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- February 11, 2008 at 11:25 pm #4229230
Now about sex. Many of us needed an overhauling there. But above all, we tried to be sensible on this question. It’s so easy to get way off the track. Here we find human opinions running to extremes—absurd extremes perhaps. One set of voices cry that sex is a lust of our lower nature, a base necessity of procreation. Then we have the voices who cry for sex and more sex; who bewail the institution of marriage; who think that most of the troubles of the race are traceable to sex causes. They think we do not have enough of it, or that it isn’t the right kind. They see its significance everywhere . One school would allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t. What can we do about them?
We reviewed our own conduct over the years past. Wehere had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion, or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down on paper and looked at it.
In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relations to this test—was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given, and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.
Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem. In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.
God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.
Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.
To sum up about sex: we earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing. If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.
The third area we focus on in our fourth step is sex. We continue the columnar format we learned in the resentment list. The direction to write this down is clear (69:15). The authors suggest the aspects of our sex lives we should concentrate on (69:10-14). We begin to practice spiritual principles in this area of our lives by asking for God’s help (69:18).February 11, 2008 at 11:46 pm #4229231
We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct.
The authors do not speak to us from a moral hilltop. They do not assume to be empowered to judge us. This attitude can enable us to be useful to others when they come to us for advice. Regardless of our own beliefs in this matter, the spiritual solution is available to us to solve any problems we may have.
What can we do about them?
This book gives us specific answers to our questions about what we can do regarding our sex problems. The authors give us clear-cut directions on how to solve the sex problems in our lives by showing us precisely what they have done. If we are willing, we can follow the authors’ example and find out how to solve our sex problems by accessing the power of God.
We reviewed our own conduct over the years past.
Once again, we search our past and reexamine each of our relationships. In doing so we recognize behaviors that we repeat, causing all of our relationships to end the same way. When laid out before us in black and white it is easier for us to determine if the way we have been living is working for us or not.
Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate?
Our selfish and self-centered basis for life also affects our sex lives and relationships. We lie to and manipulate others to get our way. We disregard the best interests and well being of others. We cause great harm physically, mentally and spiritually to those we come in contact with.
Whom had we hurt?
We hurt those we have relationships with and also those around them in a widening ripple effect. The parents, siblings, children, future sex partners and spouses of those with whom we have had relationships may all feel the effects of the harm we have caused through our sex conduct.
DId we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness?
We list each such instance where we feel our conduct has awakened these feelings in others. These feelings may arouse a desire to retaliate that is very hard to break free of and has destroyed many relationships.
Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead?
Our new outlook upon life allows us to stop blaming others and see where we were at fault. The shortcomings listed in this paragraph are just a starting point. The more precise we can be when identifying our defects the better we will be at recognizing them when they appear. We have many defects of character that may be listed.
Our new outlook upon life opens our eyes to see what we should have doen in our relationships. We see the result of our being driven by our own selfish goals and what would have been best for each person involved. In this way we can begin to form guiding principles for our future conduct.
We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.
By making this prayer, we get to experience for ourselves the guidance and power of God. We abandon our old way of living and thinking. The new basis for our lives is to rely upon God. If we were able to live up to our ideals on our own, we probably would have. The prayer suggested here brings the power of God to bear upon our relationships and sex lives. This is a practical method and as we experience its effectiveness we develop faith that it will continue to work if we practice it.
We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given, and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.
As alcoholics, we may tend toward extremes. We are seeking balance in our lives. The two views cited here are extremes and should be avoided.
Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grwo toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing.
We are learning how to deal successfully with life’s problems. The self-examination and reliance upon God’s help that we practice in the fourth step, coupled with the actions suggested in the subsequent steps of this program, result in our being able to overcome difficulties that used to baffle us. This is a way of life that works.
The Annotated AA Handbook
Frank DFebruary 12, 2008 at 8:33 am #4229232
We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.
The way that we become convinced of the ability of God to change our lives is by doing the things suggested in this program. When we experience for ourselves that this works to solve our problems, we acquire faith — a reliance upon the power of God. It is our old ideas and attitudes about life, the symptoms of which are our defects of character, that stand in the way of our access to God. By swallowing and digesting big chunks of truth about ourselves, we are nourished and can grow.
We do not do our fourth step merely to gain self-knowledge. Self-knowledge will not solve our alcoholic problem (39:3). Our writting helps to clear away self-justification which allows us to honestly appraise our character. When combined with attempts to establish a relationship with God, it produces spiritual experience, experiences of God working in our lives. We may build upon this as we continue in this new way of life. Our purpse is to discover the obstacles in ourselves so that the grace of God can enter us and expel the obsession that compels us to drink.
The Annotated AA Handbook
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