Step four – personal inventory (oh and rant against the patriarchy)

09:08 ish. I feel annoyed when fellow 12-steppers, no matter how steeped in experience and tradition, get on their high horses and preach to newly sober folks about “what I call” (their words) Guru Syndrome (GS), which of course is a term they believe they have invented themselves (??? possible source and possible source, two of many articles dated before their post), and which of course they even show how to abbreviate (in brackets). I feel annoyed that these 12-stepping gurus, apparently suffering from their own “syndrome,” use authoritative language laced with the thinly-veiled “we.” (Looks so much better than “you.” But why not simply “I”?)

I most particularly feel annoyed when they end a post with a ridiculous and sarcastic assumption —”Of course this couldn’t possibly apply to you” — yes complete with italics — that the reader is too densely beneath them to see that this topic might actually apply to the person reading. (But, um, who has this topic ever not applied to, in any field of study?)

I feel annoyed when a post’s topic centres around the dangers of falling prey to Guru Syndrome, and yet the whole post is self-ironic, though ironically not self-aware. I feel annoyed that a post could have such useful information (namely, for me at least, that helping others should not be thought of as requisite nor even advisable until later in recovery — oh how I wish the Big Book had laid that out from the beginning! that might have saved me the first time around, last year! thank you, Syndromed Guru! truly and sincerely!), yet presents it in a way that makes me want to bang my head against a wall rather than open my mind to fully absorb that information. I feel annoyed when anyone prescribes anything to anyone else without being asked, and without fully knowing the person and/or their situation.

I feel grateful that there are so many platforms for folks to express themselves, and that we in the western world (for now at least), have the right to free speech.

I feel hopeful. If people with years of sobriety under their belts (“been there, done that” says the “About” page, as the only story apparently worth telling there of their own decades-long history with sobriety, of course instead choosing to focus on their authoritative-sounding career history as pilot, cop, gunsmith, security guard, personal chauffeur to the elite military — yikes, should I be afraid for my life right now? am I about to hear a bomb whizzing down from above? oh wait, he’s a Buddhist expert as well, whew, guess I’m safe then; namaste, brother) can make such pompous asses (PAs) of themselves, I hope I can learn from their example, while continuously remaining aware that I am acting like a PA myself, even inside this very moment. I feel super grateful there are so many awesome fellow Syndromed Gurus (“what I call” SG’s!) out there, showing us how to do things right, and more often, how to do things wrong. This is a precious gift, quite selfless actually, which I take far too much for granted (even in myself).

Please, sweet Tree, release me from these bonds of Self. Take away my troubles and help me be less of a Pompous, Resentful, Self Righteous, Judgemental, Passive-Aggressive Ass (PRSRJPAA). I love you, Tree, just as you are. Even if fellow PRSRJPAAs say you have to be called by some other (equally inherently meaningless) name, preferably Christian-masculine associative. (Because hey, it always worked in the past right? Not! The churches here are empty dude! soon to be turned into bars! — though with a little help from the powers that be, hopefully coffee/herb-tea bars!)

Let me always do thy will, Tree; thy will only, and not mine own will nor that of another PA.

Oh and please, please, Tree (/Don Miguel Ruiz), help me not take things personally!!

And please help me stop making assumptions, and help me get a whole lot more impeccable with my word. In the meantime I’ll try to always do my best. Please forgive me for my pompous asininity (PAy).

Thank you, and amen.

xo st

p.s. As a further response to the post in question (ttp://, which mentions —and appears to pooh-pooh — its author’s own early desire to rewrite the AA book in modern language, “I myself” have “rewritten” various books, including the Big Book, time and time again, mentally at the very least, and sometimes also in writing — taking what works and leaving the rest — and I will hopefully continue to do so for as long as I continue to read self-help material. If not, I’m basically falling prey to (“what I call”) the Dreaded Devotee Syndrome (DDS).

p.p.s. Also note I used the word “I” here, not “we” and not “you.” I, I feel, is braver, truer… and thus less likely to gain a following of devotees. Worship that, suckers! I think Bill W. would approve. (#selfirony/#justkidding. “I” love “we,” not to mention “you”…).

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” — AA big book, Step 4


me with the Tree

* * *

Nts 2019-06-08: this post was drafted in my vehicle just outside the grocery store, fervently one-finger-stabbed into WP editor on my phone. (I have pre-grocery-shopping procrastination issues, not to mention repressed anger issues.) I kept it private till now. #becoming okaywithmyifeelstatements #stepfour #cuttingofftheheadofthebuddha

Nts 2019-09-11: found it still marked Private… trying again to make it public now… /

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