Sober since April 6, 2006

That's
days

Monday, January 15, 2007

"take away my difficulties" -- eh?

I did the third step with my sponsor yesterday. (The third step is where we "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.")

So she had me kneel down with her and pray the third step prayer out of the Big Book. I've read that prayer dozens of times before, and I've prayed variations of it every day for the past several months. But for some reason, one part of it bothered me when I prayed it with her. I didn't say anything about it to her at the time. Today, it's been gnawing at me. Yeah, that's what generally happens when I clam up about stuff that bothers me ...

Here's the prayer:

"God, I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

Well that seems innocent enough. But here's the issue: What's up with the "Take away my difficulties" part? If I have difficulties in my life, it's because I have lessons to learn and/or consequences to face. In the past, I would have wanted to avoid experiencing those difficulties. But now I'm scared to avoid them. The desire to escape or avoid something is huge red flag for me.

I don't want God to take away my difficulties. When life is good, I get comfortable. Comfort is bad. Comfort brews complacency, self-absorption, conceit, and pride. I stop growing spiritually and my ego grows instead. Then "BAM!" Something absolutely devastating happens that rocks my comfortable little world and I'm left desperately looking for something to cling to.

The Big Book says,
"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. 'How can I best serve Thee, Thy will (not mine) be done.' These are thoughts which must go with us constantly."

Would I be thinking in that frame of mind if God took away my difficulties? Hell no! I'm only inclined to maintain my spiritual condition when some degree of pain is involved. I'm especially inclined to do so when the pain exceeds my ability to cope.

I really don't know where I'm going with this now. I guess I'm just scared of getting too comfortable. I don't trust myself. Maybe I wasn't ready for the third step after all. Maybe I'm thinking too much. Okay it's time to go to bed!


Today, I'm especially grateful for ...
  • being 284 days sober
  • my sponsor ... she's willing to spend time with me
  • two homegroup chicas celebrating AA anniversaries -- one last week, one today
  • this cool guy who took me on my first motorcycle ride ever (wow, that was fun!)
  • getting to know people in the program
  • my family still loving me
  • my dog still being happy to see me
  • my car still working
  • still having a job, and learning how to have good days during bad days
  • God, because He gives me what I need, and not necessarily what I stupidly want

9 comments:

Mark said...

:)

You bring to mind something the oldtimers taught me about similar analysis;

Utilize, don't analyze... K.I.S.S.

I can complicate boiling water, how about you? :)

Motorcycle Mike - Sober Biker said...

Mark said it good enough, but remember it also says "that victory over them"

That means to me that our difficulites are taken away by victory. When I am in fear, resentment, self centeredness, my difficulties are impossible to overcome, but when I surrender my will, I become victorious over them. They no longer control me.

Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

Oh, and I agree 100%, motorcycle rides are fun...

Gwen said...

Those difficulties I consider character defects more than life events. Victory over anger, jealousy, fear. Or at least improvement ;) Any difficulties that get in the way of me being of service. And just because I say the words "take away my difficulties" does not mean I won't have to work at it as well. The learning will not go away. Great post! Great topic!

Happy Wednesday,
Gwen

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

stop analyzing! this is a program of action not thinking. don't worry, it'll all make sense later. just concentrate on completing the first 9 steps.

Sober Chick said...

Everyone above has wonderful suggestions. Part of what makes you YOU is your imperfections. I don't think God wants to take those away. What should be removed are those difficulties that will stop you from growing closer to him and to your fellow brother and sisters.

Thanks for your honesty and sharing with us a piece of you.

recoveryroad said...

284 days is rocking!

Maybe you're over-examining the prayer thing?

I get self-conscious praying with my sponsor. I nearly died when my first soponsor told me we should pray and patted the floor next to him. Lol.

Have a groovy day. :-)

khakra said...

"I don't want God to take away my difficulties. When life is good, I get comfortable. Comfort is bad. Comfort brews complacency, self-absorption, conceit, and pride. I stop growing spiritually and my ego grows instead."

so, so true.

SCoUt said...

I guess I learned what most others are saying to you --- the difficulties I am asking G-d to take away are the things that block me from G-d -- my tendency to be selfish, self-seeking, self-centered...
And I definitely need G-d's help to do that, just as I did to stop using.
Peace,
Scout

Anonymous said...

"I don't want God to take away my difficulties. When life is good, I get comfortable. Comfort is bad. Comfort brews complacency, self-absorption, conceit, and pride. I stop growing spiritually and my ego grows instead."

so, so true.

1/17/2007 07:03:00 PM

It's been 8 years since this conversation happened. I came across it on page one of google whilst looking for the exact third step prayer a few hours ago while having the opportunity to do a 12th step.

I'm happy that I'm all good with being comfy and that I'm no longer as motivated against pain as I am towards bliss. An old timer who has left us, god bless his soul, said that eventually I would not be required to do anything. That, as I wished, I could. That I could stand on the sacred mountaintop and hear the his voice in the wind. I understand where you're all coming from, having been there myself. I'm much more interested in faith based, rather than fear based sobriety.

Just my 2 cents.

I'll be 10 in May - No word from you here since 2008. As you wish, I hope that you're celebrating 9 this week. There's some pride available there... I trust it's good.

Much love.