Saturday, March 31, 2012

Entering into a new relationship with my Creator

Am I willing to do this now?

Is it even necessary?

What would it now look like? Would it be a matter of letting go of rather than adding on to?

Where am I with submission, discipline, obedience? Two types of discipline... one that's imposed upon me... one I don't do well with... and one that I decide into... in a 3rd Step sort of way... one I intend.

I'm loving this retreat and think I'll go on a hike.


  1. Remember what Young said: "Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them."

    * Increasing depths of "complete abandon" involve rooting out those "old ideas".

    * Sometimes we acquire "new ideas" which become inadequate; they become "old ideas" that also need to be abandoned.

    * The stimulus of continual spiritual growth are the realizations which occur when we are forced out of our comfort zones, again and again by the circumstances of life.

    * We continue to foster new conceptions and realign our motives towards Gods will.

    * When we cut down an old tree we can see from the rings of the tree that it had seasons of drought and seasons of growth, twisted from storms, infected by blight, but it continued to grow through it all.

    “The quickest way for a tadpole to become a frog is to live loyally each day as a tadpole".


  2. Do we choose God... or does God choose us?

    1. "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day." Jesus

      God truly loves ALL of his children, but survival is a matter of free will. God doesn't compel man to do anything against man's will.

      It is your choice to do Gods will or forsake him.

  3. Paradoxically, giving our will back to God is the way to freedom.

    1. I go back to the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'm pretty happy with my relationship with God today. He shows me the path, I try to follow it. Entering a new relationship seems pointless.

  4. Well I guess my retreat with 65 sober folks... many 30+ years of sobriety... was pointless.

    You are not of the school of doing steps yearly. I get that.

    But from the marvelous words and wisdom of our Rob B, why would you feel the need to transcribe your current belief system onto my/our recent and awesome experience?

    The difference between you... and others like Danny B... and me is I look at the considerations on page 52 and that word "regular" and conclude that self-will has come back and needs to be twarted once again just enough to allow room for God again.

    1. Wise words, Patrick. I agree that whenever self-will begins to rear its ugly head, it's time for a hard look at my spiritual condition. This will inevitably call for a renewal of my relationship with God.

  5. It's a topic that gets brought up much in this group as I'm sure you could understand; Why do steps again? Why renew that which is already working? If you're honestly doing fine with your connection with God ... then maybe do NOT louse it up with a damned inventory. I'm sure ot can go that way for some on any given year.

    But what about the person who is doing well by self-propulsion? There's nothing really well with managing well, is there? If you have access to Power, by all means use it. But it's been my experience that today's intent and inspiration will become tomorrow's knowledge and ego-trip.

    1. We're probably talking about the same thing here, but expressing the ideas differently. I do the steps every year with my sponsor, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to change my relationship with God each time. I do an inventory daily with my 10th step, or at least try to.

      I don't look at my inventory affecting this relationship unless, as I said, I find my self-will coming to the forefront.
      In that case, my spiritual condition is suffering and a renewal of the relationship is called for.

      I can't speak for those who think that self propulsion is sufficient. It isn't for me. I need the help of God to stay sober. Self sufficiency, for me, is a very dangerous thing.

  6. Like I say, it was the theme of the retreat and some of these considerations and questions came up there.

    I know that self-propulsion isn't a good idea for us... but I go there from time to time.

  7. Self forgetfulness and service to others gets lost in habitual self introspection. Real growth is unconscious, unscheduled, adventurous, sincere, spontaneous and available each day.

    The 12 steps are a complete thought, they were only broken down into pieces to insure that the rationalising mind of the alcoholic couldn't wiggle out. Wilson took his personal experience in Towns hospital and combined that with the Oxford principles to come up with the system of "will exchange". We do this each day, life provides the opportunities for deeper, more sincere, more surrendered "will exchange". We aren't reborn annually, rather we continue in surrender. We may have taken some of "our rights" back, the right to be angry, the right to hold a grudge, the right to feel just a little superior to our brothers and sisters, the right to cheat a little on our taxes etc.

    Our two biggest problems in sobriety are, forgetting and lying; we forget to work the program, then we lie about it, not because people ask us if we are working the program. No, we lie by becoming phoney again, by compartmentalising and ritualising the spiritual life in order to gain control over it. By saying we are fine when we aren't. We are alone again, we are living the double life again. We are not comfortable in our own skin, again. Our thinking can change ever so slowly, regressing back to the old ideas, attitudes and emotions which used to be the guiding force of our lives. We are no longer reprieving daily.


  8. So are we to wake up and brush other people's teeth for them? Maybe chew up some steak and spit it into other people's mouths?

    That sort of thing?

  9. Here's a couple of things I hear in the rooms that I do not understand;

    "I work steps 1 2 and 3 every day."

    "I don't really work the steps anymore. The steps work me."

  10. This topic reminds me of the "Serenity" Prayer (which would be better named the "Change" prayer).
    On the one hand we learn to change our thinking and ways to those of God as we understand Him;
    and on the other hand we strive to accept those things beyond our understanding and ability to change.
    Could all this be another version of the ancient division between Free Will (the favorite of most Western religions) and Predestination (which requires one to merely accept just about everything - the favorite of Islam and Calvinism)?
    Most of us reject Predestination immediately and absolutely (as I once did), but my observations of the natural world constantly reinforce that theory.
    What do you think?

  11. Pretty deep. Well Happy Easter to all of yous anyway.

    We all seem to be riding up that hill on a different donkey anyway.

    Health and prosperity to y'all this year.

  12. Happy Easter Kids, got a bit of the ham shakes going on now, but other than that, life is good, AA goes on without me,and I without AA imagine that.

  13. Ham shakes?

    Good to jear from you guys and hope you had a nice Sunday.

  14. Ham shakes occur when one eats massive quantities of pork, I usually combat this with apple sauce, as of today, the shakes seem to have gone into remission, still working on moderation.

  15. Good to "jear"from you guys?

    Wow. If that ain't a Freudian Slip.

  16. Hey Guys,
    Patrick, sorry it took so long for me to get around to this, haven't been online much lately.

    Like Rob, I no longer belong to AA. And he says, AA seems to getting along quite OK with out me. For the most part I get along OK with AA as well, however I am experiencing some struggle with finding community.

    One thing that has changed with me, and it wasn't a sudden thing, is that I no longer take a or theistic approach to the spiritual life. That's why I hesitant to comment when you asked me to Patrick, as I don't know how I could add anything to this conversation. But then it came to me that years of doing the steps on a yearly and sometimes twice yearly basis brought me to the point of being truly willing to question the whole God thing and to eventually move on from it and move on from AA.

    I admit that it has been difficult to let go of what became my identity for so many years. I've had to mourn that loss and resist the temptation to find a new identity and just "be" with what is.

    I found this quote that I'd like to share:
    "Spirituality is about the relationship you have with your core self and the world around you and finding meaning and purpose to life.

    Religion is about beliefs and practices and a higher power."

    In regards to the first part, if doing AA and doing a set of steps a year helps one to find that relationship and that meaning, great. I know it helped me for a lot of years, until it didn't.

    About the second part, I think it is really easy to turn AA and everything that we do in AA into a religion and a set of beliefs and rituals and dogmas and practices.

    1. Spirituality has been defined in numerous ways. These include: a belief in a power operating in the universe that is greater than oneself, a sense of interconnectedness with all living creatures, and an awareness of the purpose and meaning of life and the development of personal, absolute values. It's the way you find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in your life. Although spirituality is often associated with religious life, many believe that personal spirituality can be developed outside of religion. Acts of compassion and selflessness, altruism, and the experience of inner peace are all characteristics of spirituality. Many Americans are becoming interested in the role of spirituality in their health and health care. This may be because of dissatisfaction with the impersonal nature of our current medical system, and the realization that medical science does not have answers to every question about health and wellness.

      Read more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/spirituality-000360.htm#ixzz1rhAgIDBq

      Joe: The above article pretty much sums up my views on spirituality, which are traditional Native American attitudes.
      I agree that some have turned AA into a religion, and that is why I don't meetings either.

  17. Well I thank you for speaking your truth and all that. But you make it sound like you've reached a higher truth that us lesser pilgrims will one day reach as well.

    On the other hand... some seem so entrenched into A.A. doctrine that they can imagine no life for an alky in recovery without it.

    I think I've come a long way to respecting both sides of the coin.

  18. Not higher, just different. Or maybe it's not different. I only hope that I've left the debating society.

    "...some seem so entrenched into A.A. doctrine that they can imagine no life for an alkie in recovery without it."

    I've been there. I was there for a long time. Patrick, when you first came onto SR I was in the tail end of that phase. Some never seem to move out of it, and I guess that's OK too. But I'm glad I did.

    When I announced to my group that I was leaving, one guy exclaims "alcoholic thinking!" I said to him that maybe it might be his alcoholic thinking but not mine. But then again, how can I fault him? I sponsored his sponsor.

  19. Naw, I wouldn't call you out as someone who is in danger... nor should anyone else.

    We should be able to continue on this spiritual path together minus the orthodoxy of the 12 steps. I only wish I had the same deal with some of my A.A. peeps.

    1. Some stuff I’ve picked up over time referencing spirituality and religion. Here are bits and pieces:

      “Historically, the word religious and spirituality have been synonymous, but gradually the word spiritual came to be associated with the private realm of thought and experience while the word religious came to be connected with the public realm of membership in a religious institution with official denominational doctrines. In the early 1900’s psychological scholars such as William James (et. al.) investigate religiousness and spirituality through the lens of social science. Their work, and the research that followed, indicates that the words religious and spirituality while representing concepts that are each multi-dimensional, have traditionally been used in reference to relationship to the broad concept of religion.”

      “Ignatian spirituality, as described by St. Ignatius himself, is a ‘way of proceeding’ which would be a good description of spiritualities in general. The particular charism of Ignatian spirituality is that of ‘contemplation in action’, which is to say, involvement in their world with the prospective of ‘finding God in all things.’”

      “”If spirituality is understood as the search for or the development of inner peace or the foundations of happiness, then spiritual practice of some kind is essential for personal well being. This activity may or may not include belief in supernatural beings.”

      “Spirituality has played a central role in self-help movements such as Alcoholics Anonymous: ”…if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead….”

      “The relationship between faith/religion and spirituality is that both are “higher” methods of understanding the world. Spirituality is just focused on self while religion is focused on God.”

      I don’t have any references for this stuff. It’s just material I’ve come across over the years. I myself lean toward the Ignatian spirituality. But that’s just me.