10/11/08 BB How it works pp 60-62 (The actor)

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

10/11/08 BB How it works pp 60-62 (The actor)

Postby Karl R » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:31 am

Good Day all,

"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, our text examined the starting place that the first chapters of the BB brought us to. Three pertinent ideas.

Today's selection brings us the story of the actor who wanted to meddle in the whole production. This was the first clear illustration in the big book that made clear to me the immense significance of the self will that I had been attempting to operate with. Especially significant to me is that I can have the best of intentions in operating under my own self will but the show still will not come off very well.

"Any life run on self will can hardly be a success" BB p. 60

What are we to do about this lack of success involving the self-will run life? How do we turn ourself away from ourself, our resentments, and our self-pity?

In peace,
Karl

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.
What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?
Our actor is self-centered - ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?
[code][/code]
Last edited by Karl R on Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mike O » Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:18 pm

Thanks, Karl.

This post has reminded me of something I had forgotten about myself.

Its helped me immensely in my current situation.

-Mike
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Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:43 pm

What are we to do about this lack of success involving the self-will run life? How do we turn ourself away from ourself, our resentments, and our self-pity?

My befogged mind couldn't understand this step and then i ran into JC workshop on the web (again this is my experience). They beautifully illustrate what this really mean. Its the thought and action.

The self-will run life was a miserable one and today life is cool. Much much better. As I mentioned before, there were two problems my higher power took care of that has added more peace within and am able to be a hollow bone of the power to flow thru.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Postby Oliver » Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:50 pm

Everytime I read that passage I get so much identification. I was a firm believer that my troubles were everybody else's fault. I believed I had a right to behave in the awful way that I did because people weren't behaving in the way I wanted them to.

A few days ago I noticed in the daily readings it reminded me that, whenever I am feeling disturbed there is something wrong with ME. Looking at my side of the street did not come naturally to me. I have many years experience taking the inventories of those around me, and a relatively short period of time taking my own.

I talked one to one of my non-alcoholic friends about how I believed selfishness, self-centredness, to be at the root of my alcoholic problem. They responded by telling me a list of selfless things that I had done. Without exception, I found that each one of those selfless things that they could recall had been done for selfish purposes. At all times I was concerned with myself, my well-being and, if I was drinking, where I would get my next drink from. If that meant ingratiating myself with you enough to get you to pay for it, so be it.

My fourth step began to reveal to me the selfishness that lay deep within me. In honest reflection I could always admit to pride, self-pity and self-centredness next to each of my several thousand amassed resentments.

As I began to encounter the people from my drinking past (and ever from dry periods where I was a dry drunk), I began to get a clearer picture of the true nature of the harm I had caused people around me.

I pray to God each day that I might today be the answer to somebody else's prayer. I try to follow the advice of the "Just for Today" card: doing people a good-turn and not getting found out, doing things I don't want to people just for the exercise etc. I find this difficult, but I do try. I still very often find there is a selfish motive, but I do my best to take inventory and hand my defects over to God.
Oliver
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Postby jujub » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:27 pm

hi all,

i don't know if it's possible right now to turn my self away from my resentment, self pity, self absorption. i'm currently working on my 4th step and it is a tedious process. i feel disconnected, out of sorts, not sure of anything today. sick of the process right now. missing my dog and wallowing knee deep in crud. afraid if i give something to someone i won't get what i need. temper tantrums are my gift since childhood!

intellectually i realize i can only get what i need by giving to someone else. and if i can be objective for one nanosecond, i realize how many blessings i have received over the years. i've been struggling mightily getting back into these discussions since i put my dog down. wondering why now? did i do the right thing? on and on and on. it's hard to direct my thinking away from my sadness. maybe the point is--i can't. but one foot in front of the other, i guess. do what is next in line.

judi, alcoholic
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Postby Karl R » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:22 pm

Judi,

Fast forward a very few pages. This passage was important to me when I got stuck on my 4th step. I started feeling really crappy for a few days while I was not doing anything to progress on my inventories. The only thing thing that eventually made it better was finishing my resentment inventory concerning my wife.

"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.
If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.
We turned back to the list, for it held the key to the future.(p. 66 BB)"


What to do?..."We turned back to the list, for it held the key to the future"


in peace,
Karl
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Postby jujub » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:35 pm

thanks, karl. you're right-- back to the list, as it says it is the key to the future. keep plugging and trudging... appreciate your comments as always.

judi
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Re: 10/11/08 BB How it works pp 60-62 (The actor)

Postby leejosepho » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:47 am

Just what do we mean by [turn our will and our life over to God], and just what do we do?

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success ... even though our motives are good.

As we continue on in the Steps, we will be dealing with our attitudes and actions, not our motives and intentions, and we will be doing that within this kind of light:

"At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us." (page 77)

No matter how good my intentions and motives might have ever seemed, my behaviour -- our actions -- had still been mostly selfish and self-centered ... and ...

Most people try to live by self-propulsion.

But now at Step One we have admitted our personal powerlessness to healthily "propel" ourselves or anyone else.

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful.

Consider these two thoughts for a moment:

1) "If [God's] arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful." (page 61)
2) "This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work." (page 62)

But getting back to the matter of how we have been acting ...

... our [human] actor may sometimes be quite virtuous ... kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing ... [or] mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest ...
... begins to think life doesn't treat him right ... decides to exert himself more ... still more demanding or gracious ...

Even if unintentionally, subconsciously or passive-aggressively, some of us have truly been manipulators ...

... sure that other people are more to blame ... angry, indignant, self-pitying ... a self-seeker even when trying to be kind ... a victim of the delusion s/he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if s/he only manages well ...

There is our deal. In one way or another, virtually every one of us has been trying to live out the lie that we human beings might yet somehow find a way to manage our own ways in "happy, joyous and free" (page 133) as God would have us be ...

... but, we cannot. And why not?

Whatever our protestations [about life and/or other people], are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?

Constant thought of me -- love (actions) of self -- was killing me. Hence, we have learned ...

"Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs." (page 20) And so, it now seems we have had a crucial point-of-focus -- our attitudes and our actions (as will be addressed in Step Four) -- backwards, and the remainder of the Steps are going to show us how all of that can be changed.
=======================
"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: 10/11/08 BB How it works pp 60-62 (The actor)

Postby PaigeB » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:40 pm

Karl asks: What are we to do about this lack of success involving the self-will run life? How do we turn ourself away from ourself, our resentments, and our self-pity?


Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, (pg 62)


That was my fear driven life. I would drive yours too if you let me! Imagine trying to drive 2 or more cars at the same time! What a mess! A costly mess at that!

Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?


Joe says: But now at Step One we have admitted our personal powerlessness to healthily "propel" ourselves or anyone else.


How did I finally turn myself away? "We ceased fighting anyone & anything." (pg 84) Life can be like that Chuck E Cheese "whack a mole" game: Crap in my life pops up like a mole and I hit it with a mallet - a few pop up at a time and I use both hands to whack 'em! But they keep coming...no rhythm or reason... I got tired of fighting all the moles. My life got better when I laid down the mallet and quit playing the game. Notice if you leave them alone, they go away on their own. At least I play with one mole at a time, pausing to consider the next right action.

"Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs." (page 20)


I work with another alkie or another human in need and I do it selflessly.
Humility brings gratitude and visa versa!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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