The Marina Dock Newsletter JULY 2004
Dear Marina Dock Members
One of the advantages
of ageing is that this whole struggle with God is finally laid
to rest. Life, it appears, becomes less about the search for
answers and more about just living in the moment, if you will.
A feeling of inner peace and contentment has descended upon
us and we feel that we have finally emerged from the crises
of personal transformation that dominated the early years of
our recovery. We are now, finally, in a place where we no longer
question the spiritual dimensions of our existence. We can smile
inwardly, as we reflect back on the early years of irritability
and impending doom. The years where everything was a problem
as we tried desperately to stay the course and resist the compulsion
to self-destruct. When I first came around, to say that I was
"agnostically inclined" is putting it mildly. As it
says in the Big Book, "logic is great stuff. We liked it.
We still like it." It was, however, killing me, and somehow,
begrudgingly, I was forced to admit it. My eventual God-consciousness
was visited upon me, like most of us, via the educational medium,
i.e., "developed slowly over a period of time." I
find it somewhat amusing now when I consider how much reliance
I then placed on intellect and rational thinking, believing
them to be a panacea and the ultimate measure of all things.
In fact, they were almost my undoing. The road to enlightenment
can be a chaotic and costly experience for people with my predilections,
but a road nevertheless. In the end, it brought me first to
my knees and then to "a God of my understanding."
That single phrase:
"God as we understood him".
When I think back
on it today, it was probably the difference, for me, between
life and death. Bill's concession, as he described it, to those
of little or no faith. Calling it the great contribution of
our atheists and agnostics, "They have widened our gateway
so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their
belief or lack of belief." It is interesting that Bill's
decision to change the wording, when writing the twelve steps,
was influenced by two late evening callers, his close friend
Horace C and a newcomer, dry barely three months. The two men
had some objections to the frequent use of the word "God"
and to asking on one's knees to have one's shortcomings removed.
Imagine a newcomer having that much influence in the formation
of our twelve steps, and Bill's ability to see beyond his own,
by all accounts, substantial ego. Bill was also sensitive to
the reaction of organized religion to the Big Book's publication.
His good friend, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, a highly respected
minister of the Riverside Church, warmly approved an advanced
copy and virtually guaranteed interest in Protestant circles.
He had even greater reservations about the response of Roman
Catholics. What if they decided that AA was a heretical cult?
After the book was reviewed by the Catholic Committee on Publications
in New York Archdiocese, the committee had high praise for the
book and its message. They did, however suggest some minor changes,
which Bill quickly accepted. The most significant of these was
a piece at the end of Bill's own story. Where he declared that
the recovered alcoholic had found heaven right here on earth.
The committee suggested that he change "heaven" to
"Utopia." As they said, "After all, we Catholics
are promising folks something much better later on!"(Pass
It On, 1984) It looks like we might have a stronger case today
than we did then. Do you think enough time has now elapsed for
us to petition the church to have the word "Heaven"
reinstated, or is that still somewhat premature?
In the End
"We had to fearlessly
face the proposition that either God is everything or else He
is nothing. Either God is, or He is not. What was our choice to
be?" I have to confess there are times when I am far removed
from this Spirit of the Universe. That is when the fear returns
and I start to feel resentful and self-absorbed again. It is then
I recall that day in 1939, in Bill's kitchen at 182 Clinton Street,
how God, speaking through that fella just a few weeks dry, drove
a nasty hanging curve ball, called "God as we understood
him" deep into the Brooklyn night and into the annals of
AA history. I do not know your name, whoever you were, I only
know you as God.
We Need Your Cooperation
In order to preserve
our fellowship and its traditions we must have people who are
committed and dedicated to that end.
I do not know anyone who has done more, in my time in the fellowship,
than "English Gayle" she has worked tirelessly through
service over the Years to protect and promote the AA legacy of
unity, recovery and service. Every month, for the last few years,
she has freely given her time and energy to "The Secretary's
Workshop" at The Marina Dock. Last month they had four people
in attendance not one of who were from Marina Dock AA meetings.
Does this mean that all our secretaries are well versed in AA
principles and traditions and need no further instruction? We
think not. Please announce this important workshop (Saturday,
July 10th, at 1:30 pm) at your meetings and encourage secretaries
to attend. We all benefit when we have people who are doing service
commitments who know what they are doing.
I Wanted To Talk About
However, I was too wrapped in a "God of my understanding."
I suppose we can survive without money, but God? I do not think
so! Let us have a Fourth of July buffet and celebrate. We will
have it on Saturday evening the 3rd rather than Sunday the four.
I am doing this long enough now to know whenever I have a problem,
financial or otherwise, the solution is to give. Last, but not
least, the recycling is going well, but the paper cups are three
times more expensive than Styrofoam and we have no choice but
to raise the price of our tea and coffee. Small 8 oz cups remain
the same at $1.00, medium and large coffee and tea are $1.50 and
$1.75 respectively. I hope you like the new carpet? The remodeling
will continue in the East Room $$$$?
Anthony T. Murray