It is now five weeks since we put into practice your teaching on the absolute necessity to refrain from ingesting alcoholic beverages. This new path is proving a very exciting one with respect to the reactions of others. I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised at the goodwill extended to me by family, friends and acquaintances once my position is revealed.
Scott Peck's comment that A.A. is the strongest Christian Church in America, …………….leads me to almost ask you for a 'book of instructions'. However, I also sense that you and our Christ are very close at hand in the myriad of challenges associated with abstaining (and desiring that others abstain also) and hence equip me as and when necessary.
I believe you are reasonably pleased thus far with the way we are 'blazing our own way’ but please, it is hard, and your guidance would be a great help.
By the way, isn't it wonderful that people are thinking of giving up alcohol because of the teaching - 'the harvest IS ready'. …………….
DURING the interim period of transition such as you are experiencing now, there will be conditions arising as well as an awareness which is sensitive to peculiars of particulars, which will not be remarkable to you in the long run, as you go along. Although each leap in a man is profoundly indifferent to all of that which it has just left behind, there are 'catch ups' which need follow, and also adjustments to be made accordingly. No one man can do this with automatic ease unless it not be new to him.
So with the many questions here to address, the first official should be regarding this period of having just changed with respect to your needs now, and then on to the same in relation to what you may hopefully expect in the future.
Water cleanses. It is by the nature of the water - the ego-nature of our water - that we can help that of our own ego cleanse itself and rid itself of those imprints outstanding which we no longer require. We may address the higher ego of the water, and therein wash that of our own ego clean. It is recommended that water be sipped often, keeping this understanding of its nature in mind, in thankfulness for its being, its presence and its action upon our very nature. The water shall become sweet to us, and its improvement within us is most desirous for all conditions, yet most especially to this. If thoughts pertaining to alcohol arise in any form it is good to go and immediately take in the water; and to do this with the intention of it being remedial to self……..
The sin itself of all that is in the World manifesting in flesh was answered by water in its presence therein. What does this tell us of spheres which exist which are as barren as a cloudless desert - those that crumble and harden and crumble again? …………………… Now we bring into the systems once again the undefiled and the pure substance which is no more to be insulted within the constitution by the poison which has bitterly used it to its own end.
………………………………. Remembering that although pure alcohol is waterless in a certain measurement only (it has fluidity even after distillation), it is the bearing of a sufficient water-nature, which does carry and conceal and empower the substance vehicular to it. The presence of God, so to speak, in just fraction of appearance is far better than none. His representation lives within that water and speaks directly therein to us - and He would rather be present to us in sin than not at all. The concept that sin drives God from us is as untrue as it is true. God is comprehensive, even when we are not, and He does not flinch from Sin, even though certain angels and men may quaver………………….
The transitional time-out may continue into weeks and months (or years) depending upon the associated thought-forms and desires which ridicule the change. Once again it can be said that this is all perfectly normal and part and parcel of the blessing which is to follow. The initial decision is essentially the conclusion, and yet the power of blessing which results will actually come from the contests experienced in these immediate days right after…………….
The persona of the alcoholic drinker is one which identifies self with glass in hand; friendship and society; calmness, warmness and general 'wellbeing'. You shall know when you have managed to step out from this persona when you no longer 'react' - there is no reaction struck either way - when you are impervious to the sight of a bar or a glass and do not identify with the memories imposed upon you from his vantage of past tiddlies………….
At this point there becomes a great change. Great and grand and glorious! For a man may renounce a good many things, but of all things to do battle with, of this he becomes empowered the most. This too makes for all important steps to follow ever after - now being the very best position to travel out from, to go anywhere. Command of awareness and spiritual clarity, tried, tested and won - battle seen and foe delivered - and all goes well! Bravo! The world shudders with delight and ... Christ is satisfied. For now He is content that you are well safe and once again strong in self and bright-spirited!
The goodwill noted is a marvelous experience of love as opposed to the hatefulness… through the unfortunate. This goodwill is so very real and harmonious it is healing to everyone concerned, and it can be said that in these early days of abstinence it carries the man quite far into his efforts and is to be remembered always after.
The 'fear of offense' offers us two concerns, namely offense itself and the 'fear' that is mentioned. Offense itself, when not intended, is not a concern one can seriously entertain the thought of, then owning up to. If there is no genuine ill intent, if you do not seek disruption or insult, if you are innocent to the other folk's discretion and how they have made judge of you or your actions, then let it pass, without giving time to their folly.
Too often good men are deceived by the murky thoughts of protesters who try to provoke a self-doubt at their own goodness. Misery does indeed love company, and in this we may not feel responsible for the condition of those who remain at the bar. That is their choice, although sadly may be so weakened as to their wisdom in making such choice. A man can no more safely step out of the boat and onto the water to save a drowning man than go to the bar with the pretense of drinking. He must remain in the boat and do everything he can from that position, this is true.
The point of Elwood being in the bar in the first place was the contrast itself to the 'preferred society' to which a man of 'status' would usually keep. Being a true brother to all, he held absolutely no differentiation between one and another; even to the point of accepting and befriending a good-natured being who also broke with convention (a Pookah).
Whilst the good Doctor projected himself into fanciful thinking it was Elwood who was at home in the 'here and now', enjoying in the company that went along with it. Central to the whirl of wants and pleadings that surrounded him, he did as best as he could, being almost, as it were, quite Buddhistic in his attitude.
However as an example you draw, it is worthy of note because as pleasant as he was, there was a decided lack of egohood there, was there not? As in sense of self, and sense of self-direction; in creativity, motivation and determination - were these qualities apparent? Or did in fact the gentleness of the character depicted, alarm us to his inability to withstand the very nonsense around him? For surely there comes a point when a man needs be firm about himself and does not just merely go along with the demands of others simply to make peace and be pleasant? If this is so then the path of Elwood is dangerous (and perhaps at that bar he did drink - just a rough guess).
So peace-seeking at cost of self is unproductive. Somewhere the tensions will manifest yet again if there is no resolution. Confrontations resume, and if the man further sets out to placate the storm by giving into its fury, then he simply causes that storm to upset his inner being by the very fact that he has gone against that which he knows to be right.
Offend not thine own heart! For those who are offended at thy righteousness, let them be so! For it may help towards their own conversion one day, and until then you may be given the strength to battle with their bad manners and disapproval.
As for the 'fear' so mentioned, there is a parallel fear coexisting in a man, one which corresponds within his dual-self demon and that which corresponds within his higher self of soul. In times of testing (and this is definitely one of those times for you) both types of fear can become accentuated. The 'Dweller on the Threshold' Double of a man, has all of the residual which is abhorrent to the Higher Self - that same Higher Self which is partly characterized and freed because of the Double adopting the 'undesirable' characteristics.
Now of course it is completely necessary for the Higher Self of a man to eventually take up the Double and address all that he has been and done to create and color this other half, however they are at odds with one another; and especially during this transition, they are pulling away from each other with a greater than ever calamity and expression. The Higher Self is expanding and maintaining itself, however it may inspire a fear of reprisal and also a fear of regression. This is because the Double of the man is protesting this new change and promotes a fear of identity, a fear of losing identity and so forth.
Occultly speaking this is the most difficult contender of all - moreso than any actual exterior devil. The anterior objective is to not pacify, but nullify these fears and we do this by not feeding them our attention or our potency in any way, shape or form. If we expend ourselves by trying to creatively answer scenarios of offense or of fearful outcome, even in trying to pacify we are nonetheless giving the fears more substance than they are worth. We are actually feeding also our 'Double', rather than in giving our thoughts and our desires into that which is more worthy and spirit-building - focusing on the higher man and all that ennobles him in what he does within the world; for one does and will detract from the other.
The Double will pull the Higher Self into the pit if allowed to be listened to and taken seriously. Therefore, there is no equality, no equal decision-making to be had and no equal status until one becomes as good and pure as the other, and this may only be achieved if the Higher Self stands firm in what it allows.
Oddly enough, the further along the path a man may travel the more keenly he feels the presence of his Double. He is uneasy in this and inclined to forever look over his shoulder and oft times equate it with himself; and so the fear returns ever stronger. The answer to this, to enable us to live with our Double (as this we must) brings us into yet more dangerous territory with only the contemplation thereof.
In this it could also be said here, that there is a certain magician well known, who due to his progression of inner law sought to draw in certain powers to enhance his spiritual bodies, and by doing so (in ritualistic borrowing) he empowered his 'Double' into the bargain. This endoubled his virtuosity, but also quadrupled his 'negative' self. He was thereafter taken to every miserable influence which was to follow.
Hatefulness, spitefulness and haughtiness increase our Double's sense of self-worth. It thrives on this and is quick to point out all other's failings and misdemeanors. If we can keep this in check, if we can cease the unempathetic prattle of this Double, then we shall be well clear to proceed forth into our change.
Our wills need to be made yet keener, and it is good practice to have to keep ourselves in check. We may actually think that it is our higher natures which judge the mistaken of the world most harshly, but it is rather that of our Double that incites all corruptive behavior. If we make an enormous change for the better we may be grateful that this was possible, yet if we fall fain to severe judgment of those who remain in the condition we have just come from, then we are listening to the Double, who in the first place cannot take credit anyways for that change so noted. It is interesting the way it happens like that!
Alcoholics Anonymous as a movement, has to be one of the most courageous and outstanding in the world - this is so - and yet further to this we would like to suggest however, just one small correction to the overall philosophy as good as it seems. For to say one's name in introduction and then follow on by adding the statement "I am an alcoholic", is sadly overall, quite deleterious to the man. What a powerful antecedent to begin anything with " I am"…….
As said before, the persona must necessarily be dropped, and this thinking does anything but.
The concept for this arose from the notion that an alcoholic had to acknowledge his problem before he could address it fully. ………….However, it would be far better if an affirmation for the good could replace the ongoing pitiable alliance aforementioned.
It can happen, it must be said, that the transitional stage that we have discussed today can indeed go on for the remainder of a lifetime. This may be sadly so, and for many who go to A.A. for a strength and a support in a fellowship in kind (during this transitional period), then it is marvelous indeed that the courage continues. After death they shall be utterly free of those cravings which ravaged their equilibrium and even sanity……………There are many problems of personality which death may sweep away and free the soul thereof. In the case of the man who has not the strength to reinforce new thought-forms and cast new elementals for this transition and yet has deliberately changed himself in his ways and fought his habits, he shall not carry them over to any degree once deceased from this world.
As to the question as to what one may say and the challenges given to this abstaining: all of the spiritual powers support you, and now because you are not offensive to them, they may go with you. You were offered a truth boldly and you touched it and then were not afraid to embrace it - taking it to be your very own. Not only for yourself have you done this, but for Christ and for the men of this world, for all of your actions will be different now accordingly (and more profitable), whilst also your abstinence increases the strength in others for such as well.
This has been the beginning for a new life for you. No other change could be as significant or invoke the chain of consequence as this now does. This is also a time to bring about as many new relationships within this world, experiencing it more fully and more detailed in a way that is yours to know. And because of there being this time of transition, it really is required that you care for yourself sincerely.
By this we mean to say that you are not yet quite entitled or enabled to fully bless others out from alcohol until you yourself have been completely divorced from the association. This will come, but you shall need to find a little patience with yourself on this matter, remembering that it is such a very important thing you do, and it shall be managed all the better if you do not tense and strain, giving more attention than due. Best not contend with the others battles at this point, until there is peace resolved within; and this will be achieved. For the time being, in coming to the world anew one can try to focus on that which feeds the soul and sense delightfully, and take restoration in this.
This does not mean to take a holiday from self - no, no, no! - but to get acquainted with self, reacquainted afresh, because there were a period of years when although functional and remarkably so, you had not altogether felt free to express self in a way that you are now preparing to do……….
To ensure that you may spiritually take up the benefit, means that there must be time afforded right now for your own care (and comfort). You will be required to do much, and shall know for yourself what and when this is to be. However (and no more clearly can we advise this) for the weeks ahead think not about the salvation of others (just at this point of abstaining), nor make concern about their feelings when it comes to your directions, for this is a time where you need to reestablish all things with the world and name them anew, including yourself.
(And, it's more than worth it!)