One of the most glaring defects of character that I uncovered in my 4th Step inventory was resentment from my people pleasing. I was always saying “Yes” when I wanted to say “No”. I was looking for praise and glory. Now my 10th step helps me keep this in check.
Recently my Sponsor called and needed help. She was ill and was supposed to take one of her family members to the doctor and wait 3 hours while a procedure was done. My first thought was How do I tell my Sponsor no? I really did not want to do this. I told her I would call her the next day with my answer.
When I shared the dilemma with my Recovering Alcoholic a few minutes later, he took my hands and said, “Now let us pray together, seeking God’s guidance through the 11th step. I told God I was willing and ask that he make his will obvious to me. I needed to know that my motive was in the right place. Three hours later my Sponsor called and said the situation was taken care of. I thought I had received my answer. But the morning of the surgery, she called and ask me to pray that she was able to do this because the prior solution fell through and she was still not feeling well.
I remembered that, in the 7th step, I ask my Higher Power to remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to God and other people (All Our Affairs, pg. 137), including selfishness and self-seeking behavior and not getting out of myself to help others. It does not have to be another Al-Anon that I help. Although we live 60 miles apart, we arranged to meet, and I drove my Sponsor and her relative. While we waited, we had lunch and I got to spend several extremely rewarding hours with my Sponsor.
Step 12 asks me to carry this message to others, not just other Al-Anon members, and to practice the principles of Acceptance, Hope, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Love, Justice-Discipline, Perseverance, Spiritual Awareness, Service and Responsibility in all my affairs, and not just when it is convenient and self-serving for me. Today I am grateful that I can do for others what was done for me when I needed help. My personal experiences have shown me that the more I do for others, the more time I have for myself. As a result, I have more peace and serenity today.
What an amazing Blessing of Recovery Al-Anon has been to me!