Twenty-seven years ago, I admitted that my life was unmanageable, and that I was powerless over alcohol. So now that alcohol is not ruining my life, why do I still feel at times that my life is unmanageable?
Over the last 27 years, I’ve worked the program, and, as Bill W. says on page 63 of the Big Book — I’m paraphrasing — I have felt a new power flow in, and I have enjoyed some peace of mind. I have experienced the feeling of God being present and loving me just the way I am, and I have begun to lose my fear of today, tomorrow and the days after tomorrow.
But wait a minute; I’m not done yet! My fears are still driving my bus, and I resist facing them. I am realizing that fear-based thoughts are still affecting me in a way that’s robbing me of my joy in living, not to mention my serenity. By the Grace of God, and with a lot of help from my friends, I am working through some of my fears, and they no longer have the power to deflate me to my core.
I am learning how to befriend my fear-based thoughts by acknowledging them and not judging them as good or bad. To my surprise, this new way of thinking has created a much kinder person inside and out.
So on Saturday, October 17, I’m going to talk about how facing my fear-based thoughts has made life more manageable. I’m hoping that you walk away with something that makes living a little more enjoyable for you.
There's a wonderful admonition on page 133 of the Big Book: "Avoid then the deliberate manufacture of misery."
It's astounding that we need this reminder, but we do. More than most people, we keep taking wrong actions despite the painful results. The problem, according to Bill W., is self run amok. Instead of accepting that my approach is flawed and changing to meet conditions, I either a) try the same thing, only harder; or b) resign myself to the failure, blaming outside forces. Even when self-will and self-reliance fail me, I persist because I suffer from the delusion that, by my own actions, I can control outcomes. It's a lesson I have needed to learn more than once, and I am still quick to forget it.
As Joe McQ. puts it in "The Steps We Took," we want to be self-reliant, but we're designed to rely on each other and God. Our selfishness and self-centered fear keep most of us from this basic truth.
Here's where Centering Prayer comes in. Twice a day for twenty minutes, I put my self aside and work on my relationship with God. It's an implicit admission that the self-reliance model doesn't work, and it's a mini-vacation from the ever-present, and, at times, imperious self. I get to practice other-reliance, which opens up the possibility that other-reliance will work in all the other areas of my life.
Join us on October 17 to experience Centering Prayer and its many connections with recovery in the Twelve Steps.