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Into Action Page 4
If we have no such complication, there is plenty we should
do at home. Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he
needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there
will be no home if he doesn't. But he is yet a long way from making good
to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated. Passing
all understanding is the patience mothers and wives have had with alcoholics.
Had this not been so, many of us would have no homes today, would perhaps
The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others.
Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been
uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept he home in turmoil.
We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is
like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home
ruined. To his wife, he remarked, "Don't see anything the matter
here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin'?" Yes, there is
a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. A remorseful
mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill at all. We ought to sit
down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, being
very careful not to criticize them. Their defects may be glaring, but
the chances are that our own actions are partly responsible. So we clean
house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator
show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.
The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. Unless one's family
expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought
not to urge them. We should not talk incessantly to them about spiritual
matters. They will change in time. Our behavior will convince them more
than our words. We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness
would make a skeptic out of anyone.
There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don't worry about
them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we
could. Some people cannot be seen - we sent them an honest letter. And
there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don't
delay if it can be avoided. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate
and humble without being servile or scraping. As God's people we stand
on our feet; we don't crawl before anyone.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be
amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom
and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the
door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience
can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life
will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle
us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not
do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled
among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize
if we work for them.
This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take
personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go
along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the
past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to
grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter.
It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness,
dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once
to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends
quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts
to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.
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