As the day goes on, we can pause where situations must be met and decisions made, and renew the simple request: “Thy will, not mine, be done.” If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance, provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all–our search for God’s will, not our own will, in the moment of stress. At these critical moments, if we remind ourselves that “it is better to comfort than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than to be loved,” we will be following the intent of Step Eleven.
It was because I remember being desperate, trying to get sober, and saying the prayers of my childhood, because I had memorized them, not because I believed them, that I set out to memorize new prayers and work with them in a way that will make them part of my being. I do often turn to a quick prayer. When I’m angry, it’s likely to be, “Make me a channel of Thy peace.” When things are tense and longer lasting, I’ll read or write an entire prayer in long hand.
When I need to make a decision, and for some reason it’s difficult or tense, I try hard to buy time to think about it and let it settle so I don’t have to react. If I don’t have time to buy, I usually try to go with what the other person wants. I try, if I can, to say yes.
I can see how the well-worn phrases and thoughts turn my attention at least a bit from the turmoil to serenity.
But I have on complaint. I cannot think about the fancy smancy words of the Third Step prayer without thinking that they are goofy. Why, oh why, did he write it with wilt and Thy and Thou?