At my AA homegroup this past week, the speaker brought up the topic “Trusting God in Our Lives”. What areas of our lives do we trust god - just with our drinking or with everything? What other defects of character have we continued to try to solve with self-will?
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Again, for me, god is a metaphor for living mindfully and the universal power of mindfulness. AA gives us the freedom to choose a god of our own understanding.
“God” in my own life
The fact that I’m talking about god at all, or accepting the idea of surrendering control of any aspect of my life to someone else, shows the miracle that is AA. Not too long ago, any talk of god would make me see red and shut the person down.
I formally did Steps 6 and 7 last week. But it all felt like a formality. Like the next logical step you need to take to reach the end goal. But I didn’t really understand what I was doing. The Big Book only has 1.5 pages devoted to these two steps. So I’ve been thinking a lot about it. And working on it.
Specifically in my own life, the big defects of character I’m trying to work on are:
- Arrogance to mask my insecurity
- Low self-esteem / low self-concept
- Control issues
- Unrealistic expectations
If I’m being honest, I haven’t really given these other issues to god. I’m still trying to deal with them myself. And I’m losing. The past few weeks have been difficult.
The defects never go away completely
One of the speakers who came up to share after the meeting leader finished talked about his recent experience with his defects. And trusting god. He has 20+ years of sobriety, yet still is dealing with his defects of character. Which gave me the clarify to realize that they will never fully go away, but by trusting our higher power with them, it allows us to suppress them. And be aware of them when they pop up in our life from time to time.
This guy mentioned that he was playing basketball with some friends. And he’s a perfectionist. He was so worried about playing the best game possible (and judging his own performance along with other people’s performance) that he didn’t actually have fun playing. And then he laughed and said they are all 40+ and not that good anyway, so he needs to turn over his perfectionism and control to his higher power so he can just enjoy life.
I can so relate to this because I’m a perfectionist too. And like this guy, I don’t just hold myself to unrealistically high standards, but I hold others to them too. And it creates issues in my life. Especially with putting people on a pedestal (co-dependence) and then being super let down when they turn out to just be normal humans (perfectionism / unrealistic expectations).
Turning it over to god
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.
This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.
Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob; Silkworth, Dr. William D.. Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Kindle Locations 855-862). . Kindle Edition.
To truly be free, we have to turn over our lives, the good and the bad, to our higher power. For me that means that I need to live in the present and just go with ambiguity and uncertainty. Stop trying to control everything. Stop trying to have my way. Stop taking things so personally when they aren’t even usually about me at all.
But to do this, I need to be practicing mindfulness in every aspect of my life as well as the 12 Steps - especially Step 10 - every day. And that is where I have fallen short.
I am going to commit to a morning meditation, morning reflection (gratitude journal), evening meditation and evening reflection (10th Step journal) for the next 7 days, in the hopes that it will help me to create a new habit. And allow me to turn these remaining issues over to my higher power rather than just my drinking.