Monday, November 30, 2009

Working the program...

I led a meeting on the 12th step last week.  I'm leading another one tonight.  Seems to be "up" for some folks.

Especially me.

In our AA community, it feels like many of us have come from a (dark?) place in our program where, what was suggested (at least what I heard) was that, when you get into depression and pain, you simply need to "work the program" harder.  What that meant to me and others was that you took another trip through the 12 steps (sometimes with a new sponsor or a new guide).  You got new insights from a more thorough and current 4th step.  You completed another set of amends.

All that was good stuff.  I grew a lot.

But, about two years ago I realized that this was not AA.

It's amazing to me, one more time, that they hid the directions in a book stealthily labeled, Alcoholics Anonymous:
PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.  It works when other activities fail. (BB p. 89)
So, the solution to my depression, my worry, my spiritual malady is not to find another guru, to change therapists, change sponsors, get more insight from another trip through the steps, to join another church, to get more exercise, or to change my medication.  The solution is to find another drunk and help him.  HELP ANOTHER.

All of those other things  are good - may even be necessary at times (and I think I can say that I've done them all - some multiple times).

Intensive work with other alcoholics. Not real subtle or rocket science, right?  That's what I mean today when I say I'm "working the program."  I can say that I've gotten as well as I'm ever going to get by naval gazing.  I need another plan.  Less of "I."

Yet, it's the last thing that I want to do.  It's as if I'm wired the opposite of that.  Like, maybe I have a spiritual malady.

Therein is the grace part.  (I'm a huge fan of grace.)  Today, I get the chance to be useful.

Thank you God...


Syd said...

It isn't coincidence that I wrote about this today. Maybe you will have some thoughts. Navel gazing--I know that one part of my anatomy very well.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Oh how I love grace... in all it's forms...

My sponsors (I've had two) have both said that when I get in the morass of self pity, self centered behavior, etc...there is nothing better than to get my ass to a meeting to help another alcoholic...that I do...combined with in general getting out of my own turn my thoughts to others as the case may be.

Thank alays...great blog!

Sobr1 said...

Thank you so much for explaining how you "work the program". It lets me know where your head is at and shows me how that work is done.

You help in my sobriety quite a bit.

Thanks for all you write.

Mary Christine said...

I hope this is an idea that will catch on... but as you say, it is well hidden in that book.