that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but
successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they
will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA, the development of
much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our
relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.
Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect
security, and perfect romance, urges quite appropriate to age seventeen, prove
to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven and fifty-seven.
Since AA began, I've taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my
failure to grow up emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to
keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover, finally, that
all along we have had the cart before the horse. Then comes the final agony of
seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to
get off the emotional merry-go-round.
How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and
so into easy, happy and good living. Well, that's not only the neurotic's
problem, it's the problem of life itself for all of us who have got to the
point of real willingness to hew to right principles in all of our affairs.
Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy may still elude us. That's the place
so many of us AA oldsters have come to. And it's a hell of a spot, literally.
How shall our unconscious, from which so many of our fears, compulsions and
phony aspirations still stream, be brought into line with what we actually
believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden Mr. Hyde'
becomes our main task.
I've recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I
begin to see many benighted ones, folks like you and me, commencing to get
Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me
to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic
spell. Considering the grief I've had with depressions, it wasn't a bright
I kept asking myself "Why can't the twelve steps work to release
depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer ...
"it's better to comfort than to be comforted". Here was the formula,
all right, but why didn't it work?
Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been
dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me
with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to
my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat
came, so did my depression.
There wasn't a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and
joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut
Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the
absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so
Reinforced by what grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every
ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon
people, upon AA, indeed, upon any act of circumstance whatsoever.
Then only could I be free to love as Francis did. Emotional and Instinctual
satisfactions, I saw, were really the extra dividends of having love, offering love,
and expressing love appropriate to each relation of life.
Plainly, I could not avail myself to God's love until I was able to offer it
back to HIM by loving others, as HE would have me. And I couldn't possibly do
that so long as I was victimized by false dependencies.
For my dependence meant demand, a demand for the possession and control of the
people and the conditions surrounding me. While those words "absolute
dependence" may look like a gimmick, they were the ones that helped to trigger
my release into my present degree of stability and quietness of mind, qualities
which I am now trying to consolidate by offering love to others regardless of
the return to me.
This seems to be the primary healing circuit: an outgoing love of God's
creation and His people, by means of which we avail ourselves of His love for
us. It is most clear that the real current can't flow until our paralyzing
dependencies are broken, and broken at depth. Only then can we possibly have a
glimmer of what adult love really is.
If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the
root of it some unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand. Let us, with
God's help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free
to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.
Of course, I haven't offered you a really new idea only a gimmick that has
started to unhook several of my own hexes' at depth. Nowadays, my brain no
longer races compulsively in elation, grandiosity or depression. I have been
given a quiet place in bright
Written by Bill
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