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Navigating through life with Step 10

In many respects, the Fellowship is like a reasonably happy cruise ship or, in time of trouble, like a convoy. But in the long run each of us must chart his or her own course through life. When the seas are smooth we may become careless. By neglecting Step Ten, we may get out of the habit of checking our position. If we’re mindful of Step Ten, however, then we rarely are so far wrong that we can’t make a few corrections and get back on course again. “Do I realize that regular practice of Step Ten can help me determine what other step is needed to bring me into a happier frame of mind and into serenity?”

May Step Ten be the sextant by which I read my whereabouts on the sea of life, so that I can correct my course if I am heading for dangerous territory. May I keep in mind that if it weren’t for an all-knowing Captain (that would be G-d) and the vigilance of my fellow crew members, that my life could go adrift and I get into real trouble.

Clardy S.

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I Stand by the Door

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out.
The door is the most important door in the world –
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door – the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch – the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it – live because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in –
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. ‘Let me out!’ they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving – preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where? Outside the door –
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But – more important for me –
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

‘I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.

Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

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A song comes on the radio, a tune we used to sing
It stirs up joyful memories, a person, place or thing
That first true love, a camping trip, a ski house in Vermont
The times we shared with friends inside our favorite restaurant

Yet, there are other memories we desire to forget
Our alcohol obsession, words and actions we regret
Both good and bad, they do arise, and then they fade away
Till someone or thing rekindles them and puts them on display

A member at a meeting shared what he was going through
He had not drank for thirty days, his program very new
He told of how each day a battle raged inside his head
The urge to drink still haunted him, was easily misled

He’d fought the urge and did not drink, then asked is someone knew
How long that he would be this way, what did he have to do
We’ve all been there, keep coming back, the other members said
It may take time, but be assured, there’s better days ahead

For me, those days are in the past, obsession’s been removed
Thanks to AA, my life today has greatly been improved
Rarely does a drinking thought ever get completed
When it occurs, before it sets, it’s readily depleted

His share was a reminder that I too had felt that way
Not knowing if I had the will to not drink one more day
It did take time, but slowly drinking thoughts began to fade
So, there I sat, unlike our friend, content I had it made

But then another thought arose, was subtlety implanted
I needed to remember not to take my GIFT for granted
Just because I have not had a drink for many years
I am not CURED, the demon hides somewhere between my ears

Another fellow joined a different meeting I attend
The story that he told was very hard to comprehend
He had been dry for thirty years without attending meetings
He took one drink, and just like that, his old ways were repeating

It started with a beer or two, no harm, he had control
Within two week his life had changed, the liquor took its toll
Right back where he’d left off, alcohol consumed his thinking
He knew he must rejoin AA or end up dead from drinking

He’s been back in the program now for two successful years
Just like that other fellow it began with doubts and fears
He got a sponsor, worked the steps, and helped me to remember
That I still need to hear these things from other AA members

It’s good to be reminded of the time we were like them
Unsure if we would make it, would we ever start to mend
Reminders have a way to lead us to appreciation
And let us know we’re still in school, there is no graduation

Larry R.