I remember back when to my first time reading Step 10, in the 12 & 12 book, where Bill wrote:
"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. "
BEFORE I could read any further, where he explains it -- I went into a mental disagreement rage!
My head played it out as: "You really suck on this idea Bill, that's just NOT the case in ALL situations!"
When I finally settled down enough to finish reading and criticizing what he wrote, I got to the following sentences in the same paragraph...
"If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us of A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it."
This concept helped me much later on in sobriety with other AA's.
Can't I be properly angry (or disturbed) with or about some other AA that is doing damage to other AA's?
Yes. I probably could be "properly angry or disturbed"... but the problem is: the feeling is poison. And, it's like me wanting to poison the other person -- and I end up dying, or drunk, or ineffective -- because of the poison. If I'm feeling the poison, I've poisoned myself.
OK. Great idea, Bill W., but, just HOW CAN I CHANGE... for the better, and so that it doesn't disturb me?
Well. Bill mentioned that above the sentence that disturbed me.
"A spot check personal inventory."
How do I do that?
For me, I go back to the original format of how Step 4 is outlined. And, since my "justifiable disturbance" is most similar to anger and resentment... I do a Resentment part of the inventory on the actions of the other person.
Who's ticking me off and disturbing me? (I write down their name).
What did they do that ticked me off? (Their bad actions in AA).
Which parts of my self, did it seem like were harmed or threatened?
How did it affect me?
Which of MY character defects actually cause me to feel the way I felt?
What and how could I do it differently?
What I always seemed to end up with is: My disturbance is a result of:
MY Selfishness: (I WANT them -- to act differently, act better, act the way I THINK they should act, to do what I THINK they should do the way that I THINK it should be done).
MY Self-centeredness: (to do what I THINK they should do the way that I THINK it should be done)
MY Fear: I'm AFRAID they are doing to hurt AA or others.
And, what do I do about it? MY being inconsiderate... to the offender.
OK. Great! I understand that... but HOW can I CHANGE the way I see it, so that it doesn't disturb me?
Well... I can start by asking MYSELF, "Is it possible... that the offending person is very spiritually sick?" (Like, "Duh Dallas? Look in the mirror and name all the people that are not affected by a spiritual illness!)
So, I ask myself... "Can I help them?" My answer: Probably not.
Well... what can I do then? I CAN ask God, "Can you help ME... to be kind to them? And, to be cheerful when being kind to them?"
I'm NOT asking God to fix them... or to help them. (Whew! Relief! It would be dishonest of me to tell God that I wanted Him to do something GOOD for them... when what I really want is for Him to get revenge on them!)
What I AM asking God for is: to help me by fixing me.
And, I ask Him to remove my selfishness, my self-centeredness, my being inconsiderate... AND to remove MY fear.
NOTE: That usually fixes me and the problem is removed from me. But, "what if it isn't totally removed?" Then, I do a FEAR part of the personal inventory, and that finishes it up for me.
Well... "what IF I did that, and it didn't work?" Then, what that means is: I DIDN'T really work it -- LIKE the Big Book instructs me to... so I go back and review all the instructions in the book and see what I left out.