Useful To Others

Useful To Others

Useful To Others

This weekend I heard  “Reno John” speak at the 37th Annual Gathering of Eagles in Dallas, TX and he was amazing.  He said something in his talk that made me stop and think…. he said (and I paraphrase), “There are 72 references to the statement, “useful to others” in the first 164 pages.” I went home and did a search of the BB on my computer and couldn’t find 72 references, but it did inspire to to go to pages 18-19 (4th Edition) to see at least one….

“Most of us sense that real tolerance of other people’s shortcomings and viewpoints and a respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us more useful to others. Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.”Excerpt from “Alcoholics Anonymous” 4th Edition, Pages 18-19, There Is A Solution, AA World Services, Inc.

The idea that my recovery depends on my ability to think of others first before myself is a long-standing idea in our program of recovery. But if you are anything like this alcoholic, that has been one of the hardest things to do because of my default selfishness and self-centeredness.  We are taught early on that selfishness and self-centeredness are the root of our problem and for me, that manifests as a result of my broken thinking. I’m so grateful that Bill wrote in many places in our basic text that my thinking is the crux of my problem – not alcohol.

This paragraph on pages 18-19 layout clear guidelines on the beginning of what I need to be able to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body and become useful to others.  I need:

  • Real tolerance of other people’s shortcomings
  • Respect for their opinions
  • Constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs

BAM! There are times that my default response is, “NOPE!!!!!  Can’t do it!!!” For me to be be able to get there I need to let go and remember the 3 Steps to Freedom and Enlightened Living (a spiritual tool I learned outside the Fellowship):

  1. Non-Resistance: To stop fighting “it”, whatever “it” is (read page 417 BB 4th edition and work on changing you – not “it”)
  2. Non-Judgment: To stop placing a mental label of good or bad on “it” (refer to #1 and remember “it” is just exactly as “it” is supposed to be)
  3. Non-Attachment: To stop attaching an outcome to “it” (take the Steps and leave the results up to God)

If I can remember these three simple tools throughout each 24, I will be much more prepared to start being useful to others and to help in meeting their needs.  This cannot be done (at least for this alcoholic) without a clear understanding of not only WHO I am, but WHOSE I am.  I am a loving child of God willing to let go of any pre-conceived notions about people, places, and things and align my will with God’s will for me today.

All I want for today is to be of maximum service to God and those about me.  When I become tolerant of other’s shortcomings, respectful of their opinions (even if I disagree with them), and filled with the constant thought of people besides myself – I am likely going to have the kind of day God intended for me today. This blog post was one of my efforts today to become useful to others.  I hope something you’ve read here helps you be the best child of God you can be today.

In love and service,


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