Friday, December 10, 2010


After we come in to A.A., if we go on growing, our attitudes and actions toward security--emotion security and financial security--commence to change profoundly. Our demand for emotional security, for our own way, had constantly thrown us into unworkable relations . . . Either we had tried to play God and dominate those about us, or we had insisted on being overdependent upon them (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p115).

We saw that we would need to give constantly of ourselves without demands for repayment (116).

we discovered the best possible source of emotional dependency to be God Himself . . . If we really depended upon God, we couldn't very well Play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care (116).

Sometime in my third year of sobriety I had walked out of a meeting with tears in my eyes. I wanted to quit the whole A.A. thing, I was full of emotional pain and the members of A.A. were doing nothing to help me relieve that pain. I found fault with everybody and everything and in all those resentments I had no place to turn.

I remember walking a long distance after that meeting, winding up at a beach. I sat, propped against a log, and read some literature similar to what is quoted above. As I thought about the words, I could see how I had, since childhood, played this silly game. I had always expected people to help me and then when I didn't change I could blame the people, not me. Blame fell on my parents, school teachers, friends, groups of friends, councillors, or my partner. They were messed up, not me. That gave me permission for self-pity of the worst kind, permission to drink, to porn, permission to build the walls that kept you from me.

When I came into recovery, I found that most members of A.A. did not appreciate the game (or if they do buy in, it's not for long.) That third year, members of A.A. taught me that it's not about the getting, it's about the giving. It's not about opening the meeting, setting up the chairs, making the coffee and then expecting a pat on my head. It was not about seeking the approval or nod from others that I was doing all the right things. It's about taking responsibility for myself, doing the work of A.A., and expecting nothing in return. (Well, that's almost true, I do expect that if I do the work, I get to stay sober for that day and that day only.) It's about growing up and letting go and finding trust in a world where I have no control. I get to become an independent me while find a faith and trust in something Greater than me.

When you get near to the end of your rope, let go.


Grace-WorkinProgress said...

It seemed for me I reached some sort of spiritual plateau at three years. Before that it was all about putting my life back together and that was a full time job. Everything was about me up until then. Then I had to just sit with what to do next and for me that was the lesson, waiting for God. Over the years I am still uncovering defects and assets but it is not as dramatic as it was in the beginning. A spiritual awakening for me is a moment of growth. Counting on a power greater than myself helps me to relax and be kind to myself and show compassion to others taking the same journey.

Annette said...

Great post and a great comment. Thank you guys....very much appreciated insight and wisdom. I am just letting it soak in right now.

Syd said...

I go through cycles where I have a similar feeling. I realize that when I feel malcontent about the program, I am malcontent with myself. I need to do service work, quit over analyzing things, talk to my sponsor and improve my conscious contact with God. When I do those things I can get back on track.