Sandy B., who wrote “Dropping the Rock” gives a wonderful talk about character defects and the perception of reality for the alcoholic. This is a must listen and an amazing share.
A Matter of Perception
I realized this year I had a different attitude about death. Death is absolutely essential to life. And life is absolutely essential; you couldn’t have one without the other. You couldn’t just have life that just goes on and on and on and you lived to be a billion. You would have corn rows 700 feet high if nothing ever died. They would just keep on growing; you would have to get a helicopter to go harvest it. I don’t think so. Anyways, you could say that death is the end of life. Well if that’s the case, then life is the end the death. Or you could say that life is the beginning of death. I always liked that one. If you think about it, the biggest cause of death is birth. Nothing comes close. Nothing. No disease, nothing. So just look at our whole life. When you are reading a book, it ends, and then you go, “wow.” It doesn’t go on and on. You don’t keep reading it for the rest of life. You listen to a song, and you just go, “yeah.”
What if it just kept going? You know the record, you would get stuck and it just keeps on going. I’m very happy that my life has got a song that’s going to last the year. You wouldn’t like a song that was about last year. It is a new year, so that one has to go away. It has to stop. Everything comes when you breathe. I treat life with breathing. This is the birth. Of breath. Followed shortly by, the death, of a breath. Well that one breath is over, but it’s not over. Is it because here comes another one and another one? So how could death not be the beginning of life? That is what life that must be. Somebody said that “life is magnificent, and death is beyond magnificent.” It’s got to be unbelievable. So we can lose one of the great weapons that the human ego has. The only thing that dies is the ego. No wonder people worry about it.
Matter of fact, it’s one of the reasons Bill gives for why we are able to become entirely ready to have God remove the drink problem; because the ego realized that if it didn’t concede on, it could be gone. It was fatal. I’ll give that to God, and we get the freedom. You know, I never have thought about taking the drink in forty five years. Because of God and the steps, it’s gone. The ego dying, it is a complete release from that problem. What about our character defects? How come we cannot let them go just as easy? They aren’t fatal. So here, the ego is going to put up a fight and it’s going to do as we talk about in Step Six; it’s going to concede partway. It might say, “I agree we should get rid of 65 percent, but you don’t want to go too far.” This is the ego talking me out of going along with getting rid of it all my defects.
“What would it be like if you got rid of it all? I mean, are you sure you want to go that far? So we settle for half measures. That’s why step six and seven are so hard. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re trying to become more willing to let go. It’s hard to believe that the biggest action verb in AA is letting go. It doesn’t sound like an action verb, does it? You know, like climbing a mountain. This is what we’re in. This is the tough one. That’s the hard one. You need a sponsor to come over and say “Go, climb that, you can do it.”