Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Step Two Revisited Part II

(c) Andy Ternay
  • Pacific Ocean at Santa Cruz (I think).

  • Came to belive that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    Despite being exhausted I got very little sleep last night. So this post may ramble at bit more than I intended.

    I am finding that not only do I have to have an open mind to start Step Two, I have to keep an open mind as I progress in the program. The Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve are both written with the primary goal of encouraging the newcomer and introducing them to the program. Nothing wrong with that. The newcomer, after all, is why we are here, even they shy ones like me. So, both books argue that the most important thing you need for Step Two is an open mind and that will enable you to make a beginning.

    In my experience, that mind has to stay open. You can't close it, because then insanity starts to return. This part is hard. Once I had gotten to the point of saying to myself, I believe therfore I am done with Step Two, I would encounter a contrary belief that inevitably annoyed or offended me. Usually involving a carpenter's son who was nailed to a cross because he suggested that we should love one another. My initial attitude was one of, hey, I don't want to hear that crap, it has nothing to do with my sobriety.

    Guess what? It isn't all about me. It is about the newcomer clinging to that flimsy reed of faith, staying sober with white knuckles on shaky hands. It's about the oldtimer who is about to slip. So, when it is my turn to share no matter how tempted I am to remind people that niether Jesus nor Christianity is endorsed in the Big Book, I don't. Instead, I bring up that wonderful passage that I am convinced has saved my life on more than one occasion:
    we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient... 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.
    The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous p. 46

    Sometimes a newcomer seems utterly alienated by talk about "the other Big Book" (The Bible, for those not in a 12 step program) I have to get over my shyness and tell them that they don't have to follow anyone's belief system or religion. The beliefs of others are irrelevant.

    After meetings here in Texas, we hold hands and say the "Our Father." I don't like that prayer. But when I am called on to lead it - I do it without complaint. If I want to object to that prayer, the place and time to do it is at a group conscience meeting, not at an AA meeting. Besides, I checked with Mom, and She says She hears all prayers said with a sincere heart.

    So what does all the above have to do with me being depressed right now? Quite a bit, because when I am depressed, I am also angry and when I am angry - you're wrong. It doesn't matter about what, the point is, my mind closes. When my mind closes, I am cut off from the sunlight of the spirit; I lose that conscious contact.

    Writing this was very good for me. I have said my morning prayer and I am feeling connected, plugged in, if you will. I have not felt that for a while. I don't know how long it will last, but I will enjoy it while I can.

    One final note: Bill Wilson, in writing the Big Book, makes reference more than once to finding that Higher Power in nature. As a Wiccan, this is very important to me because my faith is nature based. That suggestion has never failed me and in fact I think it got me started on the road to accepting a Higher Power.

    Goddess, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Thank You, Lady, Blessed Be!