It was chilly tonight, but not as frigid as it was last night. Temps are on the way up and will peak, “hopefully” Wednesday with a Plus (6c) day. They keep changing that number.
They say, when you get sober, that the only thing you have to change is everything.
There is a rhyme and reason to the Big Book. Things are presented and come in a certain order.
Coming in, as I did then, with expectations on my lips was a bad idea, that had to be quashed.
Some think they can pick and choose which steps they are going to work, based on how they read the words on the page, which brings us to the Three Letter Word Category. But we soon learn that the steps are written in a specific order, for maximum effect.
If you don’t start with the foundation, how can you build a solid building?
We start with One and work our way through. And around Step five, the reading mentions “The Arch” we are supposed to walk through as free men and women, if we have properly completed the first five proposals.
Today’s reading mentions a gateway, through which everyone can walk through. We just need to find our way around, through, over and under, backwards and forwards, the biggest troublesome three letter word in the world …
That word is (drum roll please !!!) GOD.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself, so let’s back up.
You might be familiar with the reading of The Promises. Which are taken from the Book concerning the Ninth Step. I’ve / We’ve been listening to them for more than thirteen years now. They say that when we get sober, that eventually, the promises will begin to manifest and come true.
Hurry up and wait …
They don’t all come at once. And I have a little wisdom on the topic now. Many of the promises are long term proposals. All those things we get rid of, and all those things we get in return, if we are diligent and patient, are tantalizing.
Time gives one perspective. At least, that’s my take on them, as I speak to the old timers.
The one promise that has been outstanding and yet to manifest, after thirteen years is:
“Fear of People and of Economic Insecurity will leave us.”
This promise is the Ninth Promise of the Ninth Step Promises passage.
I don’t really have a problem of fearing people. The rest of this promise needs a back story.
I was eleven months sober, and I met my now husband. It was the holiday season, and he was going home to visit his family, he offered me to stay in our now HOME while he was away.
Actually, I never left … I am still here thirteen years later !
We had very little. The apartment was a mess. We had not begun to clean up the wreckage of hubby’s past, but that would begin in earnest very soon. We had ratty furniture, (which is the main subject of this actual post) we had a small black and white tv, with rabbit ears and foil. The walls were stark, medicinal white. And that was it.
We learned how to shop for two. We learned how to cook for two. And we began to clean up that wreckage, (read: Return all the empty beer bottles that were stacked 20 deep on the balcony).
We did not have very much money. And in the beginning, we dreaded the last week of the month, because we would have to choose what to do with regards to food and paying bills and buying much needed medicinals. We could not do all of them, at the same time, and that lasted for many years.
Money makes the world go round … It also is man’s greatest evil.
Not having enough of it, Needing more of it, relying on financial aide to get it, and having enough of it at the end of the month to buy food, pay bills and pay for an education all at the same time. Not to mention all those other things we “needed to buy” to survive. (read:Medication).
This journey of learning how to respect the almighty dollar is long and arduous.
We learned how to do it, starting with nothing and working our way up the economic ladder, one year at a time. We judged our upwards success, by our ability to get rid of all the shitty appliances we had, for new ones. That took many years.
This past Fall 2014, we jumped an entire economic bracket, for the first time since the day we met. We have risen from poor student status, to mid-range manageable status, to today’s, there is money in the bank, we can buy food all month, pay bills, buy necessities, AND have surplus money that for the first time since we met …
BE ABLE TO BUY BRAND NEW FURNITURE AND GET RID OF THE RATTY 40 YEAR OLD FURNITURE THAT IS HELD TOGETHER WITH DUCT TAPE, FURNITURE !!!
We have completed or finally achieved, the list of promises.
We have four items of old furniture. The living room, the dining table, our bed, and my desk.
Over the past thirteen years we have recycled all of our electronics. We painted the apartment, the kitchen and bathroom have been remodeled by our management.
Tomorrow we get to hit IKEA for the first time. Hubby picked out the new furniture, and I get executive veto so tomorrow we will finalize the deal and be able to afford the grand prize.
Sunday night, the ratty furniture goes on the trash heap. Monday the new duds come.
Hubby has cashed in all of our bargaining chips and saved up educational credits that come from the government, which gives us bankable cash. (read:Taxes)
We have rebuilt our home from the ground up. One item at a time.
So that is a thing … a really BIG thing !!!
Now we return to regularly scheduled programming …
“I’ll take Three Letter Words for $1000 Alex.”
We came full circle tonight, with the reading about Spiritual Kindergarten. We talked about God.
You cannot avoid it, The words is in the book.
Remember the other day when we spoke about Ebby and Bill. On that fateful day when the two friends met over drinks in the kitchen. Ebby with sober drink, Bill with his bottle. Here Bill thought that it would be frivolous and exciting, drinking with his old friend. That did not happen.
Ebby tells his story and concludes with “I’ve found religion!” (Read:The Oxford’s Religion)
Bill wasn’t having any of that religion shit. He read the first three proposals. But it did not connect with him at all, UNTIL, Ebby told him that maybe “He should find a power greater than himself of his own choosing.” (read: Squiggly writing in the book).
This is the blessed sentence in the book.
God, “As we Understood Him.”
But we come around to the contradiction in As Bill Sees It that says,
“You can find your own concept of a higher power and if that works for you fine, BUT in the end it always comes back around to God.”
When the book was written, Bill had counsel from a Jesuit priest, who spoke to him at great length, but to make God more palatable, we get the spiritual angle.
This is a tough subject for many.
When I got sick, and was waiting to die, I read every book I could get my hands on that spoke about the afterlife, God, spirits, angels, and i even consulted a medium to have a chat with my newly departed Grandmother, because I could not go to her funeral, and I needed to speak to her.
I was sober the first time – during this quest.
I got to my medium and his reply was curt and short: “She is happy where she is” and he left.
The second time I got sober, it was meant to be.
I had the God of my father, the traditions of my family, I added the intellectual university education about God and Religion, with degrees in Religion and Theology. Meanwhile I was getting sober.
i watched people get sober, because my mainstay was meetings.
If you STAY in the same meeting for YEARS at a time, you will witness people getting sober and eventually having their own spiritual experiences, IN a meeting.
That is where I saw God.
I believed in God my whole life, and I was still alive, I did not die as was told to me several times over.
There was something that was keeping me alive, I knew that.
I met God once, in human form. He made manifest to me when I most needed Him.
This time around i witnessed God move among my friends. In ways I had never imagined.
I’ve learned how to read the book. I learned how to read the book, when I read it with my guys.
We’ve all learned how to unpack the word GOD. It may take some time, and a little effort and elbow grease. Add water, and stir …
Every voice plays its appointed part.
The only thing we need to learn how to do is Learn, Serve and Love.
The book gives us direction, as one of my friends said tonight. It does not give us an end point.
That is up to us.
What ever you call that Power Greater than Yourself, is up to you.
All the voices and all the souls we encounter in the rooms, widens that arch we all walk through.
i want to live happy, joyous and free.
We might be there now.
More to come, stay tuned …