Growing in Understanding and Effectiveness

Growing in Understanding and Effectiveness

Growing in Understanding and Effectiveness

I was sitting in a speaker meeting a few nights ago and heard the speaker say this phrase (the title of this post).  I’ve heard it a million times and know that it’s where Step Ten starts in the chapter “Into Action” in the Big Book.  When I got home that night, I opened my book (which may be why God had him say it out loud…LOL) and read a little bit of it to see its context:

“This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to separate any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.”

By the grace of God, today, I’m so grateful to be able to celebrate 34 years of continuous sobriety (11/17/87).  As I re-read that paragraph for the umpteenth time, God gave me a beautiful birthday gift as several things  jumped right off the page at me:

1.) “vigorously commenced” I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty clear. One definition of vigorously is “with active strength or force; energetically or powerfully” and one definition of commenced is “to begin; start.”  With that said, this clear-cut direction tells me to energetically start this way of living.  Not sort of commenced, or when it’s convenient commenced, but right here, and right now – get started.????

2.) “Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness” I love how in the Foreword to the 12 & 12, it states this, “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”  Growing in understanding to me is an inside job (happily whole – internal) and growing in effectiveness is how God calls me to show up to this world today (usefully whole – external).????

3.) “It should continue for our lifetime” Also from the Foreword to the 12 &12, I get to practice these spiritual principles in all my affairs – as a way of life.  So often, I’ve been guilty of back-sliding and becoming complacent and, as we say, “resting on my laurels.”  If I’ve learned anything in 34 years of sobriety, I’ve learned that time in the Fellowship is not the delineator of the quality of my sobriety (or the quality of my life).  I need to remember that daily action is required (to whom much is given – much is required). ????

4.) “we ask God at once” When I started working with my current sponsor, Chris D. in February 2013, the first thing he had me do was to write a weekly inventory that I would send to him.  That was tough because at that point, I had not been in the practice of looking at my defects of character on a daily basis.  I had to become alert, awake and aware of them to be able to inventory them.  After getting back into the swing of writing inventory regularly, I was able to see my defects IN the moment and at that point – could ask God at once to remove them – not later on in my day – right at that very moment)????

On this very special day to me, the day that 34 years ago God removed all mind altering chemicals from my body, I’m gonna vigorously commence to commit to growing in understanding and effectiveness and remain alert, awake, and aware to my defects (pride, anger, greed, gluttony, lust, envy, sloth, fear) as they pop up so I can ask God to remove them immediately.????   Thank you for allowing me to share my recovery with you in the hopes that it may spark something in you for you to grow in understanding and effectiveness today in your world – in God’s world.

In love and service,


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