Last Thursday I went to one of my regular meetings where the format is to read some topic from As Bill Sees It. This week the topic was self-righteousness. Usually I can relate to some small bits of these reading, but this week really spoke to me. I could relate to all of them.
Specifically, we read 17, 28, 107, 170, 183, 274.
Some of the passages that really stood out to me are:
From #17 Toward Honesty
“Deception of others is nearly always rooted in deception of ourselves”
Oftentimes, to avoid looking at the bad things we have done, we try to do good things to make up for them. Of course doing nice things is what we should all aspire to, but Step 9 tells us that we must make amends for our past wrongs, or we will be stuck. And likely drink again.
From #28 Troublemakers Can Be Teachers
“We have begun to regard the troublesome ones not as menaces, but rather as our teachers. They oblige us to cultivate patience, tolerance and humility. We finally see that they are only people sicker than the rest of us, that we who condemn them are the Pharisees whose false righteousness does our group the deeper spiritual damage.”
I definitely took this one somewhat as a rebuke. I’m definitely guilty of this. Judging those sicker than me in AA as somehow inferior to me. Gossiping about them in such a way as to suggest I am holier-than-thou and they are so dirty. But at the end of the day we are the same. We are both in Alcoholics Anonymous together. And if we had it together we wouldn’t be here.
It would be much more skillful for me to love them and try to be of service rather than judging them for the things they do that I deem immoral.
From #107 Two Kinds of Pride
“We loved to shout the damaging fact that millions of the ‘good men of religion’ were still killing one another off in the name of God”
“In belaboring the sins of some religious people, we could feel superior to all of them. Moreover, we could avoid looking at some of our own shortcomings.”
“This phony form of respectability was our undoing, so far as faith was concerned”
Of all the readings, this one spoke to me the most. Since leaving the Church in high school, I’ve been very outspoken against the religious, particularly against Christians. I saw my secular humanism as morally superior to them, particularly the American variety of Evangelical Christianity.
But now that I’m in AA, I’ve let a lot of that go. I still am not exactly a fan of the religious and, moreover, I struggle to not be judgmental. But most of my antagonism hsa gone.
Now I’d rather live and let live. If their religion works for them, good on them. As long as they keep me out of it.
From #183 A Viewer-with-Alarm
“If we would favorably affect others, we ourselves need to practice what we preach - and forget the ‘preaching,’ too. The quiet good example speaks for itself.”
Don’t tell people how to live their lives. In fact, don’t give advice in general, unless it is solicited. Lead by example. It’s much more effective. Especially where alcoholics are concerned.
My takeaway from this is, without being too cliche, to Let Go and Let God. What others do isn’t my business. I need to focus on myself, my own recovery and being of service to others.