BRENDA AND DAVID
August 9, 2017
From: Brenda Olson
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2017 12:48 PM
To: Desert Spirit
Just wondering, do you ever go to an AA meeting?
The short answer is no. The extended answer is: I attended for 7 years, going every day, sometimes two and three meetings a day. I carried meetings to jails, hospitals and institutions. I was active in my home group, was on the Steering Committee, and was custodian of the room and in charge of the coffee bar. I sponsored several individuals, and was in charge of the birthday medallions.
When A Course in Miracles came into my life, I began what I could only describe as a transformation from the A.A. meetings to contact with the Course. I still sponsor, occasionally, individuals, but I continue to extend my recovery “and practice these principles in all my affairs”. My last A.A. meeting was in 1994, but in 1995 and 1996 I traveled to Miami for my A.A. birthday in those two years. Since 1996 I attended one meeting in this county, some time around 2000. I also still study the Big Book. And I wrote THE FOURTH DIMENSION – BEYOND THE ROOMS OF A.A. and self published that after the A.A. Gravpevine refused to publish any of my stories regarding my A.A. experience.
Thank you. Can I also ask you, how did/do you study the Big Book? I am asking because I don’t think I really know how to do this beyond reading, highlighting some passages, contemplating those passages and maybe sharing thoughts with others in the Fellowship about the passages that grab my attention.
Yes, that is how it would be in the beginning, and how many do “study” it. But that is not studying. You know that. I am not sure if you read any of Bill Wilson’s other books, but there is a fascinating story about how the Steps were “GIVEN”, as he called it, to him.
I ‘think’ the way you study the Course is writing out a section or even just a sentence, and then question how it is not a Truth for you in your life, and somehow you get to the point of actually seeing the Truth of it in your life through a Lesson. I am sorry if I am way off; I would love to know though.
Yes, only a sentence because if the sentence comes from the Thoughts of God, then the Universe is contained IN that single sentence. So that is how we study sacred writing and around the time I was being introduced to the Course, this happened to me with the Big Book. I went back to study Bill’s words and I was amazed! For example, he says in one passage, “The problem with the alcoholic centers in his mind, and not his body.” Do you hear and see this with other ears and eyes?
Look at what he is saying. You have to understand that Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, two individuals, shared their story with each other, and another person and this movement is now global in over 147 countries. Look at the impact of Bill’s recovery on the consciousness of mankind. It transcends the brain-world thinking. Can you say that your recovery encompasses 147 countries? That is just amazing to me.
Bill was GIVEN the Program of Recovery, and that is why his name is not on any of the literature, just like Helen Schucman’s name is not on the Course. It was GIVEN TO HIM by Higher Intelligence.
So he says the problem is in the mind and not the body. So do you see that the brain is in the body? So when he says "mind", he is not speaking about the brain. And he says the main problem is in the mind. Did you make that discovery when you read that? If you did, then you made it with the mind, or the spirit, and not with the brain/ego/intellect.
So that is how to study the Big Book, questioning every word. For example, the Step 2 says CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES COULD RESTORE US TO SANITY. Now you know that we have to undo that in order to come to the truth of it. You know NO ONE IS GOING TO JUST COME TO BELIEVE IN A HIGHER POWER. NO ONE. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE INSANE approaching Step 2.
How can an insane person BELIEVE ANYTHING? Or a better way to say this is AN INSANE MIND WILL believe anything, even in a “Higher Power” without ever knowing the fact, the truth of It. So how does one apply Step 2? We have to live the truth of it. How?
But what does it mean to believe? One of the definitions of BELIEVE is to DOUBT. So we rephrase, Came to DOUBT that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. NOW it gets interesting, because now you are asking to live the truth of the Step. You are asking to BE GIVEN the Step.
“THESE ARE THE STEPS WE TOOK...”
You cannot take something unless it is offered, unless it is Given. So that is how to study the Text. You see the Big Book is the theory, which is synonymous with the Text of A Course in Miracles. Then you see that the 12/12 is the Workbook for Students. Then sponsorship, the stories in the Big Book, is the Manual for Teachers demonstrating how to “teach” or extend recovery.
Anyway, what Bill said about the Steps being Given to him was that he was sitting one night with a candle lit. And he had paper and pen and he was just staring at that paper and decided to write the numbers 1 through 12, and that was peculiar to him, but he said it reminded him of the 12 Apostles. He said then all of a sudden these thoughts came and he started to write and the thoughts were coming “with astonishing speed”. And he wrote as he felt if he did not get it all down he would lose the thread of thought.
So Bill is an enlightened being. I do not think you will ever hear any of this mentioned in the rooms. But that just goes to show you how infantile many are with the program of recovery and with the literature.
Thank you for this, David. I do feel like I wish I knew where to begin. After my slip my Sponsor wants me to revisit the Steps from the beginning, and so I do feel like I need more instruction on how to really STUDY.
Dr. Bob used to tell the newcomers, “JUST KEEP IT SIMPLE.” That is how the slogan KEEP IT SIMPLE began. What is simple? Do not drink, go to meetings, share and be honest about your experiences and share them with others, find a sponsor, work the Steps. It is like anything new. We will stumble and make mistakes, but really there are no mistakes. It all works for good.
In my experience, I drank again only for one reason; I was not ready to stay sober. Spirit denies us nothing. We will be given all we need and denied nothing until we come to “let go absolutely”. That is what the Big Book says; “let go absolutely”. We cannot let go absolutely. Creator is the Absolute. It will guide us in the letting go. Spirit releases us, not meetings or our good intentions.
It’s funny, on Friday night, just before I was to chair my first meeting, the man who later after the meeting gave me some ‘pointers’. We were talking a bit, and he was trying to ‘teach’ me about doing the Steps.
He should only be sharing his own experience, not trying to teach you something. We cannot “DO” the Steps. The Steps UNDO US and our insane thinking. You will not find anyone in the rooms who will understand this, but YOU CAN introduce it and stimulate dialogue.
So I brought up the fact that it was Written that we TAKE the Steps, not DO them, and I continued on about how that implies we have to RECEIVE them, and then maybe then we can practice them in our lives and live them. Well, he caressed his chin, and then started to ‘teach’ me again about all this philosophical nonsensical stuff as he gazed at the Steps which were hanging on a wall behind me. Thankfully it was then 8 o’clock and I had to start the meeting!
That is how most are. Like everything Spirit gives, we ASSUME, and then formulate our own conclusions and then establish our perceptions and opinions. But hardly anyone lives the Steps. To live the Steps means we acknowledge that the Step has been Given TO us. Just like anything that is given to us, we can place it under our bed, or in the closet, or throw it in the garage and talk about it, or we can use it. A hammer is useless unless it is being used. Just to have a hammer in your tool box does not mean you are using it.
I have brought this up a few times with people, and they just kind of look at me like I am crazy.
It is because they have never heard this before. And they are in A.A. for years and this is the first time someone introduces it and they are stunned. But they perceive you as a “newcomer” and so they think you do not know what you are talking about.
But I don’t want to alienate myself from others and I don’t really know what I am talking about so I just leave things alone mostly.
Well, even if you do not know what you are talking about, the fact remains that until a Step is Given we cannot use It, just like you cannot use a hammer if it is not given or if it just sits in your tool box. Your experience has been that someone introduced the concept of receiving the Steps. So that does not make your experience wrong or incorrect.
A truly sober person is one who questions everything, and takes nothing for granted. In the Big Book, it is written, “We cannot rest on our laurel. For alcohol is a subtle foe” meaning if we become complacent and start assuming what anything means, we cannot be Taught. And when we become complacent then we are not growing.
I do have to say it has been a very powerful experience for the last two nights having to admit to everyone that I slipped. I prayed both nights before I entered the rooms, and both nights I thought I wouldn’t say anything, but then I did even though it was very hard. Brenda
It is the introduction to the ending of shame and guilt. You see what you just wrote? Right there shows you RECEIVED STEP 1. Do you see it?
“it has been a very powerful experience”
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol” DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE POWERLESS. If you Received Step 1 then you are full of power. You are full of His Power that allows you to open up and not be ashamed of what or who you are. Many think Step 1 is an admittance of powerlessness and so they moan about how “powerless” they are. But in order to ADMIT anything, you must have power. What do we admit?
The word ADMIT means TO ALLOW TO ENTER.
We allow to enter the idea we are powerless over alcohol, meaning if we give power to alcohol we are not receiving power from Step 1. When we admit we are powerless over alcohol we are ALLOWING His Power to enter. It means we have allowed His Power in and not give power to the idea of taking a drink. Yet even His Power may see you need TO drink in order to come to certainty that you no longer need that experience.
So to Receive Step 1 is to have an experience OF Power. And once a Step is Given, it is eternal, it is absolute, and it cannot ever be taken from you. So you can see why we cannot “DO” the Steps. APPLICATION IS NOT DOING. Application is LIVING.
So to LIVE STEP 1 is to receive power from Him in the face of ANY DIFFICULTY, the first being we admitted to ourselves and others the subtle nature of the insanity from which we seek to be free. Keep it simple. Do not drink. Go to meetings. Everything else will fall into place.
Drop the idea, “I am not doing enough”.
A.A. is eternal. It is absolute, because it comes from God. So what is eternal is forever new, and it is constantly transforming and expanding. So that is how recovery is or must be. But you have people in A.A. for 20 years saying the same things, like parrots. They are like the “born-again Christians” who think they follow Jesus who go to church every week and interpret the Bible according to their level of comfort.
You see, we establish comfort zones and we do not want to go beyond those barriers. But when you are alive, your life is a challenge every day. Every day you are reaching for the next star, which implies every day can be a challenge. Every day you face a “problem” to overcome, and you NEVER say “I CAN’T” because you know that Spirit of the Universe is moving you THROUGH these difficulties. And you discover you are not alone, even when your mind tries to convince you that you are.
I cannot recall since Anya came into my life when I have had a time where I can “rest on my laurels”. Every day seems to present another challenge. It is like being beaten to the ground, and then you get up and you are knocked down again. And we together experience these very demanding challenges. It is futile to turn to others for help, because they are without power also.
And so you must become the light, for them, and you discover this is an Impersonal Action, meaning you cannot claim credit for it, that it is not personal and you cannot just do what you want. And you see what Teacher means when He says, “When two or more are joined with one intent I am there with you.”
So what IS A.A.?
It is defined in the slogan, and in the symbol of A.A., which is the triangle inside the circle. UNITY, RECOVERY, SERVICE. Look at a medallion. It says TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE, and not to agree with the collective of the group. You bring the New to the group, the new ideas, the new concepts for them to consider. You are the new life, and you do not go there to share the stale air. You bring NEW AIR, fresh air, and light.
You think THEY HAVE SOMETHING YOU DO NOT? Perhaps it is the other way.
Perhaps YOU are Sent there BECAUSE YOU HAVE something they do not. But the old chin-rubber does not see that because he is not humble, HE IS NOT WILLING TO QUESTION, he is not interested in learning the new, and that is because he has become COMPLACENT and he rests on his laurels.
You can share these emails with him, with your sponsor, with anyone you wish.
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE, means KNOW THYSELF and then you can LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It means you would never be self centered. So the medallion shows the three aspects of A.A.; unity, recover, and service. The bottom of the pyramid, ( did you realize it is a pyramid and not a triangle and do you know the significance of the pyramid, that it is a beacon that is built for Higher Intelligence to reach earth?) is RECOVERY. So everything must be built on recovery. Then the left side is UNITY and the right side is SERVICE.
So if you had UNITY at the bottom, it would not work. You could not have service and recovery. People go to church, and “unite” but there is no service, and there is no recovery. Recovery means to PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS.
And you could not have SERVICE at the bottom and then have recovery and unity, because if the foundation is SERVICE then you become a slave to a corporation, or a volunteer who wants to save the whales, and you do not have unity in that and you are not practicing recovery because you are only trying to save the fucking whales and NOT YOURSELF.
So we do not know the Absolute Who give to the world A.A. but we DO know that our recovery is not as Bill Wilson’s recovery is. Bill transformed the face of mankind and shifted mankind’s consciousness in what he brought to the world, or we could say what Creator brought to the world THROUGH Bill Wilson.
And can you believe that this man was agnostic and a stockbroker when he was introduced to Recovery?
So every day we must live and to live means to shed old concepts and habits and this often feels very uncomfortable, but it is uncomfortable because this world is not our home and we are shedding what has shrouded us in ignorance, and when that shroud is being lifted, others will be horrified by our transformation, and will think we are weird, or fear us or give us some stupid lecture on something about which they have no understanding.
What happens in this transformation process is what once was COMFORTABLE becomes very UNCOMFORTABLE, and the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
A seed grows in the darkness of the soil. It must push up and out towards the light. Every day of a seed is a struggle. Or is it? For if it is part of Life then it knows only One Direction. And where there is only ONE DIRECTION there is no opposition between which one can decide. The seed contains the Universe. And “the Universe is on Orion”.
In this, all decisions end, and life is a daily action of living in the present. Ironically, it is the present that is forever new.
Yet it is this new that makes us feel very uncomfortable, and it should be the other way around. The old that has made us complacent and comfortable has to be shed as we accept the new which is uncomfortable for us in the beginning until we want only that. Then you are no longer of the world.
The complacent ones are they who could LEARN FROM the one who has a relapse. It would reflect back to them their own place in recovery. If they are full of pride, they will lecture to you. If they are full of pity, they will feel sorry for you. YOUR experience becomes a measuring device for checking their OWN RECOVERY. It brings the issue of complacency, of resting on our laurels, to the forefront.
Those who are “comfortable” in their “sobriety” are walking on thin ice. For “sobriety” DOES NOT MEAN “to be without drink.” The word SOBER means, “to be of a sound mind”.
Question everything, and follow no one.
“The universe is on Orion.” -- MEN IN BLACK