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Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Providence" and the "Obsession of the Mind"

"It is truly awful to admit," we read in the first paragraph of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, "that glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us."

In this, the first paragraph of the 'Twelve and Twelve,' we are dealing already with the obsession of the mind. And it no mere coincidence that we are doing so, for "the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body." (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 23.) But what is "Providence," and just where and how are we to find it?

The answer to where we find "Providence," or "a Power greater than ourselves," is found in the middle paragraphs of page 55 in the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous. There, we read:
". . . (D)eep down in every man woman and child is the fundamental idea or God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. . . .

"We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
[Emphasis added.]
"Providence," God, or a Power greater than one's self is thus found "deep down within" the individual alcoholic addict, in his or her higher consciousness. Most alcoholic addicts who remain clean and sober will report that at some time before or after they come into A.A. (or one of its sister fellowships) they realized that they were alcoholic or an addict - i.e., that they have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. This moment of grace - a moment free from all the calamity, pomp and worship of things that fills our ordinary, egoic self-consciousness - is "the act of Providence" that, if followed up with the 12 Steps, can free the alcoholic addict of the obsession for drugs and/or booze.

The 'how-to' of finding and maintaining one's proper relationship with "Providence," or 'a Power greater than one's self,' is thus found in the 12 Steps, and in the continual process of "self-examination, meditation and prayer" which is recommended recommended by Bill W. in his essay on Step 11 in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions; while the 'where-to' of attaining and maintaining a conscious contact with "Providence" is found deep down within" one's own consciousness, below and separate from the operation of the human ego, beneath that "painful inner dialogue" we are all all-too-familiar with. It is found in a "conscious contact" with God.

In the Spiritual Experience appendix of the 'Big Book,' we read:
"With few  exceptions our members find that they have tapped into an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves."

"Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it 'God-consciousness.'"
[Emphasis added.]
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
"All that is from the gods is full of Providence," the great neo-Platonic Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote in his 'Meditations.'

"That which is from fortune is not separated from nature or without an interweaving and involution with the things which are ordered by Providence. From thence all things flow. . . ."

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