Hey Anne, great to hear from you. Hopefully, if you're rushing around work... you'll get the weekend off!
I just absolutely love Chapter 4, "We agnostics" (Well... actually I just absolutely love all the chapters... but, today... pages 44 - 45 strike a nice tune inside me).
"Lack of power, on my own... that is my dilemma!"
"If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago."
Some people equate physical sobriety as recovery from alcoholism. Surely, physically sober is a necessity, but it's only the starting point in regards to recovery.
I'm the type-of-alcoholic, that had to ask God for help... to get sober... and to stay sober. And, I need God's help with everything that I must do to keep my physical sobriety and to get better, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I could have been the type of AA in recovery, who read and understood Steps 10 & 11, to mean... "okay, just make a mental note of what I did wrong... admit it... make amends... try to do better next time... and do a lot of praying and meditating." However, I had too much to lose, that I didn't want to lose... to attempt doing it that way. I chose rather, to read the book and to follow the instructions as closely as I could in the book. And, as a result of those efforts, I experienced what Bill wrote about, in regards to "being rocketed into the fourth dimension." It was absolutely and is absolutely incredible! And, that's what got me hooked on and in searching that Big Book... and using it as my guide... for my actions towards spiritual progress.
The bottomline for me is.... "I love the effect produced by the 12 Steps, when I take them following the instructions in the book."
I would guess... that the state of being "humble"... would be a quality of humility. Wouldn't it be humble... if the book said to me "ask" and I decided that it was in my best interest to "ask"?
In Step 11, it mentions praying only for the knowledge of God's will for us... and the power to carry it out.
Why would I ask for the knowledge of God's will for me... and the power to carry it out... if I didn't use the knowledge of His will for me... and take the actions that I'm asking for the power to carry out? If I didn't "use it" it might be like asking God for a tank of gas and a map, while I sat inside my truck in the garage... listening to the radio! I'm not going anywhere until I pull out of the garage and head down the road! To sit on it... means I miss the trip!
Since the 12 Steps is my Spiritual Path... and my Design For Living... and the instructions in it has saved my life, and given me a life better than anything I've been able to accomplish without it.. ... in Step 7, I'm instructed to "ask." For me... that's the end of the discussion. I've discovered that I gain much greater favorable results when I follow the directions rather than give the directions. If I have a problem with something in the 12 Steps... I'm always free to change my mind about it and just do it!
Often, when my "mental debate" was going on... in the end... I discovered that I was back at the wheel, attempting to "be God."
And, that doesn't work very well for me.
It's similar to the reason that I got a Sponsor... and use my Sponsor. I've discovered... that even when I thought I was smarter than he was... following his directions rather than my own directions to myself... was producing much greater results.
I think it was mentioned above, about "doing something... and then checking it out... and making adjustments." That's precisely what I've done to get me from where I was at, to where I'm at today.
I would take an action. Measure the results. Ask myself "is this moving me closer to... or further away"... from my objective? (Another wonderful benefit of doing a 10th Step, by following the instructions in the book... it's an excellent measurement and monitoring system! And, I don't have to rely on what "my head" is telling me... because I have the results in black and white... on paper... through my previous days, and months and years, written-down inventories from Step 10! (Another advantage of doing a written 10th Step).
Humbling? You bet'cha! Ego smashing? Yep. Wonderful results? The best I've ever been able to find!
A long time ago... even before I came to AA... I had some problems. I kept doing some stupid things that were causing me troubles. After each time of ending up in trouble... I would say "I'm never going to do that again! I'm going to change!" And, I would use all my will power and efforts to change... but the change would only last for a little while. I needed help. I needed the power to make "longer lasting" changes.
Now, that I've got the Power to make the "longer lasting" changes... I've discovered that without the Power (when I move away from the Power)... I flip flop back and forth in and out of old problems.... much more rapidly than I do when I'm trying to stay close to the Power!
Humbling? You bet. Each time I take one of those Character Defects off the shelf and start using it again... and end up with a big problem... it reminds me that "without help... it is too much for me."
Perhaps... if I could hang on to that idea more often, of "without help it is too much for me"... there would be longer and longer periods of time between me reaching up on that shelf full of character defects that have been removed.
And, what about those character defects that just don't seem to budge, regardless of how much I work at removing them? It reminds me, that Powerless over alcohol... is not my only dilemma!