“Deus ex Machina”
The Third Step Prayer:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
I love the Third step prayer. It is the solution talked about in the Big Book. It is the way out. For some, for many it is the only way out. Turning my will and my life over to God was the only solution. It is deus ex machina.
For the uninitiated that’s the term from the old Greek tragedies when things get so fucked up there is no way out so they literally send the Gods down in a machine to set everything right. Deus ex machina – God from the machine. For a more timely reference think of the explanation at the end of the Clue movie.
Maybe it was this one:
My life was a God-damned Greek tragedy. I had made such a fucking mess out of my life I couldn’t understand who was friend or foe or who to trust. My family and friends were bewildered by my behavior and could not make sense of what was happening in our lives.
There was no way I could fix that shit-storm, hell I caused it. I was beyond my own power and beyond all human aid. I do not think another human could have helped me no matter how much they loved me.
Finally being willing to turn my life over to God (as I understand Him/Her) was…relief. I didn’t have to know how to fix it I simply had to be willing to do what was necessary. I had to do the work not the decision-making. You see Step 3 doesn’t mean I give it all to God and leave nothing for myself. It means I do what God tells me.
It’s a lot like being in the military. If you’d known me before I joined the military you would have never seen that as a good fit for me but in reality I excelled. All I had to do was what I was told. I just had to do the work. The few times I ran into trouble was when I did my own thing and I did not listen to my superiors. That’s how I fucked up my life-I thought I was in control.
I was one of those drinkers (like many) that was on a path to drink myself to death. If I kept drinking and kept behaving in the way I was I was going to die. The kicker is: now that I’m not doing those things now that I’m sober and living clean and right:
I’M STILL GOING TO DIE.
The thing is that the time I have left will be longer and it will be better. It is better. I was a sorry miserable fuck before. I’m happy now and I want to live as long as I can to be of whatever service I can to those around me.
All I have to do in order to make that happen is keep doing what I’m told. Keep listening to somebody else. That’s why I keep going to meetings. That’s why I keep listening to God and to you.
Thank you for being that somebody else.
For the record: I adore Madeline Kahn.