AA speaker Dr. Mike presents a Big Book study podcast and thoughts on recovery

Thoughts for Recovery – No. 76 – Recovery from Alcoholism – Part 3

See chart on recovery from alcoholism in resources.

In part one I looked at how living self centered and separated from God my life could never be manageable. I would seek alcohol to change how I saw the world. I became powerless over alcohol. I had no power to live. Thus I was surrendered and admitted complete defeat. Defeated by my self sufficiency.

In part 2 after admitting I had no power to live successfully or keep from drinking,  I looked at how steps 1-3 made  me ready to move outside of my world to the world of the spirit. However admitting , believing, and deciding, won’t change me. I have to take action to remove what blocks me from God and his world. 

In part 3 I want look at how we follow through on the third step decision to enter the world of the spirit. I am building an arch through which I will walk a free man. The foundation of the arch is step 1 becoming willing. The cornerstone is believing that God can restore me. Then the keystone is the third step decision to have God direct my thinking and actions. Steps 4-9 complete the arch. I am going to briefly summarize these steps in this thought. See previous thoughts for detailed discussion of each of these steps.

I have to remove the things that are blocking me from entering the real world where God is the center. I am blocked by living on self will. My life run on self will was manifested by resentment, fear, and shame and guilt from harming others. In step 4 I inventory those 3 areas and learn how to be free of anger, fear, and shame and guilt. I see how my character defects were the exact nature of my wrongs. Step 4-5  reveal the truth .  I don’t want to live on lies any more that I tell myself when I see the world through my self centered glasses.

I see how my self centered personality is characterized by character defects that dominated my life and actions. The result was anger. fear. and harmful actions to not only others but myself. I have now become willing to have God remove them. All of them. Then in step 7 I humbly ask God to remove them. The problem is these steps need to be worked constantly. I can recognize when I am entering my world and now can ask God to remove the character defect that is separating me from Him. But I must with God’s help practice the opposite of the defect. This is a lifetime job.

The other area that I need to address to complete the arch to freedom is to remove my shame and guilt and fear of those I have harmed. This is the purpose of steps 8-9. In step 8 I become willing to make amends to all I have harmed. I made the list of those I harmed in step 4. I have forgiven everyone through the prayers and directions on pages 66-7. I am free of my anger and become willing to make restitution through the process of filling out the fourth column instructions on page 67. I have seen my mistakes. With the aid of another person I can see how I have harmed them. This process makes me willing to make restitution and this willingness gives me freedom from fear of those I have harmed. What a gift. Then in step 9 I begin the process of amends making certain after prayer and discussion with another person that I am not doing more harm. 

I have completed the arch to freedom and have entered the world of the spirit.  Before I am halfway through my amends the 9 th step promises are coming true. Warning they only come true when I have completed the arch to freedom. They are a description of the world of the spirit.

In part 4 I will look at how I stay in the world of  the spirit.


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  1. Michael Smith on April 5, 2022 at 6:39 am

    Thank you for explaining so well and simply the essence of The Program and The Steps required to achieve sobriety ( balance).
    I must confess to lack of perseverance in working these Steps through indolence or lack of self care .
    I want to persevere and gain true Spiritual growth, rather than a “ getting by” type of existence.

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