It is morning, I am going to try to "catch" my new bus, but not actually get on it this morning, just to see how this is going to work. So, I have just a few moments to post this. Of course, I could be on the treadmill instead, but who has time to work out?
Yesterday I heard the fifth step of a woman who has been sober for over six years. I have only sponsored her for about a year. This was a specific 4th step about some pretty intense and overwhelming resentments. We did what we do. When I told her to do the prayers for the people she resented, she asked me what I meant. I told her the prayer on page 67.
We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will not mine be done." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 67
I told her to pray this prayer about each of her resentments. And to do it more than once. To do it all the time.
She said "Oh my God Mary, I have never heard of this before! This helps so much! Thank you!"
She has told me that before. She has never heard of this stuff before.
And I have asked, how can this be? She has been a real member of AA for over 6 years. She has had a sponsor all that time.
And then it occurred to me, her first sponsor was an atheist. She took her through the steps, but I guess she skipped the whole praying part. The whole God part.
What's left when you take out "those parts?" I really don't know.
Now, I know this will raise the hackles of many. But we really can't change the program to avoid raising hackles. The result of that would be to kill many. I would rather raise hackles than be responsible for the alcoholic death of many.
AA asks us to choose our own conception of God. There is a whole chapter in the big book to Agnostics. The writers of the book said "We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the realm of the Spirit if broad, roomy, all inclusive, never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe to all men." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 46
I have known many agnostics who have been successfully sober, if they have an open mind. "To those who earnestly seek." There is a big difference between one who is unsure and is earnestly seeking and those who firmly believe there is no God and who are not willing to seek.
I wish them the best, really I do. But I do not know how someone could take another through the steps, carefully avoiding the "God parts." That sounds like swiss cheese with only holes to me.
And I am looking at the result of that with this young woman. Thank God she is sober. But she certainly does not have that inner peace that comes as a result of working these steps - as written.
Thanks for listening....
I plan on staying sober today, and I hope you all do too. By the Grace of God....