The Problem is Two-Fold in Nature

Catholic Alcoholic

grand coteauPage 355 in the AA Big Book

The explanation that alcoholism was a disease of a two-fold nature, an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind, cleared up a number of puzzling questions for me.  The allergy we could do nothing about.  Somehow our bodies had reached the point where we could no longer absorb alcohol in our systems.  The why is not important; the fact is that one drink will set up a reaction in our systems that requires more, that one drink is too much and a hundred are not enough.

The obsession of the mind was a little harder to understand, and yet everyone has obsessions of various kinds.  The alcoholic has them to an exaggerated degree.  Over a period of time he has built up self-pity and resentments toward anyone or anything that interferes with his drinking.  Dishonest thinking, prejudice, ego, antagonism toward…

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The 9th Step Promises

Catholic Alcoholic

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word “serenity” and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we’ve gone, we’ll see how our experiences can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.  Are these extravagant promises?  We think not.  They’re being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will always materialize if we work…

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The 9th Step Promises

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word “serenity” and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we’ve gone, we’ll see how our experiences can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.  Are these extravagant promises?  We think not.  They’re being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will always materialize if we work for them.

The Problem is Two-Fold in Nature

grand coteauPage 355 in the AA Big Book

The explanation that alcoholism was a disease of a two-fold nature, an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind, cleared up a number of puzzling questions for me.  The allergy we could do nothing about.  Somehow our bodies had reached the point where we could no longer absorb alcohol in our systems.  The why is not important; the fact is that one drink will set up a reaction in our systems that requires more, that one drink is too much and a hundred are not enough.

The obsession of the mind was a little harder to understand, and yet everyone has obsessions of various kinds.  The alcoholic has them to an exaggerated degree.  Over a period of time he has built up self-pity and resentments toward anyone or anything that interferes with his drinking.  Dishonest thinking, prejudice, ego, antagonism toward anyone and everyone who dares to cross him, vanity, and a critical attitude are character defects that gradually creep in and become part of his life.  Living with fear and tension inevitably results in wanting to ease that tension, which alcohol seems to do temporarily.

The 12 Steps of AA were designed to help correct these defects of character and so help remove the obsession to drink.  The 12 Steps, which to me are a spiritual way of living, soon meant honest thinking, not wishful thinking; open mindedness, a willingness to try and a faith to accept.  They meant patience, tolerance and humility and above all the belief that a Power greater than myself could help.  That power I chose to call God.

Acceptance

I often hear in meetings people sharing about page 417 in the Big Book as the solution to basically everything we have to face in life.  Of course, Christ is the solution to everything we face in life.  And this excerpt from the AA writers ties in with God’s teachings through Jesus.  This is what it says:

page 417, AA Big Book
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

That pretty much sums it up!  I must look at what needs to be changed in me.  And if it isn’t within me then I can change it and can only give it to God and accept the results as God’s will for  my life or others’ lives.

Pray for the one I Hate

Hate is such a strong word, and I don’t even allow it in my home.  If my children say they hate someone or something, I immediately stop them in their tracks and have them re-phrase their feelings.  To me, hate is everything to do with satan and nothing to do with the light of God.

Yet, as I pondered the title of this post, that was the only word that fit.  I guess I “hate” this person.  I definitely resent the hell out of her and wish her pain and misery for the rest of her life!

Semantics aside, it was suggested to me through the sharing of another at a meeting to read page 552 of the Big Book if there is a resentment that I just can’t get past.  If there is anger I am holding on to, tightly and refuse to or am unable to let go, then do what it says on page 552.  I started this last night.  Can’t say that I feel any better but I will commit to it.  This is what it says:

Page 552, AA Big Book
He said, in effect: “If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person that you resent, you will be free.  If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.  Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.  Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.  Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.”

Last night I prayed that God give her, this woman, everything I want for myself.  This woman, who manipulated my husband (with his consent) back into her life while I was away in treatment. This woman who is also sober and part of the AA fellowship, who selfishly disregarded her friendship with me and who disregarded her program of honesty with herself and within her own marriage in order to capture the love and attention my husband had for her in college.  Yes, this woman.  Last night I prayed God give her continued sobriety, good health, happiness and a peaceful wonderful blessed family and marriage.

I’ll commit to pray for her for 2 weeks.  And if the resentment isn’t lifted by then, then I’ll continue the prayers until she doesn’t haunt my thoughts and steal my peace of mind anymore.

I'm Jittery and Alone

“We know what you are thinking.  You are saying to yourself, ‘I’m jittery and alone.  I couldn’t do that.’ But you can.  You forget that you have now just tapped a power much greater than yourself.  To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.”
AA Big Book, A Vision for You page 163

Notes
Willingness:  to will, to desire, to want (it’s a program for those who “want” it)
Patience: the capacity or habit of bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint, forbearance despite provocation
Labor: expenditure of physical or mental effort, especially when difficult in order to achieve an objective