I have always worked a simple program because that is the only way I'm able to do it. I wasn't able to write my inventory like the AA Big Book recommends with the columns system. But on page 109 in the SA White Book the directions were simple which allowed me to do my inventories.
I think in pictures so when I read in the White Book, “Work the Steps, work the Steps, work the Steps,” I pictured myself at a desk doing inventories and I get overwhelmed. I'm much more comfortable with the term applying the steps than working them.
Most of my recovery has come from pain, not intellect. When the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go, is when I surrender to God's will. God has always had the solution before I even knew what the problem was. When I got to SA my sponsor told me to turn my program over to God and I will be doing exactly the right thing at the right time.
When I was in my 60s I was killing myself trying to avoid going bankrupt. I realized I couldn't do it, so I prayed to God for the willingness and courage to go bankrupt if that was his will for me and in one second he lifted the whole obsession. Then a deep voice said, "You mean to tell me you don't believe God knows exactly what He's doing with your life?" And then he laughs. One week later a buyer called and I sold the restaurant. That experience changed my life forever.
I had a survival technique that allowed me to function in life under all conditions, it made me fearless. I could drive my truck through blizzards, go into dangerous parts of cities at night and sleep in my truck so I could be first in line to load in the morning. My wife called that character defect "Mule Head," I'm sure it was hard to live with. I had no clue it was a character defect, I couldn't imagine not having it, I thought it was great. God knew what it was and when the time was right he started to remove it. I had purchased a new truck, and there was a CD on safety in it and I played it. It listed all the reasons I should wear a seat belt. I became so angry that I threw the CD out the window. About twenty minutes later I reached up and put the seat belt on. I had nothing to do with the decision. I didn't put it on every time I got into the truck, but every time I thought about it I put it on. This was the beginning of a major attitude change that I didn't even know I needed. This is the 7th step prayer in action!
The same attitude reared its ugly head years later when I had a relative try to extort money from me. My response was, over your dead body. It got to the point that they were going to call the cops if I didn't leave their property. When I got home I told God I didn't know what to do. I'm willing to do whatever you want me to do, just make it clear. That night I had a dream that I was holding that relative in my arms and the feeling of love was the strongest I've ever felt. The message was to make amends to him and not say why I resented him, but just clean up my side of the street. My part was I had gotten carried away telling his girlfriend why I didn't owe him anything. The next day I went to make the amends and God had gone before me and prepared them to accept it. The battle was over. The amazing thing for me was that there was no ego involved. I didn't feel like they won or like I gave in. There was a good feeling in me like I did the right thing, I took the high road for a change. They haven't really changed, but I have. Every time I think of them I pray for them.
The amazing thing about recovery for me is the longer I practice doing it, the bigger it gets until it becomes a way of life, just like my addiction did. This program will ruin a perfectly good addiction! Lol.
Mike K., Oregon, USA Sober Nov 11, 1996