Humbly Asked (Step 7)

by John W.

Something had to change if I was to stay sober. The key to change was my own, personal willingness to go to any length, to want this like my life depended upon it — because it did. I was promised a new freedom and new happiness, a serenity, would be experienced in my journey to a “spiritual awakening” which itself would be a result of working the steps. But I had to work these steps, not just talk about working them, nor rest on my laurels. 

Confronted with life on life’s terms

So it was that, when confronted with life on life’s terms, my sponsor recommended I bring the steps to bear upon the problems which had surfaced, real life problems, issues of home and heart. For my disease was baffling, it was convincing me I did not deserve to be besieged by such calamities as those I faced, I had stopped drinking after all, I could expect better. My disease was cunning: It told me others were really at fault, their actions bought about my problems, and I was certainly justified in seeing how they were not upholding their end of the bargain.

My disease was also powerful, reminding me I had been without for so long, so this time would be different. It cooed warmly that if for some silly reason just the one drink caused any problem at all, I would certainly know what to do. After all, it purred, “You’re a double digit A.A.er; you could handle a problem if one ever came up.” The committee between my ears which comprised my disease was patiently weaving its cords of resentment, it was working overtime on its net to snare me.

Eyes wide open as they had never been before

photo credits available upon request to thepoint@aasfmarin.org

Yet my sponsor had been right. For as I penned my resentments and took the inventories of those I was angry with, I began to see the other side of the street — my side. As I admitted these observations to another alcoholic, he helped me see my shortcomings with greater precision. If he asked me once, at least a half-dozen times he inquired: Where is your Higher Power in all of this? For the common thread in all was fear (“False Evidence Appearing Real”). I was not seeking to explore this false evidence through any attempt at conscious contact. I was just accepting it as real because that was the way it appeared. 

I removed my Big Book from the shelf. In that moment, the eyes of awakening became wide open as they had never been in me before. Indeed, I was now entirely ready, but to do what? What was my next step? I had needed help, I had sought it out, my sponsor and another drunk like me had extended their hands and help in guidance and assistance, I had acknowledged my part and was entirely ready to be rid of it. I knew this would aid me to confront life’s pressing circumstances sober. What was left to do? Then I heard the echo from earlier: Where is your Higher Power in all of this?

I knew all would be well

It had been all about me. In that moment it seemed to dawn upon me, whether finally or in the rush of a brilliant new sunrise, that I needed to ask HP for help, too. In the same tone in which I scribe these words, in just these same real terms, I needed to ask HP for help. More importantly, I needed to know and believe that HP heard my request. In that moment, for the first time I could recall, I did know and I did believe my Higher Power heard my request for help. In that moment waves of freedom and happiness and serenity washed over me. I knew all would be well. I understood as I asked for my shortcomings to be removed, that though things might not turn out as I wanted, they would be well none the less. 

The intensity of the moment had come from my taking the book from the shelf as instructed. It seems that by acknowledging my lack of faith, the root of my fear, the shortcoming which had caused me to request help in the first place, I had become open to perceive the gift I had already been given. It was wrapped in the certainty that all would be well.

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