Yes, but why? After nine thoughts

Yes, but why?

Steps 10, 11 and 12 are the maintenance steps, which encapsulate all 12 steps together.

In Step 10, I get right in my relationship with myself (Step 4, 5, 6, and 7), and others (Steps 8 and 9)

In Step 11, I get right with God, (steps 1, 2 and 3.)

In Step 12, I continue to get right with God (steps 1, 2 and 3) others (steps 8 and 9) and myself (steps 4, 5, 6 and 7) as I try to carry the message to those who suffer and to practice these principles in all my affairs.

Judy shared this wonderful post which highlights many of the themes that we have been discussing during our meeting.  Thank you Judy!

The practice of Step 10, as outlined by the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, consists of half a short paragraph describing exactly how the Step is to be done. “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

Notice anything missing here? Well, you will if you have been in therapy, or if you believe that the 12-Step Program is, to some degree at least, a self-help program, or if you have even the slightest notion that your best thinking has the potential to improve your situation. What’s missing from this Step 10 formula is the question Why? and the answer to the question Why? Why am I angry? Why do I have this resentment? What caused my anger? Why did I act so selfishly? Surely, if I can figure out what got me into this mess in the first place, I can resolve to avoid that situation in the future! Can’t I …?

Elsewhere in these short notes we have explored the peculiar nature of the columns that many of us used when we wrote the first part of our Step 4, following the outline on p. 65 of the AA Big Book. The first column is headed I am resentful at …. The second is headed The Cause, and the third is headed Affects my …. If you still have your own Fourth Step handy, you may want to pull it out and look at it.

The example given in the Big Book begins I am resentful at Mr. Brown in the first column. The second column gives the cause: His attention to my wife. Told my wife of my mistress. Brown may get my job at the office. And the third column details how the resentment affects the alcoholic’s sex relations, self-esteem (fear), and security.

As we look at this alcoholic’s list, do we doubt that he was resentful at Mr. Brown? No, we don’t. Do we doubt that his resentment affected his sex relations, self-esteem, and security. No, we don’t. Both the first column and the third column appear to be telling the truth. But that is not the case when we look at the second column. The second column is not true. It wasn’t Mr. Brown’s actions that caused this alcoholic’s resentment, although the alcoholic sincerely believes they did. The alcoholic created his resentment all by himself. He had created a world in his mind where his wife should have been free of Mr. Brown’s attentions. He had created a world in his mind where it was all right to have mistress. He had created a world in his mind where his job would be secure. To ask the cause of this alcoholic’s resentment is to ask an unanswerable question. In the final analysis, the cause of his resentment was his own bizarre thinking.

Now let’s turn again to the recommended practice of Step 10. It should be fairly easy to see now why asking the question Why? and trying to find the answer has no role in the working of the Tenth Step. It doesn’t matter why I’m selfish, resentful, dishonest, or afraid. Even if I did know, the answer wouldn’t be of any use to me. The way to rid ourselves of selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear is to ask God at once to remove them. There is no other solution offered by Program. My selfishness, my dishonest, my resentment, and my fear were created by my own mind. I can no more depend on the mind that created these things to help me be rid of them than I was able to stop my core addiction on the basis of self-knowledge. Like anger, asking the question Why? is the “dubious luxury of normal men” (Big Book, p. 66). If God as we understand God was the only thing that could relieve our core addiction, we can be pretty certain that only God can remove selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.

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