I'm not sure how I feel about the many in and around the Steps that have found a Higher Power suitable to tutor them in their new sheik recovery program. A God, who on his down time or time when I'm not giving Him a single thought just sits and waits, more like a good butler really or nanny.. He seems to be on call waiting. I see this as the perfect situation for me, God or Jeeves is everything I need Him to be. All hail God. Whenever I fall on my face coo coo for coco puffs and turn to God He's there to pick me up and redirect me to what I really should be doing, how I should be living, the upstanding pillar of society I was before I fell victim to such dastardly earthly evils, certainly brought on by others in my drunken stupor...Just keep bailing me out, be there when I need you and I'll go back to Church.This is the last time..I'm back to AA and by God, I'm serious this time..
It hit me one day, I mean, what if their really is a spiritual side of life? What if there is an underlying force without a face and without any human touch that actually exists. What if everything is really a positive or negative flow where it either is or it isn't no matter what it is..Even if you think it isn't it still is, you must have something in order to deny it..Uh oh, what if the Spiritual side is the positive? Where does this leave me? Am I in the negative? Is selfishness and fear the negative side of all things human? Is selfishness the negative side of humanity? Sure thing Mr. Whoopee, what about the whole primal thing and science, space, the big bang, Jesus and those guys, aliens in the ocean vents that lead to the center of the earth, Darwin, Buddha, Chuck Norris, there's alot of information out there, all the Holy wars, everyone seems to believe they're right. Hey, isn't that selfish?........
I remember as a Big Book Step fanatic years ago ( unlike today right?)I was obsessed with selfishness as it seemed to be behind all of my existence, it was everywhere. It had been stated in fact that my alcoholism was a result of selfishness and fear and I believed it much as I do today. Anyway, I prayed to my God to grow in understanding with selfishness. I mean I really got down to it like I had never heard of..I accepted the mission, I prayed to not be afraid and look deep into who I am.. I thought about selfishness for about 3 weeks everyday, all day. I looked for selfishness in everything I did from everyone I interacted with to my thoughts when I was alone. No books or knowledge of others on the subject just me and God. I relied on God as I opened my soul to show me my selfishness without outside influence.
Well, by the 4th day I knew more about selfishness than anyone I knew. Wow, I am really something right? Any time I brought up what was going on or the work I was putting into trying to understand my selfish behaviour it was met with I'm being too hard on myself to I'm flat out crazy and have really lost it this time..Or , that doesn't sound very happy joyous and free to me.
Yes, I was met with more selfishness, that's how others would cope with something they didn't understand. I was selfish in thinking that I knew more than everyone around me and they were selfish trying to steal those feelings of power from me. Not much positive stuff going on here. Weird man.. They would naturally, ( just like me) protect themselves from their own self centered fear.. The selfishness was everywhere, not just in me..It was like in the world of the weak, we were all the same..Others who were put off by me would become fearful if only in the slightest way but enough to grapple for security as I selfishly appeared to be threatening, by belittling me or throwing some sarcasm my way, same as I would do. Anything to get a grip on the emotional security they lost when I went off on my selfish I know something you don't know because ( I'm working harder on it than you) journey into recovery..I've learned something you haven't learned..Only those like myself with low self esteem that lack courage and strength to stand on their own would rely on worshiping others to make them who they are. I was the cocky Big Book know it all in their eyes and as sorry as it is, in my own too...I saw myself in my selfishness as the one I myself was always looking to avoid or if I got too close, get control of them and push them away.What I fear I am, If I look hard enough I see myself in you. I don't like myself , that's why I don't like you...
I had been bombarded with epiphanies filled with understanding like a great mathematical formula was being revealed to me that I myself wasn't even trying to understand. I knew I couldn't understand the Spiritual realm of life, I needed faith.. Simply praying for direction and keeping an open mind the willingness took over and was my guide into the knowledge and understanding needed to overcome selfishness..After the usual easy selfish stuff came and went like cheating, lying, manipulating, stealing, masturbating, delusions of grandeur, being needy, feeding my flesh, fantasizing in my mind, hiding in my delusions, it was get down to business with selfishness time for me..As much as I was committed, I was not ready.
After another day or so I saw that I am selfishness, and there wasn't much else with me really..It was in my every thought to some extent, it was behind my every move. Everything I did in life was at some point because I needed something you had. This was rarely obvious, it was mostly emotional needs that were being met like the things offered freely in the Spiritual realm I tried to create for myself here in my selfish world by using you. Sure there was all the self seeking behaviour I was always using to manipulate others to suit my own needs but then there was a much deeper side of selfishness. I could pacify myself in my mind by rearranging any scenario to suit me.I used people to pump myself up even when there really was no need for it, I was just doing it as a normal course of supporting my being. It is who I am and unless I reveal myself, who would know. I'm living two completely different active lives, one is what I am and the other is what you see, neither is real, it's that simple..I am a master of deception.
I saw myself as a manipulator. I became overwhelmed with how I saw myself moment by moment and the reality of it all. Even my willingness to change was corrupt. I said I believed I was here to help others recover from alcoholism and sure I wanted that but I also had to justify going to meetings and the old life of calamity that had been exposed. Plus I enjoyed the reputation of a sober AA guy around the halls. If the company wasn't right I may deny AA or even make excuses why I believe in God. If so suited I could find fault in you or your God even if we were alike. Me me me, It's all about me and my terminal uniqueness..
Everyday a self appraisal, everyday I created my own spiritual world by worshiping people, manipulating my thoughts of you in hopes of gaining my only acceptable understanding, do you need me, do you want me, I'm needed, I'm wanted, I am my own distorted conception of God in my thoughts and actions and you are not. You are simply here to serve me, provide emotional security so I may survive my days here in my Hell where I don't trust or believe in anything but me... I am selfish to the extreme.
So, what now?
Sorry but I found no easy way out, no quick fix. I don't take the Bible literally but I do find it's life teachings matchless..I can only hope that each man who discovers the extent of his selfishness can find balance between his Heaven and Hell. I have I believe been fortunate to fall back to an understanding of selfishness than doesn't make my perception of Heaven on earth Hell. I may have found one key to put on the chain and that's my willingness to surrender to the Great Spirit of things. If nothing less it's definitely a starting point for me.
One things for sure, there's me and there's my understanding of God, that hasn't changed really..
This is the strange part, I believe everything I need to know about living life today in my condition of selfishness and self centered fear is in the 12 Steps that are laid out in masterly detail in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous..Much of the other literature is not for me as it is the experience of others. I am so extreme that everything I know I've just learned..I live moment to moment trusting my God to provide the necessary tools to perform his work well and if so, others will observe my honest thought and deed and see me as a power of example. It is the Fellowship of the Spirit. I am not afraid, I have nothing for you to steal, I have no need to protect myself, everything I am is for you.
When I seek direction from my God constantly as it is suggested I get a Spiritual understanding and peace I can't duplicate any other way..Not by being kind or considerate, even acting the trusted friend to one in need. Sure it's all good stuff but I've got a selfish motive somewhere somehow in there, it may not be obvious but if you look hard enough it's there..But with God I feel free, almost like I am removed from myself and powerless over my selfishness. I don't want or need it. So when it says there is one who has all power, that one is God, may you find Him now..I get it. I believe it, I am convinced it is there.
In my balancing act I do fall off the beam. I rely on myself and make decisions based on self and in the grips of selfishness I hurt and get hurt. I never seem to get the fact that I'm hurting myself to hurt you. I settle for less when I attempt to make you pay for my selfish feelings, bring you down to my level so I am not intimidated by you and feel equal if not better than you. I get selfish pleasure seeing you squander in trouble as I do. I don't like it but It still happens. On the other hand I work at serving my Spiritual Power greater than myself everyday with the intent of performing Gods will all day in all my affairs..There are times when I go for days unshaken with the willingness to serve my God. I'm getting better at it.
Anyway, I'm not here to teach you my way or give you what I've stumbled on as the secret to living sober. I have little if no formal education or religious leanings. Anything I know about life sober I learned through AA's Fellowship and the 12 Steps in the Big Book. Any security I've found with God I found on my knees in an act of complete surrender. As I let go of myself and became willing to seek a spiritual solution, it was provided. Nomatter how self centered the problem was.
So, if you want to know what I know, I found it in the first 164 pages of the Book..The good news is you may be completely different and yet by following the Book you too will grow in understanding and effectiveness as it pertains to you, your sobriety and your life..It's here if you want it but it doesn't seem to make any sense unless you need it..From what I've seen, an admission of hopelessness is required.
I also need to remember I'm not just supposed to read it, I'm supposed to do it..That makes sense if action is needed to escape my mind.
See you in the Book my friend, share your experience. Just like those before me figured out, it's all about the daily reprieve.