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Amazing Grace

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY

                    This letter appeared in the "Grapevine" January 1958. Bill suffered from acute chronic depressions for the first 14 years of his sobriety.

I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God. Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security and perfect romance, urges quite appropriate to age seventeen, prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven or fifty-seven.

Since AA began, I've taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up, emotionally and spiritually.

My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible and how very painful to discover, finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse. Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round. How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result and so into easy, happy and good living? Well, that's not only the neurotic's problem, it's the problem of Life itself for all of us who have got to the point of real willingness to hew to the right principles in all our affairs.

Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy may still elude us. That's the place so many of us AA oldsters have come to and it's a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious, from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream, be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want? How to convince our dumb, raging, and hidden "Mr. Hyde" becomes our main task.

I've recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I began to see many benighted ones, folks like you and me, commencing to get results. Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic spell. Considering the grief I've had with depression, it wasn't a bright prospect.

I kept asking myself, "Why can't the twelve steps work to release depression?" By the hour I stared at the St. Francis prayer ...." It is better to comfort than to be comforted." Here was the formula, all right, but why didn't it work? Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionistic dreams and specifications, I had fought for them and when defeat came, so did my depression. There wasn't a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.

Reinforced by what grace I could find in prayer, I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people and upon circumstances. Then only could I be free to love as Francis had loved.

 

I recieved this in an e-mail . I read it once before early in my recovery
this time It means alot more to me. I realized all through my  life how I
too always depended on others  or circumstances . I love the
St Francis prayer .At my Sunday meeting it is on the wall. I always read it.
I am free Today & Grateful to the people  in the rooms of AA/NA/Alanon.
God Bless and Thank you ds_avalon 7/19/02