Big Book Study Post - #29
- Happy Friday all!<br><br>Page 85, Paragraph 1 -
While we have recovered from alcoholism- "We are not
cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve
contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
Everyday is a day when we must carry the vision of God's
will into all of our activities". That is the proper
use of our will. "How can I best serve Thee-Thy will
(not mine) be done". "These are thoughts which must go
along with us constantly. We can exercise our will
power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use
of the will". Although we have made a decision to
turn our will over to the care of a Higher Power (in
Step 3) we are told here how to use our will to
fulfill that same decision. Our will isn't taken from us
for us to take back, but we are taught the proper use
of our will. The proper use of our will is to try to
align our will up with God's will.<br><br>Step 10 is
our principal means of growth after we have completed
the process of the first 9 steps. It is not a step
that can be incorporated into our lives by itself
however. To be vital it must be paired up with Step 11. In
the "12 Steps and 12 Traditions", in the discussion
of Step 11, Bill refers to the "unshakeable
foundation for life". That foundation is the logical
interweaving of the process of self-examination (Step 10) and
conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves (Step
11). If the channel between us and God is filled with
unattended 10th Step stuff - fear, resentment, anger, guilt
and the like, we will not have the open channel we
need to God and His Grace. The sunlight of the Spirit
can't come into our lives. Conversely, when our
conscious contact with God isn't there our ability to
"identify the worst items in stock" can disappear as
well.<br><br>Step 11 begins at the bottom of Page 85. Let's read
through to page 86 - paragraph 1: "When we retire at
night, we constructively review our day. Were we
resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?" (Step 4?, sounds
like it)"Do we owe an apology?" (similar to Step 9
perhaps?) "Have we kept something to ourselves which should
be discussed with another person at once?" (Step
5)"Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have
done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the
time?" (More inventory) "After making our review we ask
God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures
should be taken." So, at the end of the day we review
and, through meditation and prayer, "we inquire what
corrective measures should be taken". Sounds like Steps 10
and 11 go hand-in-hand. We are asking God for
direction in prayer. Some of the folks I got sober with
used to say that prayer was talking to God and
meditation was listening.<br><br>As we go through Step 11
here in the book we will see that that Bill's
knowledge of meditation and prayer was somewhat limited and
he was forced to keep it simple. (This is what is
referenced in the quote of "we only know a little" on Page
164 by the way). Because prayer and meditation takes
innumerable forms it was probably for the best.<br><br>On
Monday we will continue with our discussion of Step 11
on page 86 at paragraph 2.<br><br>Jim
- Good morning!
We can gain some insight into the writing of the book through an examination of the original text (pre-publication "Multilith") in conjunction with the text as printed in the first edition.
Keep in mind, there were more or less two camps within AA at the time Bill wrote the book. The Akron/Cleveland camp was Bible based and religious in nature; the New York bunch was more psychological using a mental approach to gain the confidence of the newcomer and then hitting him with the spiritual angle. Sounds like a difficult task to write a book that would satisfy both trains of thought.
Most of the changes involved inserting "we" for "you" and making the text more inclusive and less like a sermon. Other changes involved key words that were inserted to change the basic meaning of the phrases.
Today and in our next post, we will go through the first three pages of Chapter 5 to illustrate how the book was transformed by these changes. The words that were replaced will appear in [brackets] following the words or phrases by which they were replaced.
Paragraph 1 - "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path[directions].""They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living [way of life] which demands rigorous honesty."
Paragraph 2 - "If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps[follow directions]."
Paragraph 3 -"At some of these we balked [you may balk]. We thought [You may think] we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not [We doubt you can]."
Paragraph 4 - "Remember we deal [you are dealing] with alcohol - cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us [you]. But there is One who has all power - that One is God. May you [You must] find Him now!"
We'll continue with paragraph 1 on page 59 and into the original written text of the 12 Steps with our next post.Have a great day!
JimOur next retreat - "A Weekend with Jim & Paige - Letting Go of Old Ideas" - March 2015 at The Wilson House - email for details - jknyc@...It is better to be loved for what you have giventhan to be admired for what you have gained