Sunday Sundries … Steps Six and Seven …
One on One
This photo, a very sacred photo of a charm that we, as young people were given on our first high school retreat, called the One on One. Over that weekend, back in tenth grade, we were introduced to a spiritual relationship with Jesus. And we came to know God and Jesus and we were called to commit to a life of Christian service to one another. How I wish I knew then, what I do today about religion, faith and God. It would have been much easier. The large cross is Jesus and the smaller cross is us.
This was our Jesus …
We had our mountain top experience, then we had to come back into the world and be Christians. And that was a task that I was woefully unprepared for. Which is probably why I chose the path I took when I moved here. Today I know my Jesus and I know my God. I also know who God is and who God isn’t.
Funny that …
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The weekend is almost over. And things are happening. The weather is beginning to warm up a bit. The snow is melting. Walking through Westmount this evening I saw snow piles that reached about 10 feet in some places. At the church the snow is melting off the lawn and grass is starting to peak out from underneath.
I was out early for set up, and that went quickly, have tunes will travel. We sat a fair number of folks tonight. And we continued reading through the steps. Last week we finished Step five, so tonight’s reading covered Six and Seven.
The reading there are only one paragraph covering Six and Seven, and moved right along to Eight and Nine. We have heard to night about the book titled “Drop the Rock” which covers in detail steps six and seven.
We also heard from one of our men that shadows of step three can be found in step six, if you have read the book. Once we write our inventory and speak it to another, we get ready, “To have God remove all these defects of character” and then humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
And moving right along to steps eight and nine, made a list and began to make amends. This is a big chunk of work to do, with very little reading from the book. The text moves rather quickly over these steps. And once we complete five we look back at our list and think about, ponder and name our character defects and shortcomings.
I heard an old timer woman say that it took years for her to cultivate her spiritual tool box to work on defects and shortcomings. My sponsor told me when I worked through my steps this last time was that defects and shortcomings never really go away.
But I have a choice to act out or act upon, and return to self will, (which runs riot if we allow it), It is a daily step work that is required. And thought this is daunting at the start, the longer we stay sober the more investment we can make into step work.
We’ve heard that step work is a daily regimen, that if we are diligent, we never really stop working our steps, because in any situation (out there) we can fall back into old habits and reactions. So that’s why we have meetings. To show up and recharge to be able to go out into the world and do the right thing.
Most of our folks tonight are amid their steps. Lots of beginners at the head of the bunch on Steps one, two and three. A good bunch working step four. Some doing their fifths soon, and some working on six and seven.
The discussion did not move past seven, it seemed the spirit in the room focused on what was necessary, which in turn really helped some of our guests feel better about step work.
Do we take time each day to say our prayers and reflect on what needs to be lit and what needs to be worked on? One day at a time, is daunting when applied to steps, and it struck me when it was spoken tonight, that if we don’t do what we need to do on any given day, we will sink into self and quite possibly drink again.
While I was sitting there listening, the shares came around to me quickly tonight and I didn’t have a lot of time to formulate what I wanted to say, but the first thing that came to mind was a memory of my youth.
I was a raging alcoholic who lied, cheated and schemed to get what I wanted and I really didn’t think twice about it, the lies and deceit just came. And I am of wont to tell myself that I was young and inexperienced. I didn’t know what responsibility meant, and I didn’t. I just could not work out how to live on my own for the first time, pay bills, pay for a car, pay rent, buy food, and still have money to drink with. And in my adolescent brain – because I surely was not a responsible adult yet, I tried every trick in the book to maintain my addiction.
The older I got, I perfected the art of drinking. But I fell into the trap of dishonesty and irresponsibility several times over. It took me a long time to grow up. There is a passage in the Big book that tells part of my story to a tee.
Once upon a time, I had a good job. People liked me. I had a roof over my head, and a good woman who took me in after family fell apart. And I screwed her over big time. At the time, this is prior to my first sobriety. I was drinking away my rent money, and one night I returned home from a party night, still reeling from the drink, and my lady friend had her son there waiting for me, with locks changed and told me that I could not get in until I paid my rent.
She as getting sober at the time. I did not know this for many years later when we crossed paths eventually at a meeting. I was the alcoholic running roughshod through her life, I hurt her – in the end I spent the next week borrowing clothes to go to work finally getting paid – I paid my back rent and she asked me to leave.
That turned out to be another adventure in insanity. The theme of geographic was still in play. So was my alcoholism. I would not get sober for a number of years just yet.
There are clear character defects there. Things I did, things I said, things I didn’t say but should have, and one great big amend I had to make to my friend. By that time I was a couple years sober the first time – but I was coasting on meetings. I wasn’t rooted in the book, I wasn’t working like we work today.
And that turned out to be my own undoing. Because I went out.
And boy did my character defects rise up and bite me in the ass. My next geographic turned me loose into the lives of others, and onto drugs in a way that killed me inside. Stuck in a no win scenario, I had to play the game close and tight. Another undoing. Any addict will tell you that anything goes when you need a fix. Thank God when I walked away from that life, it was over for good.
At the end of my drinking, it was just me. And myself and I. I had a studio, work and a roof over my head. But I was barely surviving. In the end I got sober and pulled another geographic. Where I am now. And since I came here sober, I left my past far far away. All those defects stayed with them there, so I thought.
Once again in sobriety, I thought I was entitled. That God owed me and that I should have all that I wanted now. I guess you call that self centered, and selfish.
Here is where the lesson of one day at a time began to play in my life. Even before I started working my steps, my glaring defects were on display for everyone else to see and the one thing they kept telling me was “keep coming back, stay in your day, one day at a time.”
I’ve had the odd ego attack in sobriety. I have said things that I was not proud of, in sobriety. But that was a long time ago. And I am a few more year sober now, and I look back and see where self will ruled the day. I sank my anchor in a safe harbor for a long time, and I coasted.
And now we are in shake up mode, and we are amid the steps, and reading them now brings to mind the more work that still needs to be done on a daily basis. I often like to think that this is the way things go …
You work your steps, write them out, say your prayers and then God gives you some time to work them out in your life. I have found in the past that I would learn a concept and then get to try my hand at making it work. And life and responsibility grew the longer I stayed sober.
I’ve become sober, accountable, reliable. I get to work my issues out in the face of my peers. And they reflect back to me what still needs to be done. We are constantly recovering… One day at a time. One moment at a time. One experience at a time. One person at a time.
Progress not perfection.
Once again we saw tonight what happens when you stop going to meetings and take back your will … Member going back out to drink. For weeks now we have been hearing the warnings. I don’t think folks are paying attention. Yet !!!
We are given a daily reprieve based on our spiritual condition. Because we have a malady of body, mind and spirit. And if we don’t feed our body right, and feed our mind positively, and feed our spirits Spiritually, we will never be whole.
Jane Fonda says that we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole.
I want to be whole. I want to walk through that arch at some point, free from the bondage of self and my alcoholism. It is coming, soon, very soon …
Pray for us.
Holy Week has begun, will you be participating in the services of your choice of faith? How will you feed your spirit over the next week? And what will you do to prepare for the coming of Christ from the cross ???
More to come, stay tuned.