About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Constant thought of Others (Not just Newcomers): ALL life situations can be viewed as "An Opportunity for Service"

There is nothing more to life than giving. Being helpful. Its the only reason we're here really. To TRY to help one another.
See the film Groundhog day.
Any life lived in the absence of 'giving' is a life not worth having. Well that's what I think. A spirit of generosity is EVERYTHING. Without it, it is a VERY grey lackluster world.
This is a clip from the film Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.
"Helping others IS the foundation of your recovery". (p97)
"CONSTANT thought of Others and how we can help meet their needs" (p20)

Service is NOT something you do at the weekends. Or something you reserve for newcomers. It is an ATTITUDE. A service mindset.
ALL life situations can be viewed as 'An opportunity for service"
Just requires a little imagination. That's all.
Job, prayer life, family life. EVERYTHING can be done with an ATTITUDE of EITHER Self Seeking OR Self Forgetting.

Alcoholics are APPALLINGLY Self centered. This CHRONIC self obsession is the root of their suffering. And poisons their experience of their life no matter HOW many fortunate circumstances they may obtain. Including fortunate religious circumstances.

If ALL you do is help the occasional newcomer, and then go right back to being CHRONICALLY SELF OBSESSED, in ALL your affairs, you will CONTINUE to suffer.

Self Seeking v's Self Forgetting
So basically Newcomers are your BEST CHANCE at grasping the importance of not being SELF OBSESSED.
If you think you can view Service as being CONFINED to newcomers, you are SORELY mistaken.
Until you TRANSFER the SKILL of SELF FORGETTING , FIRST acquired whilst working with newcomers, TO EVERY OTHER AREA OF YOUR LIFE , you will continue to "step on the toes of your fellows and they retaliate". (p62)

"Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate" (p62)

So yeah. The first 100 members were Not talking out of their A*SE when they said
"Helping others IS the foundation of your recovery".

Trust me. Its the truth. Whether you like it or not.
Helping FULL STOP.

That's why they say:
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of MAXIMUM helpfulness to others." (p102) Big Book.

Not JUST newcomers.

Yeah newcomers get PRIORITY. Why?
"Our PRIMARY purpose is to STAY sober and HELP other ALCOHOLICS to ACHIEVE sobriety." (From The AA Preamble)

So yeah. They get TOP priority. In terms of free time. (If any!)
But AFTER that, we help 'others'.
Not just arbitrarily.
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of MAXIMUM helpfulness to others." (p102) Big Book.

Ie in a way that helps as MANY as possible. So try to help in such a way that brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number with the limited resources of time and energy you have. It is a complex moral argument. One has to delegate time and energy with the consideration of the potential impact one can make. An ineffectual and time consuming ATTEMPT to help, deprives many others who COULD have been helped with a better course of action or a more effectual strategy.
So basically its a very STRATEGIC approach to the expenditure of ones time and energy in trying to help others.

My EXPERIENCE is that when I pursue a life goal with a SELF SEEKING motive
I do not have as much success in achieving that goal, as when I adopt a SELF FORGETTING motive.
My mind is clearer, when I adopt the latter.
I can see the wood for the trees.
More is revealed.
Plus I don't p*ss people off nearly as much.
I meet the right people at the right time.
I 'bump into' the right information.
It just 'works' better.

Yeah DESPERATION gets results too. But the emotional 'fallout' for THAT coping mechanism is VERY high. Its a very UPTIGHT condition to maintain. Unless you plan on anesthetizing yourself with mind altering drugs to 'take the edge off', you could end up like a VERY !!! tightly coiled spring!

How do you know when you are doing this thing?
When you keep having the experience Bill Murray has when he is on the dance floor in the movie Groundhog Day. Ie Almost every conversation he has includes an expression of appreciation for a past act of some sort. There is also some unspoken appreciation which is just as real, but doesn't take the form of words. Its not that difficult to tell when one is appreciated. If people are always glad to see us, we can assume they benefit from their association with us.

But the rule is. Just like Bill Murray does in the film..
If you become a MARTYR
You get 'NIL POINTS'

Because by becoming a MARTYR
You place yourself in BREACH of the EXPLICIT instruction
"We (meaning the first 100 members) are SURE that GOD WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY JOYOUS AND FREE" p133 Big Book
"WE (meaning the first 100 members) ABSOLUTELY INSIST on ENJOYING LIFE" p132 Big Book

So, Get off the cross we need the wood
Do it like Bill Murray instead.
Have some FUN with it for Gods sakes!

Perhaps that clarifies what I mean when I use the word 'service' better..
Have a good Monday y'all.. Keep on keepin on as they say..


Kathrin Ivanovic said...

Thanks for the visit. I dont mean to be dense, but I dont get your sayings.....well the last one anyway. Could you explain?

Hope you have a great day!

Kathrin Ivanovic said...

The post about spirituality was part of a greater conversation re: God that is somewhat independent of AA. I get the AA idea of HP and such, but my thoughts along spirituality are going a bit deeper. I should have posted the convo I have been having in my other blog...or linked it, so it didnt seem so random!


An Irish Friend of Bill said...

The 2nd comment was a 'promise' in the big book. Combating worry regarding your fear about tne consequences of breaking your anonymity to your freinds. The 'firing line' quote says it all really..I like to think I have 'paid my dues' when it comes to helping alcoholics. that's MY 'insurance policy'. All I know is that things seem to work out as long as I GENUINELY look for ways of contributing to the stream of life EVERY DAY. Faith without WORKS is dead as they say. the 'firing line' quote says it all really. well that's the 'rule' I live by anyway...

Keep on the firing line of life with these MOTIVES* and God WILL keep you unharmed. p102
(*Motive here refers to the 'desire to be of MAXIMUM helpfulness/service')

So that's why I try (very imperfectly) to look at what I can contribute to any situation. Purely as a form of SELF PROTECTION or 'LIFE INSURANCE'.
I am NOT asked to SUCCEED in my attempts to try to be helpful. I am just asked to TRY to be of MAXIMUM HELPFULNESS.

So basically that's what motivates me to practice
'CONSTANT thought of others and how we may help meet their needs' (p20)
'in all my affairs' and to maintain a HELPFUL MOTIVE fairly constantly.

Shadow said...

that was an eye-opener! the comparision with groundhog day made it real easy to work out...

Syd said...

I like your thoughts about being a martyr. I see a fair amount of that in Al-Anon. Thanks for another informative post.

johno said...

Thank you for explaining further.

yeh doing service out of obligation and desperation, leads to resentment, and a general unhelpful manner, which is very obvious to others.

Also helping newcomers is the only way I have EVER got to feel useful without wanting anything in return from them. A really good starting point for service in all areas.

yeh being less selfish at work, doing things outside my remit if time/energy permitted suuprisingly I gained more "respect" from colleagues, and turning up for work with what can I do today to add value here? attitude helped. Starting off by just turning up and doing what I was paid to do, was a very good start! Then later making the tea (when its not my turn) to doing extra reports (when someone else has not) all helps out in the greater scheme of things. Training up someone else on a day by day basis, unpaid etc. However if I become a yes person, who doesnt say no and is doing to please people or feel obligated, then then the NIL POINTS comes in, cos by not doing my job requirements means someone else may have to or be impacted on my faulty helpfulness. no martyrs

Volunteers not Victims

Good post thanks

Kathy Lynne said...

Thanks for this Irish Friend. My issues with being of service is that the people pleaser that I am makes it hard for me to say no or makes me feel as though every request for help is meant for me personally. I am learning to set my boundries and be realistic about my ability to help yet fulfill my desire to be of service. And also to give others an opportunity to be of service without always jumping in. As usual I do tend to go overboard but I'm getting better. I just love the feeling helping others provides. It makes me better. But the boundries are important to stave off resentment.

Recovery Road London said...

That's a vaild point - service is NOT just for newcomers, nor is it to be used to beat them with. Service must be done willingly, IMHO.

Another fine post!

My would-be sponsor from the East End decided he couldn't manage another sponsee. :-(

molly said...

Hi Irish Friend: I have a newcomer question.. Is it normal to still be uncomfortable talking in meetings after 60 days sober? I still put pressure on myself to talk but am still too scared of self-conscious or something. Anyhoo - just curious. Have a great day and weekend :)

Namenlosen Trinker said...

My first sponsor, who was BTW a priest, said that Groundhog Day was the most spiritual movie he'd ever seen. I watch it every chance I get.