“…ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”
It’s no secret I am a member of several 12 step programs. The cornerstone of every groups success is anonymity. In this post I will discuss the happenings at a recent meeting, but I will in no way divulge anybodies identity nor will I discuss intimate details of what happened. Rather, I will share what I learned.
Yesterday really kind of sucked. I could go into a lot of reasons but ultimately, it sucked, because I was trying to drive my bus. I decided I would go to a meeting even though I absolutely did not want to. I mean – I seriously did not want to drive across town and hang out with a very predictable group of guys. That being said – I knew I should. I got there right on time and participated in the early meeting rituals. Nobody had coordinated a discussion leader (it happens, not a big deal) so the monthly leader threw out one of my least favorite topics – “I don’t feel a good connection with my higher power”.
Now, it’s a great topic, and I’ve learned a lot about it, but I don’t have much to say in this forum. The 12 step programs, with the exception of Celebrate Recovery, are “spiritual” and not based on the bible. I have a lot of things I could say, but am not supposed to as that is religion. I listened to a lot of people. Some said things I perceived as excuses for running from God, others commented about what they were doing to avoid God, but still be with God… I honestly prayed for some. I was getting VERY VERY little from this meeting. I wasn’t upset, just clock watching.
There’s one guy who is a regular at meetings I attend. He’s really quite proud of what he has to say and likes to go last. Sometime times, I like what he has to say, more often then not, I think he has saved his “message” for last and that for some reason annoys me. In this case… I sighed (inside), I just wanted to say the Serenity Prayer and go home. Little did I know, THIS is why I was at the meeting. This guy, without getting biblical, without mentioning religion summarized the 12 steps and life in a few short sentences. Not only did he summarize it, he did it in a way I understand and agree with. He basically said – he never blamed God for things people did to him that were wrong. He blamed the people for not being closer to God. He believed that the 12 steps are all about moving closer to God. The closer you are to God, the more likely you are to act like God wants you too. I’m sure I didn’t summarize that all that well, but the message was strong. I waited 58 minutes to hear something that made sense to me! Great! Right… we aren’t done!
Well, moments later the leader asked if there were any ‘burning desires’ – which often last a long time, and/or are bizarre. The next guy spoke and said … simply… “I don’t understand it, I don’t understand how, but I have learned that if I stop and pray, and spend time with my higher power – my life is better. I have always tried to define my relationship with God, but when I let go and just talked to him, my life always gets better”. *BOOM*
What the heck is this all about? I’ve been doing this for nearly 25 years. I probably could do it better…. everybody could! I think it may be easier to walk into a room where you know nobody – you just sit down and listen. That isn’t always possible. The simple phrase “place principles before personalities” is SO STRONG! You never know who God has put in front of you to give you a message. Don’t let race, religion, appearance or anything else get in the way!