Accepting Success or Failure – AA Daily Reflection December 26th

Furthermore, how shall we come to terms with seeming failure or success? Can we now accept and adjust to either without despair or pride? Can we accept poverty, sickness, loneliness, and bereavement with courage and serenity? Can we steadfastly content ourselves with the humbler, yet sometimes more durable, satisfactions when the brighter, more glittering achievements are denied us?

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 112

After I found A.A. and stopped drinking, it took a while before I understood why the First Step contained two parts: my powerlessness over alcohol, and my life’s unmanageability. In the same way, I believed for a long time that, in order to be in tune with the Twelve Steps, it was enough for me “to carry this message to alcoholics.” That was rushing things. I was forgetting that there were a total of Twelve Steps and that the Twelfth Step also had more than one part. Eventually I learned that it was necessary for me to “practice these principles” in all areas of my life. In working all the Steps thoroughly, I not only stay sober and help someone else to achieve sobriety, but also I transform my difficulty with living into a joy of living.

One thought on “Accepting Success or Failure – AA Daily Reflection December 26th

  1. This article raises a number of important questions for me worth further considering:
    1. How do I define or measure success?
    2. How does my encounter with pride and despair rob me of an experience of more authentic version of success?
    3. Are courage and serenity possible or even desirable in all circumstances?
    4. What beyond my sobriety do I wish to practice without condition today right now?
    5. How does this unconditional practice of these principles encourage me deepen and develop my relationship with God? How crucial is this unconditional practice in experiencing what it the Big Book mentions in How It Works and Page 164 about abandoning myself to find God? How essential are my difficulties, in whatever form, to discovering what self-deception I may now have my practice of these principles in all my affairs.

    This reading brought me back to this poem you may have heard me recite before. I attended the funeral of an AA friend who lived a life filled with giving unconditionally to those in need, often in desperate situations. His family found many copies of this poem in his home. I had never heard it before and found its message piercing, moving, powerful. It offers a perspective on the value of life’s struggles that I’m not sure I’ve heard more elegantly described. I suspect he loved this poem because it helped him understand what he was to do with the ‘as is’ that life presented to him. Maybe it will speak to you as well.

    Let me not live a life that’s free
    From the things that draw me close to Thee—
    For how can I ever hope to heal
    The wounds of others I do not feel—
    If my eyes are dry and I never weep,
    How do I know when the hurt is deep—
    If my heart is cold and it never bleeds,
    How can I tell what my brother needs—
    For when ears are deaf to the beggar’s plea
    And we close our eyes and refuse to see,
    And we steel our hearts and harden our mind,
    And we count it a weakness whenever we’re kind,
    We are no longer following The Father’s Way
    Or seeking His guidance from day to day…
    For, without “crosses to carry” and “burdens to bear,”
    We dance through a life that is frothy and fair,
    And “chasing the rainbow” we have no desire
    For “roads that are rough” and “realms that are higher”—
    So spare me no heartache or sorrow, dear Lord,
    For the heart that is hurt reaps the richest reward,
    And God enters the heart that is broken with sorrow
    As he opens the door to a Brighter Tomorrow,
    For only through tears can we recognize
    The suffering that lies in another’s eyes.

    – Author Unknown

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