Parable of the Ass In the Ditch (or how to get your ass out of the crack?)

Echoes from past postings:



One day a farmer's donkey fell
down into a deep ditch.
The animal cried piteously
for hours as the farmer
tried to figure out what to do.
Finally he decided the animal was old, that the ditch
needed to be covered anyway and that it just
wasn't worth retrieving the donkey.
So he invited all his neighbours
to come over and help him.
They all grabbed a shovel and began
to shovel dirt into the ditch.
At first, the donkey realized
what was happening and cried horribly.
Then, to everyone's amazement,
he quietened down.
A few shovel loads later,
the farmer finally looked
down into the ditch and was
astonished at what he saw.
With every shovel of dirt
that hit his back,
the donkey was doing
something amazing.
He would shake it off
and take a step up. 
As the farmer's neighbours
continued to shovel dirt
on top of the animal,
he would shake it off
and take a step up.
Pretty soon, everyone was amazed
as the donkey stepped up
over the edge of the ditch
and trotted off!
Life is going to
shovel dirt on you,
all kinds of dirt.
The trick to getting
out of the ditch
is to shake it off
and take a step up.
Anyone who has been here for a while has come to a “resting on laurels” fork in the road. For some of us DENSER ones, there have been many of them.
I agree that I’m not usually given more than I can handle, but I always interpreted that to mean “more than I could bear”-in other words, I’m not going to pass away from the weight of it.
In my experience, I have also found that most of the time I find myself in a conundrum (LOVE THAT WORD!!) the single most important thing I take away from it is humility. Simply because I wasn’t created to bear everything or know everything or do everything.
I think each of us has our own unique piece of the “big picture” puzzle that we carry with us and while we can see that we are part of a bigger picture, we have to have other puzzle pieces to even begin to put it all togeather! For reasons unknown by this small fry, my makeup/upbringing/alcoholism (u pick) tells me that I should be able to do it alone. Asking for advice, input, support, HELP says I must be really really lame and it also tells me that its hugely important to not APPEAR to be in need! I have it all togeather and know what I am doing! Ah, bullshit.
Once I bounce off one of those forks, I either choose the path of pride, stubbornly gritting my teeth, accruing resentments, carrying more and more weight on my back until I break down, use, or die (or all of the above)
in a moment of grace and mercy I have an epiphany of sorts that shows me how MUCH I need you guys to piece it all togeather and that to I need the what ya’ll each have to offer to be able to “bear” whatever is burdening me so much so that I feel as though I will bend and break.
THAT is how I have been shown, time and time again, that I’m never given more than I can bear. That moment of humility, when I act on it, makes it possible to continue trudging along. Most times the ‘grace and mercy’ portions appear to be defeats or weaknesses. But really, isnt it just surrendering? I think the bouncing it off others outside of my thick head helps me put it togeather so I can decide what I absolutely havta do and what I don’t. Most of the time,what I think HAS TO be done,can be postponed in favor of something that I thought was a minor, less important thing.
Does any of that make sense?
Said Anonymous Member:

There are number of reasons or excuses I can offer for my apathetic and lackadaisical approach to recovery right now. But when I begin to write them down, none, not one holds any water, and to be honest with you they all seem just plain ridiculous. So I won’t even bother. Plus as we all know, there really is no excuse for resting on one’s laurels…

I simply won’t do anything. All of the things Shiny listed are quite familiar as of late. Up until this point I have comforted myself by using some of the things I heard as alibis. You know – “This too shall pass”…etc. Well these aren’t good enough anymore.

I’m definitely at a turning point. But what to do?

I know the answers that will follow…

What I’m asking about is how to make oneself be willing, and if not willing just make oneself do it anyway. I was blessed early on in sobriety with this overabundance of it, and now nothing. I had an uncanny ability to, whether or not I thought it would be helpful or if I felt like doing whatever was suggested, to make myself just do it. This seems to have disappeared. Maybe the consequences of not doing it haven’t proved themselves dire enough yet.

All I know is the camel’s back is on the verge of crumbling and I’m in fear of which piece of straw it will be to sent it crashing down. On the exterior everything seems normal, but inside it’s a wreck. No shred of a once plentiful sense of peace and peace of mind exist now and I’m a little worried because I can’t make myself help myself by asking for help. What a conundrum. I just hope my grace doesn’t run out before the shit hits the fan. I heard something in a meeting the other day that made a lot of sense  … – A guy said “I’ve heard people say God won’t give you more that you can handle. But I disagree. I believe he WILL give you more than you can handle because he wants you to rely on Him”

And ultimately I am extremely aware that is where I have to go with all this – HP! But  I need to at least “BOUNCE” these things off of another sober drunk to see what their experience has shown them. So any input is greatly appreciated. I will continue to pray for willingness…

Me: Obviously, he COULD have just continued on the doing the same old things, but I think this is one of those situations that applies to the responsibility declaration.(paraphrased) “…whenever someone reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there, and for that I am responsible…”

I know for me that I PERSONALLY have reached out for that help here on this forum (see archives) and that it was not EASY for me to ask for that help…although things got tremendously better after I finally allowed myself to but ask!

THAT is the portion of the post that struck me … the fact that he was at a point where he recognized the need for help…perspective…experience, strength, and hope from EVERY person here who can say they have also been there and it passed and what they did to get to the other side without going back out or losing faith.


if you have ever felt overwhelmed
or hit a plateau in your spiritual journey
or fell into a rut in your program.

And if the answer was yes to any or ALL of these for you, then you have experience to share. I personally need to be reminded of how to get “the ass outta the ditch” to help me bring myself back to center.

Sometimes in my life, the best things come from one person taking action on a thought that was ironically and OBVIOUSLY shared by someone else on the same BrainWaves! ~~~~~ (<-see the WAVES?…lol)

Like when you walk into a meeting and the person across the table says EXACTLY what you were thinking and you gain the benefits from other’s experiences! Freakin Awesome way of working through others, huh? 🙂

So…to keep it I ever get to a point THAT quick … SHARE DAMNIT! I’m listening…..
Finding the humor,
Shiny Things 🙂


Anonymous #1:

The best way to get out of the Ditch is to never get in the Ditch.
1. I admitted I was powerless over the Ditch, and that the Ditch is
2. Came to believe that a power greater than myself could help keep me
out of the Ditch.
3. Made a Decision to stay outta the Ditch.
4. Made a fearless and searching Survey of the Ditch.
5. Admitted to Ourselves, to God, and another Human being that the
Ditch was not meant for me.
6. Were entirely ready to totally stay outta the Ditch.
7. Humbly asked him to fill the Ditch in.
8. Made a list of materials it would take to build a bridge across the
Ditch, and became willing to build a bridge across the Ditch.
9. Built such bridges except when to do so would put others outta their
homes, or harm them.
10. Continued to Survey the Ditch, and when we were wrong, promptly
admitted it.
11. Sought thru prayer and meditation to improve out concious contact
with the Ditch as we understood it, praying only for the knowledge to
stay outta the ditch, and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of excellent Bridge
construction, we tried to carry others across the bridge, and help the
next suffering contractor who couldn’t build a bridge.


Anonymous #2:

How to get out of the ditch…
1. I remember that my 1st priority is sobriety.
2. I take action to ensure that sobriety is my 1st priority.
3. I keep doing it until the keel is even.
4. I keep doing it.
For those who remember Cheech and Chongs skit called Sister Mary Elephant

I will paraphrase as best I can:
“What I did on my summer vacation”
The first day of my summer vacation I woke up.

I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store.

The second day of my summer vacation I woke up. I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store.

The third of my summer vacation I woke up. I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store.

The forth day of my summer vacation I woke up. I went downtown to look for a job.

Then I got a job…… Keeping people for hanging out in front of the drug store!!!!!

I just keep doing until God does for me what I can’t do for myself.

I have no idea if this applies to any of the past posts but it was fun for me and helped me to stay sober for a little while.

And amazingly enough for the past several moments I wasn’t thinking of myself…….

i.e.If I don’t have willingness to do this, I pray for the willingness.

If I am still not willing, I pray again and I keep doing this until the willingness comes.

Its all I know to do.


Anonymous #3:

life is too short if all that is in it are Obligations. Do something fun, silly ,exciting or just plain lazy, Then look around and figure out if your butt is in the ditch exactly which tool is
needed to pry you out and use it!




Personally, I VISUALIZE a significant sized muddy hole, an ass wearing a ballcap, and a buncha people gathered around it, all dressed for helping..overalls, boots, shovels in hand, planks, gloves, and ballcaps…all looking at you and waiting for your cue.

Hmmm… i don’t believe I appropriately gave you kudos for this innovative approach to getting asses out of a crack, so to speak….hehe


















One Response

  1. Boy, I’m missing out, obviously.

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