Made a decision …
It has been a very wet and dreary day today. We are sitting at 20c at this hour and the weather has not been kind. I had done all my shopping for tonight, yesterday so I was packed up and ready to go early this afternoon.
It was dreary when I left the house, enough rain falling to warrant carrying an umbrella – but not enough that I would get soaked on the way out. There were intermittent showers on and off while I was setting up and just as the hour hit 6 p.m. the skies opened up and it started pouring cats and dogs.
People were coming in soaked to their feet. But we had a full house anyways. It was a good night all around. We read from the Big Book, and Step 3.
There were a few words that kept coming up as the conversation went around the room. Words like Self, and Ego, and Self centeredness, and selfishness. I also heard words like decision, surrender and bondage of self, among those words came the words fear and expectations…
When you read the text it is clear that “self” is a word that repeats several times over and that the whole process of Step 3 is to Make a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understood him.
I had some time to think about what I wanted to say, and I didn’t think what I had to say amounted to anything useful because after the fact, several thoughts ran through my head. Because all the shares we heard tonight were useful.
I suppose that I need to clearly do personal inventory based on this step daily. I say my prayers, and I find, at certain points during my day, I am presented with people and situations that need further thought and prayer (read: For others).
Humility, they say comes when we learn about our ego and the fact that we are constantly having to crush our ego because if we don’t, we end up in those problematic stances like being selfish and self centered. Also, we find that when we get to these places, we take our will back and take life into our hands instead of surrendering it to the God of our understanding.
Do I practice surrender on a daily basis. Yes. It it a conscious action? No. I don’t usually sit down and think the word surrender. I just do it. I try each day to be of service to others and to do things during my day that take me out of myself.
Do I have trouble with fear? Of course I do. Do I sit and worry about things to the point that they consume all my thoughts? No. Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair … You are moving but not getting anywhere.
Being HIV positive carries with it a modicum of worry. After so many years of good times, I am very aware that God, if he so chooses, could pull the rug out from under me at any time. So I have had a long time to ponder all those words that appear in the book (in our reading tonight).
I remember what I was like when I got sober. In the beginning, I thought, quite stupidly, that I was entitled to my expectations. But God, in his infinite wisdom reminded me that I wasn’t entitled to anything.
Surrender is a daily choice. Letting Go is a daily choice. Turning my will over on a daily basis is a choice. Prayer and meditation is necessary to make these choices work. I had a friend that I followed quite religiously. He used to say that we should “Live the word and breathe prayer.”
This works God into our daily life because any good Christian who practices their faith properly, or actively, should live the word of God. And that we should also be prayerful throughout the day and not just in the morning or at the evening. That prayer is something we should do constantly because prayer fills the empty spaces in our day.
Instead of worrying and fixating and being selfish and self centered and egotistical, we should work prayer into our lives. And I am of want to do that in my daily life. There are quiet points during my day that allow me to drain my brain to God. It is like breathing.
Setting up the room each week is an act of working meditation. Mentioning someones name to God is prayer. Asking God to be with my friends and family is an act I do often. And I know that God has not forgotten nor has he left me to my own devices. Unless I want to be left to my own devices when I take my will back.
So many thoughts run through my head daily. And as they come, I put them where they need to go, and sort them into their proper receptacles. Self, self, self and more self. The book mentions that word several times.
And we say … God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.
The Daily Reflections all have to so with the 9th step. That all the first steps are are steps we need to make so that we can get to step 9 and live a more sober life.
I am powerless over many things in my life. And there are things I need to do every day to make this life possible. I need food. I need water. I need rest. I need to take my pills daily. I need to pray and meditate. And I need to go to meetings. And I need to share with others on this journey with me, and listen to what they have to say about their lives.
My sponsor talked tonight of two things:
- There is a God
- And I am not it.
I am powerless over people, places and things. I am powerless over disease and illness. But as long as I take care of my illnesses, I will survive. Recovery is just one facet of my life. AIDS is a huge facet of my life. My relationship is a huge facet of my life. And my relationship with others is also a facet of my life. Between all these things, I have very little time to be selfish, arrogant or egotistical.
I have my faults. and I admit my faults to God. This life is all about me. But in the same breath, it really isn’t all about me. I am important. And my specific needs are important. Keeping things all in perspective, AIDS is something that we can be selfish about because it owns us. If we do not get the proper care that we deserve, we will die. And I am not ready to die just yet.
I see my friends battle with illnesses and issues that we are clearly powerless over and I watch them live lives of faith, actively, despite themselves. And I see God move. And I am humbled by God and the way he works in our lives.
It took a long time to learn to have eyes to see God move. And that only happened when I was ready to surrender to God what was not mine. And to remember that God does for us what we could not do for ourselves.
And for that I am grateful.