AA GSO Watch
The Big Book Comes Alive --Charlie Big Book Study Transcript - Originally Taped in Mesa, Arizona, February 6-8, 1987
[Joe & Charlie Table of Contents] [Tape 5, Side B]
(Tape 5, Side A)
CHARLIE: But if God directs my thinking, and if my decisions become better, and my actions become better, then my life is going to become better. I think that all I'm really trying to do in Step Three is to turn this thinking apparatus over to God in the hopes that my actions and my life will become better in the future. In this Step I'm just making a decision to turn it over. I'm not going to turn it over, but I'm going to decide to try to turn it over. Joe.
JOE: As Charlie said, Step Three is a beginning, and it's a process of turning it over. 1 he...way we take the actions of turning our life over to the care of God is actually in Steps Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight and Nine. This is the way we turn it over. Step There is a decision to carry out those actions. In the word decision, we can see how this thing is so intricately put together. The word decision comes from the (same word as the) word dissect, which means to cut in two, or to choose.
He's said over and over when alcoholic we have two choices, two Steps. we've got the first two Steps then we can cut in two and decide which one we want. We can decide which one we want, and if you're an alcoholic we have but two alternatives. (p. 25, par. 4, and p. 44, par. 2) It ain't no tough decision, because you ain't got but two ways to go.
JOE: You know, if we had ten it would be a hard decision, but there ain't but two things you can do.
JOE: Number one: we've been there. We are powerless, lack of power, the problem, the physical allergy and the mental obsession. And two: the solution is power, the power of the fellowship, and the Power of the spiritual experience. We can--we're standing at the turning point. We have but two choice-.
The word decision means to choose a course of action. We can choose a course of action, based on the first two Steps. We have facts. It means to cut facts in two. For the first time in our lives we have a choice. We can choose between Step One or Step Two. Now, as Charlie says, this is a decision. If we choose Step One, then there is a price we have to pay. He says, make a decision. If we take this decision, we have to turn over our will, (which) is our thinking, and our lives (which is our actions). This is the price we have to pay if we choose Step Two.
Now he says, you know, as Charlie says, self-will is a...very difficult thing, it's a very small word, very difficult, I think, to get over: what is self-will? I had a lot of problems. I didn't understand it. I was like Charlie. When I first came to A.A., I did not like this idea of turning--I just said, I ain't turning my life over to God. (It) didn't say that, but that's what I thought it said. Because I had aversions to that.
I wasn't worried (like Charlie wee). I didn't think God wanted me for a missionary anyway.
JOE: I didn't have no fear of that. My greatest fear was at that time, I don't know why I had it, but I--you know we all have these little funny things. You know how crazy alcoholics are. I was always worried(that)if I
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turned my will and my life over to the care of God, I knew he was going to put me in the Salvation Army Band.
JOE: I (could) just see myself, playing that cornet in that band. Now I can look back of that and laugh. I travel a lot, and I'm always observing things. I always look at the Salvation Army Band. I've never seen a black guy in the Salvation Army Band.
JOE: That ain't our kind of music.
JOE: But I can understand our will, and the word "will." If we can understand the word someplace else, and bring it back (it would help us). Where do we understand it? When a person dies he leaves a will, I know what that means. That is (when) the person is alive, and when he has a certain amount of money and material things that he wants given away to other people after he dies. So while he's alive he writes out a set of directions that he wants to dispense his wealth. They call that set of directions his will. So the will is a set of directions that a person writes out. Once he dies the family rushes him out to the graveyard, rushes back, and gets this piece of paper out.
JOE: Now that he's gone, they want to carry out his directions. That's what a will is a (sat of) directions. That's the same thing that we have.
We are the only animal, by the way, we're God's greatest creation. We are God's greatest creation. When God created the world, he had a covenant with man. He said all the other animals of the world, all the other animals that I will control and direct them. All the other animals are God directed. They weren't given the ability of doing what they wanted to do, or running their lives. And since God directs them, he cares for them, he feeds them he shelters them. But...he wanted man to take dominion over the earth, so he gave us the ability to reason. He gave man the ability of self-will, of self-directions. We are the only animal--we have been blessed, or cursed with that, whichever way you look at it.
You know, I look at the so called dumb animals, that God can direct the bird-, he seems to direct them. They can go all the way to South America, thousands of miles. They can take directions from something outside of themselves. They are directed all the way, five or six thousand miles. They turn around next year and they fly back and come right back to the same place on the same day.
But there is no way in troll you could get men to do that. Before they got to the border down here, they'd be arguing like hell.
JOE: Because each of them has self-will. They wouldn't get twenty miles. CHARLIE: They wouldn't got past Tucson. JOE: They wouldn't get nowhere. Okay, so we have self-will, and it's a God given thing. There's nothing wrong with it. If it's God given, it's supposed to be there. It's supposed to--a certain amount of that is necessary for the human life. But no one is perfect with it. When it begins to get out of control, the same thing that is necessary and vital to our lives (begins to hurt
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If we go back to the Twelve and Twelve, and deviate here, I think one of the greatest things Bill wrote was Step Four in the "Twelve and Twelve." (In the very front of the Big Book on page 11, 'OTHER BOOKS,' it tells us that the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" is 'An interpretive commentary on the A.A. program by a co-founder') It actually talks about self-will. He said if we didn't care about one another, and ourselves, and our self-esteem, there would be no society. This is a survival instinct. Self-will is a survival instinct. If we didn't have security, if we didn't harvest food or construct shelter, the human race wouldn't survive. So security is a part of self-will. Just like our social instinct. He also says, if it wasn't for sex we wouldn't reproduce, and there would be no survival of the human race on this earth. ("Twelve and Twelve," p. 42.)
So God placed these things in man for our survival. These are necessary. They are vital, and they are God given. But these same things that are necessary for life, sometime they far exceed their proper function. They get out of control. Instead of them being an asset, they become a liability to our lives. So what happened is (that) we have let self get out of control. And since there are only two wills in the world, the will of man, and the will of God, only God can correct the will of man. One can eliminate the other. So this is our decision.
It all started--Charlie and I will get into this, I think it helps. I go all the way back to the beginning of time, when Adam and Eve began, when man first began. You know, they were new at this thing called living. They didn't know a lot about it in the first days. They were in serenity park, the little garden. They were just nice, you know.
JOE: Boy, they had it made. They laid back just taking it easy. They were the only humans here. All other animals operated off of God's will. So it was easy for them to go along with it. They did know anything different. God told them what to do. Do this and do this, and they just followed God's directions. hen, it was the finest place we ever had here.
What happened the little snake came along, and he said, why don't you all eat that apple, told Eve first. Eve said, we can't eat that apple. Said, why? Well, God just said we couldn't. Snake probably said, who does he think he is, God?
JOE: You know, he said, I can't do it, but you have self-will. You all can, you and Adam. You all can do what you all want to do, because you have self-will. Even though He said that, you can still do what you want to do, because He ha s given you that ability. Eve went over and told Adam, said, let g eat the apple.
So they ate it. Later on God came through and said, hey, what happened to the apple. Adam said, we ate it. I thought I told you not to do it. How come you ate that apple. We think he was probably the first alcoholics because he said, she made me do it.
Typical. And Eve was probably the first compulsive overeater, too.
But from there on, we have the right, we have the basic ability of self-will, and we will always have it. I think the greatest thing that we are trying to do, is we are trying to live
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a self-directed life, in a God directed world. That's the trouble of it. That's the frustration of it. You know, we have to make a decision to give up this self-will. This is a very difficult thing. It is not an easy thing. If we were week people, it would be easy to give up self-will. An alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will. You have to be strong willed to be an alcoholic. A weak person could never get this illness. The first time he vomited he would quit. You can't make it that-a-way.
You have to really be hard headed, and self-willed. And this is the root of our problem.
CHARLIE: I think in order for us to really understand this, let's take a look at some of this information. And Bill did talk about in the "Twelve and Twelve." Like we said a while ago, some of that information in the "Twelve and Twelve is absolutely brilliant. In the first couple of pages in Step Four- JOE: Study it. CHARLIE: He talked about the basic instincts of life. Now, all animals on the face of the earth, have the same basic instincts, the desire for a social instinct, the desire for security, and the desire for sex. But the big difference is: the other animals, they don't have any choice. God directs them. They respond, and do whatever it is that they do at God's will and God's direction only. He gave us the same basic instincts so we could survive. But He gave us the privilege, or the curse, of being able to make decisions. To think about thee. things, and decide what we want to do.
In the Twelve and Twelve, in talking about the three basic instincts, the first one he talked about was the social instinct. He said that every human being is born with the desire to be liked and accepted and respected by other people. Without that desire to be liked and accepted and respected by other people, the world would go into complete anarchy, dog eat dog situation. Eventually the human race would fail to survive. Sometimes we hear it called the group instinct, sometimes the herd instinct, sometimes the social instinct. Doesn't make any difference what we call it, but everybody wants to be liked. Everybody wants to be accepted, and everybody wants to be respected.
Without that, we would not join together to do the things a not necessary for survival of the human race. There's all kind of words that fall under it. Companionship is one. Prestige is one. Some people want to be the leader. Some people just want to be a part of the group. Without leaders, without decision makers the human race wouldn't survive at all.
Even back in the cave man days, somebody had to be the decision maker. Somebody had to say, Mary, you get over behind that tree with a club. And Jack, you get over behind this bush here with a spear. And John, you and Billy, you get over there behind that tree with those big rocks. And then the rest of us are going to run this sucker through here, and we're all going to jump him and we're going to kill him and then we're going to have something to eat.
Somebody has to be the leader. This social instinct will
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either evidence itself as wanting to be the leader of the group, or wanting to just be a part of the group. In either case though, it will be based upon what other people think of us. If they don't like us and respect us, most certainly we can't be the leader. If they don't like us and accept us, most certainly we cannot be a member of the group, and we will be on the outside.
Everybody is born with that desire to be accepted and liked by other people. We've got self-esteem. Self-esteem is what we think of ourselves, and that's based on what we think other people think of us. We have personal relationships between each other. We have ambitions in that particular area, to be recognized to be accepted, et cetera. These are all good, became they are God given things.
Now if we practiced them at the exact level that God intended, then shore would be no conflict between us. But if we practice them on self-will, instead of God's will, it seems as though we're always in trouble. I doubt if you and I would do the things necessary to be liked and accepted and respected by other people if we didn't get a reward for doing that. You know, you've got to work at being liked and accepted and respected. You've got to find out what it is that the people in my part of the world really expect of me. You have to sat goals, and you've got to work toward that goal. You work, and you work, and you strive, and you strive. It may be a college education. It may be a lot of different things. It'll vary in different parts of the world. And just as importantly, not only do you have to work toward that, you probably have to give up some things that you really like to do. If you do certain things, they most certainly are not going to accept you as a part of the group. You've got to give up some of those things. I don't think we would do all that if we didn't get a reward.
The reward is, and Bill mentioned it in his story when he said, 'I had arrived.'(p. 3, par. 2) You've set your goal. You've worked at it, and you've striven. All of a sudden you're there and you've reached it. My God, it does feel good when you've successfully completed that, whatever it is. The only thing wrong with it; it seems to be just a temporary feeling. You get it, and you look around. You say, is this all there is to it? You set another goal, and you take off again. You strive, and you strive until you reach that goal, and it's not enough. It seems to create an insatiable desire for more of the same.
We're not getting there feet enough, and we're not getting the recognition that we went. People are not letting us have--and we begin to lie a little bit. we begin to cheat a little bit. We begin to steal and con and manipulate people. When we do, we begin to hurt people. They retaliate against us, and that creates suffering and pain for us. It's plain that a life run on self-will can hardly ever be a success, because under those conditions, we're always in collision with people, places and things. We simply cannot control those desires left on our own self -will.
The second basic instinct he talked about, is the security
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instinct. I know that in A.A. we live one day at a time. But I also know that practically everybody in this room has an insurance policy of some kind to protect ourselves in the future. God gave us that basic instinct of life. If we were not worried about the future, we would not provide the food, the clothing and the shelter that we will need in the future. When the drought comes along, we'd starve to death. When the cold weather comes along, we would freeze to death. We wouldn't have water to drink. We wouldn't have the things necessary for survival if we're not concerned about it and concerned about the future. It is a basic God given instinct.
The same thing, if you want to be secure, it takes a lot of work. You can't be secure and just sit on your bum all the time. You've got to decide: what is it I need in order to be secure? And usually that will vary too, in different parts of the world. In one place, it might be four dollar-. In another place, it may be four thousand. In another one, it may be four million. In another one, it may be a hundred and thirty-two rocks, whatever it is they use to measure their security by. W. sat the goal, and we begin to work toward it. We strive, and we strive, and we strive and just as importantly we have to give up some things that we really would like to do. You know you (can't) blow your money. You can't just throw your income away and at the same time be secure in the future. I don't think we would do the things necessary to be secure if we didn't get a reward for it.
The reward is the same identical feeling of having reached that goal. We have arrived there. How many of us have done it? How many of us have set out to buy the new homes Finally we got the money, and we purchased a new home. And my God, it's a great feeling. Maybe it was a new automobile. Maybe it's a piece of land. Maybe it's something else. You know, it will vary in different parts of the world. The only thing is, when you get it, it just seems to be a temporary feeling. You no sooner get it, than you begin to look around. You say, is this all there is to it? Hell, John's house is bigger. The land that Billy owns over here is greater than mine. That car is better than mine. We set a new goal, and we take off again. It seems to create and insatiable desire for more of the same.
We're not getting it feet enough, and the way we want it. And we begin to lie a little bit. we begin to con, manipulate, steal, and we begin to hurt other people. They in turn retaliate against us and that creates pain and suffering for us. It's plain that a life run on self-will can hardly ever be a success. Under those conditions, we're always in collision with people, places and things.
The third basic instinct is the sex instinct. Bill tells us there in the "Twelve and Twelve" that all human being. are born with the basic idea. the basic desire, the basic need to have sex. He said, it may be turned off by calamity, it may be turned off by bad happenings, it may be turned off by bad teachings, but all human beings are born in the beginning with the basic desire to have sex, because without sex we have no new babies. And
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without new babies, the human race simply fails to survive. Sex is like the other two. I doubt if we would engage in sex, because sex is so damn hard work. I don't think we would do the work necessary to successfully complots it if we didn't got a reward for it. My God you can spend more money (energy?) in three minutes of sex, if you can last that long,
than you would all day digging a ditch. By Golly, you work at it, and you work at it, and you work at it, and then when you your reward, which is the successful--the great feeling you get at the moment of successful completion. You just fall over sideways. The sweat's pouring off of you. You can't hardly get your breath. You feel like you've died and gone to heaven and come back two or three times. I don't think we would do that work if we didn't get that reward.
That reward at the moment of successful completion, is one of the finest things that can happen to a human being. There's only one thing wrong with it, like the other two. It seems to be just a temporary feeling. You no sooner get through with it, than you begin to look around and think about doing it again. You think about not only doing it again, you think about doing it in different places with different people in different positions.
You're not getting all you want as feet as you want and in the way you think you need lt. You begin to do it with other people in other places in the wrong positions. There next thing you know you begin to hurt people. Those people in turn retaliate against us and create pain and suffering for us. It's plain that a life run on self will can hardly ever be a success, because under those conditions, we can never get enough. We're always hurting people, places, and things. We always will suffer the pain and humiliation that comes from overdoing in those areas.
Now, if all human beings could practice it at the exact level that God intended there would be complete harmony in the world today. There would be no conflict. But left on self-will we can never, never have that kind of harmony. We've already been told that whenever we're sober, we're restless, irritable and discontented. We're full of shame, fear, guilt, and remorse. The mind starts seeking relief, and takes us back to the idea of taking a drink. If I don't want to drink anymore, I've got to find a way to live, whore I not only can be sober, but I can have happiness, peace, and serenity. That I can be free of shame, fear, guilt, and remorse. If I can do that, I can be sober and be happy at the same time.
In a life run on self-will, (there) can simply be no happiness for me. How many times have you and I tried to overcome self-will by self-will? How many times have we tried to make ourselves better? How many times have we said I'm not going to do that anymore, and then turned right around the next day and did it all over again? Self-will can not overcome self-will. Self-will is a God given thing, and only God has the power to overcome what he's made.
So if we want our life to get better, apparently we're going
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to have to let something else direct our thinking. If something else directs our thinking, then perhaps our decisions will become better, and we won't take the actions that throw us in conflict with people places and things. And just maybe we can live peacefully, happy and serene and sober at the same time. For the first time in my life I under stand why I need to make this decision. Left on my self-will., life will never be a success for me. With God's will, there's a good chance that it might be. Joe. JOE: Okay, let'. start on page sixty-two. He uses the illustration on page sixty-one to describe self-will. He goes on to say that all human problem s, not Just our problems--I think we can look at this simple chart. I learned a lot from this, by laying this out. This is why I say, it's so profound. I think it's one of the greatest things on human nature that I have ever...read, that Bill wrote. Really, it's amazing. He was able to describe the three parts that make up self. Self-will is God given. It is these three basic instincts.
Now, it is the foundation of life. It's sort of like this building. Today I look at this beautiful building. There are some basic, real components that make this building livable. This building ha. heat in it. It h Is, probably, some gee, and it has electricity, and it has water. These things have to be in this building (they are) essential. If they weren't here, we couldn't occupy the building. The building really wouldn't be a livable building without the utilities in it.
Really, life is the same way. Self is the utilities, the foundation of the real power of life. These are the things. Without these we wouldn't be complete human beings. But still yet, just like these utilities, if these utilities make the building livable, but still yet, most of the time it's the lack of control of these things that destroy the building. It will be the electricity, or the heat or the water that will end up destroying the building.
And the same way in human life, self is the root of human life. But once it gets out of control, then it becomes a destructive force in that life. All human problems are based in self. Everybody that's in trouble today--not only alcoholics, there are many, many different types of trouble in our world today--every man that's in trouble, man or woman, or child, is in trouble today as a result (of this). One of these basic instincts is the root problem of it. We have people in prison. We have a guy that's in prison for stealing. That's why they put him (away). But why Aid he steal? Did he steal for security, or did he steal to build his self-esteem? One of these things, one part of self was what caused him to steal . All human problems...the root cause of all human problems is one part of self that has gotten out control.
(p. 62, par. 2-3) 'Selfishness--self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at
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some time in the peat we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
'So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self -will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help.'
We cannot do anything about self-will. Only God can control self-will. As we make a decision to turn our will over to the care of God, God's will coming into our lives will actually block out part of our will. This is simple. One will occupy the other.
(p. 62, par. 4) 'This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God.'
And only we can make this decision. God's not going to come down and take something that he has given to us. Right? Only we can make this decision to give this back to God. CHARLIE: I like this statement: 'we had to quit playing God.'(p. 62, par. 4) JOE: That's right. CHARLIE: You know, this is a God directed world. Yet, we self-directed people, we were under the impression that we controlled the situation. We not only directed our own lives we directed the lives of all those around us. We directed the lives of our wives, our spouses. We directed the lives of our children. We tried to direct the lives of the people we worked with. Now, God directs the world, and when we're trying to direct it we're just playing God. We're really not God. And the statement said, 'we had to quit playing God. It did not work.'(p. 62, par. 4) JOE: (p. 62, par. 4) 'Next, we decided that hereafter in the drama of life'
And this is our decision. We decide now.
(p. 62, par. 4) '...God was going to be our Director.'
He's got Him back in there. Already. CHARLIE: Two pages later he put Director right back in there.
JOE: (p. 62, par. 4) 'He is the Principal'
From now on.
(p. 62, par. 4) '...we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.'
Again we see how Bill is beautifully painting these pictures in our minds, of the spiritual experience, the structure that we're going to build. Remember he said willingness was the foundation of this structure. (p. 12, par. 5) He said Step Two was the cornerstone of this structure. (p. 47, par. 2) Now he
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says, Step Three is'...the keystone of the new and triumphant arch though which we passed to freedom.'(p. 62, par. 4) Now he's building--so now we see that this is going to be an arch we're building. The foundation is willingness, the cornerstone is laid, as they stack these stones up in the archway...as they built these archways they would stack these stones, and the very stone in the middle, the last atone to go in was the keystone. The other stones leaned against the key stone, the keystone supported the gate. He says, Step Three is the supporting atone of the gateway we're building through which were going to pass through to freedom. He's drawing these pictures in our minds. (See Transcriber's note on the "fellowship.")
(p. 63, par. 1) 'When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.'
And this is what we get out of this.
(p. 63, par. 1) 'Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plane and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of send, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.' CHARLIE: In order to be reborn, that means we have changed. JOE: In the mind. CHARLIE: We become different people. In the building of this wonderfully effective spiritual structure, we become different people than what we used to be, not physically, but in our minds. Our attitude and our outlook on life begins to change. We begin to have less conflict with people, places, and things. Already, just by the making of the decision we begin to make a little progress. People view these Steps as negative things. There's nothing negative about them (at) all. There will be a positive result that comes from each Step as we progress through them now, from now on. These promises that we get here, are part of the result of taking Step Three. JOE: (p. 63, par. 2) 'We were now at Step Three.' It gives us an illustration of how we can take it.
(p. 63, par. 2) 'Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and They Way of life. May I do Thy will always-'We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.
'We found it very desirable to take this spiritual step with an understanding person, such as our wife, beat friend, or spiritual adviser.'
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In the early day of A.A., many people, and some still yet today, took Step Three with someone else.
(p. 63, par. 3) 'But it is better to meet God alone than with one who might misunderstand. The wording was, of course, quite optional so long as we expressed the idea, voicing it without reservation.'
Hero is the real results. The results from Step Three is very limited.
(p. 63, par. 3) 'This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.'
In the case of the spiritual experience, sometimes the spiritual experience's a great effect. In most cases, it's just a beginning. (See Transcriber's note on "spiritual experience.")
We don't really get a lot--I think although we put a lot of emphasis on Step Three, we don't--the book doesn't say we get a lot in most cases out of Step Three, because it's just a beginning. We really haven't done anything. We just made a decision to do something in Step Three. We're going to find out later on--act we examine Step Five, at the end of Step Five, as we examine the results of Step Five--we'll find that actually we get a lot more out of Step Five than we do Step Three. And quite naturally, because Step Five is a Step of action. So we get more from the action Steps than from just the thinking Steps. This is the first step. We haven't done anything, but just make a decision to do some thing. I think it's quite plain after that. He says:
(p. 63, par. 4; p. 64, par. 1) 'Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, (top of p. 64) which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step...'
Step Three was a vital and crucial step.
(p. 64, par. 1) '...it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.'
We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him. Unless we go to work to remove the things that are blocking us from God, we can't carry out that decision. It's obvious. Step Three is very vital. Step Four is all about identifying those things that block us from that decision. Our minds are full of resentment. Our minds are full of fears. Our minds are full of conflict. Although we've made a decision, how can God direct a mind like that? So we have to go to work, to clear away the thing- that block us off from the decision we have made in Step Three And this is what--and we begin
(p 64, par 1) 'Our liquor was but a symptom So we had to get down to causes and conditions'
Now we begin to take the action to carry out the decision in Step Three CHARLIE: I think one thing we need to look at in that paragraph that Joe just read is the time element placed upon the taking of
Step # 3-4 Big Book Page # 59 Tape 5A-12
Step Four. It said our decision was a vital and crucial step but it had little permanent effect unless AT ONCE followed by a strenuous effort to face and be rid of the things within ourselves which had been blocking us. People keep setting around saying how long should I wait before I take Step Four. According to the book, we take it at once after taking Step Three. I believe there's a reason for that.
Step Three, where we've made our decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understood Him, in the making of that decision and the saying of the prayer, this is going to remove a little bit of self-will, just enough self-will removed to allow us to get on with Step Four. But if we don't take Four immediately and we begin to procrastinate, then after a while that little self-will that was removed begins to come back. Self says, I really don't believe I need to take this Step. Or self says, I'm afraid to take this Step. Or self says, I don't know how to take this Step. Self-will will find some reason for postponement of the Step. When it does that we're always in danger of taking a drink.
Remember if the mind stays restless, irritable, and discontented, (p. xxvi, par. 5) it's always in danger of immediately changing and going for the idea that a drink would make us feel better. Remember what happened to Jim. (p. 36, par. 2) Remember what happened to Fred. (p. 41, par. 2) No pre-thinking about those things at all. The mind just changed immediately. It could happen to you and I at any time, unless we take steps to prevent that from happening. So the book says at once. And you know, Four always did follow Three. It really does make sense.
So the next Step in this process, will be to make this searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I think again we've got to really look at why we need to do this. There's always bean God's will. There's always been Charlie's will. Now, I could have been operating on God's will all my life, but I never did. I always operated on Charlie's will. The reason I operated on Charlie's will was because certain things within my mind, my will, had continually blocked me off from God's will. Therefore I could not operated on His will. I had to operate on my own.
Now again, we're going to have to look at words. We're going to have to become willing to accept new ideas, new definitions of some words. When we look at Step Five it says we: 'Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.'(p. 59) And we immediately assume that's going to be a list of dirty, filthy, nasty things. But if we go into the dictionary and look up the word "wrong." We're going to find there's at least three different definitions of it.
It says in the dictionary, to judge incorrectly is considered to be a wrong. That's what a resentment is. We judge other human beings we get upset with them; we get angry at them, because of what they're doing. To judge incorrectly is considered to be a wrong. It also says, to believe incorrectly is to be a
Step # 3-4 Big Book Page # 59 Tape 5A-13
wrong. That's what fear is. You know, we've all run on fear all of our lives. Ninety-nine percent of the fears that we had we're incorrect because they never came true in the first place. My God, if all my fears had been correct, I most certainly would not be sitting here today. So to believe incorrectly is considered to be a wrong. Then it says, to act incorrectly is also considered to be a wrong, to do harmful things to other people. There's three basic wrongs that grow out of self-will. All human beings have them, to varying, different degrees. These seem to be the basic three things that block us off from God's will.
A mind that is filled with resentment is always churning on what they did to us, and what we're going to do to them, and damn them suckers, they can't do us that way, _ We're going to get even with them. God can't enter a mind that's filled with that stuff.
A mind that is filled with fear, there's no way that God can direct that thinking, because fear directs it. If my thinking is controlled by fear, then fear determines my decisions, fear determines my actions, and fear controls my life. There's no way that God can do that if my mind is filled with fear.
If I harm other people and they retaliate against me, then I've got to be filled with shame, fear, guilt, and remorse. I've got to be filled with the fear of what are they going to do when they find out. There's no way that God can enter a mind filled with fear.
So these three basic wrongs block us off from God's will. My book is going to give me a way to look at these things. It's going to give me 8 way to gee where they came from. It's going to give me a way to see how to get rid of them. It's going to give me a way to keep from having them come back in the future. If I can once see them and identify them and see where they come from and get rid of them and see how to keep them away from me in the future, then my mind won't be filled with those things any more. If my mind isn't filled with those things, then God can start directing my thinking.
You know, there's been iota of confusion in A.A. about Step Three and Four. I think the reason we've had so much confusion is because we're very complicated people. We've been looking for something complicated in the Big Book on Three and Four, and Three and Four are very, very simple. I think it is so simple that with our complicated minds we've overlooked the simplicity of Steps Three and Four. I think we've looked for something harder than what's actually here.
Since we couldn't find the instructions in the book on how to do this, we began to search outside of ourselves for something better . Some of us saw in Step Five: 'Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.'(p. 59) So we assumed then that Step Four must be a list of these dirty, filthy, nasty things. There is a statement in Step (Five) that is concerned. It says all our life story. (p. 73, par. 1) So we went to that statement in Step Five and we assumed then that it meant, in Four we should write all of our life
Step # 4 Big Book Page # Tape 5A-14
story. So we began to take our inventory by writing our full life story. The book doesn't say to do that at all.
I never will forget my inventory. When I took it that way, I wrote all my life's story. God, I don't know how many pages were there. I took it to the guy that I was going to do the Fifth Step with. He read it, and he said, not very pretty is it.
(End of Side A of tape 5) (Transcriber's note: The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous might be thought of as the wooden support used to hold up the stones until the arch is constructed. It is a strong support. But since it is made of perishable wood, it will eventually fail unless all the stones in the archway are sat in place.) (Transcriber's note: As Joe says, some people have a spiritual experience after Step Three. This idea suggests that Bill, also, might have had his white flash experience after Step Three. See "Pass it On,'. pp. 120-121. Even more clearly, "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age," pp. 62-63.) (Transcriber's note: I later found this quote in "Language of the Heart", p. 198 from a July 1953 Grapevine article: "In complete defeat, with no hope or faith whatever, I had made an appeal to a Higher Power. I had taken Step One of today's A.A. program-"Admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable." I'd also taken Step Three - "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him." Thus was I set free. It was just as simple, yet just as mysterious, as that."
(c) 1987, 1988 Joe McQ. and Charlie P. All Rights Reserved
Step #4 Big Book Tape 5B-1
(Begin Side B of Tape 5)
Now that's what you used to be in the peat. You don't ever have to be that way again. He tore it in two, and threw it in the wastebasket .
I didn't learn a damn thing from that, because everything I wrote down, I already knew.
I learned nothing new from that at all. I really don't believe the fact that I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma has anything to do with my alcoholism. I don't believe the fact that I graduated from Webster High School had anything to do with my alcoholism. I don't believe the fact that I worked for a certain company for a certain period of years had anything to do with my alcoholism. Ninety-nine percent of the stuff I wrote down in my life story had nothing to do with my alcoholism at all. Most of it was an absolute waste of time. But we didn't know any better.
So we said, well, there must be a better way. Some guy up in Minnesota began to write a Fourth Step inventory guide put out by a company called Hazelden. We got the Fourth Step inventory guide, and we tried to combine it with the Big Book, and we became more confused yet. A fellow down in Dallas, Texas wrote another one. So we took the Hazelden one, and the one from Dallas, Texas, and the Big Book, and we became more confused yet. Joe and I saw one up in Canada last year. Fourth Stop inventory guide, and I'll guarantee you, if you ain't crazy before you take it, if you use that one, you'll be nuttier than a fruitcake when you're done.
All the time, the instructions have been in the book. but we didn't see them, because they're so simple. He didn't say these are the instructions: one, two, three, and four. Joe and I fooled with this thing for years. We had everybody writing their life story, because we didn't know any difference either. Maybe two or three years ago, this thing began to open up a little bit. We began to see some ideas on these next pages about Step Four. One day coming back from Florida we were in an airplane flying over Georgia. All of a sudden, it just seemed like it just jumped right out of the paper, and right out of the book. I took a piece of paper and I began to scribble some things on it. I handed it to Joe, and I said, Joe, what do you think about this? He said, my God, that's good! He made a few changes, and handed it back. He said, what do you think? I said, great! In about two or three hours, we saw how to do Step Four in the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous."
There are certain things you've got to remember in order to understand it. First, Bill doesn't tell us anything directly. He teaches through parables. He uses examples to get his ideas across. Now, we know another teacher that did that, too. He lived a couple thousand years ago. In that book that talks about him, it talks about the ability of this great teacher to teach by using parables, by telling stories. He always told a story to whoever he was talking to based upon what he assumed that person knew. When he wanted to get a point across to fishermen, he
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 64 Tape 5B-2
talked about fish. When he wanted to get a point across to shepherds, he talked about sheep. If he wanted to get a point across to a farmer, he talked about cattle and grain, et cetera.
Bill is going to do the same thing to you and us. He does it all the way through the book, but here is another prime example. We saw it when he talked about: we're like the passengers of a great liner the moment after shipwreck. (p. 17 par. 2) He made a point there with a story. Here he's going to do the same thing. If we can recognize that and look at a few key words, I think we can pick up on this inventory process very easy, and very simply. Let's see what he's done to us. He said:
(p. 64, par. 2) 'Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory.'
Now, let's look at the word inventory first. Again you go to the dictionary. You look up the word inventory, and we'll find that it's defined as a written fist of items. There's really no such thing as a mental inventory. An inventory is always a written flat of items. You may go in your kitchen. You may look around to see the groceries you've got and try to determine in your head what you need to buy at the store. Somebody said, what have you been doing. You say, well, I've been in there inventorying my foodstuffs. No, if you didn't make a written list of items, you didn't inventory. You were just in your kitchen looking around' was all you were doing.
So-if we define the word inventory, we automatically know that this is going to be a written fist of items. Okay, now, watch him close. He said:
(p. 64, par. 2) 'Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory.'
But immediately we change from a personal inventory, to business inventory. He said:
(p. 64, par. 2) 'This was Step Four. A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.'
We compare personal inventory to business inventory. That's the first comparison we make. You and I know that a business which takes no regular inventory will sooner or later go broke. Let's say we've got a business selling ladies purses, men's watches, shoes, whatever it might be. If we don't, once in a while, inventory what we've got in that store, we really don't know where we stand. We don't know what we've sold out of the store. Therefore, we don't know what to order to replace. We don't know what's been stolen from us, rather than what we sold to people. We don't know what's been damaged, perhaps by rain or other ways, and has become unsalable. We don't know what's gone out of style, and people no longer want to buy. So we don't know what to remove from the shelves to bring the new items in and put them in stock. If you operate a business without inventory, once in a while, sooner or later, you're going to go broke. I think we all could recognize that.
Well, you and I have got a business. You and I have what is probably the most important business in the world. That's the business of finding a way to live where we can find peace of mind, serenity, and happiness, and we don't have to drink
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 64 Tape 5B-3
alcohol. Unless we take a regular inventory, we're probably going to go broke too. Going broke for us is to go back to drinking. Going broke for a business inventory is when they run out of money. But in our inventory, when we go broke in our business, it's going back to drinking. So we compare the words first, right there. The personal inventory or the business inventory, without a regular inventory the business will go broke. Our business of staying sober will fail. Now, watch him closely.
(p. 64, par. 2) 'Taking a commercial inventory is a fact-finding...'
Now, let's stop. Let's compare it with our Fourth Step inventory in the book. It said...we made "a searching," and in the commercial inventory he said "a fact-finding." Well, fact-finding and searching are identically the same thing. So your word comparison between the two statements would be: fact-finding and searching. Let's see what he says in the commercial inventory again. He said:
(p. 64, par. 2) '...a fact-finding and a fact-facing process.'
In our Step he said, we made a searching and fearless. Fearless and fact-facing mean exactly the same thing. This is the way Bill wrote. This is the way he writes...In the commercial inventory, he says:
(p. 64, par. 2) 'It is an effort to discover the truth...'
Now in our Fourth Step, it said we made a searching and fearless, moral inventory. I think there's where we went wrong. When we look at the word moral, we thought, there's that list of dirty, filthy, nasty things. Now, I'm not sure what all Bill Wilson knew, but there's one thing I know about this guy, he knew the English language. HQ knew what words to use when he wanted to use them. If he had wanted us to make a fist of dirty, filthy, nasty things as an inventory, he would have said, a searching and fearless amoral, or immoral inventory. He didn't say that. He said moral. We take moral, and we go to the dictionary. We find one definition of that word is truth. Moral and truth mean the same thing. In the business inventory, we're trying to discover the truth. In our personal inventory, we're trying to discover the truth. That's what moral means. Now, the truth about what? The truth about what? Well, in the commercial inventory, one object is:
(p. 64, par. 2) '...to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade.'
The truth about the stock-in-trade. 1n the business inventory, we know what the stock-in-trade is. The stock-in-trade is what's on the shelves. Whether it be ladies puree-, men's shoes, or whatever it might be, the stock-in-trade is what's in that store. When he goes in there to inventory, he wants to find out the truth about what's there. He wants to find out what has been stolen from me. He wants to find out what has been damaged so I can get rid of that, and make room on the shelves for usable items. He wants to find out what's become out of style and unsalable, and get rid of that so we can put the newer, usable,
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 64 Tape 5B-4
saleable items back in. His inventory is to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade.
Now the comparable word in our Step is: we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, of ourselves. We are the only stock-in-trade we've got. The only thing we have to sell, is the way we think. Our stock-in-trade is our thought process. You and I all know that the way we think determines whether (we) stay sober or not. So our thoughts are our stock-in-trade. Look back at the commercial inventory. When he's looking for the truth about the stock-in-trade, he's interested in what's in his store today. What was in his store twenty years ago has nothing to do with whether he's going to go broke tomorrow or not. What's in his store that's going to be in there twenty years in the future has nothing to do with whether he goes broke tomorrow or not. What determines whether he goes broke tomorrow or not is what's on his shelves today.
You and I are the same way. Our stock in trade is our thinking. The way we think today will determine whether we go broke tomorrow or not. What was on my shelves up here in my head twenty years ago has nothing to do with whether I'm going to get drunk tomorrow or not. And what's going to be there twenty years in the future has nothing to do with whether I'm going to get drunk tomorrow or not. I will get drunk tomorrow or not based upon what's in my head today. We all know that stinkin' thinkin' leads to drinkin'. The way we think will determine whether we're going to stay sober tomorrow or not. Our stock-in-trade is our thoughts. We look at what's there right now, today.
There's three basic things that block us off from God's will, that will cause our business to go broke. One is resentment. One is fear. One is harms that I do to other people. So I'm going to look at my stock-in-trade on the three basic things that cause me to drink, that blocks me off from God's will. I'm going to look at the resentments that are in my head today. I'm going to look at the fears that are in my head today. I'm going to look at the harms I've done to other people. Maybe I can change those, and replace them for something better. The book says in this commercial inventory:
(p. 64, par. 2) 'One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.'
The goods in my head, the goods on my shelves, the stock-in-trade up there, man, they faulty as hell. They faulty as hell. Some of them are completely out of style. Some of them are damaged. Some of them are absolutely unsalable. The object of my inventory is to disclose those damaged and unsalable goods, and to get rid of them promptly and without regret. I don't need to look at my assets. Deep down in every-man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God. Every human being alive has aerates within them. What I've got to look at, is the liabilities that keep the assets from coming to the surface. I! I can find the liabilities and get them out of me, then the assets can come to
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 64 Tape 5B-5
the surface. I can begin to live like o human being ought to be living. I'm looking for damaged and unsalable goods. My book said:
(p. 64, par. 3) 'We did exactly the same thing with our lives. We took stock honestly.'
We took a moral inventory.
(p. 64, par. 3) 'First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations.'
A manifestation is nothing more than the outward indicator of something. You show me a selfish, self-centered human being, and I'll show you one that's madder than hell all the time. The world ain't treating them right. Damn 'em, they did this to them. Damn 'em they did that to them. Damn 'em and damn 'em, and they're always madder than hell all the time.
Show me a selfish, self-centered human being that little and I show you one that's full of fear all the time. You know, we alcoholics are just like little guy that used to be in Lit 'l Abner. In Lit 'l Abner they had a little fellow that ran around, and he had a rain cloud hanging over his head. Everywhere he went rain drops were falling on him, he just created catastrophe everywhere. His name was Joe Blitphig or smoothing like it. I'm just like him. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but I know when it gets here, it sure ain't going to be worth a daunt A selfish, self-centered person is always operating on fear.
Show me a selfish, self-centered person, and I'll show you one that's always harming and hurting other people. Doing things to satisfy self that creates pain and suffering for other people. Then they retaliate, and create pain and suffering back. There are three common manifestations of self. If I can see them, and identify them, and see where they come from, then maybe I can do something about them.
I've always known that I operated on anger. I've always, always know that anger was a bad d-al for me, because it caused me to make decisions and take actions which hurt other people and in return hurt me. I've always tried to do something about it. I never could, because I never knew where it came from.
I've always operated on fear, I know that. I've always known that fear caused me to make decisions and take actions that hurt other people which in return hurt me. I've always tried to be free of fear, but I never could do anything about it because I didn't know where it came from.
I've always been doing things that hurt other people. I'd say I'm not ever going to do that again. I don't like to hurt people, never have wanted to. But I'd do it over and over and over, and I'd say I'm not going to do that any more. But I couldn't keep from doing it, because I didn't know what caused it in the first place.
My book is going to give me a way to see where it comes from. If I can see where it comes from, then maybe I can do something about its removal. Maybe I can do something about
Stop # 4 Big Book Page # 64 Tape 5B-6
keeping it from coming back in the future. We got a little inventory process which is so simple. Lot's start looking at the first primary thing that blocks us off from God's will.
(p. 64, par. 4) 'Resentment is the "number ones offender. JOE: It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.'
Again we begin with resentment as the "number ones offender. In other words, our mind is blocked from God's will. which is within us. We've said our inner intelligence, our conscience is there, but it seemed to be blocked off from being used out into our mince, because our minds are full of resentments. The majority of the time this is the "number ones offender for most alcoholics. We got into the word resentment, and to understand these things. They are part of the human process. This is not any foreign thing. Everybody has this. It's the ability to--it comes from the word "re," once we see that on the front of a word, like repeat or replay, it means again, or do it over again. It comes from the word sentire, which means to feel. So resentment means to re-feel, to feel something over again. When someone does something to us, strikes self, we're hurt. It's a wrong, that's what that is. CHARLIE: On their part. JOE: On their part, maybe. That's a wrong. We can't do anything about that. Once a person doe a us wrong, it hurts self. It strikes a part of self. Did he strike our security? Did he strike our sex life. Did he strike our self-esteem? Did he strike our pride? Did he strike our companionship? One part of self we" struck, and we are hurt. Now, that's not a resentment. That's a wrong. CHARLIE: On their part. JOE: On their part. Once we are hurt, then we go back over in the next room, and replay the scene over again. I was standing there' always good! Doing nothing.
Act it out again. They came up and did this to me. Okay, that time it's a replay. They didn't do it. We did it to ourselves. It's to replay the scene over, to get to rehurt ourselves. One of the biggest things that enables me to get rid of resentment is the stupidity of the whole thing.
Each time we play this over, we increase the pain and hurt, until where it doesn't even reassemble what really happened in the beginning. And we replay it over and over and over until it gets worse and worse and worse. The other person seems to get meaner and meaner and meaner as we play it. And we seem to get better and better and better as we play it. And what we're doing is a game, a sick game, of accusing the other person, and excusing our own self in the situation, until where it's a complete lie.
The more we play this over, it finally produces the worst emotional illness an individual can have, because once you resent
Step # 4 Big Book Page # Tape 5B-7
another person it like a boomerang. This is why resentment is the number one offender, because once you resent another person, or another situation, or institution, then you resent yourself for being in that position where it could have happened in the first place. Then that brings on the number one offender probably in all alcoholics' lives, which is self-resentments, which is self-pity.
We love that one. We wear that role with a robe of dignity.
We love that. If you want to make an alcoholic mad, you try to feel sorry for him. He gets heartless mad, because he said, that's my job.
We see ourselves as the victim of society.
It's sort of like--Charlie and I were talking--it's sort of like watching the football games. In the Superbowl, we saw a guy get hit. It was looking pretty bad. They picked him up and carried the guy off, and put some ice on him. But the old announcer isn't satisfied with that. He said, let's look at that again. So he gets out his video replay machine. We look at it, and the second time it looks a lot worse than it originally was.
We alcoholics have a video recorder. We get up every morning. We turn it on, and tune it in brilliant colon We record everything wrong with everything that we see. Don't record the good stuff. Then we come home at night, and replay it, and make ourselves sick, and blame it on them.
And this is a lie'
This is a lie. There's no way that God can direct a life, or mind. Deep down within everyone, everyone of us, we have that conception of God. We know what's right. We know all of these great things. But we're blocked off from that, because of this predominance of doing this resentment. We've been doing these things so long, till this has become a part of our thought processes. In order to get rid of this, we're going to have to sit down and fist our resentments.
Another key word in this thing, one of the most key words in Step Four--we always talk about writing them down, but that doesn't help that much. One of the key things is we're going to fist AND ANALYZE these resentments. (p. 70, par. 4) If we can list them and analyze them, and see the damage and effect of them, and see what their good for, and see how stupid they are, we can get rid of these things. So this is what the inventory is all about, to fist and analyze these things that have been blocking us off from God. We begin with the simple process.
There's an illustration on page sixty-five of how to do your resentments. The reason we haven't been able to use this illustration--and it's been right here all these years, this is the simplest was to take an inventory--but the reason we can't use this inventory on page sixty-five is because it's already filled out.
How did he fill it out? You know, that's what confuses Us !
What we're going to propose here, this is not a new inventory system. I think that is one of the least things we need around A.A. is another inventory.
Surly I hope nobody
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 65 Tape 5B-8
goes away and says, Charlie and Joe have created an inventory. This is not. This is page sixty-five blank. That's all it is, just blank.
We're going to try to fill it out, and show you how simple it is to do it. You can do it in one night! Don't take three months.
We've got people doing the inventory, out of the Big Book, who have been sober for three weeks, doing a fine job, three or four weeks, doing a beautiful inventory, if we do it out of the Big Book. The most simple--this is the way the first one hundred people took their inventory.
Now you remember, they were very confused, sick, chronic alcoholics. I'm sure glad--no reflection--but I would have hated to see one of those first one hundred people with a Hazelden inventory guide. He'd have been in bad shape, the kind of head they had.
They had to have something easier than that. So let's look and see how to fill out the inventory in the Big Book. CHARLIE: First thing we would ask you to do, if you look on page sixty-five. You notice there's three columns. The (first) column is 'I' m resentful at. 'The second column is 'The Cause. 'The third column is 'Affects my. 'If you'll notice how I've placed it up here on the screen, you can't see the fourth column which is on your sheet. So we would ask you now to fold your fourth column under, where you can't see it. We're going to use it a couple pages later. JOE: just have these...three columns, and these are the same three columns that you'll see on page sixty-five. CHARLIE: The only thing that we have done is, in that third column, we've taken self, and we've divided it up into subcolumns, using the
same terms Bill has used in the Big Book. Under that self column, we put first the social instinct. Under that we have self-esteem and personal relationships. In the self column, the next one is security instinct. Under that we have material and emotional. The third column we have sex instinct. Under that we have acceptable and hidden sex relations.
Many of us have an acceptable sex life in our marriages, within our homes. Society looks on that with approval. We're not concerned with that. But also many of us have a hidden sex relation on the aide. We really don't want anybody to find out about that. So we keep that hidden. We're just as upset if there's a threat to one of them as there is to the other. You mess around between me and my wife, and I'm going to be madder than hell. But if you mess around between me and my girlfriend, I'm going to get just as mad, too. So we have two kinds of sexual relationships. Those we don't mind people knowing about, and those that we try to keep hidden.
Also, in all three areas you have certain ambitions. Everybody has ambitions under the social instinct, to want to be recognized. Everybody has ambitions under security, to get more property, to get more this and that. Everybody has certain ambitions in their sexual life, planning and maneuvering in order to get things the way we want it for the future. If you threaten my
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 64-65 Tape 5B-9
ambitions, I'm just as mad as if you threaten what I've already got. So we're going to look at these things exactly the way Bill says to do it in the book. Now, the instructions are there. JOE: And also remember, if you notice--be sure to notice this third column here--these are the things that make up self. They are exactly the same things that you were looking at on that sheet...self has been superimposed. These are on the inventory. The third column is self. CHARLIE: Okay, the last paragraph on page sixty-four says:
(p. 64, par. 4) 'Resentment is the "number ones offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper.'
Now again, this should lay to rest forever the idea of whether we're going to take a written inventory or a mental inventory. If we're going to take an inventory the way the Big Book says, if we're going to set these resentments on paper, we're going to have to have a sheet of paper. We're going to have to have a pencil, a pen, a typewriter, a paintbrush, a computer. Some way we've got to put these things down on paper, a written fist of items. There's a reason for that, and we'll see it in just a little while.
Now, the first instruction for the filling out of the sheet on page sixty-five is this:
(p. 64, par. 4) 'We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry.'
Column one is: 'I'm resentful at. 'We begin at the top of that column. We make a complete fist of the people, that's self-explanatory; the institutions, that's such things as the police department, the Internal Revenue Service, the post office, the army, all those things we get so upset with and principles with whom we are angry. Principles are such things as The Ten Commandments. One principle is "what goes up must come down." "Whatever you give out, that's what you get back." I've heard those things all my life, and they'd just make me literally vomit when I would hear them. We make our flat of those things. This is very important, that we make the fist from top to bottom. Our mind is on one thing, and one thing only. JOE: What do we recent. CHARLIE: If we try to go from left to right, we would have to take each resentment and then say, well, what's the cause, and then which part of self is affected? You do that with about three of them, and your head just gets so fouled up, you're lost. But everybody knows who they're mad at. You don't have to be sober very long to know that. I've never seen an alcoholic yet that doesn't know who they're mad at.
If you can't write, you lust simply ask somebody to help you. You give them the name and they write it down for you. You don't have to be very smart to do this either. It doesn't take long , sobriety, nor does it take exceptional intelligence. Anybody can
Step # 4 Big Book Page #- 64-65 Tape 5B-10
take this inventory the way the Big Book says to take it. We very carefully construct that list from top to bottom.
Bill, in his list, he said, I'm resentful at Mr. Brown, Mrs. Jones, my employer, my wife. He listed four. I'm sure he had more than that. He just didn't want to take up more room in the Big Book. On your sheet, you've got eight places. I'm sure that all of you can get all of you're resentments on that one sheet.
I couldn't do that. I think I had a hundred and sixty-two by the time I got done. JOE: One column. CHARLIE: I was absolutely amazed by filling out that one column. I knew that anger gave me a problem. I knew that anger controlled me to a certain extent. But I didn't really realized how much it controlled me until I put this list down on paper. You see, the mind can only see one thing at a time. I could only see one person, one institution, or one principle at one time. But when I got them all down on a sheet of paper, 1 was absolutely amazed. Hell, I was mad at everything. There wasn't a thing in the world that I was satisfied with. I was mad at everybody I knew. I was mad at every institution I could think of. And I was mad at all principles. No wonder anger dominated my life. I was absolutely amazed when I put this down. I learned something very positive when I filled out the first column. Now then, let's look at the next instruction. Instruction two is:
(p. 64, par. 4) 'We asked ourselves why we were angry.'
We go to the second column, the cause of the anger. At the side of each name we write down why we ware angry at them, from top to bottom. Always top to bottom, keeping our mind on one thing only, why am I mad at this particular person, this -particular institution, and this particular principle? You can't be mad unless you got a reason. Not only do we know who we're mad at, but we know why we're mad at them, too. I've never seen an alcoholic that didn't know why they're mad at some particular thing. It doesn't take very long to make the list, and you don't have to be smart. Anybody can do it (who) has been sober just a few days.
Now let's look at what Bill did in column two. (p. 65) He's mad at Mr. Brown. Now the reason he mad at Mr. Brown is because of Brown's attention to my wife. He told my wife of my mistress. Brown might get my job at the office. You know, I don't really blame him. I'd be a little upset with Brown under these circumstances also. He's mad at Mrs. Jones. She's a nut--she snubbed me. She committed her husband for drinking. He's my friend and she's a gossip. He's mad at his employer. He's unreasonable--unjust--overbearing. He's probably saying, say Jim where were you on Monday by the way.
He threatens to fire me for drinking and padding my expense account. He's mad at his wife. She misunderstands and nags. And she likes old Brown. She wants the house put in her name. You tie together the fact that she likes Brown and wants the house put in her name, and it time to begin to be upset about this deal.
Very carefully we write the cause down at the aide of each one of
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 64-65 Tape 5B-11
When I finished the Sonoco column, again I was absolutely amazed. I suddenly realized. It's not the people I'm mad at. It's not the institution I'm mad at. It's not the principle I'm mad at. What I'm mad at is what they did. That's what I'm mad at: it's column two. But I couldn't write column two, till I wrote column one. I could take Mr. Brown out of here and put Mr. Green in. I'd be just as mad at Green. I could talk Mrs. Jones out of here and put in Mrs. Pumpernickel, and I'd be just as mad at her if she did the same thing. I suddenly realized, it's not the people I'm mad at. It's what they did that's got me upset, another very positive thing for me to learn. I finished column two. Now, let's look for the next instruction.
(p. 64, par. 4 p. 65, par. 1-2) 'In most cases it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambition-, our personal relationships (top of p. 65) (including sex) were hurt or threatened. So we were sore. We were "burned up."
'On our grudge list we sat opposite each name our injuries. Was it our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal, or sox relations, which has been interfered with?'
It would be impossible for me to be upset with you, and mad at you if you didn't threaten one of my basic instincts of life. (social, security, or sexual) If you threaten what I've already got, or 1f you threaten what I want to get in the future, then I'm going to get upset with you, and I'm going to get pretty mad. But I can't be mad at you unless you have become a threat to one of these three things. (social instinct, security instinct, or sexual instinct)
So I take the first column (under the) social instinct, self-esteem. I go down that column from top to bottom. I look at each thing. I say, is it a threat to my self-esteem, what I think of me? If it is, I put a check mark there. Then I go to the second column (under social instinct.) Is it a threat to my personal relationships? If it is, I put a cheek mark there. Then I go to the security columns, and work down material security, and emotional security. Then I work down acceptable sex and then down hidden sex. I work each ambition column. (social ambition, security ambition, and sexual ambition), always going from top to bottom.
You know, when I got through with that column, I suddenly realized. It's not what they did which has got me upset: it's my reaction based on self which has me upset. For the first time in my life I could see where my anger comes from. I can do nothing about it until I know where it comes from. For the first time I see where it's coming from. It's really not you. It's really not what you do. It's my reaction, based upon self, a threat to one of these basic instincts of life. I know that's absolutely true. Because some days you can do it to me, and if I'm right, it just slides right off my beck like water off a cluck's back. It doesn't bother me at all. Other days you do it to me, and if I'm wrong, look out, I'm going right through the roof. I'm going to blow my stack. So I realize it's really not you, nor what you do. It's my
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 65-66 Tape 5B- 12
reaction based on self.
For the first time in my life, I could understand where anger comes from. Now that I know where it comes from, there's a possibility I might be able to do something about it. But I never could before. I always tried to control it. Never, never, never, could I do that.
Let's look and see what Bill did in this third column. In column three: affects my. He's upset with Mr. Brown because of Brown's attention to my wife. Now that's a threat to his sex relations. After all if she gets to fooling with old Brown and finds out Brown's better than Bill, she may cut Bill off at home. It's a threat to his self-esteem. What are other people going to think about me if my wife get s to fooling around with Brown and it becomes common knowledge. He's also mad at Brown because Brown told my wife of my mistress. Boy, you talk about screwed up sex relations. As soon as my wife found out about this, she just cut me off at home, right then--bing. That isn't all she did. She went over and got hold of that mistress, and she just raised all kinds of hell with her. Now, by God, she's cut me off too. I've got no sex relations in either area, either acceptable or hidden.
Again it's a threat to my self-esteem. I've been passing myself off as an upstanding member of the community. I go to church on Sunday. I pay my taxes. I'm a leader of the Boy Scouts, and I even teach Sunday school once in a while. All of a sudden everybody in the neighborhood found out about me and this mistress that's hidden over here on the Bide. Man, what are they going to think about me now?
He's also upset with Brown because Brown might get his job at the office. Now, that's a threat to my security. If Brown gets my job and I've got no income, then I have nothing to drink on. I've got nothing to support a mistress on the side on. I'm in a hell of a shape. Also it's a threat to my self-esteem. I've had that job for twenty years. Now Brown has undercut me, and he's going to take my job away from me. What are people going to think about me now, when that happens to me?
I can see every time exactly why I'm upset with those people. If I do it, and do it as the Big Book says, I've learned three things. Number one: How much anger controls me. Number two: It's not what they did, but my reaction based on self. Number three: always, always knowing that it comes from the basic instincts of life. When I've learned those things, I've learned an awful lot about me. I'm already beginning to analyze resentments to find out what I can do with these things in the future. Joe? JOE: Okay, if we have followed these directions, and we move on:
(p. 65, last par. p. 66, par. 1) 'We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty. When we were finished we considered it carefully. The first thing apparent (top of p. 66) was that this world and its people were often quite wrong.'
We always have known that, so that's no new information. CHARLIE: We have no quarrel with those words on sixty-five. Where it
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 66 Tape 5B-13
says, 'We went back through our lives. 'Because what we've done is we've looked at our resentments that are in our head today. What's on the shelf today. Those resentments that are up there today, they didn't come just today. Those resentments stem from things that have happened to me throughout my entire lifetime. Some of them came from what you did last week, and some last month, and some last year, and some fifteen years ago, and some twenty and thirty and forty and fifty, depending on how old we are. So we have gone back through our lives as far as resentments are concerned. They're in our head today, but they were placed there throughout our entire lifetime. JOE: (p. 66, par. 1) 'To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got.'
Usually that's as far we got with it.
(p. 66, par. 1) 'The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore. Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. But the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got. As in war, the victor only seemed to win. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.'
We haven't gone far enough with these resentments. We've just played them over. We never sat down to really look at them.
(p. 66, par. 2) 'It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. 'C You know, I looked at that statement, and I looked at those resentments. I looked to see how much time that I had squandered in resentments. I was absolutely amazed again. My favorite thing, when I was drinking, was to get up in the morning and have a drink of whiskey and a cup of coffee, and turn on my resentment machine, and replay what those suckers did to me yesterday, last week, last year, five years ago, ten years ago, fifteen and twenty and thirty. I could sit there. I could consume an hour in that every morning, and I Just loved it.
When I got through running them all through my resentment machine, I'd have another drink of coffee and another drink of whiskey, and cup of coffee. Then I would turn on my get even machine. And say, yeah, when that sucker does that to me again, this is what I'm going to do, and they're going to do that, and I'm going to do this, then I'm going to lay it on them. I'm going to show them. I just loved to do that.
I've spent literally thousands and thousands and thousands of hours in resentments. I believe today that that time was absolutely squandered. I could do nothing while I was resenting. Resentment actually paralyzed me. To the best of my ability today as I look back at them, I don't see that they ever did me any good whatsoever. You know, I never made a nickel doing it. It never did give me any peace of mind. It never did straighten up a relationship with another human being. As far as I can tell, it was absolutely squandered time. Now, that's bad. We've only got a certain amount of allotted time here anyhow. Mine is beginning to become shorter and shorter and shorter. I don't want to waste any
Step # 4 Big Book Page # 66 Tape 5B- 14
more of it. I want to be peaceful, happy, and serene. I don't want to be that way anymore. I don't intend to squander any more hours in resentments.
Now, that's a bad deal, but that's not the real problem. Here'. the real problem with a resentment.
(p. 66, par. 2) 'But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance-and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.'
When harboring resentment we have effectively blocked our mind off from God's will. We're shut off from the sunlight of the Spirit. Now the result of that is that:
(p. 66, par. 2) 'The insanity of alcohol returns...'
(End of Side B of Tape 5)
(End of Side B or Tape 4) (c) 1987, 1988 Joe McQ. and Carlie P. All Rights Reserved
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