Hey Molly! Great to hear from you!
Moments of clarity
They keep me amazed!
Steps 1 through 9 is "how" we turn our will and lives over to God. To continue practicing those Steps through Steps 10 through 12 -- and, our helping others to take those Steps (which causes us to continually re-visit those Steps for ourselves) -- it continues to take us to a more thorough "surrender" and continues to remove other things in our lives that block us from being like we were created to be.
I've heard of, and read about -- a Spiritual Teacher, who many years ago tried to explain it with something like "I am the vine and you are the branches." And, he said in another way, something like "Every good tree brings forth good fruit."
My understanding of things like peace of mind, patience, love, tolerance, serenity, acceptance, joy -- and more -- are like the fruits that grow on the tree or that grow on the branches of the vine.
On page 99, in the 12 & 12, Bill quoted a prayer... and when he did, he quoted it different than other ways that I've seen the prayer... He wrote: "Lord, make me a channel of thy peace --" and continued the prayer as though the actions and desires are flowing through "a channel". (Other versions of the prayer seem to say "instrument of")... but, Bill's way gives me a simple and different way to look at it.
A channel is something -- that stuff flows through.... and flows out of.
The things that are inside me that are blocking me -- are blocking my channel. And, if I remove the things that are blocking the channel -- then, good stuff -- that's already inside me -- can begin to flow out -- to those around me. Kind of like -- "if this God thing is already inside me -- then, how the heck do I begin to let it flow out of me?" (Kind of like, in the back of the BB, where it refers to an "inner resource" that was inside us all the time).
Self-searching and self-analysis (Steps 10 & 11) -- reveal what's flowing out of me. It shows me what's coming out of my channel and it gives me tools so that I can clean it out and adjust the flow!
If we are removing the things that block us (by using the 12 Steps) the fruit will automatically grow in our lives -- and flow in and out and through us -- and we don't have to go looking for it -- or go trying to get it. That's the miracle of it!
An old-timer named Chuck C. used to say "what you're looking for -- you are looking with." And, that the process was to "uncover, discover and discard" -- the things in ourselves that are blocking us from experiencing what we are looking for.
This is the same thing as saying "The Spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it." -- and not saying "We have to get it!" -- If we live it -- we get it.
And, when we live it -- we got it!
And, we experience it by using it.
For the more psychological minded folks -- who prefer not to discuss it as something "spiritual" (and that's okay, too) -- the Appendix in the back of the book "Spiritual Experience" explains it as -- a transformation that takes place in our personality -- a change in our thoughts, attitudes and actions -- that allows us to recover. And, it appears, that most often, those changes are incremental. Sometimes -- some of our members experience rapid changes in their mental and emotional displacements -- (kind of like Bill W.'s white light experience) -- and, even when they do experience them rapidly -- further growth and changes seems to come slowly -- over time.
Acceptance does figure in to the surrender. Bill writes of this on the first page of Step 1, in the 12 & 12 (I think, page 21) -- when he writes something like "We know that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences." -- That comes as a result of our being convinced in and to ourselves - that we have become alcoholic, and on our own power -- we are powerless to stay sober and recover. The humiliation that produces humility. That moment of clarity!
I guess it doesn't matter how I got my "moment of clarity" ... whether I produced it myself by "getting it" or -- it was an act of Providence, and was given to me -- as long as I got it!
For me, if it wasn't a "God-thing" it was certainly an "Odd-thing"!
Step 1, begins the process of smashing our Ego, and each of the additional Steps continue to smash it -- until it gets it "right-sized".... and once it get's right-sized -- (if we keep it that way) -- we begin to experience the natural "fruits of sobriety" or "fruits of the spiritual way of life."
Surrender. Surrendered. Surrendering.
Kind of like recover, recovered and recovering ... it's a process that continues for a lifetime -- and it's why I continue with "the steps we took" and keep taking them -- and, going to meetings -- reminding myself of why it's necessary to keep taking them!
Gee Molly!!! It sure took me a lot of wind to get to that last paragraph!