[Extracted from the monthly ECO NEWS - April 2019]
Unlimited Choices For a God Concept
My favorite step is Step 3; my favorite tradition is Tradition 3….as they both refer to the higher power idea. It was brilliant that Bill & Bob decided that no one could dictate how anyone else “should” believe in a power greater than themselves….only that each person needs to find one. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. That’s it…..we don’t need to belong to any sect, organization, politics, religion or anything, as it says in the preamble. That gives us a lot of freedom to decide for ourselves what that higher power will be.
The first time I heard an atheist get up to speak at a meeting was amazing. She said, “Hi, I’m ___, I’m an alcoholic, and I’m also an atheist, and I want to tell you that this program works!” She had 7 years of sobriety at that time.
One of the Advisory Actions passed at the 68th Annual General Service Conference in New York City last April, was to adopt The ‘God’ Word pamphlet, which is published by General Service Board of A.A. in Great Britain. In the pamphlet, Bill W is quoted: “Whatever you do, please don’t let someone else’s religious beliefs prevent you from finding the solution that is available to you through Alcoholics Anonymous.”
In the new Grapevine book titled “One Big Tent” I read many acronyms for a God concept: Good Orderly Direction and Group of Drunks were old ones, but I’d never heard of Great Out Doors or Gift Of Desperation.
For me, pathways to this concept of God involved surrender and discipline. My best thinking got me to AA. I could not get sober on my own. This was a huge chunk of honesty to digest. I surrendered to something that I could not see, feel, hear, or sense in any way, because I was at the end of my rope. People in meetings spoke of the need to surrender. All other options had expired. So I pretended to believe…I gave myself one year to see if this AA thing would work….knowing I could always go back to my old ways…. Slowly things changed. Listening to that still small voice inside took some time. That gentle message always directed me to the next right thing to do.
The Big Book says: “deep down inside every individual is the fundamental idea of God.” I believe that deep down inside all of us is the fundamental idea of “the next right thing to do.”
I learned in AA that I need discipline to stay sober. Discipline to attend meetings, to listen, follow directions and stay connected to my higher power. Bill W called us an ”undisciplined lot” My undisciplined brain is like a vacuum….it picks up whatever’s in front of it…. any distraction, that keeps me from looking at myself… and being honest about my motives. When I have that spiritual connection, I am at peace.
In Language of the Heart, Bill said the importance of coming to believe in a higher power is invaluable as a way of gaining entry into the realm of faith. He goes on to say that “faith is never a necessity for AA membership….our concepts of a higher power and God as we understand him afford everyone a nearly unlimited choice of spiritual belief and action.” I’m grateful for these unlimited choices in how we define the God idea in our own life.
Thank you all for my sobriety,
Area 78 Delegate, Alberta, NT & W. Nunavut