Letting go of Doubt and Prejudice, from the Big Book and the Process of Recovery
by Chris Freeman
“We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.” – BB We Agnostics, p.46
Laying aside prejudice it instructs us, just want does that mean. The Webster’s definition of this word can be found on any device nowadays with a simple google search.
In the context we are speaking the definition of prejudice is a; preconceived judgment or opinion or an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.
Many of us these days who are asked to read the book as part of the recovery process. A process that may very well save our very life. We act like we are reading it, all along having a prejudice against doing just that. Reading the book.
As I did for years and years, I thought, “How can a book written so long ago have anything to do with me staying sober, really a book!” This question is actually a question I once asked my sponsor. I am kinda am glad I did ask him this although his response was not nice.
This is what he said: “Chris, do you believe that the book is about you staying sober?”
Based on my previous discussion with him I replied, “No”
Him – “Then what is it about”, he asked, followed by, “What did I just show you?”, again opening the book to page 45, pounding his finger on the page.
“Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.”
Him – “And what is your problem?”
Me – ‘I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict and I don’t know how to stay clean and sober.”
He raised his hands in victory, shouting with joy -“Bingo. That is the most honest thing I’ve heard you say.”
While admitting that to him and myself I felt a slight relief. He then again flipped the page of the book.
As if the book knew what he was reaching for it, like a magician picking a single card from the deck, in one hand the pages opened to page 52. This one single page from the chapter written about agnostics, another word which many people do not fully understand, in the middle of the page, it states:
“When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.” BB We Agnostics, p.52
You’re very close to getting it, Chris. You remember we went over the part about “old ideas”, right?
“Right, until we let go of our old ideas the result was nil.” I said
He spoke again, this time staring into my eyes, without blinking,
He said – ‘This “Power thing” or “God idea”, it’s not as difficult as you might be thinking. It’s just an idea. Whatever that idea is to you, that’s enough for us to get started. OK? All you need is, is to be willing that it is real. As real as I am. It’s a force, an entity, or a Bill describes it, The “Spirt of the Universe”. Got it?’
I exhaled as if a pressure cooker in me just released its steam. I felt at ease. Was that it? “The God Idea?”
When Bill Wilson and Ebby Thatcher were sitting at the kitchen table at Bill’s house, over 80 years ago, Bill saw something in his friend. He wrote about it in his story. He stated that his friend looked fresh-skinned and glowing. His eyes were different. He describes his friend as a man on a different footing, with his roots grasping new soil. His ideas about miracles were revised right then.
For years Bill had doubted the Power of God., as I had. It made sense to me at last. No wonder I failed to stay sober. I did not believe that the Power would restore me to sanity in regards to the next drink.
I live near a small airport where they have a skydiving business. On a good day, I watch time and time again, people jump from the plane thousands of feet in the air. I often wonder what it feels like to jump. Having to rely on a chute of silky thin cloth, and thin strands of nylon rope. Do they jump in hopes that the chute will be fine? Do they only hope that the chute was properly packed as to release and deploy in the right fashion, bringing them softly and gently to the ground.
No. I think that they have much more than just hope. I feel that they jump with a sure knowing. I believe that they have great faith that the chute will work. Faith because they have not only seen it work, but that they have had the experience it. Falling from the sky towards earth, then reaching the proper altitude and then pulling the ripcord.
Hope and faith are two totally different issues in this regard. I do not think I could jump with only a hope that it would work. I would need a high degree of faith. How I would get such a faith would be from seeing it with my own two eyes.
I have been seeing people in the rooms of AA, CA and NA living life with a simple reliance the “Spirit of the Universe since 1979. I just did not know what I was looking at. I was without knowledge, or as I now know “Agonistic.”
I relate this concept as when you are watching the leaves on a tree blow. It is not that you are seeing the wind. What you are seeing as the branches sway and rustle is the effect of the wind. The wind is an invisible force which can only be seen and when it contacts an object or material, dust from the ground, fields of tall summer grass, rain falling from the sky.
I personally am not a religious man. Never have I leaned to one set of ideology or a standard of dogma. Most of my religious experience has only been filled with guilt shame and fear. The dread of standing before God awaiting judgment has been an anguished thought for me to bear. I am guilty man, I have done shameful things. My character defects have been many and my actions have caused much grief. I have had good reason to be fearful in my life.
These old thoughts and ideas of God and religion have placed much doubt about the “Power” of God in my life. I could not reach out and hold what other people seemingly had no problem with. I would listen to the T.V. preachers rant on about being washed in the blood of the lamb. In the churches I have been in I would find no joy at seeing Jesus hanging on the cross. It seemed so brutal and cruel.
How could I believe that God would want anything to do with me? My good sponsor wanted me to ponder these things. He asked me to explain what spiritual terms such as God, religion, prayer, and meditation meant to me.
He guided me through them as mountain Sherpa would guide a climber climbing Everest. He was preparing for the most important decision I have ever, or will ever make, He said. It would be a contract with my Creator, which also happened to be, in his eyes, the Creator of the Universe.
He wanted me to think well as the book instructs. He did not want me to proceed with the third step until I had an understanding of a God Concept which I felt comfortable with. He was following the instructions from the book to a T.
On page 63, line 20 in the chapter, “How It Works” the text directs us with the instruction as follows:
“We thought well taking this step (the third step) making sure that we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him. (The God Idea).
What seemed to be an impossible task for me to accomplish did not seem so hard after all.
Thank you for time today. I hope this story helps someone who has had doubts as I have. I now know why I could not stay sober. It was inevitable. No matter how hard I tried or how much I learned. I doubted the “Power” of God, I had a bad concept of what the spirituality in the program was all about.
Stay tuned for the next part of my journey through the process of recovery. My next one will be on the decision of the third step and what that means to me.
Until we meet again, Chris Freeman.