Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A design for living

I often remind myself of a passage found on page 85 from "Alcoholics Anonymous":

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.
I have often told myself that my spiritual condition is a result of keeping up with prayer and meditation but I seem to be rediscovering what it is really about.

On page 14, I was struck with what Bill was thinking about as he lay in the hospital:

While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others.
That was not what I was thinking about when I sobered up. I was a bit more (well, a lot more) selfish than that. However, the passage continues:

My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.

I am reworking through the steps with a few men and it feels good to start at the beginning. It's like the book as been rewritten and has new lessons to teach me.All through "The Doctor's Opinion" and through "Bill's Story" is a message of hope through a program of altruism. I have to laugh at myself and my struggles with resentments and fear these past months. Bill gives some great advice on page 15, advice I had inadvertently followed (to my benefit for I am still sober):

I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink, but I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day. Many times I have gone to my old hospital in despair. On talking to a man there, I would be amazingly lifted up and set on my feet. It is a design for living that works in rough going.

Thanks for letting me share.

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