Monday, 16 July 2012

Who Am I?

“Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men”.   Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 46

In the 12 step recovery program, we are asked to be open-minded and put our trust in a power greater than ourselves.  The reason behind this is we need to accept that we are completely powerless against taking the first drink, drug or whatever it is that is causing our illness.  Most people are agreeable that they are powerless, but when it comes to the spiritual part of the program, they tend to react in different ways.  Some are willing to believe and others run away.  The word “God” is used throughout our recovery, but as it explains above, we choose our own conception of God – our own higher power.  The 12 steps are based on a spiritual, not a religious program.    
I am a child of the Universe.  What I really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition.  Maintaining my spiritual condition is like exercising every day.  I pray and I meditate.  No matter how difficult life seems at times and how painful a situation may appear today, I can draw on the power of the program to stay free from my cunning, powerful and baffling disease.
This description of an alcoholic taken from the website,, describes the dilemma of a substance abuser perfectly, bearing in mind that “God” is a higher power which the person feels most comfortable with:
Who am I?
I am almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though my motives are good. I, like most people, try to live by self-propulsion. I am 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 my own way. If my arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as I wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including myself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements I may sometimes be quite virtuous. I may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, I may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, I AM more likely to have varied traits.
What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. I begin to think life doesn't treat me right. I decide to exert myself more. I become, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit me. Admitting I may be somewhat at fault, I am sure that other people are more to blame. I becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is my basic trouble? Am I not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Am I not a victim of the delusion that I can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if I only manage well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things I want? And do not my actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Am I not, even in my best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?
I am a self-centred ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. I am like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twenty first century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever my protestations, am I not concerned with myself, my resentments, or my self-pity?
Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, I think, is the root of my troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, I step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt me, seemingly without provocation, but I invariably find that at some time in the past I have made decisions based on self which later placed me in a position to be hurt.
So my troubles, I think, are basically of my own making. They arise out of me, and I am an extreme example of self-will run riot, though I usually do not think so. Above everything, I must be rid of this selfishness. I must, or it will kill me! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. I had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but I could not live up to them even though I would have liked to. Neither could I reduce my self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on my own power. I had to have God's help.
This is the how and the why of it. First of all, I had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, I decided that hereafter in this drama of life; God was going to be my Director. He is the Principal; I am His agent. He is the Father, and I am His child. Most Good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which I passed into freedom.
When I sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. I had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what I needed, if I kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing I became less and less interested in myself, my little plans and designs. More and more I became interested in seeing what I could contribute to life. As I felt new power flow in, as I enjoyed peace of mind, as I discovered I could face life successfully, as I became conscious of His presence, I began to lose my fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. I was reborn.

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