Went back to an old place last night, after spending time with a new friend who is deeply struggling. The feeling of impotence, of being unable to resolve the pain they are going through, leaves me feeling sad and grumpy. It resolves to the place of "where is God?"
The only advice I could give myself is that we can stay sober, no matter what our circumstances are, if we stay close to our Higher Power and to our friends. That crawling back into our caves so we can feel protected from all the perceived evil that is out there is the worst option possible. We all go through suffering in our lives so best do it in the company of others. A.A. is called a fellowship for a reason.
I, at one time, deeply believed that prayer was about changing the circumstances we find ourselves in. That it was my job to persuade God to do different, make life easier for the one that was suffering. If my prayers were not answered according to my demands, then the fault was mine, that I was living in a fashion the displeased God and he was punishing both me and the person I was praying for because of my actions. It was always about me. I was the centre of action! (Think I should take a bow now.)
Today, prayer is about letting go and learning to trust. Trusting God to work through the circumstances to change us, change others. It was pain that brought me to sobriety, and that is true for most alcoholics, circumstances was the agent of our change.
There is a passage in the 12&12 on prayer. On page 104:
We also fall into another similar temptation. We form ideas as to what we think God's will is for other people. We say to ourselves, “This one ought to be cured of his fatal malady,” or “That one ought to be relieved of his emotional pain,” and we pray for these specific things. Such prayers, of course, are fundamentally good acts, but often they are based upon a supposition that we know God's will for the person for whom we pray. This means that side by side with an earnest prayer there can be a certain amount of presumption and conceit in us. It is A.A.'s experience that particularly in these cases we ought to pray that God's will, whatever it is, be done for others as well as for ourselves.
Step 11 is about prayer and mediation. We pray to understand God's will for us and for the power to carry it out. I recently read this passage attributed to Thomas Merton:
The will of God is not a 'fate' to which we must submit, but a creative act in our life that produces something absolutely new, something hitherto unforeseen by the laws and established patterns. Our cooperation consists not solely in conforming to the external laws, but in opening our wills to this mutually creative act.
No magic wands. Just trust and cooperation. Doing just my part, not God's part. My friend who is struggling will have to do the same. What happens is between him and his Higher Power. We get to watch lives change.
I think I'll leave the wishing well. Thanks for letting me share.