Isolation – A New Pair Of Glasses – Chuck C

Conscious separation to conscious contact

The Problem:

Now I am convinced in my own mind….that there is only one problem in this life. One problem that includes all problems and one answer that includes all answers … I am totally convinced that the only roadblock between me and you and my God is the human ego. The only roadblock there is. I further believe that the best definition you’ll ever hear of the human ego, “the feeling of conscious separation from”. From what, from everything. From God (I like these three words: Life, Good, God, which to me are synonymous words). Conscious separation from God, from each other, and eventually from ourselves … And that’s the human ego the seat of all obsessions of the mind. That’s where they come from. It is also my total conviction that there is no possibility under Heaven to satisfy the human ego.

The Answer:

I think maybe if we listened , we sort of established the fact that our problem actually is a living problem and we have to have a living answer.  

Walking alone is not normal; is not natural.  Most of us walked alone for most of our lives.  I walked alone for forty-three years, wanting so badly to be a part of , and always apart from.  That is not normal.  To be away from the Father’s house is not normal.  It’s just as natural as breathing, to come home to the living God that made us.  That’s the normal state.  Being away from home is not normal.  So our problem is conscious separation from and our answer is conscious unity.  


Chuck C. in his famous new pair of glasses talk, stated there is only one problem. Conscious separation. One solution. Conscious contact. That is the whole deal. How do I go from conscious separation to conscious contact with God?

I lived my whole life in a world I created. I call that the world of my alcoholism.  It is a world where I was the center of the universe. In my mind I consciously separated from the real world where God is the center and includes the rest of the world. Why did I do this? On page 61 of the Big Book it asks the question was I not the victim of the delusion that I could wrest satisfaction and happiness in this world if I only managed well. This delusion created a world where what I wanted and needed depended on my management. It was a lonely world and it never worked. Why? Because I was the manager and not God! My thinking and actions were driven by me and I was an example of self will run riot. The problems I had were of my own making. They arose out of me living in this world I created, separated from God. When I look back I could see I made the decisions, no one else, that caused me harm and caused me to harm others. If I separate from God my life will never work!

How does this relate to my alcoholism? When I live in my world I am irritable, restless, and discontented. What does that really mean? Irritable means things and people and events are always bothering me because it is not going my way. Restless because I have no peace and serenity. Discontented because I am only content if I get what I want from people and they follow my script for them. The result is that I was in conflict with everyone and everything. This is well described on pages 60-62. A life run on self will will never work. A life run on self will is manifested by wrong thoughts and action. In my alcoholic world I manifested wrong judgement which we call resentment. Wrong beliefs which are self centered fears. Wrong actions which harmed others and produced shame and guilt. How does this relate to alcohol? I seek the ease and comfort of alcohol to relieve me from the pain of living separated from God.. Alcohol was a solution to how I felt living separated from God. It changed the way I felt. It changed the way I saw the world.

My mind learned that this was the effect of alcohol and would seek it whenever things didn’t go my way.  The problem was I am an alcoholic and have an allergy to alcohol manifested by the phenomenon of craving. Once alcohol entered my system I had no control over the amount I drank. This cannot be treated or ever changed. So the real problem centers in my mind SOBER. 

An alcoholic, sober, living without God, will never have a defense against the first drink. Why? He will never be able to live without being irritable, restless, and discontented. He will live in fear, constantly getting disturbed , and take actions to harm himself and others. His mind will constantly be seeking alcohol to treat this condition. The problem for him is he is having consequences from alcohol and it stops working. As long as he is separated from God in his alcoholic world he has no power against the first drink. NONE. NEVER. Will power or self knowledgewill not be an effective defense because right before he takes the first drink he can only see what alcohol is going to do for him not to him.

I cannot recover from alcoholism and continue to live in my self centered world. Recovery from alcoholism begins when I see that I cannot live the way I have been. I became completely defeated to living this way. There was a moment when I faced the truth that I have a hopeless and futile condition. I can’t fix it. I got down on my knees and said God help me. I had hit bottom. I said I will do anything you ask of me. I can’t go on like this anymore.  This was the beginning of my recovery.

The act of complete surrender is the beginning of me moving out of my self centered world seeking God and direction for my life. It is the beginning of turning away from myself to God.

Heaven is just a new pair of glasses, said Father Ed Dowling [p36]

Clancy I.’s Preface

  • What sets AA head and shoulders above other attempts to reverse the disease of alcoholism is in its immensely successful efforts to literally alter the relationship of the alcoholic to his or her world–in effect, to provide a different perception of the same environment. [pviii]
  • The most baffling characteristic of alcoholism–both to the alcoholic and to those who must deal with him–is the paradox in which the conflicts of sober reality eventually always become untenable, leading to the return to alcohol and/or drugs for relief. Then the “relief” chemical becomes the problem. The outside pressures begin to mount regarding its use, and the pain and discomfort in the patient begins to increase. Neither sobriety nor its chemical counterpoint can provide a meaningful cessation of the the conflict. This almost hopeless condition of mind and body is known as alcoholism…a truly strange disease in which withdrawal from alcohol has little if any salutary effect, and often makes the emotional agony intensify. [pviii]
  • There are many who will tell you how…there are few who can demonstrate it! I have discovered his living example to be more encouraging to me than all the countless pages of “How to…” books in which I for many years immersed my discomfort and discouragement. [pix-x]

Chuck C’s 1975 Pala Mesa Retreat

  • This is not a headache we’re talking about. We’re talking about a terminal illness. [p15]
  • I have to be sober. Sobriety and life are synonymous. [p98]
  • The time has to come in our lives when we come to see that if there be fault, it’s ours. [p99]
  • Our immediate problem when we came here was booze (p3).
  • Our problem actually is a living problem, and we have to have a living answer. [p27]
  • How fortunate we are. We have to find an answer lest we die. And we find the formula for sobriety and the formula for the good life and the formula of God are all the same. And we find an aswer that makes the chemical unnecessary, and it’s an answer that doesn’t just stay in the meeting. [p105-106]
  • You and I are victims of a combination of characteristics which came with us that make it impossible for us to integrate ourselves into the life that we’re born into; into the so-called civilization that we’re born into.
  • Before the thing happened to me, I thought the entire human race was a cosmic mistake. God’s kids were too mean and too stupid to merit my attention [p44]
  • There are three characteristics (there are many more, but we’ll use three) that are common to us all: perfectionism, the interior awareness that life should be a good thing, and highly sensitive.
  • Perfectionism is a beautiful characteristic when we learn how to live it, but until we do it’ll kill us. Forever disappointed in ourselves and everything around us. [p100]
  • Never in our lives, long before we had a drink, were we able to settle for status quo. If it wasn’t better than normal, we didn’t like it. [p11]
  • “When I look out this window sober, it’s cheap and it’s dirty and it’s ugly. But when I look out drunk it’s beautiful.” (“Days of Wine and Roses”) [p100]
  • We’re not emotionally immature, we’re highly sensitive. [p101]
  • We cannot integrate ourselves in to the life around us. It’s not because we don’t want to, because we do. We want so much to be a part of, and we’re forever apart from. So this is our problem, a basic spiritual unrest. [p102] I too had been born into a society that I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t integrate myself into. I had to find a way to be comfortable. When I was nineteen I found a way to get comfortable in that society and for the next fifteen years I used this chemical for an answer. It remained an answer for the first fifteen years, but after fifteen years my answer turned on me and became the problem. The next ten years made it necessary for me to find the right answer, and I did. [p103] 
  • Dr Jung wrote Bill that the alcoholic’s problem was his search for unity with the life around him and with the God that made him. And when he found the bottle, it seemed to be the missing ingredient. It seemed to let him live a little bit more comfortably with himself and in the society around him. He had found a chemical unity, and it did a pretty good job for him until it became the problem that only a spriritual answer could solve. [p105]
  • The only roadblock between me and you and me and my God is the human ego. The best definition of the human ego = “The feeling of conscious separation from”. Conscious separation from God, from each other, and eventually from ourselves. Life, Good, God to me are synonymous words. Here I am against the whole world. [p7, 29] 
  • Why am I not drunk tonght? Because I have the thing I was looking for in the bottle. The king size hurt is gone. [p19] 
  • Sobriety is four-fold: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Physical sobriety comes from not drinking. We don’t drink today and, after awhile, we are free from the physical affects of alcohol. But until we become emotionally stable and mentally stable and spiritually somewhat stable, we’re not sober. [p120]
  • Sobriety is the ability to live comfortably, peacefully and joyously with oneself. [120]
  • Things short of it are partial sobriety. [p96] 
  • How am I going to stay sober? I’m going to perform so that I’m comfortable, right here inside me [p98]  
  • There is an answer that stays with you, and it’s so much better than any chemical. And you don’t have to repeat a dosage of chemicals. If you decide that you want to find this answer, and make an effort, you can find it. There are many people who will help you. [p103]
  • God came to meet me, through you, who had already found your way. [p114]
  • I’ve never had a sponsor in this program. I didn’t figure that I was entitled to that much consideration from anybody. [p46]
  • Those that teach us what not to do are just as important as those that teach us what to do [p47]
  • The AA program is a program of Uncovering, Discovering and Discarding. Steps 1-9 are the uncovering steps, clearing away the wreckage of the past, squeezing us out of ourselves, ego-wise; to get rid of the human ego temporarily. [p6-7] 
  • Now it’s a moral inventory, so we don’t have to write every time we turned left when we should have turned right. It means to write down enough that we can see the motivation for what we have done up until now. The motivating force in our lives. Every one of them will boil down to trying to satisfy the human ego, which cannot be done. But if I have to spread this dirty linen out before another humjan being, if I’ve got any ego left after that, I haven’t done it! [p21] The main thing is that we become willing to give them away, and we give them away. [p22]
  • Sobriety has to come first. Unless and/or until sobriety comes first we can’t have it. 
  • And unless it remains first, we cannot keep it. [p15] 
  • The key to life is rigorous self-honesty. We have a monitor in us, and we can’t dislodge it. The religious call it conscience. When I perform according to the best I know there seems to be a nod of approval from the universe and they call that “peace of mind”. [p54]
  • There’s only one security, that’s my own relationship with my own God. There are no values out there. The values are here inside me. [p142]
  • I find no diference in prayer and a serious thought [p131]
  • If you asked me “What’s your religion?”, I would say, “It’s the way I live.” [p79]
  • Why is I so hard to find God? Because he ain’t lost. [p110] We can be like the fish who heard the water was fine, so they swam all over the Pacific Ocean hunting for water. [p110] 
  • We think, and ourselves become the thing we think about. If I pour in slop, I get back slop [p42-43]. (Ref Power of Positive Thinking, rewiring the brain, etc). 
  • You can live yourself into right thinking, but you cannot think yourself into right living.
  • Do these things and something happens; don’t do them and nothing happens, no matter how much you know about AA. [p44] When I do these simple things, one day at a time to the best of my ability, I feel clean inside, and good thangs hapen in my life. [p109]
  • To get ourselves off our mind, there’s nothing more highly recommended than to sit down with a wet drunk. [p124]
  • I doubt very much if our value as a counselor equals our value as a listener [p122]
  • Live above the problem to be of value to those who have it. We can’t afford to become emotionally involved in their problem or we lose all our possibility for help. The answer is not in the problem, it is in the answer. [p120]
  • We’re changing people. I’m not the guy I was yesterday; I’m the guy I was yesterday plus yesterday’s experience and it’s lesson. So we’re always new, and that woman you’re married to is always new. [p65] The words are always new. Every time I read them, every time I talk about them, they’re new. The words remain the same, we don’t. It depends entirely where we are what they mean. We’ll be walking up this ladder forever. [p95] A happy sobriety will turn into a drunk unless we develop. We’ve got to keep going. All we need to do is get fat and compacent and quit walking, and we’re in trouble. So grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty is a full time job. [p11] (Chuck and Frank M, a couple of old-timers talking at a 1965 conference) “I feel that the last five years have been the greatest period of my own growth.” [p108]
  • All of us are God’s kids. Whether we believe it or not, whether we like it or not, even if we deny it, we cannot change the reality of our own being. Walking alone is not normal, is not natural. Most of us have walked alone for most of our lives. [p27] It’s normal for us to walk down the high road of life with our arms around each other, sharing our experience, strength and hope, one with another in love [p115] Some part of every one of you is going to be with me for the rest of my life. So thank you again. All I have to do is look into the eyes of a bunch like you, to see my God. [p117]

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