PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

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 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by Karl R » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:18 am

Good Morning,


A prayer for beginning.

"May the Great Reality make itself known inside me today."

I have posted today's reading below in red.

Yesterday we learned of the Great Reality.

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.

Today we read of a man who stepped from bridge to shore. The part of this reading that I like says "To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him." This contains a promise.

Anyone care to share their ES and H of how, after traveling along the bridge, were finally able to step from "bridge to shore"?


have a great week all.
Karl



In this book you will read the experience of a man who thought he was an atheist. His story is so interesting that some of it should be told now. His change of heart was dramatic, convincing, and moving.
Our friend was a minister's son. He attended church school, where he became rebellious at what he thought an overdose of religious education. For years thereafter he was dogged by trouble and frustration. Business failure, insanity, fatal illness, suicide - these calamities in his immediate family embittered and depressed him. Post-war disillusionment, ever more serious alcoholism, impending mental and physical collapse, brought him to the point of self-destruction.
One night, when confined in a hospital, he was approached by an alcoholic who had known a spiritual experience. Our friend's gorge rose as he bitterly cried out: "If there is a God, He certainly hasn't done anything for me!" But later, alone in his room, he asked himself this question: "Is it possible that all the religious people I have known are wrong?" While pondering the answer he felt as though he lived in hell. Then, like a thunderbolt, a great thought came. It crowded out all else:
"Who are you to say there is no God?"
This man recounts that he tumbled out of bed to his knees. In a few seconds he was overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God. It poured over and through him with the certainty and majesty of a great tide at flood. The barriers he had built through the years were swept away. He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from bridge to shore. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator.
Thus was our friend's cornerstone fixed in place. No later vicissitude has shaken it. His alcoholic problem was taken away. That very night, years ago, it disappeared.
Save for a few brief moments of temptation the thought of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity.
What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker - then he knew.
Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!

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Post by Oliver » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:06 pm

I'm glad I stumbled across this post today - there's so much in it.

The bitter prayer of the drinker, ""If there is a God, He certainly hasn't done anything for me!", was my prayer for a long time. The steps have helped me see more clearly what God was and is doing for me. The times when I feel farthest from God are often the times that he is closest at hand...
Oliver
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."

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Post by jujub » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:29 am

hi all,

my sponsor said something like this to me today:"Who are you to say there is no God?" she meant it in relation to the people i work with who lost their jobs. like i knew what was best for them--more so than a hp. and in fact maybe i really had no interest in their troubles outside of how it may affect or reflect on me. it made me realize my attitude toward others and to a hp was defective and certainly no use to me or other people i come into contact with. that comment ticked me off--because it was true. and i got busy with my assignment of the resentment list for my 4th step.

judi, alcoholic

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Karl R
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Post by Karl R » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:29 am

So Judi,

Sounds like the place to be. Keep the plug in the jug just for today. Work honestly and hard on your 4th step. Ask that the know and the unknown about Judi be revealed to you.

Angry? Pissed off? Resentful? Sounds like a good time to make a resentment inventory.

Glad you're still with us Judi,

In peace,
Karl

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Post by ann2 » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:12 am

I never denied the existence of the shore -- for other people. For myself, I thought I was lucky to be in sight of it-- I just couldn't believe I deserved the serenity that existed there.

I had a spiritual experience taking step 7 that change my life, and brought me to the shore. The God of my understanding said, "Yes, I can remove that defect and i've been waiting patiently for you to be willing to give it up, thank you for offering it to me." Of course my life was changed by the freedom to react differently to situations in which my defect used to steer. But more than that, I changed through gaining the knowledge that my higher power could and would help me, if I only made the effort.

Ann
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Re: 10/6/08 BB We Agnostics pp. 55-57 (bridge to shore)

Post by Karl R » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:54 am

The possibilities?
His alcoholic problem was taken away. That very night, years ago, it disappeared.
Save for a few brief moments of temptation the thought of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity.
The mechanism?
What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker - then he knew.
And the only requirement to make a beginning?
Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!
cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by leejosepho » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:37 am

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
...
Even so has God restored us all to our right minds ... [whether] sudden ... [or] more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!
But if we do not try, we have not investigated the matter and can only remain in ignorance while our ego, fear and/or pride continue blocking us off from God and others about us.
=======================
"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)
=======================

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by Tosh » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:14 pm

leejosepho wrote:
We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
...
Even so has God restored us all to our right minds ... [whether] sudden ... [or] more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!
But if we do not try, we have not investigated the matter and can only remain in ignorance while our ego, fear and/or pride continue blocking us off from God and others about us.
Are you saying that if we do not believe in a creator deity, then we're ignorant, and our ego, fear, and pride is to blame?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by PaigeB » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:49 pm

This reading, and the thoughts of the shore, made me think of the analogy of us all being passengers of the same ship that wrecks... we all find the shore (in AA) and it is highly possible that each of us lands on a different shore of the same island! Some will yell in joy, "I am on a beach!" another will climb up onto a large rock and view the trees and yet 2 others arrive together, one calling it rocks and another calling it large particles of sand!

We each test the stability of the ground and find it safer than the water (or the booze!) and decide to rest here - maybe for a while and maybe til death, but at least for today!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by Mike O » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:38 am

Tosh wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
...
Even so has God restored us all to our right minds ... [whether] sudden ... [or] more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!
But if we do not try, we have not investigated the matter and can only remain in ignorance while our ego, fear and/or pride continue blocking us off from God and others about us.
Are you saying that if we do not believe in a creator deity, then we're ignorant, and our ego, fear, and pride is to blame?
My reading of what Joe said is not that "we're ignorant" if we don't believe in God, which would be somewhat insulting, but that we're living in ignorance (of God's grace). There's an obvious difference, I feel.

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by leejosepho » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:50 am

Tosh wrote:Are you saying that if we do not believe in a creator deity, then we're ignorant, and our ego, fear, and pride is to blame?
Not at all, and I thank you for asking. Like Mike has shared, "we're living in ignorance (of God's grace)" prior to having taken the Steps to investigate the matter for ourselves ...

... and for those who yet insist (typically at Step Two) that "this universe needs no God to explain it ... that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere ... that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all" (page 49), the "everlasting ignorance" of "contempt prior to investigation" (Appendix II) is all that remains as a result of ego, fear and/or what Dr. Bob called "intellectual pride" blocking people like us off from God and others about us. Like mentioned on page 55: "... we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems. They said God made these things possible, and we only smiled. We had seen spiritual release, but [still] liked to tell ourselves it wasn't true."
=======================
"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)
=======================

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by leejosepho » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:04 am

PaigeB wrote:This reading, and the thoughts of the shore, made me think of the analogy of us all being passengers of the same ship that wrecks... we all find the shore (in AA) and it is highly possible that each of us lands on a different shore of the same island! Some will yell in joy, "I am on a beach!" another will climb up onto a large rock and view the trees and yet 2 others arrive together, one calling it rocks and another calling it large particles of sand!

We each test the stability of the ground and find it safer than the water (or the booze!) and decide to rest here ...
Close enough, and the "believers" among us have no complaint as long as spiritual principles are practiced by all.
=======================
"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)
=======================

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by Tosh » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:04 am

leejosepho wrote:
Tosh wrote:Are you saying that if we do not believe in a creator deity, then we're ignorant, and our ego, fear, and pride is to blame?
Not at all, and I thank you for asking. Like Mike has shared, "we're living in ignorance (of God's grace)" prior to having taken the Steps to investigate the matter for ourselves ...

... and for those who yet insist (typically at Step Two) that "this universe needs no God to explain it ... that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere ... that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all" (page 49), the "everlasting ignorance" of "contempt prior to investigation" (Appendix II) is all that remains as a result of ego, fear and/or what Dr. Bob called "intellectual pride" blocking people like us off from God and others about us. Like mentioned on page 55: "... we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems. They said God made these things possible, and we only smiled. We had seen spiritual release, but [still] liked to tell ourselves it wasn't true."
There's a lot of generalisations in your post and you're also missing another option; things are never black 'n' white. You seem to be saying that the Universe must be a caused event, but then you posit an uncaused cause (a God deity) who caused it. Doesn't that sound strange? You're saying the universe needs a cause, yet the deity who created it does not need a cause? Is that right?

There is an option where we can say, "I just don't know!". To me, this is a sound way of thinking that relates to my alcoholism. In A.A. we never discus why we're an alcoholic; we don't infer that we were potty trained wrongly therefore that caused us to drink the way we did. We just accept the situation 'We were powerless over alcohol' and take some actions that work.

And I can accept the situation that I'm alive and that I experience. I don't have to understand how I came into being from a metaphysical point of view; I doubt anyone will ever understand that beyond all doubt, without relying on some basis of blind faith.

It is okay not to know, Lee, we don't have to know everything; I can find peace with that. And you can quote Dr Bob all you want; I love the bloke; but he was a human with the same faculties as myself.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: PP 55-57 We Agnostics (Bridge to Shore)

Post by leejosepho » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:47 am

Tosh wrote:... You seem to be saying that the Universe must be a caused event ...
Not at all. Rather, I am simply sharing the "reasonable assumption as a starting point" mentioned in our book after doctors had essentially told early A.A. members "we must find a spiritual basis of life - or else." (page 44)

I do understand you do not embrace that starting point, but this is A.A. and we leave the God debate outside the door.
"I woke up. I had to admit that A.A. showed results, prodigious results. I saw that my attitude regarding these had been anything but scientific. It wasn’t A.A. that had the closed mind, it was me. The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and feel. Right there, Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life." (12&12, Step Two, reprinted by permission of AAWS)
=======================
"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)
=======================

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