Articles

Bottles were only a symbol

“After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol.”

– Big book of Alcoholics Anonymous page 103

This is a great statement, when I read it today, however when I first read it, it was really more like eating humble pie. Our problems were of our own making. bottles-659150_640This is a big piece to digest when you first read it. It is true though, and the more I look at it these days, the more grateful I am to know this simple fact.

If my problems are of my own making, then I have something great here. I have an inside problem, which in turn can be solved internally as well. This literally means, the answer lies within. I no longer have to look outward for a solution to my troubles, I no longer have to search. How do I find it within me though?

The answer awaits in the 12 steps. The steps are a solution to the problems I experience in day to day life. Alcoholism, was a result of my internal struggles, the bottles were only a symbol to a much greater problem. Alcoholics Anonymous is an inside job. Time and again, there is reference made to the answers being within us through the literature. If this is true, if the answer really is within, then I have found the answer I have searched outwardly for, my entire life. What a relief that brings.

Reference:
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt7.pdf

Father Martin

Father Joseph Martin was a lecturer on alcoholism and a gifted one at that. His ability to articulate the steps, and how they relate to spiritual matters has been put into several videos that are available for purchase.

Additionally his talks are made available on youtube, and from time to time I will occasionally post a couple on this site. While being a catholic priest, Father Martin also had his struggles with alcoholism himself.

For more information, please check his wikipedia page which is posted here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Martin_(speaker)

 

 

Letting Go of things and moving on

“Let Go Absolutely”

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Pg. 58*

This is almost a funny statement, because you cannot partially let something go, you can only let it go completely. If you haven’t let something go, you’re still holding onto it. It’s that simple. Yet on page 58 it states Let Go Absolutely. This serves to emphasize a point, in that in order for 39928-Move-Onchange to come about, this needs to be done by letting go completely. When I let go of something, I feel it. I feel the release, I feel relief. I feel acceptance internally and I am at peace with whatever it was I needed to let go of.

If I have not accepted something, in other words, if I have not let it go, then I am still going to be troubled by it. To let go takes understanding, takes compassion and love. Additionally though, when I have truly let something go, it brings me far greater clarity on the situation, a deeper sense of compassion, and a broader sense of Love. So coming to that point of acceptance, that is when I have let something go, and that is letting go absolutely.

Exercise:
I did this once, I wanted to understand how the things I was struggling with in life weigh me down. So I took rocks, I wrote on the rocks with a marker what I was struggling accepting, then I put the rocks in a backpack. I then hiked to the river not far from my home. Now, I took the rocks out of the backpack, and I threw them into the river, releasing them, in effect physically letting go. I then walked home with a much lighter backpack and less strain on my shoulders. I could feel the difference physically, walking home I had more bounce in my step and I felt lighter. – When I let something go, when I have truly accepted something, I can feel the difference internally, feeling in effect, much lighter in life.

Reference:
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

Doing the next right thing

“We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.”

– Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Pg. 70*

confuseOften I have heard, what is Gods’ will for me? Often it can cause many, including myself, to almost over analyze, to over think things far too much to the point of being stuck with a certain decision. Analysis Paralysis, I have heard people call it.

I have found, that in order to do the next right thing, it may not always serve my best interests. It may not always appear to be the greatest thing for me, It may even be difficult to do. What I have learned, in my experience is,  the doing next right thing brings about true self esteem, true self confidence and true self love. This is gift beyond measure, and is a result of prayer**.

Additionally, there is certain choices, certain crossroads that we come to when we make a decision in life. Do we choose that direction based on serving selfish needs, or do we make that choice based on what is best for everyone involved? Prayer, for me is the guiding force that helps direct my thinking in times of indecision. It allows me to trust the universe for what it is, and head in the right direction.

So the next time you find yourself trying to figure out some difficult situation, try praying to whatever it is You believe in, give what you’re struggling with to that Power, and then don’t try and figure out the problem. Your answer will come once you quiet your mind.

Reference:
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

A design for Living

“A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living “that really works.” – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous page 28

My old way of managing life was not a design for living. It was management by crisis, based on order of importance in the chaotic life I was living. Alcohol helped me to cope, it helped me to deal with my feelings. Design 1The Steps teach us to live again. The Steps, teach us how to face life on life’s terms. With some practice, understanding, and guidance from a couple of good sponsor’s, the Steps have changed my life, my perception and my experiences to the point where I can see the world with new eyes today.

Reference:

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt2.pdf

 

 

Powerlessness and a state of unmanageability

“Lack of Power, that was our dilemma.”

Big book of Alcoholics Anonymous page 45

This is really like saying, I am powerless, as powerlessness is a lack of power. It’s been my inability to accept that lack of power that can still make my life uncomfortable today. My inability towpid-hands-tied accept my alcoholism led me to believe that I could control it, control being just a matter of finding the right combination of circumstances.

Powerless, as defined, meaning we are without ability, influence, or power, in a situation. This can be a difficult thing to accept. Lets say I am late for work or school. When I offer my reason for being late, even though it may be completely reasonable, I may still be subject to reprimand or ridicule. I have no power over how others react to circumstance, in effect, I am powerless. If I accept that powerlessness, then I can go about my day without dwelling too much on the event. It is when I don’t accept my powerlessness over something, that creates conflict, inside of me, and within.

It is my opinion that for the most part, control over anything is an illusion. When I am trying to control people, places and things, whether it is in my actions or in my thinking, my level of serenity, goes down. So when I can let go of control, allow people and places to be as they are, and let the universe decide, then my peace within goes up.

Reference:

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt4.pdf

https://www.google.ca/search?q=unmanageability&oq=unmanageability&aqs=chrome..69i57.1256j0j8&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=powerless+define