May 24: Pause When Agitated

Pause When Agitated

On Wednesdays, I go to a Big Book study meeting. It’s been really helpful for me to listen as we read out loud for about 20 minutes, and then we have a discussion on the reading. Last week we were reading the chapter “Into Action.” This is the part that really struck me:

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self- pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.
Alcoholics Anonymous, page 87

Pause when agitated. Seriously? I actually spoke up and asked if anyone really does that. {They do}. My mode of operation my whole life, is to go from zero to ten in a fit of rage. I’m not really proud of that. The thought of pausing seemed/seems impossible. My sponsor says that, God (or the universe) gives opportunity after opportunity to work on our behaviors.

AND Of course, the next day I got to practice PAUSE. What I realized is that before my emotional explosion, there is a brief period of irritation. I never recognized that before. Truthfully, the idea of pausing and praying was not something that I had any desire to do. BUT … when I always do what I have always done, I get what I have always gotten. That’s insane. So I paused and asked my higher power for help. I didn’t explode. It wasn’t perfect or even pretty but I did it. That got me going back to the literature to read again.

The next line says, we constantly remind ourselves. Seriously? I texted my sponsor and asked her if people really do that–pause. Does she do that? — pause?–constantly remind herself she’s not running the show? – many times each day? She replied – yes, yes and yes. I have been angry for a long time. It’s my “go to” emotion. I haven’t really known what other emotions there are besides sad and angry and tired. Like so many of us, I used alcohol to medicate myself – to try to feel better – to be happy. And like all of us, the alcohol didn’t fix me.

I am practicing/learning to pause, and I am learning to pray and ask my higher power for His will not mine. I like running the show but it hasn’t worked. Today I am grateful that I am sober! I have countless blessings. Things have improved in my life. I am still a work in progress. But when I sit back and look at where I was 18 months ago, I can honestly it’s a miracle. I am so grateful for AA, my higher power, my sponsor, the fellowship, and this group.

I would really like to hear your thoughts and experiences on this subject – pause. Do you pause, does it work for you, do you constantly remind yourself you are not the running the show? How has that changed your life?