Friday, February 27, 2009

Workin' it

In the AA groups I go to, we end meetings usually with the Lord's Prayer (thank God) and then the room erupts in "Keep Coming Back - It Works! IF you Work It!"  And then some really enthusiastic folks will add their own little ditty just to show us all how smart they are "it sucks if you don't," or "so WORK it cuz you're worth it!"  

It just irritates me to no end.  We used to say "Keep coming back - it works."  Then the self-will part got added.  As If! I could "work" myself sober!  Think about that!  

"a.  That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
 b.  That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
 c.   That God could and would if He were sought."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 60

Beyond human aid.  That is what we are.  That includes our very own aid.  It includes our "working" to get and keep ourselves sober.  

"We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 45

When an alcoholic is done drinking and has hit their very own personal bottom, they have a pretty good concept that they are bankrupt as human beings.  Not necessarily financially, although that certainly may be the case, but bankrupt in the things that make a human being viable and worthwhile.  Bankrupt physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  How would you "work" yourself out of that condition?  You can't.

God can change me, I cannot change me.  

I ask God for help and then put my trust in Him.  He led me into the rooms of AA where the people have helped me.  I have had a series of good (and bad) sponsors who have helped me to go through the steps.  I have been taught that I need to pass that on.  I have been blessed with women who have asked me to help them with the steps.  I have been blessed to have beautiful relationships with my sponsor and sponsees.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

But I could not create it.  And I propose no alcoholic could create this life we are freely given.  I need to cooperate with the gift that has been given to me.  It needs some care and feeding and that is what I do when I go to meetings, read the big book, work with others, and pass it on. 

So each day I have this gift of sobriety.  I can be grateful for the gift and care for it and try to pass it on to others, I think that is the proper response.  I don't think that being boastful and arrogant about it is what is called for.  I also don't think it is appropriate to take credit for all of the "work" I have done.  It is a mere nothing in comparison with the life I have been given.  

My feeling is that there are a bunch of people sitting in AA meetings who have been forced to go there by a court, or a professional organization, or a family.  They have not reached their very own bottom (no matter how high or low or pink or green) and will be unable to get this stuff to take the 12 inch trip from their heads to their hearts.  

If you are an alcoholic who has had enough to drink, it is not hard for you to comprehend that you cannot fix yourself, no matter how hard you work.  I am so grateful for the love of a merciful God who picked me up and gently brought me back to health.  And I could "work" for the rest of my life and never earn that love.  


Pam said...

We are both on tangents today.
At 1/2 the meetings I go to they say "keep coming back it works if you work it"
At the other 1/2 they say "keep coming back it works if you work it and you die if you don't so work it now"
I say "keep coming back it works"

dAAve said...

I understand where you're coming from.
My interpretation of "working it" is doing all those things necessary to get, and remain, sober. First for me was finding a HP of my understanding. Meetings, a sponsor, the literature, prayer, the fellowship and then not drinking between meetings is what have kept me sober.

So "working it" to me is not a matter of self-will. But rather embracing the entire program as a design for living and doing whatever necessary to continue that.

Trailboss said...

Well said Mary. You are very inspiring.

Scott W said...

I have been fortunate to have been honest, open-minded and willing enough to get and stay sober. I don't ever have to do it by myself again. And I only have to do it today.

Happy Friday, Mary!

Syd said...

I never thought about how self-will entered into the closing. I've actually never liked the Al-Anon closing and all the jiggling of hands that goes on. I'd just rather have the Lord's prayer and just say Keep Coming Back. That's enough IMO.

wendy said...

do you want to make a guest appearance in south florida? thanks for sharing here. have a good weekend.

steveroni said...

Mary, et alii.,
The meetings I like (and we have only one left...) are where we say, at the end. "Let's stand and say the Lord's Prayer, which begins with 'Our Father', and ends with 'Amen'."

When I came in we didn't have the "Let's remember the poor suffering alcoholic, the troops in Iraq the starving children in Africa" BEFORE the Lord's Prayer, nor the "Works, etc/, etc.", AFTER. So THERE!

AA is not out to--CANNOT--save the world....

Findon said...

OH Boy don't get me started on this one. In England we say the serenity prayer, holding hands. Then a few years ago, I don't know when the " Keep coming back etc" stuff started to happen. I realised after a while that it came from those who had found their way in to the rooms via rehab. Then the shaking of the arms in time to the keep coming back stuff. Drives me nuts. And itsd mainly propagated by people who never change. Year in year out they stay the same. I told you not to get me started. Will shut up now.

Mark said...

Once again... thank you!!!

To keep it simple - I'm grateful folks like you are still here. I truly enjoy seeing what I believe, in print, other than in places like my own mind. :)

Kathy Lynne said...

I like ending meetings with the Lord's Prayer but I don't like the shaking of hands and what you describe either. I also really really hate when people change daily bread to daily strength....

but i am like Dave..I think the "work" that is being references is the whole program which is a new design for living..that involves self forgetting. But then again..newcomers don't know that or understand that which is why the slogans can be dangerous.