The Trinity of Self

The word Trinity is often referred to the three-in-one God of the Bible, with the name; The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. Because of love, I believe in the Trinity because it only makes sense to me. I never had an issue in believing in the concept of love. I feel and experience love. So, love must have existed before God created the heavens and the earth. So having three persons in the Godhead, allows love to exist before creation.

There is another trinity (lower case t) of my self-centered world. There are three sides to my thinking. I am 1) selfish, 2) self-centered, and 3) live in self-pity. The perfect storm! I live with most of these defects of characters each day, sometimes one or the other is more prevalent, or there are days when I am not consciously aware that I am living in the self-centered world. Ah, before you judge me, I ask that you look for these defects in your life. If you still cannot see it, try a dose of humility.

What does it mean to be selfish, self-centered and self-pity? Page 62 of the Big Book has all three in two sentences and others added on for humility. It is the root of our (mine) troubles!

Big Book, page, 62 “Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows, and they retaliate.”

What is selfishness? It is me being concerned excessively or exclusively, about me or my advantage over you; where I am overly concerned with self-pleasure, or my personal welfare, at the expense of you.

What does it mean to be self-centered? It is me being preoccupied with my affairs at the expense of yours. This is the area where my ego allows me to go.

What does it mean to live in self-pity? This is my strongest, “weakness.” Self-pity is when I feel suffering and misfortune because of self-indulgence thinking which I accept as truth, but it is all about me wanting something I do not deserve. Often it is a failure of faith, failed thinking and puffing myself up as I deserve something more than you do.

It is interesting to see the trinity of AA as well. When we look at the AA circle/triangle symbol most closely associated with AA. The triangle is three-sided, each side representing, Service, Recovery, and Unity.

So, the trinity of AA is how we should relate to each other. The Trinity of the Bible is how we should love one another.

And the trinity of self should be overpowered by those other two trinities; AA’s Service, Unity, and Recovery and most important learning to Love one another.

Paradoxes

I love paradoxes— at one level it is a puzzle at another level wisdom, it may be a truth where I cannot see it, or it may appear to be false. In AA, the Big Book has many paradoxes which if explained proves these to be true. Some of these are listed below.

in the story of The Professor And The Paradox from the second edition of the Big Book, we can see them explained:

  • We SURRENDER TO WIN. On the face of it, surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. But it is in A.A. Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit “bottom” in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety which we could never accomplish before. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.
  • We GIVE AWAY TO KEEP. That seems absurd and untrue. How can you keep anything if you give it away? But in order to keep whatever it is we get in A.A., we must go about giving it away to others, for no fees or rewards of any kind. When we cannot afford to give away what we have received so freely in A.A., we had better get ready for our next “drunk.” It will happen every time. We’ve got to continue to give it away in order to keep it.
  • We SUFFER TO GET WELL. There is no way to escape the terrible suffering of remorse and regret and shame and embarrassment which starts us on the road to getting well from our affliction. There is no new way to shake out a hangover. It’s painful. And for us, necessarily so. I told this to a friend of mine as he sat weaving to and fro on the side of the bed, in terrible shape, about to die for some paraldehyde. I said, “Lost John”—that’s his nickname—”Lost John, you know you’re going to have to do a certain amount of shaking sooner or later.” “Well,” he said, “for God’s sake let’s make it later!” We suffer to get well.
  • We DIE TO LIVE. That is a beautiful paradox straight out of the Biblical idea of being “born again” or “in losing one’s life to find it.” When we work at our Twelve Steps, the old life of guzzling and fuzzy thinking, and all that goes with it, gradually dies, and we acquire a different and a better way of life. As our shortcomings are removed, one life of us dies, and another life of us lives. We in A.A. die to live.

To solve a paradox a few tools are required, an open-mindedness to the possibility it is true and we look at the problem from different perspectives or viewpoints.

To illustrate this, I will use a simple statement. When is a circle and triangle the same shape? You may answer as it is the AA’s Recovery, Unity, and Service symbol. Yes, thank you my friend Abbey for showing me that.

Take the shape of a cone. Move it around in your mind or hold it in your hand such as an ice cream cone. Hold it out to see the side, and you see the triangle, hold it out and turn it to see the top, it is a circle. So something like a cone can solve a simple paradox of two shapes being the same object. Plus you load it up with a few scoops, and you give a taste of a little heaven here on earth (another paradox).

Illustration of a cone, of a triangle and circle
Illustration of a cone, of a triangle and circle

Burning Desires?

It is just me that some in our meetings have so many burning desires? When I lead a meeting, I never ask if there is anyone with a burning desire. Around me, so many take the concept of burning desire to mean they need and allow their ego to lead once again.

A leader can be sensitive to the group and pick up on the need for someone to share. Just look at their faces and allow God to direct you in picking the shares. Do you pray before and during the meeting to see what God wants to do?

It may be a surprise to you, that I am most likely wrong. I read that in the Twelve and Twelve:

92:2 Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows means. It will become more and more evident as we go forward that it is pointless to become angry or to get hurt by people who, like us, are suffering from the pains of growing up.

Yep, that is me. Ok, I am like you, and yes it bothers me. I may grow up one day, but today I can express that the folks that bother me the most are the “Loud and Proud.” The hidden drunk-a-log folks, those that repeat 80% of their experience and so little of their strength and hope.

All shares have value; some teach me the program, some teach me patience and some teach me humility. Sometimes, I am not teachable at that moment, my desire as I grow up is to become more teachable. Oh, how my serenity suffers when I allow this to bother me.

God as you understand God

God as you understand God… or it is a god of our own understanding?

The AA program works when a spiritual dimension is activated and God is a welcomed member or active agent of change in our lives. Bill W. and the others knew that the God of Bible and other religions may be a point of distraction to those who find themselves physically and emotionally different from those who do not struggle with alcohol abuse. Without God, the alcoholic is lost; but how does one find a God that they have rejected? Continue reading