This morning, we recited the 3rd step prayer together on our knees and he got started writing out his list of resentments. As we read from the book, I realized how very many of the answers for my trials of the past few weeks were suggested in that portion of the Big Book that starts after the part we normally sleep through at the beginning of our meetings:
"The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. ... Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. ...Seems pretty clear: Problem = Self
"... What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. ... He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. ... Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? ... And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?
"Our actor is self-centered--ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. ... Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?
"Selfishness--self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. ...
"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. We must, or it kills us! ... Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. ... We had to have God's help.
" ...First of all, we had to quit playing God. ... Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. ... "
(3rd step promises?)
" ... (1) We had a new Employer. ... (2) He provided what we needed ... (3) we became less and less interested in ourselves ... (4) More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. ... (5) we felt new power flow in ... (6) we enjoyed peace of mind ... (7) we discovered we could face life successfully ... (8) we became conscious of His presence ... (9) we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. (10) We were reborn.
" ... 'God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!' ... " BB pp. 60-63
I can't fix a selfish, sick mind, with a selfish, sick mind.
Philip asked me: "...So, at some point does this become, like, an automatic thing? This surrender?"
I wished I could give him a different answer than what my experience is. I assured him that, over time, I've developed some different responses and that I'm not as reluctant as I once was around noticing and acknowledging that what was going on was just another manifestation of the selfishness and self-centeredness that I've discovered as a result of this process.
But, for today, my selfishness didn't have to result in acts of homicide or suicide.
That seemed to give him some hope.