PP 45-46 We Agnostics (Willingness)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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PP 45-46 We Agnostics (Willingness)

Post by Karl R » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:46 am

Good Morning,

Welcome to all who come to share their ES and H, ask questions, or just to look and grab a virtual donut.

A prayer to start.

"Please reveal to me the unknown, and help me to discover the people, places and circumstances you place in my path today God."

Yesterday we started "To the Agnostic" with a statement....

To achieve relief from alcoholism we must start on a spiritual solution to our spiritual and physcial malady.

and a question.....How can those of us who feel so distant from God in our alcoholism hope to find a spiritual solution to our problem?

I was in this category with God. He was a "subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored." I hadn't thought much about God in over 20 years.

I was also in this category. "We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God." I believed that there was some power greater then myself although I had no clear idea what it was yet. As soon as I did...bang...things started to happen.

We have to start off by allowing for the possibility of a higher power in our life. Then we can start to work on our concept of what it is for us and us alone a bit later. Differences-we all have a different higher power.

Anyone care to share their ES and H concerning how they came to the acceptance that there might be a power greater then themselves?

Anyone care to share their ES and H concerning their development or understanding of a concept of their own higher power-unique to them?


have a great week all,
Karl

I've posted today's reading below in red.

Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with agnostics. Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored.
We know how he feels. We have shared his honest doubt and prejudice. Some of us have been violently anti-religious. To others, the word "God" brought up a particular idea of Him with which someone had tried to impress them during childhood. Perhaps we rejected this particular conception because it seemed inadequate. With that rejection we imagined we had abandoned the God idea entirely. We were bothered with the thought that faith and dependence upon a Power beyond ourselves was somewhat weak, even cowardly. We looked upon this world of warring individuals, warring theological systems, and inexplicable calamity, with deep skepticism. We looked askance at many individuals who claimed to be godly. How could a Supreme Being have anything to do with it all? And who could comprehend a Supreme Being anyhow? Yet, in other moments, we found ourselves thinking, when enchanted by a starlit night, "Who, then, made all this?" There was a feeling of awe and wonder, but it was fleeting and soon lost.
Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.
Last edited by Karl R on Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 9/29/08 BB We agnostics pp. 45-46

Post by Blue Moon » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:49 am

I found it very odd that the book would have:
Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient
and
As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things
even in the same book, let alone the same paragraph.

As soon as I began to lay aside Bill W's conception of God, I began to get results.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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Post by Karl R » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:18 am

Funny how that keeps coming back to me as I talk to people. We're all allowed our own higher power and to get at it we sometimes have to lay aside other's concepts and possibly even our own preconceived notions.

thanks Ian.
Karl

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Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:25 am

Thanks Oliver for posting this elsewhere here this morning.

It goes to our search for a higher power. Quiet before him is a good posture to take.

cheers,
Karl


Meditation For The Day

When you look to God for strength to face responsibility and
are quiet before Him, His healing touch causes the Divine
Quiet to flow into your very being. When in weakness you cry
to God, His touch brings healing, the renewal of your courage,
and the power to meet every situation and be victorious. When
you faint by the way or are distracted by feelings of inferiority,
then rely on the touch of God's spirit to support you on your way.
Then arise and go forth with confidence.

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Post by Oliver » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:35 am

"We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men."

I absolutely love this. I remember somebody telling me when I first entered the rooms - "If you are looking for God, you've probably found him." At first, this made me angry because I felt so far from God... but I now believe there is some truth in there.

I wanted to have a profound spiritual experience where I was overwhelmed by feelings of warmth, joy and peace. I once asked somebody who shared his experience of such an awakening how he got it. He said to me "Son, if all you want is to feel warm and tingly... go pee your pants."

When I gave up demanding for a profound physically rewarding experience of God, I realised that God was already speaking to me in the quietness of my own heart. God, for me, is that still, small, calm, quiet voice that I cannot shake off that speaks clearly to me and which I am sure is no human voice. I share this only to evidence to the wide range of spiritual experiences and the way in which spiritual experiences are often not quite as we would either have them or expect them!!

I find I can tune into that voice by working the 12 steps. When I don't work the steps, I don't feel spiritually awakened. When I earnestly try to work the steps with everything I have... then I begin to feel spiritually awakened.

The important thing is finding faith that works and not something that sounds good, intelligent etc. This is why I value so much that our programme allows us to have our own conceptions of God. In fact, I don't think our fellowship would ever have grown if the early AAs hadn't allowed each AA to develop their own sense of a HP.
Oliver
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."

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Post by Oliver » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:37 am

Karl...

It never ceases to amaze me how appropriate the daily though for the day is to my individual situation each and every day that I pick it up. As they say, the Higher Power works in mysterious ways!!

Oliver
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Post by Blue Moon » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:14 am

Oliver wrote: "Son, if all you want is to feel warm and tingly... go pee your pants."
LOL

I am one of those who had "a profound spiritual experience". I can tell you 2 things about it:

1. I have no idea how I had it, so cannot reproduce it even for myself. It might have been a mental breakdown - the mind "snapping", but open instead of shut. Or perhaps it was that "pink cloud" some people talk about - but if so I immediately fell off!

2. the experience was not enough for me to recover from alcoholism - all it really did was inject a little open-mindedness and a little willingness. I was still an angry SOB who hated himself and really wanted to punch someone - anyone - in the face just for the satisfaction of seeing someone else feel a little pain for a change. I never actually acted on the instinct, but the very fact that my sponsor kept coming back to my house each week to talk about recovery etc. raised more questions about his sanity than about mine.

Real early on, I thought emotional pain brought it on. But at about 8 or 9 months sober, I was kicking around "working Step 4", sitting in an AA meeting in more emotional pain than ever, but no such repeat experience came. Which indicates to me that this sobriety deal might just be a once-in-a-lifetime option.

So if anyone's kicking around waiting for "a miracle" to happen, don't waste your time. Don't expect a miracle. Be a miracle.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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Post by dwelling » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:07 pm

For me?

Miracle one- getting to AA
Miracle two- starting the steps
Miracle three-the steps actually delivering the promised result.(but is it really "miraculous" ?)


dwelling,"Among us are wives, relatives and friends whose problem has been solved, as well as some who have not yet found a happy solution."

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Post by martin08 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:25 am

The God idea worked, and nothing else did. It was that simple.

Whenever I sponsor someone who is having difficulty allowing a God to exist or work for them, I ask them to read "Our Southern Friend" in the personal stories, paying special attention to the events surrounding the card game at the hospital.

Breaking the God idea down to it's simplest form can be a very effective start.

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Post by jujub » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:53 am

hi all,
"Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men."

thank god it is available to all men (and women, too). because the god of my upbringing is not available to me, according to the teachings of my church. but it isn't about a particular faith or church or religion. it's about what is inside and being open to that power, laying aside the prejudice of man made tenets. in the final analysis, it isn't who we define our higher power as, it is that we do define something. i know it ain't me, and that works for now. who knows what will come? if i'm open and willing, i'm okay.

i've been blessed with numerous attempts at sobriety. the first seemed the "easiest". but my alcoholism is so big and i am so small, i need to live the steps vigorously and vigilantly. and i pray i didn't waste my one chance at long term relief of my hopeless state.

judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:30 pm

Distant from God? I was distant, sure -- heck, I was an active alcoholic. I felt that no one cared, that my every step was leading to doom, that I would never get help. I may have had no philosophical argument with the idea of God, but I sure wasn't close.

The thing that got me closer was Time. Walking through each day sober and paying such close attention it was hard not to notice that I was being shielded. Over the course of several years a few incidents were big enough for even me to notice. Over the course of 20 years, there's no question.

So, this is why I admire the newcomer. There's no experience to draw from, no past proof to go on. It's just that daily contact with the fear, the utter lack of knowledge that they will get help.

And of course, it's so easy to forget those times that I have been helped. Or I'm just too stupid to put 2 and 2 together. I think that's where the steps come in handy -- very good memory joggers, some of them :-)
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: 9/29/08 BB We agnostics pp. 45-46 (quiet willingness)

Post by Karl R » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:16 am

Very very interesting discussion and couple of paragraphs here.

The God problem.

-neatly evaded
-entirely ignored
-honest doubt and prejudice
-violently anti-religious
-brought up a particular idea of Him which someone tried to impress on one as a child
-reject an idea of God because it seems inadequate
-abandoning the God idea as indadequate
-faith and dependence on a HP seem to be the "weak" pathway
-skepticism borne of warring religion, people, countries, and other worldly calamity
-asking How?
-a fleeting sense of the greater one borne from nature but soon departing

And now...a sense of the HP solution.
Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.
Three possible parts of the solution.
1. lay aside prejudice and express willingness to believe an approach and contact may be made
2. admit the possible existence of "Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things" even though one does not fully comprehend it
3. Consider only one's own conception-laying aside other's conception.

The rewards possible...
1. we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
2. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him.
3. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.

A condition...

provided we took other simple steps

And a promise...
We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men
cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 45-46 We Agnostics (Willingness)

Post by happycamper » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:12 pm

thanks Karl. I like that part ... We found that God does not make to hard of terms with those who seek Him

( Ive often been told by my sponsor .. its in the seeking )
Faith without works is dead

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Re: PP 45-46 We Agnostics (Willingness)

Post by ann2 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:42 am

You know, working with people who refuse to abandon their prejudices, or who continue to rant on about others' conceptions of HP, is exhausting. After a while you just get the idea that they enjoy wallowing in their despair. Some of them perhaps need life to give them the impetus to see beyond the box they've stuck themselves into. I do have to walk away, and it's not satisfying, but really God can do better without me futzing with the details I think.

However, if they are in the same meeting as me, can I stop myself from sharing on this topic? That the book provides a way to find a power greater than oneself? That all I had to do was fulfill some basic assignments? No, I need to share, it's deep within me to keep passing on my experience, strength and hope.

If they are not coming to the meeting, that's another matter of course. Then I figure my involvement could be part of a co-dependent sickness and my availability to them is part of the support that alcoholics demand from those around them. In my case, having none of that helpful contact while I was drinking was crucial to getting me to a meeting. Facing this thing on my own, without "helpful" enablers from outside, gave me the focus I needed to see the insanity and the desire for something different.

But that's just me. I've read plenty of shares in the Grapevine and elsewhere about hard line sponsors who collected the unwilling and drove them around daily. I do tend to take them with a grain of salt, however, knowing that those stories were told from the sponsee's point of view. The sponsor might have the equivalent of X-ray vision and be able to see the miracle about to happen in someone, while the sponsee is completely oblivious to the emergence.

Or the sponsor just has a policy of bringing along anyone and not really caring one way or the other if this person makes it. I really think that approach works best. If you're doing it on policy, based on your own need for sobriety, it's easy to let go and not take "failures" personally. It's really up to God, we're just here doing our thing and if someone responds, well, hurray, but really that should have no effect on the actions -- passing it along whenever possible.

In my case (and I apologize for continuing to ramble) or rather the case that I am examining now that I have been involved in. I suspect there is some unhealthiness in the relationship of trying to prove something to someone, and not to myself but to the obstinacy and implied dares of the sponsee. "Your sobriety isn't good enough for me" she seems to be saying. Or, "I'm too smart to fall for that." I don't think pursuit is helpful or even *I* am particularly helpful, if I end up just playing her games.

I learned a wonderful thing in Al-Anon and it's been a princple of incredible wisdom in my life -- detachment. I don't want to get wound up in her continual challenges to convince her that it's right and wonderful to be sober. That's allowing her to lead, or rather her sickness to be in charge. I have to stand back -- yet, I am still there, talking generally about what this experience has shown me about my own understanding.

And of course that's the gift of 12 step work, whether or not the other person accepts what we are offering -- it deepens my connection to my higher power, because I get in touch with the source of my recovery and I have renewed appreciation for it, and for everybody who follows the path to their higher power rather than giving in to the unnecessary but self-fulfilling pain of drinking.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: PP 45-46 We Agnostics (Willingness)

Post by happycamper » Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:18 pm

Hey Anne, I really like what you shared. thanks.
I do hope things get better with the sponsee.
Faith without works is dead

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