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October 25, 2010


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There is a literal concept of this 'axiom' that helps me find value in it: "every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us"... Well, what's wrong with me is that I am disturbed.

Disturbed = disquieted, upset, distressed, worried. One synonym for disturbed is "maladjusted". None of these is a state I would want to remain in for long...


To me, Step 10 means vigilance. To be aware, to be thorough and to be honest. Ugh...not that word again. :-D


Brian M

The only way I can deal with this axiom is by saying that what is wrong with me is precisely that I am disturbed. In other words, I am not sufficiently detached and I am harboring a resentment, and that is wrong and it is dangerous.

However, I think the second sentence, "If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also" is at least overstated. I choke on the "in the wrong also". It implicitly puts holding a resentment on the same moral level as the original hurtful act. It's not hard to think of examples that make that position completely unacceptable. In what moral universe is harboring a resentment toward a rapist in any way a wrong comparable to the rape?

Finally, there is the word 'sore'. Bill likes to use informal language, which makes for pleasant reading and memorable phrases but also makes for lack of precision. The paragraphs following the axiom imply that 'sore' is a synonym for 'anger' and he seems to be equating 'anger', or at least 'justifiable anger' with 'resentment'. I harbor no personal resentment toward the perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda. However my outrage (a form of anger) that such a thing could happen is a motivator to do what tiny things I can to demand justice. Anger, like fear, is sometimes a proper response to a situation. Resentment is not.


If I continue to mull something over, such as a snub as you write about, then it has wormed its way into the part of me that says "You're not good enough" or "You don't like me". It's the old messages from the past coming to visit. I can recognize those when they come up and inventory what is going on. Generally, it is about me and not the other person. Awareness of what I am feeling is key to my progress in recovery.

Scott W

Wow. More advanced AA. Would be a good meeting topic. Thanks!

Jeri  Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

I needed this..Sometimes MY Acceptance of a situation is my part in the being wrong department. The EGO is bruised, since (look at me, I'm being nice, honest, and all the other great things). Usually it means I need more work in the humility department.

Carmen Davis-Stevens

What if "something is wrong with me" means my world is not happy now or I am uncomfortable. What if it isn't about a personal flaw?

G. RabAnon


When my friend first lent me the OA12&12, it was just such a phrase that almost scared me away from the entire 12step idea. The thing that kept me around long enough was this friend's assurance, when I raised this fear in conversation with him, that we work the steps in order for a reason, and take, at any given moment, only what works for us and leave the rest until we are ready for it.

I am an adult survivor of child abuse. For a long time my anger was the only thing that kept me alive. I needed my anger to not dissolve into suicidal self-loathing. The idea of letting go of this anger was unthinkable and dangerous.

What I have come to realize in the 300 or so days since then is that, when we have the foundation of the program in place, it becomes possible to loosen our grip on the wrongs done to us, to turn our focus away from them, and onto ourselves. Now this is NOT to say that we blame ourselves instead of others... that was precisely why I (legitimately) needed the anger for so long... because turning the blame on myself was what brought me to self-injury and bulimia and, yes, drinking. The anger was actually a step up from that. And this is why the language can be confusing... don't we need our anger?

The answer, I am finding is, no. When you have the solid ground of the Program under your feet, it becomes possible to let go of our focus on what was done to us... i.e. the thing we cannot change, the thing over which we have no power, no control, and to look at our reactions instead, the things which we can change, influence, direct, practice, work on. I am powerless over the past. I am powerless over what was done to me by my father. What I can do now is look at how I live my life day to day, look at how I let that past affect me. If I live my Program, I no longer need the anger to survive. What I need is to know that God is with me, that I have tools to get myself through a day, an hour, a minute, that I am a beloved child of God and an integral part of this universe, that I deserve to be loved. When I have the protection of God, I no longer need the petty protection of anger, whether that anger is justified or not. Anger is never necessary for the next right action... all that is necessary is knowing what is right.

Am I rid of my anger? Of course not. I suspect I never will be. It is a vision of perfection (Nirvana, maybe) which I suspect I will not reach in this lifetime. But it is that toward which we must always continue to strive. Our lives depend on it.

Jessie R

Wow, Brian's comment caused me some introspection...

In harboring resentments(date rape and infidelity) for a VERY long time, I did some really ugly and ridiculous gymnastics and harms holding onto justified anger and fear.

Not breaking free of the resentment by accepting the truth and finding and appreciating the fault that fear and anger caused - holding and appreciating situation with specific people I built a belief system on that fearful and angry foundation. My life experience unable to move beyond that situation in so many ways, well I did lots of damage to relationships I kept myself seperated, would not appreciate the good in the majority for the holding onto that one person in judgement, anger and fear. I held onto that person and all he represented in fear and anger for years and years. I was so angry and afraid that I caused MUCH further harm to myself and others in all the relationships after that one incident. I continued to have very skewed fixed ideas about men and women, authority, punishment, retribution, sex, love...

I was truly miserable in so many areas of my life interwoven through specific experiences with very specific people, damaged and sick people.

A life that could have been quite (and is now) wonderful without that resentment. I removed my trust...in people, in good, in love, in sex, in relationships, in commitment, in responsibility.

"There is a better way, we think so..."

I KNOW it now, though then I would have told ya'll you were full of ... well resentment puts me in a position to argue what I do not know and to stay locked in a pattern of judgment skewed by fear and anger and the justification in those emotions. Never did me good, though I thought it would somehow fix that guy and all you .... like him!

Bobby D.

Hmmm. I always figured that "something wrong with me" meant that I liked true humility at that moment. The kind of humility described on the plaque that still sits on Dr. Bob's desk, quoted in Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers book (p. 222):

"Humility: Perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble."

The point is that if I'm truly humble, than any disturbance will either not register, or it will send me RUNNING into that "blessed home" where I quickly "shut the door" and stay quiet (and loved, and secure, and at peace).


If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the
wrong also."

Oh, Mr Sponsorpants, I may be creeping up on you in the hokey analogies arena. But bear with me while I, a definate newcomer, try this out with the above.

What if I take that first bit very literally? Think of it like someone punched me in my arm while I was walking past them. No, reason. Just reached out and whaled on me. Now I'm quite literally "sore".

If I focus on what they did to me and hang on to all the resentment, etc & nurture that instead of checking on my arm and making sure it was okay, then wouldn't I be "in the wrong" in a sense?

And at first, I had a severe emotional reaction to that axiom as well. Thanks for your post. Reading it and the comments helped. Thank Gos I'm still on Step one. :-)

Leslie Holt

Thank you for this. It is both a treat and a help to Google "spiritual axiom" and find your post. Your thoughtful article on the topice has helped me a great deal. Namaste, Leslie

John C

Yes it is true. When I was growing up with neglect and abuse I set my price at screw you now i can do whaterever i want anytime i want. I lived like this and became an addict. I didnt need a cause anymore. When I get hurt why do I need to do anything? I didnt start this trouble someone else should take care of this for me I am entitled to that. Of course nobody knows what I need because I dont tell anyone and I relapse. All I need is caring understanding and love but Im too tough for that because I am much more powerful than my injury. This is what rage is to me. I need to start talking or Im doomed. If I sit in a burning house because I didnt start the fire I die anyway. Most people would run out but i need to prove my pont at any cost. Now I relax realize when im hurt and angry its it ok its not my fault. And work on getting well instead of using. Its a process but it works and it will save my/your life.
Good luck, JC


Spiritual Axiom -
Is simply God is everything or he is nothing and if you let people OWN YOU there is something wrong -Take a honest closer look at what the outside sponsorship system does to people especial if their RIGHT !!!!
No one denied me of my sickness why should I deny you of yours ? Do we not go insane by flying off the handle into INSANITY for not trusting in God, unless I carry God in my back pocket and share my strength instead of calling a self proclaimed sponsor after the FACT !!! Take a closer look at the pertinent ideas of A.A not a sponsor, as no human power can relive you either. p.s. not pertin-eer “PERTINENT “


I am a passive-,aggressive,with only two years under my belt,I had(I hope)an "ah-ha"moment. When anger creeps into my thoughhts,I mentally say"If but for the grace of God!(Not saying I'm better then the person I feel anger toward,),I'm thankful I haven't gone to the "violate"level,that I've witnessed,and was a victim to it(violates),also I say to myself,"Do as God would do,in this situation".

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