Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's Not on ME

It's funny about AA meetings. Sometimes I get a bit overdosed on them and wind up bored during the meetings. Same old drunkalogues, same old rambling people wandering off topic, same guy always has to pipe up and lecture us for a few minutes as if he's got all the answers.

But then if I miss meetings for too long, I notice I start to be less tolerant a person, more critical, more easily angered, more anxious.

I suppose meetings help me remember who I am and remind me of the patterns of thinking and reacting that got me drinking in the first place.

But by far the biggest thing I've gotten out of AA so far has been the tremendous relief that comes with knowing everything isn't on ME. I can just hand everything over to my Higher Power and pray for direction. See, I'm learning to trust my physical responses to things. For example, what is this sudden twinge of fear all about? Why am I getting the nagging feeling that something is wrong?

They're just little red flags: "Pay attention, Joyce."

Only now, instead of trying to impose my own intellectual spin on whatever it is (which is usually just me trying to gain control of a situation or me trying to justify some fear-based action or something selfish), I've taken to praying.

It isn't even a profound prayer. It's just "God, show me the way. Let me be your conduit." Or if I have more than a moment, I like to read my favorite, the St. Francis Prayer.

Whatever fear was there, or nagging doubt, or empty hole, it vanishes. Calm descends. I know I'm only human, but if I let myself act out of love, I can't go wrong. I may not always act in the black and white "right" way some people expect when they impose hard and fast rules on us, but I can't feel bad about my choices. Not if they were made out of love.

Maybe this is what serenity is all about: never having to feel bad about yourself for acting out of a negative ulterior motive. It's about checking your motives, feeling they square with your values, and feeling okay in your gut before acting. And trusting that God will lead you in the right direction if you only ask. It's not on ME.

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