Endigar 79

I knew the question would be coming to me.  Everyone who picks up a token for a year or more gets asked that same question.  “How did you do it?”  The addict or alcoholic with that much sobriety must have done something right.  Turn around and face those who are new and share some wisdom, something for others to grab hold of.  I thought I would be absolutely prepared for that moment.  I began meditating on this question many weeks ago when I realized how quickly the time was approaching.  I thought I might print out a copy of my progress report and read it off to them, showing that if you expect God to move a mountain, you better bring a shovel.  But then I sensed self glorification in that, something that is meant to make me feel good, without regard for its usefulness to the whole group of those who continue to struggle.  I did not want to provide bumper sticker answers that smacked of religious platitudes; “I didn’t, God did.”  That is a popular one.  But it is so misleading.  Yes, I need a contact with a Higher Power, but that alone sets the stage.  I am required to follow a few simple requirements, as they say. 

In the end, I was left to share this wisdom with no idea of what is going to come out of my mouth.  I listened in the group and awaited, no begged for inspiration. 

How did you do it?  Gomu and Disease.  The disease concept of this program removed a burden of self-loathing off of my back, no longer a man lacking in will power, but a man made helpless by a powerful and cunning disease.  (it was said during that meeting, “take a package of laxatives and will yourself not to shit”).  Gomu is my acronym for the God of My Understanding.  This program helped restore a spiritual life for me, not by giving me a Higher Power, but by setting me free to seek a Higher Power as I understand Him, She, It and giving me an imperative to do it or die.  I called these my favorite two heresies of the program, heresies because they are violations of the way I used to think, a way that was killing me. 

I read something from the book “As Bill Sees It” that I would like to include.  It was written by Bill Wilson in the Grapevine, 1961: 

“Do as I do…Perhaps more often than we think, we make no contact at depth with alcoholics who are suffering  the dilemma of no faith.

Certainly none are more sensitive to spiritual cocksureness, pride, and aggression than they are.  I’m sure this is something we too often forget.

In A.A.’s first years, I all but ruined the whole undertaking with this sort of unconscious arrogance.  God as I understood Him had to be for everybody.  Sometimes my aggression was subtle and sometimes it was crude.  But either way it was damaging – perhaps fatally so – to numbers of nonbelievers.

Of course this sort of thing isn’t confined to 12th Step work.  It is very apt to leak out into our relations with everybody.  Even now, I catch myself chanting that same old barrier-building refrain:  ‘Do as I do, believe as I do – or else!’ “

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