Archive for category The Life of Brian

The AA Symbol

This symbol means different things to different people. As I understand it I need to involve each side of the triangle in my life to be whole as represented by the circle. Unity is the fellowship, Service is working for the benefit of others, and Recovery is the foundation: working the 12-Steps and practicing their principles in my everyday life.

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Searching and Fearless

My character defects were the manifestation of the spiritual emptiness I felt inside of me. I knew that I just wasn’t good enough. I was afraid to open my heart to others because I believed I would be rejected. Therefore, it was all up to me. Life’s satisfaction and meaning were my responsibility. No one else could be trusted with them. From this my selfishness was born and it steadily grew over the years. I papered over the emptiness I felt by trying to prove to society that I was ok. I worked hard and my life appeared successful.  But the emptiness continued to grow and the functional life that was a thin patch over my wounded soul eventually eroded. The pain caused by the gaping hole at the core of my being could no longer be ignored. I dulled the pain with sex, drugs and alcohol (ok, and rock n roll).

In recovery I had to face these defects in the 4th Step and share them with my sponsor in the 5th Step. How could I do this? The Steps are done in order for a reason. This is one of them. If I could have faced these defects under my own power I certainly would have. I was truly powerless over my addictions (Step 1) and this was another concrete example. The solution was, then, more power (Step 2) and I made a decision (Step 3) to rely on this new power and direction in my life. Only then was I ready, willing and able to do an honest, searching and fearless 4th Step.

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Who Am I

For most of my life who I thought I was depended on who I believed you wanted me to be. How I saw myself depended upon how you saw me. Your reaction to me dictated my thoughts, ideas and emotions. I evaluated my performance at work and at home by comparing myself to the people around me. There was always someone more successful, better looking, taller, or stronger. It was inevitable, then, that I constantly came up short of the impossible ideal toward which I was driven by my fear of failure. It was on this anxious treadmill that I ran the rat race; never winning but refusing to lose.

To help me survive the pain of life I developed coping strategies which grew into a calcified shell. This shell held some of the pain at bay but it also blocked me from the love of God and the love of mankind. Inside, the reverberations of my unmanaged emotions were deafening. But this is how I survived. How could I live without this protection?

One by one these strategies and defects of character that blocked me from the underlying Spirit of creation were identified. They had taken the form of resentments, fear, self-pity, self-seeking, self-delusion, grandiosity, and many, many more. Though my inner self felt tender I became willing to have all of these defects of character removed. I asked God for the courage to live a vulnerable life without them.

I now face life and the emotions it causes. I pay attention to what is occurring inside. I try to sort the authentic emotions from my recurring defects. I try to stay aware. Where I find fear I seek God’s grace. When I feel lost I seek God’s guidance. As a result I am beginning to know my self.

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