A New Years Look at Resolution Making: A celebration of diversity and lessons learned about rigidity

It’s a new year and here at Rebellion Dogs we would like to offer a contrarian approach to habitual resolution making. Put another way, we would like to suggest making peace with our foibles as a worthy alternative to shoehorning ourselves into right-living. Let’s never take ourselves too seriously.

Are New Year’s resolutions a form of taking ourselves too seriously? It is an attempt to make ourselves one more step closer to adequacy or perfection, depending on our perspective. In Beyond Belief: Daily Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life we visit the resolution tradition of January First with a Taoist perspective. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD says, “The Tao is a world unfolding according to its own laws. Nothing is done or forced; everything just comes about. To live in accord with the Tao is to understand non-doing and non-striving. Your life is already doing itself.” This isn’t to say that self-improvement is pure folly. We are reminded, however that we are not trying to achieve worthiness. We are already worthy as fellow erring travelers of the human race.

Rebellion Dogs Publishing is busy seeing Beyond Belief through to its printing scheduled for next week. At this time of annual reflection we are truly grateful for the support that the freethinking recovery community has shown. Those who have pre-ordered paperback and eBook versions of Beyond Belief have put their money where their mouth is in supporting this project and because of the initial support our initial run will be larger than first anticipated. We also want to recognize that early supporters have had to endure our missed target release of pre-holidays and your patience is not something we take lightly. It will be our great pleasure to ensure that you have your copies arrive in your hands before stores stock our book and we would be remiss if we didn’t say, “Thank you.” We hoped to say on this day, “Finally, a daily reflection book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone.” With humility we are saying on this day, “Eventually, a daily reflection book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone.”

Another book we look forward to seeing early in 2013 is Roger C’s (http://aaagnositca.org) collection of alternative Twelve Step interpretations. Nothing deters the forces of dogma and reification like a constant flow of new ideas, inclusivity and flexible thinking. Let’s not forget that in Toronto Canada, agnostic groups are still banned from the Intergroup meeting directory. The voice of agnostic groups has been revoked on the Intergroup floor and removed from Intergroup activity. Although Toronto Intergroup is pleading with groups for help answering the phones, members of agnostic groups are forbidden to help. Of course, exclusivity is not AA culture and will discriminated against by Intergroup, these agnostic groups are respected, rights-bearing equals in AA from the General Service district table, on up to GSO in New York, as are all agnostic AA meetings.

The crime committed that was found worthy of excommunication, according to the Intergroup power structure, was the reading of a secular version of the Twelve Steps at the first ever Toronto agnostic meeting, which continues to grow since its inception in 2009. Good luck finding the rule about nonconformity; there is no such crime and no such rule. The AA Service Manual states that GSO is charged with the preservation of AA’s Steps. This is in no way suggested or implied that this duty of preservation is a mandate to police and enforce group uniformity. If Time Magazine misprinted the Twelve Steps, AA GSO has the directive from the members to ask Time to correct the misrepresentation. However, an AA group is always a group if the group members say they are. Groups can read Twelve Steps, Six Steps, agnostic or gender-neutral Steps.

The point is that the Twelve Steps are not sacred. To make them so is to make a religion and a mockery out of a fellowship devoted to recovery—not theistic conversion. Since AA’s inception there have been the liberals who further expand the reach of Alcoholics Anonymous and militant conservatives who see inclusivity as threatening our singleness of purpose. It was that way in 1936 and it remains the case 77 years later.

So we Rebellion Dogs look forward to celebrating the artistic love that has gone into the Twleve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and we look forward to Roger’s collection of these interpretations eventually become a matter-of-fact adjunct to Twelve Step recovery. We also toast Toronto Intergroup and say to them, “We don’t take your bigotry personally. Your fear mongering and protectionist measures are a living, breathing example of why we have Traditions and how somewhere, somehow, each and every valued Tradition is being disgraced at this very moment. Congratulations for violating Tradition One, Two, Three, Four and Five all with one motion. Your historic blunder won’t soon be equaled. Intergroup, you are a glorious example of how fear and rigidity are something that all of us must keep in check so that missteps like yours are contained and don’t become contagious. We hope that AA will still be whole and enjoy a centennial anniversary in another 20 years or so. Hope won’t get us there—only a return to our Tradition of unity will get us to year 100. Thank you Intergroup for reminding us of Rule 62: Let’s never take ourselves too seriously.”

On that note I want to share with one and all, some humor and wisdom I found from a site called “Serenity Found.” May we all remember never to take ourselves too seriously.

Over-Serious Anonymous - A 12 Step Program
(Copyright © Serenity Found 2002-2004 All Rights Reserved. Source: http://www.serenityfound.org/humor/over_serious.html)

1. We admitted that we were powerless over seriousness—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that only by lightening up could we achieve a state of non-seriousness.

3. Made a decision to turn our constant self-criticism over to our sense of humor and learn to "lovingly and wholeheartedly" laugh at ourselves.

4. Decided to give ourselves a break once in a while, instead of constantly doing searching and fearless moral inventories of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being that our wrongs were often in our heads.

6. Were entirely ready to accept that our [character was] as good as anybody else's and possibly better than most.

7. Quit harping on our shortcomings.

8. Made of list of all persons we thought we had harmed and saw that they'd forgotten all the crap we'd blown out of proportion.

9. Quit making amends for breathing air and taking up a few square feet of the planet's surface.

10. Resigned ourselves to the fact we were going to criticize ourselves at times, but would try to stick to our guns when we knew we were right.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to calm down and realize we're not responsible for everything.

12. Having experienced immense relief from these steps, we would try to carry this message to other over-serious people and to practice these principles in all of our affairs

Happy 2013 one and all. Please don’t take this blog too seriously.

2 comments

  • Astra Starr

    Astra Starr

    Thanks for this! I was just beating up on myself about how I was going to get everything done, get to the gym, the post office, AND print out my New Years inventory- all while toying with the idea of changing my medication. Hmmm. Easy does it. Yeah, sounds like I will take your advice and have a laugh and chill out!! Happy New Year!!

    Thanks for this! I was just beating up on myself about how I was going to get everything done, get to the gym, the post office, AND print out my New Years inventory- all while toying with the idea of changing my medication. Hmmm. Easy does it. Yeah, sounds like I will take your advice and have a laugh and chill out!! Happy New Year!!

  • Astra Starr

    Astra Starr

    I love this and stand by it. AA is not about policing (I know I am in District Service and we have better things to do) Yes, AA makes suggestions- but each group runs on group conscious, period. That's why I love it! " The crime committed that was found worthy of excommunication, according to the Intergroup power structure, was the reading of a secular version of the Twelve Steps at the first ever Toronto agnostic meeting, which continues to grow since its inception in 2009. Good luck finding the rule about nonconformity; there is no such crime and no such rule. The AA Service Manual states that GSO is charged with the preservation of AA’s Steps. This is in no way suggested or implied that this duty of preservation is a mandate to police and enforce group uniformity. If Time Magazine misprinted the Twelve Steps, AA GSO has the directive from the members to ask Time to correct the misrepresentation. However, an AA group is always a group if the group members say they are. Groups can read Twelve Steps, Six Steps, agnostic or gender-neutral Steps. The point is that the Twelve Steps are not sacred. To make them so is to make a religion and a mockery out of a fellowship devoted to recovery—not theistic conversion. Since AA’s inception there have been the liberals who further expand the reach of Alcoholics Anonymous and militant conservatives who see inclusivity as threatening our singleness of purpose. It was that way in 1936 and it remains the case 77 years later. " And AA will continue to evolve and there will always be extremes- such is the way of HUMAN LIFE!

    I love this and stand by it. AA is not about policing (I know I am in District Service and we have better things to do) Yes, AA makes suggestions- but each group runs on group conscious, period. That's why I love it!

    "
    The crime committed that was found worthy of excommunication, according to the Intergroup power structure, was the reading of a secular version of the Twelve Steps at the first ever Toronto agnostic meeting, which continues to grow since its inception in 2009. Good luck finding the rule about nonconformity; there is no such crime and no such rule. The AA Service Manual states that GSO is charged with the preservation of AA’s Steps. This is in no way suggested or implied that this duty of preservation is a mandate to police and enforce group uniformity. If Time Magazine misprinted the Twelve Steps, AA GSO has the directive from the members to ask Time to correct the misrepresentation. However, an AA group is always a group if the group members say they are. Groups can read Twelve Steps, Six Steps, agnostic or gender-neutral Steps.

    The point is that the Twelve Steps are not sacred. To make them so is to make a religion and a mockery out of a fellowship devoted to recovery—not theistic conversion. Since AA’s inception there have been the liberals who further expand the reach of Alcoholics Anonymous and militant conservatives who see inclusivity as threatening our singleness of purpose. It was that way in 1936 and it remains the case 77 years later.
    "

    And AA will continue to evolve and there will always be extremes- such is the way of HUMAN LIFE!

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