The 12th Step invites us to continue the journey one day at a time for the rest of our lives. We need to keep moving forward in recovery, keep developing our spiritual consciousness; if we are to remain spiritually awake and fully alive. ~ 12 Step Literature
The key thing with sponsorship and working with other in service positions is a healthy dose of detachment. We need the art of letting go of others, outcomes and decisions that do not pertain to us. As sponsors, we elan very quickly, that we are powerless over others. We cannot control their decisions which include getting and staying sober. We have no control over their relationship with their HP. We have no control over the outcomes of decisions they make. They are grownups making grownup decisions. We must hand them over to HP and keep our meddling minds out of it. Here is the deal: we can love, appreciate them, care, and guide/mentor. But we cannot honor them whilst interfering with their process and relationship with HP. To truly honor them, we must let go and trust them and their HP to do the next best thing. It is a tall order, but I know you can handle it. Check out these sponsorship questions:
In what way do you practice these principles in your daily life? I try to be the best version of Jo I can each day, asking HP to lift and carry that/whom I cannot handle, and giving me direction and protection in all of my affairs. Then…act as if.
How do you try to to carry the message of recovery to suffering alcoholics? At meetings, I give them my number, a meeting list, and a Big Book. I call people that I know are suffering or stuck. I do service work so that AA doors stay open for generations to come.
Has your concept of G.O.D. changed as the result of working these steps? Very much: Agnostic, to believing in the groups as HP, then Good Orderly Direction, to currently Gift of Desperation. Mother Nature is my church…the universe is my faith. Tell me what works for you! Let’s learn together.
In the past, we hung onto self-destructive and harmful behaviors. ~ Anon
I remember my mom telling more than once to “mind my own p’s & q’s”. Being a smart aleck kid, I wondered aloud way too often what on earth p’s & q’s were. I never really got an answer to that, but I figured out it had something to do with not minding the business of others. I wasn’t dense, but I was curious! Most folks would agree with me that seeing the wart on the other guy’s face is so much easier than seeing the acne all over my own face. I can see plainly what the answers are to other people’s problems while I am clueless of my own. Life before AA was a constant battle of wills, mine and everyone else’s. I never could figure out why people complain, moan and gripe about their jobs, kids, etc. but never change how they do things. I thought complaining meant: fix it or me, Jo. So, I would. Guess what? Well, there were a lot of mad people around me! Go figure.
It took sobriety and several years in AA to figure out what my p’s & q’s were. One sponsor suggested to count how many “p” words existed in step 10. There are a bunch: peace, persistance, practice, prayer, power, perserverance, personal, pride, patterns, etc. I discovered by practicing step #10 daily that my p’s & q’s are: Peace and Quiet. I no longer get absorbed in other people’s problems. I no longer think I have to come up with their solutions. I no longer have a bunch of people angry at me for interfering. What a huge discovery. Life is so much easier these days. I recognize now, that when I solve other people’s problems for them; they are robbed of the chance to learn how to cope with that issue the next time it comes around. Step #10 is the sanity step. I thank goodness for it every day.
There are some wrongs that we can never fully right.
We don’t worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would
right them if we could. ~ Big Book, pg. 83
I think we can all say that we have some wrongs that can never be righted. We cannot think our way into right actions, but we can act our ways into right thinking. I call that living amends. I have a few people who after saying they forgave me, went on to grow whole new resentments toward me that then blew up into irreparable situations. I am powerless over other people’s opinions of me and on how they respond to amends. There comes a time when enough is enough. I won’t know until I get further down the road, but letting go of other people’s side of the street feels a whole lot more liberating then being knocked around for what I already amended.
There is no point, in my opinion, to beat a dead horse. What is done is done. I had a person from my distant past try to make amends to me this weekend. I had not seen or heard from her in over 22 years. After she apologized 5 times, during the 6th revisit, I told her that I needed for her to let go of it and stop apologizing. I was in such a bad way back then, that I had not even noticed the slight. I was just trying to survive, and had absolutely no energy for anyone else’s slight. We got to the other end of that conversation where both of us felt okay. I must say, I held not grudges then or now. Life is too short. So, there are some wrongs we cannot right, try as we may. Let’s just do today well. Live well, be well, and move on.