HOW IT WORKS
skip to “How It Works”- here “HOW IT WORKS” From pg. 58-60 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
PAGE 62 OF THE BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS READS: “So our troubles we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.”
Skipping down further we read…”First of all we had to quit playing God it didn’t work. Next we decided that here after in this drama of life, God was going to be our director. He is the Principal ; we are His agents. He is the Father and we are His children.” Skipping down again to page 63: When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.”
Wow that’s a big piece of humble pie to swallow and it’s valuable and true information except for one thing. Addicts are usually totally without emotional balance. Especially when using we tend to blame everyone around us for our predicaments and the way we feel. If you tell us “our problems are of our own making” we will either turn on the guilt, shame, condemnation, and punishment toward ourselves or we reject the idea entirely.
There are two types of addicts, those who have been beating themselves up their entire lives and those who have been beating everyone around them up their entire lives. Seriously we must stop the punishment in spite of our accepting responsibility for where we are at in life and how we feel about ourselves, others, and our Higher Power.
The expert psychiatrists and psychologists who study alcoholism and addictions agree that addiction is not only a disease but is also a [shame based disease]. Once we accept responsibility for ourselves we must move straight-away into our step work and most importantly into our Fourth and Fifth Steps. Taking action and continuing to take action will alleviate the shame and guilt that we try so hard to pretend doesn’t exist. We prefer to stay in denial about our shame and fear because we perceive it as weak, bad, and wrong. But mostly we see our guilt as weakness. And more importantly our perceptions dictate that all eyes are on us therefore we must put on a strong and confident mask for our peers to see.
Remember one of the most prominent Ninth Step promises is “fear of people will leave us”. However, we fear not so much “people” but think about it, rather, we fear what people think of us. Certainly Bill W. and the rest of the early founders should have re-worded that promise in my opinion.
Our fellows will make fun of us if we admit that we feel and think of ourselves as “lesser than” our peers. Right? That’s one reason people won’t do a thorough fourth step, false-pride sneaks in and tells us we mustn’t reveal our true selves lest others despise us and see that we are weak, wrong, and bad.
THE SOLUTION? WE TAKE ACTION AND WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY IN SPITE OF OUR FEELINGS AND FEARS. WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOT EVER GOING TO GET BETTER IF WE LET OUR FEELINGS RULE US. WE DO THE STEPS ACCORDING TO FAITH AND HOPE. WE ACT OUT OF FAITH AND HOPE SO THESE PRINCIPLES GROW STRONGER WITHIN US. AND WE DO THE “NEXT RIGHT THING” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN UNTIL IT BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE AND WE REALIZE WE HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED.
“OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”. SELF ABUSE VERBALLY OR OTHERWISE IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE NOR IS ADVERTISING OUR SHORTCOMINGS A FORM OF HUMILITY.
Page 58 Big Book A.A. “How It Works”
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power-that One is God. May you find Him now!
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.