Step 7 says: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. In past years, I have approached this step thinking that my defects of character were my shortcomings. However, as I continue the practice of Centering Prayer, a subtle shift has taken place, helping me to see that the shortcomings that show up in my behavior originate from my beliefs and my thinking about myself.
Centering Prayer is gradually revealing how I think about myself--with some surprising effects. At our workshop on February 10, I will talk about what I’m discovering, and how that impacts everything in my life, but especially my journey of recovery.
What propelled me into my second Fourth Step was unbearable resentment. I knew
I was an alcoholic of the hopeless variety; I understood that I needed to defend
myself against the first drink. I had been without a drink for seven years, was
grateful for the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and so on. But I was angry at my
wife, my situation in life, my cats, and the rest of the world. Prayer wasn’t relieving
me, meetings weren’t relieving me; I needed to take a look at myself.
On Saturday, January 13, I’ll talk about what happened when I finally did a truly
searching and fearless moral inventory.
On Saturday, January 13, I will speak on Step 5 and the exact nature of my wrongs.
My selfishness and self-centeredness afflicted me with a form of blindness. This
blindness caused much of my world and the people in it to be invisible to me. The
Twelve and Twelve reminds us that: “Most of us must admit that we have loved but
a few; that we have been quite indifferent to the many…” I am guilty of this
indifference. Saturday I will share examples of this blindness/indifference and how
it still plays out in my life.
On Saturday, I'll talk about Step 3, Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
You've got to be kidding me. I'm not going to turn my life and my will over to anybody. I run my own show.
It took a long time and a lot of pain to become humble and open myself to this step. Once I made the decision, it's been a great journey.
What about you? Who runs your show? Let's explore this together on Saturday.
Step 2 isn’t just about coming to terms with how our thinking and behavior have been insane. That's kind of obvious. And, I’ve discovered, it's slightly more than coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
My current understanding of Step 2 has been informed by a persistent history of making mistakes, resolving to "be better," and making those mistakes again. And again. And again.
So Step 2 is a chance to fully accept the implications of Step 1 — the "I can't fix myself" part — and along with that, it is complete surrender to the idea that spiritual transformation at depth is imperative if I want to become "happily and usefully whole."
Piece of cake!
I’ll explore more about this on November 18 — join us at Colonial Church.
On November 18, I’ll speak personally about the family disease of codependency. I’ll use my story to describe the illness of codependency and its progression from infancy to adulthood — and beyond, into parenting. Join me.
On Saturday, October 14 I will take a look at what I am truly powerless over, and how acting out of my dysfunctional thinking makes my life unmanageable. Then I will share how instrumental the practice of centering prayer has been in my recovery: how it has helped me to understand my powerlessness not as a challenge or deficit, but as part of the reality of being human. Join me.
I can’t sum up the subject of my talk on Saturday, October 14 any better than the Big Book does, on page 58:
"If you have decided you want what we have—and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps."
Hope to see you at our workshop.
Emotional sobriety — it's the next frontier. I have worked this subject for 55 years; it's been hard but more than worth it. Why? Because of the joy, freedom, peace, serenity, and love that I live in now. I still have more work to do, and that's great, because each time I go through another character defect I get a little healthier. (Let's not be afraid to work the program!)
Step 11 says "Sought through prayer and meditation..." In Centering Prayer meditation, we tend to the meditation portion of this step — but what about the prayer part?
Join me this Saturday, May 13, as I share one of my favorite types of prayer of late: Welcoming Prayer, a resource from Contemplative Outreach, the national organization that promotes Centering Prayer. I find it to be just the right antidote for the discomfort that can come as our unconsciousness unloads through the “divine therapy” of the Centering Prayer practice.
I’m looking forward to being with you!