
Many who are unable to make the admission of hopelessness and deny the spiritual angle will of course feel themselves the exception. I did.
I NEEDED TO STOP FIGHTING... First off? I needed to see that it was me who was doing all the fighting, that it wasn't always everyone else against me leaving me as the victim or martyr with no choice but to retaliate. Now sure, I had been in a number of unacceptable situations in my life but my attitude? My conduct? My ability to reference coping skills? That was on me. This was not that easy to understand as the world at this point was just not treating me right or how it appeared to treat others. Self-pity ruled my thoughts before I could take action on anything. Defending my fear by constantly jockeying for position in my life and the lives of others. My world of constant controversy. Chaos really. Creating my balance by focusing on the faults of others in an effort to equalize my own image. Bring them to my level whether high or low. I manipulate at will. Fire when ready as if my self worth is based on my efforts to arrange people places and things to suit myself. Extreme selfishness. Yes.
I AM AN EXTREEMIST... I experience extremes. This makes me hopeless. Many alcohol abusers can feel fear and cope, feel selfishness and change it. I can't. My self centered fear is overwhelming, my selfishness and self seeking behavior my only choice in my self centeredness. Everything I do is in an effort to survive. This way of life and thinking is not centered on any particular content. No scenario is any better than another. It is just how I am in all my affairs. I am the hopeless alcoholic. Selfish and self-centered to the extreme. I serve myself by medicating myself. I am extreme there also. One drink relaxes me then two will do a better job and three four, oblivion. No more fighting, I am finally free for a few hours. Alcohol? Pills? Drugs of all kinds. People? Food? Shiny things? Anything to shut me off or atleast create a major distraction from my self and my self centered delusional mind. I medicate myself with diversions. Selfish arrangements.
To be blunt? I am an extreme example of self will run riot each day. A thief really. Stealing my needed emotional security from others through my selfish arrangements. Self seeking motives sometimes just in my head. In my selfish delusions. This is my problem, this is why I abuse anything that can be deemed anesthesia. It is a constant and I am desperate for relief. It shows itself as an addiction. My way of life 24/7. Bottom line is I'm a user and an abuser. I live each day in selfishness and fear. Removing the booze and drugs? The so called problem people? The apparent toxic situations? You just remove symptoms and the underlying causes of my alcoholism remain. To some a much lesser degree sure but still remain unmanageable. Now medication offered to shut down the fear is an alternative but for those like me who are dominated by fear? The meds shut everything down. Everything.
AA Big Book 12 Steps offers a way of life that will alter my mind. Change my selfish attitude, stop my self seeking behavior. This unfortunately is not a Religious course in miracles. Religion is great stuff and a huge stepping stone for many in AA but in my case insufficient. Although experiences vary, I myself cannot seem to ask my God to save me, go to sleep and wake up saved. As if a dream away plan. A metaphor maybe but a done deal? Changed? No, not for me anyway. For me it's as if God is the fertilizer. I plant myself at a table with a pen and willing to write a fearless and thorough moral inventory? God provides the courage and strength. Or sun and rain, however you want to look at it. I am now prepared to grow.
Growth on my own? A better philosophy of life offered through the power of people? I could not do. People were a symptom of my spiritual malady and much too close to the problem. I couldn't help myself. I would use them selfishly every time nomatter how kind and or gracious, how much they wanted to help or had information to pass on to me. Even if I tried to listen I was much too self centered to retain anything. Whatever they had was blocked by my self centered fear. Used no differently than a pill is used to manipulate my self esteem. Validate myself. I am powerless over my fear and medicate myself, change my mind any way I can. I may be kind and generous mimicking others who are liked? Self sacrificing? But underneath my act it's all about me and my needs. So, extreme? Yes extreme fits me..Hopeless fits better. I can't manage myself.
BAD MANAGEMENT.. I have as many emotions as anyone but fail to manage them properly. Like money, I make lots of money yet have no idea how to properly spend it. I buy fix me make me happy stuff. Emotionally I make only arrangements that suit my needs. So my problem is obviously much deeper than how come I want to love everyone yet no one loves me or how come I make just as much as anyone but am always broke. So how does anybody learn coping skills when they are proven so selfish they are un teachable? Well? That's why the whole Higher Power thing is a critical part of living sober in AA's suggested 12 Steps. Self reliance fails. Reliance on people places and things fails. What now? God and the suggested Spiritual path that is offered freely. So this is it? Give others the option of the spiritual path as I have been given? The 12 Steps?
Well that was easy. God help me put down the drink and then pick up a pen? Wait..How come I'm not all fixed? When does the living each day happy joyous and free start? Come on lets go here, I'm kind of pressed to make up for lost time. I got a life of drunkenness and cruelty running me down. I was safe just being at meetings but it's changing and I can't seem to change with it. I'm sober yes but back to arranging. And without booze and drugs I'm left with people to manipulate to meet my needs. I'm wearing out my welcome in AA. I'm in trouble here, I have no place left to go.
WAITING FOR A NEW DAY...Just like others before me said? Change does come. They laugh and say their lives changed in ways they could never have anticipated. Same with me. It doesn't come as I would expect so it's not easily identified as any change I was familiar with. It was more like relief? As if I was going to live and be ok.
Change for me was more like a successful arrangement of people. A scenario where I am liked so I can like myself. I lived my life through my selfish arrangements, others eyes I would manipulate to focus on me. This was different. The pressure was off, there was no fight for validation no need for emotional arrangements. This was a peace like feeling that was completely new to me. As if I wasn't afraid if only for a few minutes? Wasn't self centered for maybe an hour all by myself? No axes to grind no people to please? The feeling was good, real good. I wanted more. I believed there was something to the spiritual realm now and even though I could not explain it or control it I wanted more. I felt as if I had found a purpose in life..
THE SPIRITUAL PATH...Welp? I didn't get rich or become handsome. I had many things in my history I could never make right, some with sad endings. I tried my luck at sober relationships in AA and continued to fall on my face too many more times to mention. Learning very slowly how to treat others unselfishly, taking a big dump in my dinner plate. Not quite getting the fact I had to treat myself better before I could treat others better. I wasn't on the dream away plan. I had to continue with the 12 Step work. Continue to live daily on the spiritual path suggested. In my efforts to live responsibly I have nearly shot my eye out with a BB gun. In an effort to listen to advise? Stabbed myself running with scissors. I tried to prove myself too manly for sun screen all day sweltering at the beach. Basically I continued to screw up pretty much everything I touched as I looked at my selfishness after it was aroused. In time I continued to watch for it before it happened as if it was probably going to be there in any situation throughout my day. I would find peace sure but I was going to have to work for it. All 12 Steps all day. I began to get results. Step 10 was about becoming proactive, Again. who knew? I didn't drink and things got better and better. I prayed for direction throughout my day beginning with "upon awakening" as written in the Book. I became less selfish and could see others lives where before I could only see my own. More and more relief came, day by day the willingness to be a part of life grew.
Then one day it hit me square in the head or maybe soul because it had great impact. It was one of many growth spurts to come my way on the spiritual path suggested in the Big Book 12 Steps.. I was a thief and the opposite of stealing is giving! Who knew? Although seemingly child like in it's simplicity I had never figured it that way. The spiritual path suggested was about giving freely of yourself to others without selfish expectation. Here! Have a sandwich, a compliment, a positive affirmation, help in any way, just have it, it's free! I don't want anything, no credit. My gift is that I can do this! I got the gift! This is great! It's as if this is my new found purpose. Giving without expectation. This is freedom, this is living sober without anesthesia. Without the need for selfishness. I am no longer a loser. I have something to give. Willingness. I can share my willingness. Maybe I am rich!
TODAY... I woke up and asked for help from the Higher Power immediately. I've been at it a while and find emotional comfort there. Some don't ask for sobriety anymore as they have found their alcoholism to be a disease of the mind. I get that but for me? I ask my God to direct my thinking to be divorced from selfishness and self-centered fear. Keep me aware of my self seeking behavior today. My drinking and addictive history, my need to arrange people to create a self esteem boost. Don't let me forget who I can be if I stray from the path today. Not too hard terms for me. I have seen myself and swallowed many truths. It's not bad it's just real.
I have a Sunday off of work. Yard needs trimming. House picked up and maybe get going on one of many unfinished projects. YIKES! My partner wants to bring her mother out of the nursing home and to the beach later for a bit. She wanted me to come. My first thought was I'm busy with stuff until I realized there wasn't any stuff more important than this. Yeah, the selfishness was there quick. After I gave it some thought, asked the Higher Power for direction? It sounds like a great afternoon and I look forward to it, being kind to her mother (who is always kind to me) not that it matters really, liking her is enough without expectations. Yeah! I'll work around here for a while and hit the beach later with them. I'll get the cooler together with some food and drink, chairs, umbrella. This is great, I pray for direction and receive clarity, strength for making the best of the day.
I get it today. I pray for courage to face life. Taking care of myself first. Then I am able to be of service to others. I can care about myself enough to care for them and their needs. All this life around me and all I did to see it was surrender.