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Spiritual Discipline - Why I need to surrender to what is suggested in AEA

I really don’t want to write a blog today. That’s the plain and simple truth of the matter. But, experience in sobriety has shown me that life isn’t about doing what I want to do, it’s about doing what I need to do. And, in this case, what I said I would do. So, why is that important? Why is sticking to a structure and having discipline important? They are important because at the end of my eating I couldn’t stick to anything. I couldn’t finish anything I started. I couldn’t get out of bed. And, at times, I couldn’t tell you whether it was day or night.

Getting to the point of surrender with nowhere left to run

I believe I had to be completely broken before I was willing to surrender to the program. I had such a massive ego that I really wasn’t going to listen to anyone else tell me how to live my life until I had totally and utterly screwed it up myself. Indeed, my ego was so big, that even when lying in my stinking pit of a bed, I thought people should come and listen to all of my great ideas for how the world should be run. Deep down, though, I knew I was a failure. As a husband, as a son, as a brother and as a friend. I’d let everyone down. I’d let them down because I was irresponsible. I thought the world owed me a living. And, I was a hopeless addictive eater.

So, I started going to meetings. And this guy started giving me suggestions on how to live my life. I took a look at this guy. He was about twenty years older than me. Sure, I was impressed that he’d been sober for a few years. But he didn’t understand fashion. And he didn’t understand music. Or culture. Besides, I had a few bright ideas of my own left to try, thank you very much. After eight months of coming to meetings, but trying to live on self-will, I was in a fairly bad state. All of my resources were used up. There was nowhere left to run. I was willing to go to any lengths to get well.

Making the decision to surrender and do what was suggested

I asked this guy what to do. And I decided that I was going to do anything he told me to do. Two words are very important in that last sentence: I decided. It was a conscious choice for me to take direction. Nobody, not that guy, nor anyone else in the program told me to do it. I wasn’t forced to do it. I decided to do it. My decision was based on the mess I’d made of my life, and the growing evidence that if I continued to eat and use mind-altering substances in the way I had been, then I was going to die. So my decision to surrender, and the manner in which I surrendered, were an active, conscious, positive choice on my part.

So, this guy told me what to do. Or suggested what I might like to do. Or whatever. The first thing he ‘suggested’ was that I get out of bed each morning, which, I have to say, seemed quite revolutionary at that time. I explained that my alarm failed to wake me up because I turned it off and went back to sleep. He told me to put the alarm on the other side of the room. This forced me to get out of bed. The alarm stayed on the other side of the room for a year or so, (it doesn’t need to be today, because I love getting out of bed and into each new day). He told me to start my day with prayer and meditation. He told me to go to meetings. He told me to call sober members. He told me to help newcomers. He told me to read the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Understanding spiritual discipline

I did all of these things. Whether I felt like doing them or not. And, I still do them today, whether I feel like doing them or not. I do them because I have an understanding of spiritual discipline today. I understand that just because my head is telling me I can’t do something, I don’t have to listen to that, because more often than not, it is not true. This blog is a case in point. Thirty minutes ago my head was telling me I was too tired to write 500 words, I would not enjoy it, and I had nothing to write about. The truth is that I have splurged out nearly 800 words, I have really enjoyed it, and I could go on. But I think I’ll spare you that. Have a great day.

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