When in doubt, consult The Big Book.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I fucking love The Big Book, ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’
If you’re an alcoholic, this book offers solutions. Solutions for problems that extend so far beyond avoiding the drink. It’s a text that, archaic language and all, provides tools for living that are practical, forward thinking, and spiritual in a way that makes them so accessible.
So, with all the anger and resentment that has inexplicably manifested in the core of me over the last few days, I turned to The Big Book for a solution. Something that can get me out of this space. I need some kind of action. Something. Anything. I need so desperately to return to God’s path. To connect. To get out of my head and myself.
I remembered reading one of the stories in the back of the book, ‘Freedom From Bondage,’ in my women’s group a few weeks back. At the end, she talks about dealing with resentments that seem unresolvable.
It reads (page 552): “If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you really don’t want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it everyday for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.”
So, today, I prayed that the people for whom I’ve been harboring all this resentment and hate have the joy, happiness, and health that I seek for myself. And, let me tell you people, it was a sticky prayer to say. Knowing that, for now anyway, all that prayer was was words kinda killed me. My heart was not in it at all. But, I said that prayer anyway, more times then I can remember. Because, while these resentments run deep, and feel so ingrained in me, I know that they don’t belong here in my heart. I want to cast them out. I really do believe I’m a good person, and, I want to feel like a good person and act like a good person.
If the book says to do this, I will do this. And, after saying this prayer over and over again, at the gym, in my kitchen, in the shower, driving around town, waiting in line for coffee…I felt better. Just having said it. And, yes, for today, the resentment and anger remains. But, the action of trying to turn it over and around, that’s some kind of progress.
Baby steps. Isn’t that what this program is all about? “We claim spiritual progress, not perfection.”
So, I’ll continue on for my two weeks. And, I’ll let you know how it goes. But, as you know, I’m a Big Book believer, so, if I were a betting woman, I’d say that two weeks from now, I’ll be spouting off about all the ‘compassionate understanding and love’ that’s emanating from my heart.
For now, my higher power will just have to accept some empty words, and believe me when I say, God, I really am trying.