Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Yesterday I woke up in a funk. Something specific was bothering me, and was on my mind to the exclusion of everything else. I prayed about this “something”, I journaled about it, I tried to put it out of my mind, but I was still out of sorts all morning.
You see, because I’ve recently been working the 12 steps in earnest, it was immediately apparent that this “something specific” was not necessarily going to change. In the past, I would have immediately tackled this “something specific,” figured out in my mind who was responsible for it, and set about trying to force a solution or resolution as soon as possible. In short, I would have tried to control it.
Since I am no longer always seeking to control things that are out of my control (thank you, Father), I don’t know what to do with these “somethings” that come up.
Then, I had an inspiration. I’m supposed to be “practicing these principles in all [my] affairs,” right? What does that look like when the rubber hits the road? I decided to, in writing, specifically apply as many of the steps to this “something specific” as possible.
I ended up being able to complete Steps 1 through 9. It looked something like this:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
I am powerless over [all the specifics of the “specific something”]. My life has become unmanageable because I am letting the [specific something] control it.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Father can restore me to sanity. He is already working in this area.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Father, I turn my will regarding [specific something] over to you. Father, let YOUR will be done, not mine.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
[Here is where I wrote specific details about MY part in the “specific something.” This is new territory for me, as I have historically been more comfortable blaming someone else for my issues. I was very careful to ask Father to search me on this issue and to write down all the ways I sinned here, and the possible reasons behind the sin.]
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
[Here I stopped and said a prayer admitting everything I wrote in Step 4. I then decided which human being I would call about this “specific something” and precisely when I would do that, and wrote it down.]
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Yes, Father, please remove this defect of character from me. Please remove my tendency to ignore your instructions to me. Please remove my tendency to try to manipulate [the people involved]. Also, please remove my desire for [specific something] which is above and beyond my desire for you. Please remove my desire to place [specific something] above you, Father.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
[I did this in writing here, naming the person I harmed and enumerating the ways I harmed this person. But I’m not going to share.]
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
[And then I did this, in person.]
Would you like to know what was really neat about writing out Steps 1-8 and then approaching the person I harmed to make Step 9 amends? I wouldn’t ordinarily have done this. I would have been way more concerned about how said person sinned against me. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to apologize to said person for my part in the mess.
After I wrote out these steps, I was able to let “specific something” go and get on with my day in peace. I am so grateful to Father and to the people who have brought me to meetings and introduced me to the Steps. I like using them in this way.
How have you been able to practice these Steps in all your affairs? I would love if you’d share your experience, strength, and hope with me in the comments.