Into Action pg. 1 | Into Action pg. 3 >
ready, we say something like this:
"My Creator, I am now willing that you should
have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every
single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to
you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your
bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven.
Now we need more action, without which we find that "Faith
without works is dead." Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine. We have
a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make
amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a
drastic self- appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage
done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated
out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If
we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was
agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.
Probably there are still some misgivings. As we look over
the list of business acquaintances and friends we have hurt, we may feel
diffident about going to some of them on a spiritual basis. Let us be
reassured. To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize
the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them.
At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not
an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum
service to God and the people about us. It is seldom wise to approach
an individual, who still smarts from our injustice to him, and announce
that we have gone religious. In the prize ring, this would be called leading
with the chin. Why lay ourselves open to being branded fanatics or religious
bores? We may kill a future opportunity to carry a beneficial message.
But our man is sure to be impressed with a sincere desire to set right
the wrong. He is going to be more interested in a demonstration of good
will than in our talk of spiritual discoveries.
We don't use this as an excuse for shying away from the subject
of God. When it will serve any good purpose, we are willing to announce
our convictions with tact and common sense. The question of how to approach
the man we hated will arise. It may be he has done us more harm than we
have done him and, though we may have acquired a better attitude toward
him, we are still not too keen about admitting our faults. Nevertheless,
with a person we dislike, we take the bit in our teeth. It is harder to
go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to
us. We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former
ill feeling and expressing our regret.
no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply tell him that
we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten
out the past. We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing
that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying
to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick
to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified
with the result.
In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens. Sometimes
the man we are calling upon admits his own fault, so feuds of years' standing
melt away in an hour. Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress.
Our former enemies sometimes praise what we are doing and wish us well.
Occasionally, they will offer assistance. It should not matter, however,
if someone does throw us out of his office. We have made our demonstration,
done our part. It's water over the dam.
Most alcoholics owe money. We do not dodge our creditors. Telling them
what we are trying to do, we make no bones about our drinking; they usually
know it anyway, whether we think so or not. Nor are we afraid of disclosing
our alcoholism on the theory it may cause financial harm. Approached in
this way, the most ruthless creditor will sometimes surprise us. Arranging
the best deal we can we let these people know we are sorry. Our drinking
has made us slow to pay. We must lose our fear of creditors no matter
how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to
we have committed a criminal offense which might land us in jail if it
were known to the authorities. We may be short in our accounts and unable
to make good. We have already admitted this in confidence to another person,
but we are sure we would be imprisoned or lose our job if it were known.
Maybe it's only a petty offense such as padding the expense account. Most
of us have done that sort of thing. Maybe we are divorced, and have remarried
but haven't kept up the alimony to number one. She is indignant about
it, and has a warrant out for our arrest. That's a common form of trouble
Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are
some general principles which we find guiding. Reminding ourselves that
we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we
ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no
matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position
or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We must
not shrink at anything.
Usually, however, other people are involved. Therefore, we
are not to be the hasty and foolish martyr who would needlessly sacrifice
others to save himself from the alcoholic pit. A man we know had remarried.
Because of resentment and drinking, he had not paid alimony to his first
wife. She was furious. She went to court and got an order for his arrest.
He had commenced our way of life, had secured a position, and was getting
his head above water. It would have been impressive heroics if he had
walked up to the Judge and said, "Here I am."