Step Seventy-Three

Lake Baikal, Russia

Step 73. I Will Allow My Errors To Teach Me.
Allowing your errors to instruct you will give them value. They would have no value without this and would be a mark against you in your own estimation. Using errors for instruction, then, is taking advantage of your own limitations to have them point the way to greatness. God wishes for you to learn from your errors so that you may learn of the greatness of God. This is done not to belittle you but to raise you up. There are many errors you have committed, and there are some errors you will still make. It is in order to guard against the repetition of damaging error and to learn from error that we wish to instruct you now.

Upon each hour of this day, repeat to yourself that you wish to learn from your errors and feel for a moment what this means. Thus, through many periods of practice today, you will begin to understand the statement you are making and will perhaps then perceive how it can be brought about. If you are willing to learn from your errors, you will not be so afraid to recognize them. Then you will wish to understand them, not to deny them, not to bear false witness against them, not to call them by other names, but to admit them for your own benefit. From this recognition, you will be able to assist others in the reclamation of Knowledge, for they too must learn how to learn from their errors.

Practice 73: Hourly practice.

Here you will find the entire book free for download

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.

February 14, 2013 Round One: Seeing errors as a tool for greater learning is something I can identify with – you learn from your mistakes, it’s as simple as that. The trick, however, is to learn with joy, recognize errors for what they are, and not see mistakes as failures, as the result of some deep flaw in myself. Everyone makes mistakes at some time or other, it's human nature.

Important, however, is also being aware and flexible and not charging ahead with something that is obviously not working, not taking me where I need to go, pursuing something that does not "resonate with Knowledge."

And again this Step follows on so naturally from the last. It is when I do not trust my deepest inclinations that I make mistakes, commit errors of judgment. So I need to trust my inclinations, listen to what Knowledge is telling me, stay in sync with my deeper mind, my spiritual being, and things will become clear. I entirely trust that they will.

September 24, 2014 Round Two: This Step builds on Step 26. My errors give birth to my Knowledge. 

I admit my errors and do not bear false witness against them. The time I spent in AA doing the 12 Steps was particularly helpful here. Steps 4 thru 10 of the AA program address errors in particular, taking moral inventory, admitting to God, myself and another person the nature of my wrongs, being ready to have them removed, humbly asking for them to be removed, making amends to others I have erred against, and continuing to take personal inventory of errors and promptly admitting them as they occur. 

These steps became part of my daily life for so many years and still serve me well to this day. Error is not to be condoned or justified, but it can act as a very helpful tool for sane behavior in the future. When errors are analyzed and used as a learning tool for avoiding similar error in the future, they are beneficial and can be used for reclaiming Knowledge.

I do wish to understand my errors and know why I make them, so I don’t have to make them again.

I tried to be as consistent as possible with the hourly practices, but I did not repeat to myself on the hour that I wish to learn from my errors. I did think in depth about the nature of errors and how they have served me. One thing that came into clearer focus for me is that it is very unproductive and futile to blame others, or situations, or anything else outside myself for my errors. If I blamed the Russian environment, my husband’s drinking, or any other external circumstances for my own drinking problem, I might still be stuck in that hell today, using it as an excuse to keep on drinking. 

Bolshoye Goloustnoye, Lake Baikal, Russia
In 2002, during a family holiday to Lake Baikal, which I now recognize as the time I hit my bottom, I remember telling Ursula through the fog of my alcohol-infused brain that I knew I had a problem. I had overstepped some fatal line (the line that separated drinking when I wanted to and not drinking when I did not want to, to drinking whether I wanted to or not). And I told her I intended to do something about it. A little over a year later, I did.

I don't think I would be where I am today, physically, mentally, and spiritually, if I had not had that experience. I think I can say that I allowed that particular error to teach me.


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