Reading through Step 7 in the 12×12 (The Twelve Steps and 12 Traditions) today with a sponsee we had some helpful discussion and revelations. Now she has “Humbly asked God to remove these shortcomings.”
The Step 7 discussion focused on how we make choices we often regret when we are in fear over losing things that we already have, or not acquiring what we want. As I reminded my sponsee about the Promises, about how the Big Book says that before we are halfway through we will find a new joy, a new freedom and happiness, she nodded knowingly. She has already been experiencing the Promises. She has seen that as her former choices to react to situations shifts to how to respond with more helpful behaviors, the miracles are happening.
And these are seemingly small changes in behavior. Yet, these small changes have led her to enjoy more time with her husband, try some new activities that she was never open to before – and she so enjoyed herself – and have dimished the stress that she’s experienced during some life transitions. Little miracles are happening in her life; calls from new friends to join them for social events, fun with her husband, opportunities for her to make positive contributions to others without interfering with her ability to take care of herself, a new job. And she wasn’t even halfway through the 12 Steps when these miracles started happening – just like it says in the book. How usual. How wonderful. This is how it works.
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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to change.”
Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.
Course In Miracles Lesson – I will not use the body’s eyes today.
Practice – In Father, Christ’s vision is Your gift to us, and it has power to translate all that the body’s eyes behold into the sight of a forgiven world. How glorious and gracious is this world! Yet how much more will we perceive in it than sight can give. The world forgiven signifies Your Children acknowledge their Father, lets the Father’s dreams be brought to truth, and waits expectantly the one remaining instant more of time, which ends forever as Your memory returns to them. And now their will is one with Yours. Their function now is but Your own, and every thought except Your own is gone.
A friend of mine is in her girlfriend’s wedding. This is the first wedding she’s been asked to participate in and she had no idea what type of cost would be involved in the role of bridesmaid. She just moved out of her parents’ home. She’s paying her way through school, supporting herself in her new apartment and working two jobs.
The dress is $200, the hemming is $60, the shoes are $80 and now the bachelorette party and the bruch the day after the wedding are part of what she’s expected to pay for as well. With the shower gift, the wedding gift and the other extras not mentioned, she’s at over $500 in cost. My friend doesn’t spend this kind of money on herself – and she doesn’t have this kind of money to spend on anything. She wouldn’t be able to, or expected to pay this much to be in her own sister’s wedding. The bride’s expectations appear to be out of control, and no one has said anything to her about it. My friend and the other bridesmaids have now developed a resentment toward the bride about the exorbitant costs incurred and the hardships this is creating for them.
The 12 Step programs talk about self will run riot – this appears to be just such a case. The 12 Step programs also talk about being rigorously honest. No one has yet let the bride know the hardships they are facing with these costs. So here’s a perfect opportunity for my friend to get honest, humble herself and address the facts of the situation. She’s decided to ask the bride for help to pay for some of the costs of the wedding attire, and also let the maid of honor know that she can participate in the bachelorette party if it’s a pot luck to which she’ll be happy to bring a dish, but that she can’t afford to share in any further costs for these events. She’s also letting the bride know that she won’t be able to afford the bridal brunch the day after (which the bride just announced would have to be paid for by the bridesmaids because her parent’s gave her a financial boundary). I’ve offered moral support to her regarding being honest and requesting assistance. Her requests are reasonable and appropriate. We get to take care of our side of the street in life, make reasonable requests and put the results in God’s hands. My friend has learned much from this situation. She’ll surely politely decline any future requests to be in weddings, or give the prospective bride her budget limitations up front to avoid any misunderstandings, stress or potential resentments. Setting helpful boundaries is a learning process and we have the support of our fellows when we face these new situations. It’s part of becoming responsible and accountable. We are in good company as we learn to set these boundaries and it does become easier. Progress, not perfection.