10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

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

10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby Karl R » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:37 pm

Good Day,

A prayer for beginning.
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; od
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

Yesterday we looked at the actor who runs around and tries, with mostly good intentions to run the show but the show doesn't go so well. Much like the life of an alcoholic running on self will.

Today's reading posted in red below showed me that fear, self-delusion, self seeking and self-pity are just forms of self-centeredness. These things cause me to get out of sorts with myself and with other people. Usually when I find a sense of unease within myself, after some inventory I find that the problem is within me, not caused by other people. The solution?..stop playing God...Let God do the job. He's much better at managing this little drama of my life.

How do we stop playing God in our daily life? What are the elements of turning over control?

have a great day,
Karl

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, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help.
This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.
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Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:54 am

i believe this is the key piece of the book where we find what the real problem is. All this time, they talked about the physical craving and the mental obsession and the spiritual malady. Also i always didn't understand the what difference between selfishness and self-centredness. Few days ago, my eyes saw these and my mind awakened to this little sentence:

Our actor is self-centered, ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. And I looked up in the dictionary:

1. Holding the view that the ego is the center, object, and norm of all experience.
2.
1. Confined in attitude or interest to one's own needs or affairs.
2. Caring only about oneself; selfish.
3. Philosophy
1. Viewed or perceived from one's own mind as a center.
2. Taking one's own self as the starting point in a philosophical system.

now i see the difference.
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 martin08 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:03 am

Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.


This says to me that nothing is more important, no purpose is higher, and selfishness is the greatest single impediment to a recovery, according to the Authors of the Big Book.

The goal of the Step Process in the destruction of self-centeredness. From this point, all the amazing possibilities and promises of AA can follow.
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Re: 10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:40 am

the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.


This is the fundamental nature of alcoholism. And very often amidst this self-centredness, we do "little" things that disprove the point. For example, I was never paying my ex- more money than when I was in the depths of alcoholism doing and saying exactly what I wanted - and copping a huge resentment whenever anyone else did likewise.

Much is said of "the promises". Yet the book is full of promises. Here's one:

...we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
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Postby dwelling » Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:59 pm

Hi,

the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.


The stumbling block for me , and for many , was "he usually doesn't think so". The only way I could convince myself of this was to continue with these steps.
Unfortunately or fortunately"God makes that possible" but a lot of alcoholics still think they can change themselves.

dwelling,"We want to analyze mistakes we have made"
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Postby jujub » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:40 pm

evening all,

"How do we stop playing God in our daily life? What are the elements of turning over control?"

that is a really, really difficult concept for me. ususally i take a look at control issues and selfishness when someone points out i should look at control and selfishness. or when i am so uncomfortable in my own skin and made such a mess of a situation that i feel compelled to do something different.

as you may know, i put my dog to sleep 10 days ago. it is a tough time for me. i tried to glob onto as much sympathy and pity that i could get from others and from my own mind. i was consumed with how awful i felt and all that i had lost. i suppose it's part of the grieving process. when those feelings became unbearable i tried to just be over it. move on. hurry up--be sad and be done with it.

i slowly realized in talking to my sponsor and other friends that acceptance of what is was a key to moving forward. that there was growth in the discomfort. i started to ask hp for help--inviting that power into my life to assist me in coping. i finally knew it was a mismatch without god's help. a gentle reminder that i turn my attention to helping others was offered. little by little over the last few days, the heaviness has subsided a bit. i found myself honoring the memory of my relationship with annie--not in frantically trying to get attention or pity. but in focusing on what i can do for someone else. not to ignore my feelings of sadness, but to gradually and more gracefully move through them.

again the lesson for me is it isn't about me or my satisfaction. it is what i can offer, not what i can get. and the irony is that within the hurt, i haven't felt more alive. i don't know if that makes sense, but thanks for listening.

judi, alcoholic
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Postby Karl R » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:29 am

Thanks for your share Judi.

This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.


I like to think of this in my life as a "bankruptcy" caused by bad management.

So...

"first of all, we had to quit playing God"---throw out the old management. I can't get the job done under my own power.

"Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God (our HP as we understand it) was going to be our director."----install some new management---some new power in our life.

As someone pointed out to me recently-this new management---this new power can allow us not only victory over our difficulties but also being able to transcend our difficulties and live in the sunshine of the spirit. This sunshine of the spirit for me is the turning outward from myself toward others as the center of my universe.

What a great journey!

thanks for your thoughts today Judi. You've helped me.

Karl
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Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:45 pm

This sunshine of the spirit for me is the turning outward from myself toward others as the center of my universe.


Wonderful way of looking at THY will.
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 Karl R » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:08 pm

Thanks Avaneesh..

I'll have to think about what you said.

Karl
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Re: 10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby leejosepho » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:56 am

Many good comments and much useful experience here already, of course, and now looking again ...

Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.

As we will soon see in Step Four, we all have natural needs that must be met and instincts that must be satisfied if we are to feel secure in life, and here is where we begin to consider the idea that having our thoughts and actions centered upon "self" -- looking out for "Number One" -- is not getting those jobs done.

Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity [related to satisfactions of our natural instincts and desires], we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.

Nothing wrong with wanting our needs met and our instincts satisfied, but our past self-reliance has really only made matters worse for ourselves and everyone around us.

Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation ...

Innocently enough, it might seem, and just as we have occasionally done ...

... but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

In my own case, the biggest example of this has been in marriage where I "took hostages", vulnerable ones, and then tried to make them into what I would have them be so I could be happy ... and then felt abandoned when they later tired of my ways and left.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.

My first sponsor once really got me good in a meeting by quoting the first part of that and then pausing for just a bit so I could soon catch myself having just thought I was *not* like that when he continued on with the "though he usually doesn't think so" part. I looked up and he just gave me that knowing smile. However, it still took me a while to get to Step Four and begin to truly comprehend all of this. After all, I had been believing I had often been "quite virtuous ... kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing" (page 61) in my personal actions that later (in Step Four) proved to be far more selfish and self-centered amidst my fellow human beings having the very same needs and desires to be met and satisfied.

Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!

Self-reliance and "constant thought of self" just do not get our needs met or our instincts satisfied, and there is when alcohol easily begins looking good again.

This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work.

My will amounts to "what I want", and my life amounts to "what I get" ... and now all of that is about to be turned over to "God as you understand God" (page 164) if I wish to live at all.

... we decided (Step Three) that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

===========
Keystone, n. (Webster, 1869)
The stone on the top or middle of an arch or vault, which ... binds the work (and keeps it from collapsing).
===========

Apart from that, my life can only continue to crumble.
=======================
"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: 10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby PaigeB » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:32 pm

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, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.


And then I hear in a meeting that this is a selfish program! We have soo many seemingly contradictory truisms in AA though.

DRIVEN by 100 forms of fear... Yup, I found myself in a fear driven life whilst always professing great courage and stamina! I found FEAR in every nook & cranny of my being.

INVARIABLY we find decisions based on self... Hey! I am the victim here! But I found EGO in every nook & cranny of my being.

...he usually doesn't think so... I did find that I was completely blind, not only to my fear and the defects that arose out of it, but blind to the reality of life - I can only wonder what "more to be revealed" is for me.

This "play" we call life, it isn't all about me and what I think I need or want. In fact, it is better if I don't wallow in that part of me that is ego and fear driven.
AA has given me a way out - me helping another drunk out of slavery to booze.
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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Re: 10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby leejosepho » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:10 am

PaigeB wrote:
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, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.

And then I hear in a meeting that this is a selfish program! We have soo many seemingly contradictory truisms in AA though.

So it might seem, at times, but then we have shared facts such as this for perspective:

"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)

I often hear people say we must "want it for ourselves", but I came to A.A. so my two daughters would not have to bury a drunken father.

A desire to stop drinking is all we can require of anyone here, and we do not even care why any one of us, selfishly or not, might have it.
=======================
"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: 10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby PaigeB » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:54 am

A desire to stop drinking is all we can require of anyone here, and we do not even care why any one of us, selfishly or not, might have it.


Agreed. That desire to stop and the daily admitting that we are alcoholic and that our lives are unmanageable absolutely MUST be entirely from the self, the inner most self. The word "honest" was dropped from "honest desire" in the 3rd Tradition because it opened us to judging the newcomer's level of desire.
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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Re: 10/12/08 BB How it Works pp. 62 (self will run riot)

Postby leejosepho » Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:39 am

"...the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so."

Blue Moon wrote:...very often amidst this self-centredness, we do "little" things that disprove the point...

dwelling wrote:The only way I could convince myself of this was to continue with these steps.

leejosepho wrote:My first sponsor once quoted the first part of that and then paused for just a bit so I could catch myself thinking I was *not* like that...then just gave me that knowing smile.

It takes whatever it takes, and then we learn. But then in other meetings years later, I had begun "preaching" a twist of my own about that after having read the following from the first draft of our book (and the italicized parts here are from the first draft):

"So our troubles, we think...arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is almost the most extreme example that could be found of self-will run riot..."

There in Key West at that time we had a former nun amongst us and many of us often sat at the edges of our seats to listen closely whenever she shared...and then she said, "Oh, there is that alcoholic ego again thinking it might be the worst of the bad. I am sure glad Bill humbled himself and took that out of there."

I clamped my jaw shut and dropped my preach.
=======================
"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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