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Thought No. 67 – The Spiritual Axiom and Serenity Prayer in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous – Pages 87-88 – Step 10-11 -Part 1

I have been thinking about writing on the paragraph on the bottom of page 87 to top of page 88. It came to me that this is the spiritual axiom and the serenity prayer in the AA big book. I have written and talked about the spiritual axiom. It is in step 10 in the 12 and 12. The serenity prayer is said at almost every AA meeting.

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action”, page 87. What are they telling me? When I am agitated it means I have disturbed emotions that arise from judging a situation or person as unacceptable to me. I am playing God. When I am doubtful I have the emotion of fear towards a situation or person in the future. I am playing God. I am disturbed. What is wrong with me? I am separated from God and playing God and have lost conscious contact. Isn’t this the essence of alcoholism? The spiritual malady.

Notice this powerful paragraph concludes the final instruction on steps 1-11. I believe they put this direction here because if I follow it I will have a powerful tool to relieve me of the bondage of self whenever it appears. The first instruction is to pause whenever disturbed, either angry or afraid. It says do this whenever my emotions are disturbed. They imply do it right away. Now. At once. Don’t spend any time in these self centered thoughts. Why? Because if I want serenity, peace and a design for living that works under any circumstances I cannot stay disturbed or separated from God.

Pause is a powerful spiritual tool. It is a decision only I can make. Disturbed is how God disciplines me when I am separated from him. I don’t feel good. He wants me to repent or turn to him whenever I am disturbed. That is God’s plan for me. When I turn he is always there to take me back. However he won’t make me pause. Pause means stop Michael, you are on your own. Get back to God Michael. Turn to him. Only I can pause.

Isn’t pause what I mean when I say the serenity prayer. When I say God grant me serenity I am really saying whenever I am disturbed I need to pause so God can change how I am seeing it. To be at peace in the now, to be able to see a situation through God’s eyes, not mine. Then after he grants me serenity and I am now connected to him, then I can see the right course of action. Whenever agitated or doubtful I never chose the right action. When I look back on my life I saw that I made decisions based on self which put me in a position to be hurt and to hurt others. So I don’t want to act when disturbed anymore.

Serenity is a gift from God. He grants it. But only if I pause. To me it is automatic that when I say Michael you better pause right now because you are disturbed, that I feel a power and peace come in. This action is the basis for steps 6-7. I must pause when back in self and then turn to God to practice the opposite of my character defect. I must turn away constantly from my self centered thinking and pausing is the beginning of reconnecting with God.

In the 12 and 12 when discussing the spiritual axiom he says we must develop the practice of self restraint. Isn’t this just pausing when agitated or doubtful? Not reacting when I am not in fit spiritual condition? If I follow the directions to pause whenever playing God or back in self will I am restraining myself and turning to God for direction and guidance. This direction is the essence of how to live in the now.

I have focused in this thought on the power of pausing whenever disturbed, agitated, fearful, bothered, irritated, etc. If I don’t pause and I go straight to God when disturbed then I will be blocked from his power. I can only receive his power when undisturbed.

In part 2 I will look at the second direction to ask and how doing that simple step leads to a right course of action based on right thinking.

Welcome any thoughts or comments mhurwitz50@gmail.com

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  1. Juanita on July 31, 2018 at 1:45 am

    A very good point about pausing. It really leave me open to God’s power when I just simply pause

    • Anonymous on September 22, 2022 at 10:38 pm

      That’s six and seven on my favorite and most helpful steps. I have to pause every time I get into my car and ask God to keep me and others around me safe.

  2. Dennis George on August 1, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    I I lose my way several times a day and I do need to practice this in my everyday life. I get into self will and all at once I am out of control. With me this happens real fast and I lose my directions and ability to make proper choices if I can remember to pause turn towards God and his will my good choices and mind frame will return

    • CHERYL MADISON on February 28, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      I am working on pausing because my sponser taught me that problems dont come at me they come from me.

      • Dr. Mike on March 1, 2019 at 1:03 am

        Read your comment and smiled… absolutely true…

  3. Anonymous on April 20, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Excellent! Indeed as you say and the first tool we understand is the pause the serenity prayer teaches 1,2,3 and off to the races

  4. Samantha Bullock on January 13, 2024 at 8:48 am

    Hi there great reading just wandering if you have any recent talks really enjoying the talks I have found are you still doing other things I can listen to or read?

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