Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

🔥 Rule 62

Never take yourself too damn seriously!

From the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions in Tradition 4.

Seriousness is a classic symptom of self-involvement…

Seriousness is a symptom of control…

Seriousness is a symptom of someone trying to run the universe…

Seriousness is a symptom of the actor trying to arrange the lights, ballet and the whole show…

Seriousness is a symptom of someone who has to get their own way everytime…

And yet the best way to get your own way is to not have a way…

Don’t have a way and there’s nothing that can ever be taken from you.

Never take yourself too seriously…

A simple and effective rule to run your life under God’s direction.

Paul

A Producer of Confusion

🔥 Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

One of the most destructive symptoms of running our lives on self-will, is getting to a point where we cannot see the true from the false…

The ego reemerges and the alcoholic once again can only see where he is right. And the more righteous he becomes, the sicker he gets…

The problem with running life on self-will is that occasionally it works, but even a broken clock is right twice a day…

He loses sight of all the times it went wrong, focuses only on when it went right, and loses touch with his own reality…

When being right, when getting your own way is more important than serenity, you are a producer of confusion rather than harmony even in your best moments.

“Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? 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”.

  • The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

It is impossible to decipher the true from the false when the ego is in charge and self-will has become the producer of confusion.

Paul

Kindness

🔥 Kindness is Unbiased Truth

Bill. W talked about swallowing large chunks of truth about ourselves in the step 4 inventory.

“In this book you read again and again that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself”
-The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Patience, tolerance and good will towards others is the outcome of a fresh perspective that awaits those who face their unbaised truth.

Facing and accepting your unbaised truth is the kindest act of self-love.

But what what about kindness toward others?…

Telling others their unbaised truth is the ultimate act of kindness…

We learn this quickly in sponsorship…

Telling another person what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear is not kindness…

Dismissing others with untruths just to make them feel good shows contempt…

This is a “we” program of recovery…

Me, you and God…

We continue to swallow large chunks of truth about ourselves and we point out large chunks of truth to our fellows…

That is kindness in it’s purest form.

Paul

The Big Pretend

🔥 The Double Life

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it”

  • The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

There are many things about me that if you knew you would not like or respect in me…

I fall far short of the mark of perfection…

This is my truth and I cannot pretend to be anything else but who I am.

There are 2 inventory steps that are designed to separate us from our ego and keep us separated…

Steps 5 and step 10 are all about admitting where we have been wrong…

Admitting where you have been wrong immediately detaches you from ego…

The ego will do it’s utmost to justify any kind of wrong behavior…

The ego demands a double life in order to portray a perfect image to the world while the alcoholic dies internally from living a life of cover-up behind closed doors.

This happens to all of us to a lesser or greater dergree…

The most humbling experience is accepting and admitting your wrongs to another person…

Most people would rather die than admit they have wronged someone they detest…

And yet having to prove you are right and the other person is wrong gives them all the power in the world over you…

The more I discover where I have been wrong, the more excited I become about life, as now I can correct my wrongs and live a life of doing the right thing according to God’s way not my way.

Paul

The Role Play

🔥 The Role Play

How did I end up in the 12 Step program?…

It certainly was not through my own choice I can assure you…

At the time there was no place on earth I would rather not be…

God obviously had a new role for me to play in life…

In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous I have had a revolutionary internal experience and have come to know God in ways I would never have dreamed…

“We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity” – The Big Book P68

Up until that moment when God chose me, I was a tornado roaring through the lives of those around me…

Then I came across a prayer in the middle of the fear inventory…

“Perhaps there is a better way” – “Living on the basis of trusting and relying upon God” This would empower me to march calamity with serenity…

I am in this world to play the role that God assigns me…

That is my life purpose and nothing else.

In that role that God assigns me there is a lot of work ahead…

God’s work…

To be of maximum use to him and others…

What an incredible way to live!

What role has God assigned you to play?

Or do you still role play your own way?

Paul

Believe

🔥 Belief and The Ego Trap

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”

Do you truly believe in God?…

Or does your ego convince you that you believe?…

Thinking you believe, does not mean you do believe.

Here is an example:

If you feel that you genuinely believe in God, then why do you still live in fear?

If you believe in God then there is absolutely no need to fear…

The 12 Step program instructions are clear on this issue…

All we need to do is live in the humility of willingness to believe…

Do the work in the steps…

Deploy the principle of courage by trusting in God…

And you will have an experience in the power of God.

Our dilemma is we lack power…

Our solution therefore is we need a power by which to live…

The power of God is on offer through working the steps…

It has nothing to do with the belief in God…

It has everything to do with TRUSTING in God…

“Men of faith are men of courage they trust their God”

TRUST GOD
CLEAN HOUSE
HELP OTHERS

And you will access the power of God by which live…

Every day…

A day at a time.

Paul

Getting Away

🔥 Getting Away From Me

Having understood and accepted that my drinking was merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. That problem being selfish and self-centered to the extreme…

The only solution is to get as far away from me as possible…

If you lived with me for long enough you would want to get away from me too…

There is a whole chapter in the Big Book dedicated to the method of getting away from me…

Its titled “Working With Others”…

“When all else fails, intense work with other Alcoholics works”

You see when I get infront of another alcoholic I lose that connection with me…

I get away from me…

I need to get away from me for sustained periods of time…

If I don’t do this I will soon live in the familiar world of fear and angst while making everything about me…

About how hard done by I am…

How much I have done for others…

How little others have done for me…

How hard life is and unlucky I have been…

How awful my past life has been…

And how fearful my future looks…

How terribly victimized I have been…

I become prey to misery and depression and the insanity of alcohol returns…

I need to get away from me…

I get away from me by taking the wisdom in the principle of working with another alcoholic every day…

Every day is a day when I need to be free of me.

Paul

Awakening

🔥An Awakening

“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of working these steps”

This is my experience of an awakening:…

I have recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body…

As a result of this, I have been given the power to help others who suffer as I once did…

I am an agent of and for God…

I have been introduced to and accepted the idea that my drinking was merely a symptom, my real problem is that I am brutally selfish by nature of this disease and everything has to be about me…

This selfishness placed me in a position of separation from God and others all my life…

I am now convinced that I must be rid of selfishness or it will kill me…

Working steps 4 through step 9 and living in the disciplines of steps 10 and 11, the idea that I am separate to God and others does not exist in me anymore…

I no longer identify with my mind and it’s incessant chatter, but rather I identify with my own truth and the reality of any given situation…

The fabric of my existence is no longer interwoven with fear…

Any fear I experience is dealt with immediately by bringing my focus back into the now and to what God would rather have me be…

The idea that someday or presently I might be able to control my drinking has long left me…

Through daily prayer and Meditation and personal housekeeping, the problem of my selfishness is removed…

I have come to realize that God is doing for me what I could never do for myself.

Do I achieve anything close to perfect adherence?…

Absolutely not!

I constantly fall short of the mark…

The difference is, whether I screw up or succeed, I constantly live with a burning desire and iron clad willingness to help others as I have been helped.

Paul

God’s Will

🔥 God’s Will

An insane amount of confusion surrounds the meaning of God’s will…

“I am waiting for God’s will” is the all time favourite!…

This is how I have experienced God’s will and it’s pretty simple:

Don’t lie…
Don’t cheat…
Don’t steal…
Don’t judge…
Don’t take…
Don’t gossip…
Don’t slander…
Don’t try to control…
Don’t be unkind…

Do help others…
Do forgive others…
Do he honest…
Do give service…
Do share with others…
Do be kind…
Do contribute…

Hopefully you get the picture.

All the things I do and the directions I take in my life are entirely up to me…

The only thing that changes are the decisions I make on where to go or what to do are based entirely on God’s will…

But the decisions, whether right or wrong have to come from me not God or anyone else…

We seek God’s will and request his power to carry out his will…

Nowhere does it mention “wait for God’s will”…

A program of action…

Seek, find and execute the action.

Paul

Came To Believe

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Came To Believe

Why do we require a power greater than ourselves as a solution to our addiction? We have discovered that alcohol/drugs is merely a symptom, our real dilemma is that we lack power over alcohol/drugs. Lack of power is the alcoholic’s/addicts problem.

Why did we lack power in the first place? At a certain stage of our drinking, alcohol had become our master and we had developed a manner of living that revolved entirely around serving our master king alcohol. Everything else became secondary.

In my case I believe that at certain stages of my drinking, alcohol had become a powerful tool in my search for God, my search for a solution to the emptiness inside of me. Once I started drinking and the euphoric effect of ease and comfort was experienced, I had no need for God. Why would I need God if alcohol delivered my solution? It is at this point where I believe that, subconsciously I separated from God and lack of power became my problem without me even knowing it.

So we need a new power and obviously it has to be a power greater than ourselves.

All Step Two requires of us is the willingness to consciously turn our attention towards a higher power, regardless of what that power may be. Remember you have an obsession of the mind that is desperately seeking ease and comfort which used to come from alcohol. It is now time to seek that ease and comfort in something that will save your life and not destroy it.

In my case before I agreed to sign up for any kind of program, I first needed assurance that I would gain ease and comfort from this higher power and this effect would be available whenever I desired it. As an alcoholic and addict there is no other way I could imagine life without knowing as fact that my ravenous mind’s insatiable appetite would be satisfied constantly by whatever was on offer to feed it. The extraordinary power that I have accessed through my connection to God has not only satisfied my obsession, it has delivered  a manner of living beyond my own capabilities and wildest dreams.

My higher power who I choose to call God without apology, is the reason I still walk this earth sober and clean and the world is a better place because of that.

I was agnostic in the beginning and I am now a believer beyond any shadow of a doubt.

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At this point it is crucial to understand that Step Two does NOT require you to develop a belief in a higher power immediately. For most of us this would be impossible and improbable. Step Two is asking us to become willing to believe that a force bigger than ourselves can pull us past the pain and suffering taking place in our minds right now. Our belief in a higher power will manifest and grow in us as we work through the rest of the steps and the good news is, this belief just comes automatically if we stick to the task ahead.

So please do not put yourself under any kind of pressure to develop a faith or belief. Let the program do that for you, it’s what the program is designed to do. The reason I mention this, is because all too often I have witnessed alcoholics in recovery completely misunderstand this step, put pressure on themselves to engage a belief (an almost impossible task on your own) and end up frustrated and hopeless and as a result they give up on the program and drink again. To drink is to die.

In the beginning we begged of you to cast aside your prejudice and approach this program with an open, honest and willing mind. It is now time to deploy that mental blank canvas and understand that by doing so you have just stepped assertively towards your fears, your hopelessness and that feeling of uselessness. This is a We program of action. You are no longer alone and there is now the gift of hope as you start to engage the power you have lacked all along. Who in their right mind would not want power? the power essential to overcome such traumatic adversity like alcoholism? In the beginning I didn’t care who or what that higher power was, all I wanted was peace from the war raging in my mind, body and soul. If this higher power could save me from this horrendous way of life, then sign me up! Let’s get going!

I didn’t ask to become an alcoholic, but it was at this stage for the first time ever I came to realize that it was now my responsibility to accept the help on offer and to do something about my addiction. Only I could make this happen with help from above and others around me. Gradually my self-pity and fear began to fade and acceptance started to very subtly work its way into my heart. My rebirth had begun.

I have come to love the simplicity of the 12 Steps. All Step Two is asking of us is to make a commitment to be willing to now turn our attention away from the self-directed life we have been living and to now focus on a God-directed life instead.

Walking The Steps Towards Faith

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This is not about magically gaining faith and belief out of nowhere. Remember just for today hope is our form of belief here. Hope is our driver. Step Two uses the description “came to believe”, this describes a process of action that will take place as we progress through the 12 Steps.

Ask me to suddenly develop a belief in God and I will tell you that just isn’t going to happen. But what does happen here is as we work through the steps we start having a profound experience with the steps. The steps are designed to help us enlist the help of a power greater than ourselves. Therefore if we end up having an experience with the steps, we will start having an experience with God. Once we start having an experience with God, we start accessing his power. If we work the steps this just happens automatically. We don’t have to do anything else but the work required.  God’s power just comes! How cool is that.

Remember this is a God, a higher power of your own understanding. A lot of people get confused here. Please understand that the 12 Step program is no one’s religion. It is entirely up to you who or what your higher power becomes. Let no man or woman try and convince you otherwise.

The great fact is this and nothing less, deep down in every man, woman and child the idea of God exists. You can walk out onto the street right now and ask complete strangers of different ages and from various walks of life if they have heard of God. I don’t think any will say no. All people have an idea of God. Whether they believe in God or not is not the issue here. What is crucial is that we become willing to turn our consciousness towards a God of our own understanding.

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If you have no idea or maybe you have a negative and fearful conception of God, then why not do what I did in the beginning. I first asked myself how would I like my God to be?  I immediately put pen to paper and wrote the following:

I would like the God of my understanding to be the following;

  • Kind
  • Forgiving
  • Patient
  • Understanding
  • Loving
  • Wise
  • Powerful
  • Must love alcoholics like me

This was to become my conception of God in my life and still is to this day. Nothing less and so much more that is good and powerful.

Anyone is capable of developing and coming to believe in their own conception of God. For folks like us alcoholics this is our only chance at life. Do not fool yourself here. Your life from this moment on is entirely reliant on connecting with the God of your understanding and accessing his power. Nothing short of achieving this will overcome your problem, nothing!

As a result of our alcoholic way of life we now find ourselves staring down the barrel of our  Self – imposed crisis that we can longer out run. Our backs are against the wall and there is no escape.

It is at this point of no return that we have no choice but to accept that either God is everything now or he is nothing. Either he is or he isn’t. What was our choice to be?

Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist