I wanted to share a recent email exchange that I had with someone in program. I am hoping that this will be helpful to others, when faced with similar questions.
“Nancy” has been in program for many, many, years. She has extensive experience going through the steps, but, she is unable to maintain her abstinence. Like all of us, Nancy struggles with feelings of resentment, coping with discomfort, and taking responsibility for the consequences of her actions. She reminded me of the paragraph on page 60-63 in the A A Big Book.
This was my answer:
To me, that is placing the horse before the cart.
- Physical abstinence
- A relationship with God
- And an opportunity to be of service.
Fundamentally, program involves:
- stopping the addictive behaviors,
- praying and meditating to God and asking Him to help and guide me in everything I do,
- and being of service to others, in particular, taking others through the 12 steps.
Whether God takes away our character defects is up to Him. We do not remove our character defects. We turn them over to God. We ask Him, with humility and without judgement, to remove the character defects which stand in the way of our usefulness to others. Our goal is to be of maximum service to God, other people and ourselves.
The answer is: Do what it says in the AA Big Book and pray about it.
I hope that this will be helpful to others.
In love and service,