(43) 25 October 2012 Big Book Step Study Workshop
There is a Solution page 28 from start of 3rd para: ‘The distinguished American psychologist, William James…’ until end of first sentence page 29 More About Alcoholism ‘Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics.’
Q 1 What does a ‘design for living that really works’, mean to you?
Q2 What are you actively doing in your life to discover God?
Q3 Do you have the willingness to go to any lengths to discover God in your life?
Q4 Where you on the spiritual ladder? Are you an atheist, an agnostic or a believer?
Q5 Are you a real alcoholic? (For alcohol means anything)
Q7 Where are you a real alcoholic? 1)Are you admitting it openly? 2)Are you willing to make an action plan around changing it? 3)Are you willing to bring it to your higher power?
Make at least one of your outreach calls every day to someone on the BBSS workshop group list and build up a group of people doing the process with you who can encourage you when you don’t want to go on. Especially build up people who are doing it for the 2nd or 3rd time, they will be great encouragement. I really recommend that you get a buddy if you have lost yours. I don’t demand anything but can’t recommend enough that you have someone who is walking through with you and listening to your work that is the type of encouragement that you can’t’ get anyplace else. Although I am sponsor to all of you I can’t work individually with all of you to listen to your work. You really need a buddy.
It has been brought to my attention a couple of questions regarding what is appropriate for sharing buddy work. It is appropriate to call when you have agreed. You ready one week. You do not read work that you need to make up. That you need to call someone or your buddy at a different time. It is really important that we respect each other’s time. If we start going over a half hour or so of time then people are going to say that this takes too much time and won’t stick with their buddy. Remember no comments on what your buddy has read to you and there are no comments on what you have read. Even if you want comments. If you’re going to follow my suggestions, you’re not going to ask your buddy to comment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t read it to your step 1 sponsor or to a trusted friend. But your buddy needs to be someone you can be comfortable with for the whole 3 year process. If there is commenting on the work, at some point you will become uncomfortable over what is said and the buddy relationship will break up. So, please follow my guidelines because I’ve done this now on the phone bridge for over 5 years and it is my experience that commenting will lead to quitting the process. If there is any other question about buddies, please ask after the recording has been stopped at the end of the workshop.
3rd step prayer Set aside prayer
I am doing a lot of editing of what is up on the website. I have a MAC and am receiving training, so if you leave a comment on the website, I can approve it now. Handouts, there are a ton of handouts, one I just put up on slips. I encourage you to go and download the handouts, how to do the 4th step for example. The information is much more up to date and correct now from recent work.
Page 28 there is a solution , we will finish and then move on to More about Alcoholism
I really want you to get the gist of what Bill and the first 100 alcoholics meant. When you really get your spiritual experience and walk into your 12 step rooms and finally get that this is not a self-help program. If you go into your 12 step fellowship believing that it is self-help and you will not be helped, period, end of story. If you could help yourself, you wouldn’t be listening to me right now. The 12 step recovery fellowships are a spiritually centered fellowship. What that means is that the powerful and loving hand of God (or HP) is the foundation. The good will and fellowship between the members is the structure not the foundation. God is the foundation and the fellowship, good will among members to help each other is the structure. This is anything BUT a self-help program. If you go in there saying “I’m going to help myself” then you are not going to get well.
If you go in and say, “I’m going to make a relationship with a HP—God the foundation of my life, and I’m going to build the structure of fellowship around me so that they can hel pme and I can help them” then you can recover.
A new life has been given us. It is a new life, a foundation in God and a structure of give and take. You are no longer a “lone wolf” as Bill would say, you and your addiction against the world. Nope, that is what we leave behind. It’s God and you and then other people to support your relationship with a God of your understanding. You don’t want people to be your God. You look to God and then you look to people to support that relationship with God
A new life has been given us where we are free to go anywhere. No longer do I say “I can’t go to that restaurant or that person’s house or that store.” You have a new structure, if you prefer “a design for living” and a promise that really works. It really works, I’m living proof. 25 years, I could not stay sober with food and I put this design of living into my life with God as the center and foundation and a fellowship of people of like-minded people who have God as the center of their life. Now I, as of this February 8th will have 11 years of back to back abstinence and that is a miracle for which I am very grateful. That is because I have a design for living that really works. The design is God and every day with my quiet time and with the fellowship that I have, I deepen my relationship with God.
Every person I talk to just about, I end up praying with. And I end up praying because God is the answer. And what is the question? You know when you really accept God as the answer, there is no question in my mind what I need to do. I need to be praying. And when people call to ask me for help, I have to give them this design for living because there is no other one.
Question 1: What does a design for living that really works, mean to you?
“A distinguished American psychologist William James in his book, varieties of religious experience writes about a multitude of ways that people gain a relationship with God
I have found this relationship through quiet time and the 12 step solution in the BB. I picked up the spiritual literature, I prayed I wrote on the literature and my life changed. I had a white light experience. I believed in God but didn’t’ have a relationship until I walked out of my sponsor’s house and started doing step 11, really searching for God, not just when it suited my purpose. There is no ONE way to discover God. There are many ways but there is one necessary element and that is a desire to have a God.
Question 2: What are you doing actively in your life to discover God?
Question 3: Do you have the key that you need to discover God, the willingness? Question 4: Do you have the willingness to go to any lengths to discover God in your life?
“We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way….”
That’s true, we are a spiritual program not a religious one. I respect everyone’s way and concept of their higher power. I encourage you to get your own. I have my own and I have another website that is all about how I discovered my higher power and if you’re interested email email@example.com and I will give you the website, there are recordings, spiritual readings with commentary and writings. Email me if you are interested but I do not want to push it because it is a specific concept of God and I want to encourage each to find his own concept of God or Higher Power because that is the only way. If you want me to share will you email me and we can set up a time.
“….as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try…”
Bill is saying exactly what I was just saying, that there is a loving and caring living higher power that you can form a relationship with if you are willing and honest enough to try. I will tell you, it means the death of your ego. When you have a relationship with a HP—God, you must put your ego aside Easing God Out. Is the acronym and step 11 is seeking to know GODs will and the power to carry that out. So there is a clash going on the self-will of an addict and the will of a creator that wants to have relationship with you. There is a clash going on and when you do quiet time you are doing the battle of going to God and the addiction (ego, will) is being deflated. What I have been doing over the last 14 years of seeking God through prayer and meditation. I started really seeking, but you don’t have to wait. I’m giving it to you know so that by the time you really are ready to write the fourth step you will have the relationship with God.
“Those with religion will find nothing disturbing….no friction over spiritual matters”
Everyone has the right to their own concept of God. From what I have learned about God, this is exactly what He wants. He wants us to have our own relationship with Him in our own unique way. And, so I can share with you about my higher power but then I always say, “but you go to your concept of a Higher Power” now it may be basically the same as mine or as someone else’s. It may be a religious conception of God but there is absolutely no conformity in the Big Book. No one has to control it and that is a beautiful thing. I don’t believe in conformity, I make suggestions about buddies and the work. If you do the work, you get out of it what you put into it. But you don’t have to do or to believe anything. I respect that. You can say, I’m not going to do one question ever and I will say that I respect that. We all come to our own decision of what we need to do and when we are going to do it. But for me today, I would not NOT do this work for anything because it has given me a new life that I love. If I love my life, I do what has brought me to this life. Anyone trying to force you get away from them. They can make suggestions and thank them, try it on for size but really, you have to wear your recovery like you would wear a pair of jeans. Not all of it will fit. Not every concept will fit you but just don’t have a closed mind, that is all I’m asking you, just don’t have closed mind.
“There is no friction among us over such matters” all I can say is don’t YOU cause friction. Live and let live. Say it works for you but don’t push it on anyone
“It is no concern of ours…. ” and we have to respect that, I respect that and I do ask that you respect my beliefs. Organized religion does not appeal to everyone. Believe me I know that but I also know I never help anyone by pushing anyone.
“Past association or present choice…most of us favor such memberships” Asking you to keep it in mind, that is why we do the set-aside prayer asking God to help us set aside any negative experiences that I have had or heard about. You may have had a negative experience with someone pushing their God on you. But don’t be negative about the God concept. There are a lot of people out there trying to do good deeds by pushing their concept of God. It is like trying to push sobriety on someone. Controlling never leads to anything healthy
“The following chapter….explains alcoholism” then a chapter to the Agnostic many of us were agnostic, we find that is not an obstacle to a spiritual experience
Question re-asked, if someone asked you, where are you on the spiritual ladder, are you an atheist, agnostic or a believer? The atheist says absolutely there is no HP, people are the be-all and end all. The agnostic says, I know there is a HP but I don’t understand my HP or have any trust in him. The believer says yes I believe, I claim the HP and turn my will and life over and I am practicing trusting and relying on my HP. I would be lying to tell you that I have perfect trust but every day it grows and I am practicing turning my will over to the will of my HP. How do I know what that will is? Prayer and meditation by practicing step 11.
“….clear cut directions given on how we recovered….”
You want clear cut? It’s here. I’ll give you the clear-cut directions. You want to follow them? That’s up to you. I’ll tell you what the book tells me and how I do it and how my sponsor has taught me. We all put our own individual personality into it but there are clear cut instructions.
Recovered does not mean cured and you cannot rest on your laurels but you are not longer tortured by the obsession and compulsion. You can go anywhere unafraid that you won’t be able to abstain.
I know that I’m recovered today from alcohol, drugs, food, codependency. I don’t want to use them and I’m not afraid to go where people are using them. I know that I will never be able to use any of them in safety and know that without staying spiritually fit the desire will return. I work the spiritual part the hardest but also work hard on the emotional and physical.
“According to personal experiences….the stories.” I recommend reading them they are a tremendous help. In the stories each individual describes how he established a relationship with God”
Do they say, the way they established their sobriety? Bill could have written that but he didn’t because sobriety is a by-product of establishing a relationship with God. You’ve been listening since January 15. I hope that you understand why every week by week, I belabor this relationship with the God of your understanding. Establishing a deep abiding relationship with God with every breath you take, every where you go, every word you say, every action you do. You want it to be God-honoring. When you live that type of life the desire to use drugs any type of drugs, people can be drug. You don’t want it because you are living a God-honoring life. you don’t want anything to come in between you and our relationship to God.
The way he establishes his relationship with God, please underline that. Bill just told you what the most important byproduct of doing this work is. “This is a fair cross-section and a clear cut idea of what has happened in their lives…how their thinking and priorities changed.” Bill and the first 100 went from living a life of me me me to how can I live a God-honoring life of integrity, dignity? Living a life the way I know my HP wants me to live. That is the change, those are the people in your step 1 fellowship that you say, “Wow, those are the ones I want to be like.’
….Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women will see these pages…only by full disclosure, they will be able to say ” yes, I am one of them too and must have this thing….
How do we disclose these things? Writing our 4th step. When we write our 4th step, we write about what we think is our problem. We see that WE are the problem, it is our ego, we ease God out and we are just thinking about ourselves and our own selfish desires. What we want, never thinking about what is good for the group or the other person.
Finished with There is a Solution and now beginning Chapter 3 More About Alcoholism page 30
…Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics…
Question 5: What is the definition of a real alcoholic? Question 6: Are you a real alcoholic?
When I say alcoholic, I mean anything. I’m just blown away at how God is showing me how I am addicted to busy-ness. And by the Grace of God I’m working on it. For example, I’m doing something this morning that wool have been unheard of last week. I have a group that I really love going to, it meets at 9:30 well unfortunately, I did not sleep very well and only got about 6.5 hours, not enough for me. I need 8 hours and take a 20 minute power nap most afternoons. So, you know that I’m behind the eight ball. I am like a delicate flower. If I don’t get enough sleep my digestion is not right, and if that is not right, I get a migraine. I’ve written to the leader of the group and said that I’m not going to the group today. I will go home for quiet time then take a long nap then teach my hour and a half this afternoon. I teach Tuesdays and Thursdays and you know how I am, I give out a lot. And tonight, I facilitate a group about God’s way of marriage. If you are interested in that it is the same phone number and PIN as the meeting we’re on now. at 8PM tonight. So, this group, I don’t run it but I’m a member and I’m not going today, that would have been unheard of last week. God told me no. When I serve my husband a dessert, it is a food that is not on my food plan. I’ll look at it and it really looks beautiful, it smells good and I know that its healthy for him but I get that voice that says “that’s not for you” I got out of bed today and the voice said “you’re not going to that group today” that would be an act of busy-ness because my health is at stake. So, I’m a really alcoholic. Not only with substances and people because I am a lovingly detached codependent but I am also an addict to busy-ness. You know, busy-ness is celebrated in our society. You know the busier you are people will say “you’re a very important person” you’re so busy. I know today that busy-ness is an enemy to my recovery as is extra food or that one extra word that I want to say to control to someone or the speed or the alcohol. It is an enemy to my recovery, me my husband, my son. I don’t want to live in that enemy territory of busy-ness anymore. So, I emailed the leader saying that I won’t be there today. I am a real alcoholic, but you know what, there is hope.
What are you today? The majority of you are sober, you come to this BBSS workshop, you have sobriety in your area and I asked you this question all the time because DENIAL don’t even kNow I’m lying. I lie to myself about my busy-ness saying to myself “I’m helping others” I have to force myself to look at it.
Question 7: Where are you a real alcoholic in life? Are you admitting it openly? Are you willing to make an action plan around changing it? Are you willing to bring it to your Higher Power?
I had an action plan for years but until I bring God into it, the action plan doesn’t have any power.
Workshop ends here. Recording stopped after serenity prayer.
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