PP 51-53 We Agnostics (Self or God Sufficiency?)

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
Post Reply
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

PP 51-53 We Agnostics (Self or God Sufficiency?)

Post by Karl R » Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:40 am

Good Day,

A prayer for today.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Yesterday we learned two things from the posting.

1. first on why we should have faith in a higher power---"When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith."

2.-on the process of getting a HP for some of us. (Thanks JAK)
"I was told that there is a Higher power and I tried to believe, then, after a time, I did believe."

I've posted today's below in red.

I found a couple of nice terms in today's reading "self sufficiency" and "God sufficiency". Although I was able to cuddle right back up to the God of my youth when I began the steps I had and still have a hard time standing back and abandoning my self sufficiency and replacing it with God sufficiency. This, despite evidence in my life that God takes an active interest in me.

Anyone, care to share from their ES and H of a time when they either did or did not move from self sufficiency to God sufficiency in their life and what were the results?

be thankful--it's Friday,
have a great weekend all,
Karl



This world of ours has made more material progress in the last century than in all the millenniums which went before. Almost everyone knows the reason. Students of ancient history tell us that the intellect of men in those days was equal to the best of today. Yet in ancient times material progress was painfully slow. The spirit of modern scientific inquiry, research and invention was almost unknown. In the realm of the material, men's minds were fettered by superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas. Some of the contemporaries of Columbus thought a round earth preposterous. Others came near putting Galileo to death for his astronomical heresies.
We asked ourselves this: Are not some of us just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material? Even in the present century, American newspapers were afraid to print an account of the Wright brothers' first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. Had not all efforts at flight failed before? Did not Professor Langley's flying machine go to the bottom of the Potomac River? Was it not true that the best mathematical minds had proved man could never fly? Had not people said God had reserved this privilege to the birds? Only thirty years later the conquest of the air was almost an old story and airplane travel was in full swing.
But in most fields our generation has witnessed complete liberation of our thinking. Show any longshoreman a Sunday supplement describing a proposal to explore the moon by means of a rocket and he will say "I bet they do it - maybe not so long either." Is not our age characterized by the ease with which we discard old ideas for new, by the complete readiness with which we throw away the theory or gadget which does not work for something new which does?
We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view. We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people - was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight? Of course it was.
When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.
The Wright brothers' almost childish faith that they could build a machine which would fly was the main- spring of their accomplishment. Without that, nothing could have happened. We agnostics and atheists were sticking to the idea that self-sufficiency would solve our problems. When others showed us that"God-sufficiency worked with them, we began to feel like those who had insisted the Wrights would never fly.

User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 7938
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: 10/3/08 BB We Agnostics pp 51-53 (moving to God sufficie

Post by ann2 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:36 pm


We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view. We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people - was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight? Of course it was.
When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.
And to this people say I guess that the idea of God that they have is one that won't help, it wants to punish them, etc. etc. You know, a lot of good things came my way in the disguise of punishment. Just this summer, in fact, to get to Karl's question, I was horribly distraught over a question regarding just how I was going to improve my Swedish. I was sure I needed one way, but the [insert many unfavorable descriptions here] counselor at the school forced me to go another way.

I knew why I was upset, thanks to my 4th step. I knew where my anger came from, I knew why I was wailing on the floor after everyone except my 2 year old left the house. (She was really okay, she understands wailing on the floor :-) ). I knew that I had one way of thinking about what I wanted to do, and my way was being pushed aside for a way that my higher power chose for me.

Sure, it felt awful. I didn't want to have to repeat a course, i didn't want to be stuck with the other "immigrants" -- I wanted to take a class with Swedes, to be surrounded by them, to be forced to keep up -- I knew I would learn better that way. I KNEW it.

But thanks to my experience staying sober and getting through many seeming misfortunes like this, I knew that there was opportunity waiting for me in this situation. That didn't stop my despair, but it helped me to accept and do what I was OBVIOUSLY being pushed into doing.

This morning, through the energy of my Swedish as a Second Language teacher, the sainted Susanne, I had an appointment with the counselor who told me I could take any course in the school next spring. This is just what I wanted, only more so -- because now, I knew what I wanted to take.

You see, this teacher, and the teacher who was subbing for her before Susanne was hired, got me to relax, feel comfortable, admire them and trust them. They asked to get to know me and I was able to share through assignments just who I was and what I hoped to do in the future. They in fact were vital to not only my own understanding of how I could progress in school, but they served as mediators between me and the school, and its counselor.

Not only that, because of these assignments, and the efforts I made to satisfy my truly intelligent teachers, I made great progress in ascertaining what it is exactly I want to do with my time in school and afterwards. I was responding not only to the perceived opposition of the infamous counselor, but also to the support and respect of the teachers. Truly a combination that would get me to think, and perform.

So, I got a crash course -- not in the language, but in my goals, and in expressing them to others. I got to learn two (or even 3, there's another one!) marvelous teachers of Swedish as a second language. And I got to process my resentment about the counselor enough so that I could meet with him calmly and gratefully today, expressing my thanks for the wonderful class I have been taking, because of him.

Now if that isn't my God's way of working things out, then I'm a monkey's great aunt.

I hope this fulfills the assignment, Karl :-) -- but I have probably a million examples like this. Turning it over, doing what's in front of me, and finding something to appreciate in everybody. Some call it a Pollyanna existence, but I prefer to think of it as relying exclusively on my concept of God, and seeing everything as a sign of grace and mercy. Gifts, because I am treasured.

Thanks for letting me share.

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

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:24 pm

ann,

Grab a blueberry muffin and move to the back of the room while others share. You've passed this assignment. But listen carefully-you may learn something from other's ES and H. I always do. There may be a pop quiz later in life.

cheers,
Karl

User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:46 am

hey all,

i'm in a crummy place tonight. i want to share something so incredibly spiritual that i'll blow you guys away. but it isn't where i'm at. the arrogance of my disease sickens me. thinking i'm better than some who have got it bad tonight and tomorrow. these couple people i'm thinking of have it bad. what difference do i have in my circumstances? nothing. i am them if i persist in my self sufficiency. left to my own devices, i'm in the same hopeless boat. unemployable. i'm sad for these 2 good people, but there is a part of me that thinks if they were as smart as me they wouldn't be in the position of losing their jobs. like i suddenly forgot losing my dream job 10 years ago. thinking i was too good to be fired. thinking i was too talented and important to be let go. they thought that, and so did i. geez, i'm no different at all, god help me remember that.

judi, alcoholic

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:09 am

Judi,

Often circumstances are what they are meant to be. Even crappy circumstances have outcomes we can never imagine;sometimes for the good. Trust in a HP, surrender, and acceptance is a mystery isn't it? For me--it's hard to change the habits of a lifetime in trying to second quess why things happen and then to trying to change everything to suit me. Trust, surrender, and acceptance is a habit that I have had to learn-not always easily.

K.

User avatar
martin08
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 606
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:37 am
Location: Western Maine

Post by martin08 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:13 am

I used to find myself struggling with the circumstances in the family, social and workplace arenas. It seemed very difficult for me to come to terms with God's plans and will for me. So I wrote a prayer. It is now read as the opening prayer for our Big Book Workshop meeting, and it truly helps in clarifying what my role is in accepting the direction He has in store for me and others who wish to do His bidding.


FARMINGTON PRAYER


Dear God, it is through Your blessing
That we are before You this day.
All of our strength is drawn from You.
We believe that it is only through Your grace
That we are allowed a reprieve
From our selfish decisions
And that living for others has become our way.

We ask, today, that whatever Your offering
May or may not hold in prosperity for us
Can become acceptable, supporting experience
For the the truth about ourselves -
That without You, God, we are nothing
And only You can make healing possible.

We ask, now, that You give us the strength
To carry Your light -
That Your message of living may be heard
By those in doubt and need.

Amen

User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:57 pm

hey all,

i didn't really know where to go with this but since i've spent some time here in the bb study, i thought this would be as good a place as any. i've spent the last almost 3 days drunk and in a blackout. the chaos that my drinking causes used to take so much longer to get to this level. now it's less than a day and everything is a mess. i had every reason to not start drinking again, and i started drinking again. and lying. and lying some more.

trying to be a big shot, big aa person. impart my vast stores of imaginary knowledge to all of you people. what a crock. i don't know if i'll be sober tomorrow, but i know i don't have a chance without being honest with those closest to me. right now, you guys are that.

judi, alcoholic

User avatar
Blue Moon
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3676
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Post by Blue Moon » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:33 pm

Hi Judi,

"The spiritual life is not a theory", "faith without works is dead", etc.

Yes, it's easy to "talk the talk". "Walk the walk" means doing what those who recovered needed to do.

"Action" is the real magic word. Not "prayer" or "well-behaved" or "thinking".

Hope we hear from you again after the blackout
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:44 pm

Judi,

Thank you for your honesty. We are not alarmed by this here.

When you return here start back into your program of action and more action.

"redouble your spiritual activities(the steps-soonest) if you want to survive"


keep good cheer,

Karl
Last edited by Karl R on Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:48 pm

Judy,
What we are going to say is going to be hard to swallow but like Big Frank says it is mothers kiss when compared to what alcohol does to people.

For us to drink is to DIE. You need to make a commitment that you are going to take this spiritual path. Get hold of a woman sponsor and do the 4th step inventory today and start looking at where you were self-fish and self-centered. And do 6,7, 8,9 quickly and get on 10 and 11 in few days. You can always go back and re-work the steps as many times you want.

Good luck.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:25 pm

fortunately or not, the blackout is over. now all that remains is picking up the pieces. again. . .

judi

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Re: 10/3/08 BB We Agnostics pp 51-53 (moving to God sufficiency)

Post by Karl R » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:23 pm

When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.
Another strong statement. "Simple reliance on the Spirit of the Universe...." Now that's the crux of the problem of sometimes isn't it? Self reliance? or HP reliance? that is the choice that's presented here isn't it?

cheers,
Karl

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5270
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: PP 51-53 We Agnostics (Self or God Sufficiency?)

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:16 am

Joe and Charlie de-cipher this moment in Bills Story. When Bill is struggling with this GOD idea and there is Ebby sitting in front of him with starry eyed look.

But my friend sat before me, and he made the pointblank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed. Doctors had pronounced him incurable. Society was about to lock him up. Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!

Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not. There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that minute; and this was none at all.

That floored me. It began to look as though religious people were right after all. Here was something at work in a human heart which had done the impossible. My ideas about miracles were drastically revised right then. Never mind the musty past; here sat a miracle directly across the kitchen table.
==========================================================================================================================================================
That is why the meetings should be a power-house, where old-timers with long-term sobriety should show the power of their higher power working in them. So the new-comers can see how the program works and draw belief that they could do that too.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3701
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Re: PP 51-53 We Agnostics (Self or God Sufficiency?)

Post by Karl R » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:13 am

Very astute observation.

I was recently in our local newcomer's meeting. It's an open discussion meeting and I try to bring discussion of the book and the steps to it when I find myself there. At this meeting a topic sheet goes around at the first and anyone who cares to puts a topic on it. On this day I wrote "Power" down as a topic for discussion. When it came time for the chair (a newcomer with 2 weeks of sobriety :( ) to announce the topics he announced what I had put as "powerless". It gave me a great intro to discuss how this very section of the book had brought my attention to the need for a "power" in my life to relieve my alcoholism and bring me a design for living which worked in rough times. "Empowered" by a higher power despite being powerless over alcohol. A message of hope and empowerment rather then a message of continuous struggle under my own power for the rest of my life. Surrender leads to empowerment. How's that for ironic. :idea:

Step 1 led me to the idea that I was powerless over alcohol-life is unmanageable
That led me to the next logical thought----how do I treat this condition and get off the powerless-unmanageable merry-go-round?

cheers,
Karl

User avatar
leejosepho
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1885
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:55 am
Location: 200 miles south of Little Rock
Contact:

Re: PP 51-53 We Agnostics (Self or God Sufficiency?)

Post by leejosepho » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:55 am

Karl R wrote:Step 1 led me to the idea that I was powerless over alcohol-life is unmanageable
That led me to the next logical thought----how do I treat this condition and get off the powerless-unmanageable merry-go-round?
Yes, that is our deal within "alcoholism, as we understand it" (page 28). And so, Bill continues:
In the realm of the material, men's minds [in ancient times] were fettered by superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas ...

We asked ourselves this: Are not some of us just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material? ...

We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view ...

When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.

... [So when] others showed us that "God-sufficiency" worked with them, we began to feel like those who had insisted the Wrights would never fly.
Again: "We, who have traveled this dubious path [of believing our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all], beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion." (page 49)

And why? Because "you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer" (page 44) and might need to do so (just like we had to do) in order to "join us on the Broad Highway" (page 55) in "the Fellowship of the Spirit" (page 164) as even "vastly more than a 'sufficient substitute' for alcohol" (page 152) in order to permanently recover from chronic alcoholism by having the problem removed.

But of course:

"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way [than through spiritual means], or prefers some other spiritual approach [than through "trust in God and clean house" (page 98)], encourage him to follow his own conscience ... be friendly. Let it go at that." (page 95)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

Post Reply