Sunday, August 30, 2009

where there is dispair, hope.

I have a secret, a secret resentment. A resentment to people who take the Big Book and put it way up there, right up high next to where people might put the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Vita, etc. etc. Don't get me wrong, the material written in the Big Book has saved my life. As a program of recovery, it's helping me to stay sober, one day at a time. I am very grateful for the changes in my life. But, it's only a book, written by other humans. One of the closing paragraphs on page 164 reads:

Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

It's a book meant to be suggestive. So where is this resentment coming from? Why do I tip a wee bit when I hear the big book compared to other holy books? I've been taught in the rooms to look at myself but I never saw my problem until that line in the prayer of St. Francis "where there is dispair, hope."

Hope is defined as "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best." In my own recovery, I feel lots of hope. If I keep doing what I have been taught in the rooms of AA, if I keep spiritually fit, then I continue to get a daily reprieve. Past experience has given me this hope. Your experience, my experience, combined, gives me lots of hope.

Now, when it comes to my addicted child, to people who have asked me to sponsor them, to those still struggling in their addictions, this hope fades away to nothing. In my previous post, I write about letting go. I quote the big book, pointing out how we are not to pray for a specific out come for others, to let God decide who will join us in recovery or who will die in their addictions.

I can accept that for we are powerless. But I also feel my hope drain away in that acceptance. Doubt creeps in, displacing that hope, leaving me feeling, well, hopeless.

My, this is a convoluted post. From resentment about the big book to hopelessness. What I am wondering is if I am making the big book a Holy book myself. Allowing my own theology to be structured around what the Big Book says about a power greater than ourselves. That my resentments are just showing me who I am.

What I want to do is give myself permission to feel hope, a hope that isn't tied to specific outcomes or expectations. There are no guarantees that things will work out the way I want to but I can still have hope that my loved one will stumble into recovery as I did. I can still have hope that when working with a sponsee they will find their own path into recovery. I can still feel hope that not all are lost. After all, when I look around the rooms of AA, there are lots of miracles.

I was beginning to think that feeling hopeful was a lost cause, almost sinful. It's not, it's a ray of light in the darkness. God knows I need that light! Hope can take away the despair of doubt.

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this, thanks for letting me try to sort out this rat's nest in my mind. Take care.

Photo Credit: astazou


Annette said...

When I think of putting my child, my fears and my hopes into God's hands and how comforting that is for me....the step before that is trust. And belief. Belief in a power greater than myself, trust that He really can manage what I can not.

I liked what you had to say about the Big Book....I have heard those comments before too and they didn't fit into that niche inside myself that says, "Yes!" They produced more of a scratching my chin and needing to think on that some more.

Lou said...

I see proof of hope all the time. The "hard core" person that got it. I talk with one on the phone that I met on the blogs. He is making it, in one of the worst neighborhoods and with little outside help. Why?
Because he got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know his mother had many a sleepless night wishing she could find hope.

Anonymous said...

Personally, for now, I stay out of religion. I tried it and it did not fit. AA fit. When I hear people in the rooms of AA talk about the Big, Big Book(Bible) I think to myself, what the hell are you talking about? I do not think that the Bible should be discussed in AA anymore than the Big book should be discussed in church. It says right at the beginning that it is merely a basic text. I am sure the Bible has saved many, many lives. The Big Book was written to save alcoholics from the disease of alcoholism, that's all.
Never,ever give up hope! I am sure it is hard to trust that God knows what He doing when it comes to your son I am sure. But He gave him free will too.

Syd said...

Hope is a great thing. Faith is the glue that helps me turn over those things that I have no control over. Both are necessary for me to continue in recovery. Thanks for writing this post and for working through some aspects of recovery that probably bother everyone at one time or another.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

i see. interesting post.
It is important to distinguish between arrogance and hope. So yes this is an interesting dilemma.

I present hope to those 'still suffering' as an act of service. I ask myself. 'What would be of maximum service to this newcomer? .. To indicate to him/her that everything may be lost? or would it be MORE helpful (ie maximum helpfulness) to communicate the possibility of hope to that person?

Whatever answer is the MOST helpful, is the path i do my best to follow.

in this program we are not really asked to 'figure out what is 'right' and then do it. We are asked to ACT IN A WAY WHICH IS MOST HELPFUL TO OTHERS

this simplifies things immensely for me. i filter decisions through 'what is most helpful' mantra. and all other considerations fade away.

So if hope is helpful, then it is OK. Go for it :)