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Insanity

Posted on July 27, 2014 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Drunk and weeping. It’s another night

at the live-in opera, and I figure

it’s going to turn out badly for me.

The dead next door accept their salutations,

their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.

It’s we the living who must run for cover,

meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,

and after that comes lechery and lying.

And, oh, how to piece together a life

from this scandal and confusion, as if

the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting

with us, just for the music’s sake.


  The miracle that transforms things:

You can change anything if you accept it with thanksgiving.

  The miracle that opens all doors:

You can make anyone receptive if you serve them.

 The miracle that makes all your wishes come true:

You can obtain anything if you have the right motive.

 The miracle that supplies everything you need:

You can meet any need if you share all that you have.

  The miracle that calms all tempests of hate:

You can destroy every wrong if you forgive it.

 The miracle that takes you anywhere:

You can get anywhere if you risk everything.

 The miracle that makes you invulnerable:

You can make anything harmless if you make friends with it.

  The miracle that withers up falsities:

You can destroy falsities if you waken love for the truth.

 The miracle that delivers from evil influence:

You can open any hell if you share it.”


The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat:

They took some honey,

and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

 

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,

How charmingly sweet you sing!

Oh! let us be married;

too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?"

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the bong-tree grows;

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.

 

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.


It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.

To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while.

But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience,

this business of resentment is infinitely grave.

We found that it is fatal.

For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.

The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.

If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.

The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us.

They may be the dubious luxury of normal men,

but for alcoholics these things are poison.


Page 66 - 1939 - Alcoholics Anonymous, The Owl and the Pussycat - 1871 - by Edward Lear, The Nine Holy Miracles - 1986 - by Hannah Hurnard, Nights - 2006 - by Harvey Shapiro,

Image - 1949 - by Gertrude Elliot, Golden Press, Scott Foresman Company, The Big Golden Book of Poetry

Multitasking

Posted on July 20, 2014 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

 


 

 

The God of my understanding is capable of accommodating all of his children and accomplishing his plans by multitasking. Trying to save time by doing multiple things at once is not effective for me and ends up wasting time.  I doubt that, as a limited alcoholic human being,  I can be effective in my sober life when I'm trying to multitask a series of important tasks.  As in most things involving sobriety and serenity it would require either balancing and choosing compatible tasks or simply just not-drinking for a time and letting God take over.

  I have heard the expression, " Don't think, don't drink, go to meetings."  We can  focus on going to a meeting and for that day continue to stay sober.  We learn to enjoy the smooth flow and balance in the AA meetings.


Multitasking effectivity chart

 

sharing<--------> on a topic or an experience   effective

sharing<---------> whining   ineffective

AA group conscience<---------> God's will and traditions   effective

AA group conscience <--------->  one person's will and control   ineffective

Driving to a meeting <-----> praying   effective

Driving to a meeting <-----> cell phoning or texting   ineffective

listening to speaker <-----> passing basket   effective

listening to speaker <-----> cell phoning   ineffective


Driving to a meeting multitasking chart 1.


 A confusing meeting format as an example of ineffective multi-tasking.


Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.  Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.  Please silence your cell phones.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Grant me the courage to change the things I can.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.   Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  Coffee is on your right and bathrooms are down the hallway on your left.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.  Self seeking will disappear and the fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us.  The wisdom to know the difference used to baffle us.   For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever.  I can't handle this.  God you take over.  Amen


1.  Dingus, T A, Klauer, S G, Neale, V L, Petersen, A, Lee, S E, Sudweeks, J D, Perez, M A, Hankey, J, Ramsey, D J, Gupta, S, Bucher, C, Doerzaph, Z R, Jermeland, J, Knipling, R R (2006) The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, Phase II - Results of the 100-Car Field Experiment. (Contract No. DTNH22-00-C-07007). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Yes, You Could Be Misunderstood

Posted on July 12, 2014 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)


"One day I am so happy to have great friends and the next I start thinking about how much they really do not understand my thoughts or me..."


We’re often misunderstood in the early days, weeks, months or even years of our sobriety.  We have been using disordered alcoholic thinking for so long and we sought no other counsel than our own admittedly mistaken advice.  We may have fallen into the habit of not even talking with others assuming that they do not care about or understand what we are saying.

 

It is possible that we have cut off communications with other people.  We resent them for telling us what to do and we fear that they cannot possibly know what it is like to be in recovery.

 

Maybe we should stop and think about what we’re not doing.  What we’re not doing is giving ourselves the opportunity to receive the support and encouragement that is vital to our continued sobriety.  We need people on our side, people who know and care about us.  We can receive that  support from the people in the AA groups.  They have been there and perhaps understand us.

 

When we confide with our AA sponsor about our fears and concerns, we don’t need to worry about being misunderstood.  Anything we say is probably similar to the experiences which he or she has had. There is no right or wrong way to speak about what’s going on in our lives. 

 

Listening to the experiences of others in the rooms will also help us in our goal to speak more clearly so that we may be understood by our family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and the world at large.  Other alcoholics will be able to understand where we are coming from but they are not obliged to accept the way we have chosen to be in sobriety.  We should try not to put expectations on other people when they are affected by us and react to our recovery.


“Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed, rather, at not being understanding.”


It's already better.

Hopefully this is all understandable.

Safety First...

Posted on July 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)


It was Friday afternoon and Joe was leaving work.  His wife Joy was home preparing a nice dinner for herself and Joe because they had worked hard all week.


On the way home, Joe met an old drinking friend who offered to buy Joe a beer at the corner tavern.


Joe said, "Why not, I deserve it.  I worked hard this week."  Joe quickly polished off the first beer,  then bought another round, then had three more cold drafts,  ordered shots and another beer.   He was feeling fine.


Time passed and Joe looked at his watch. "Oh man, I'm late for supper, the wife is going to be mad."  Joe thought for a minute and decided to order another shot and a beer while he thought of a good excuse.


Soon Joe got caught up in some excitement and forgot about going home.  He just kept on drinking. 


One thing led to another and after a long blackout, Joe arrived home early Monday morning , still drunk and a complete mess.  There was no way he could work.  Joy was furious.  She called Joe's workplace and told the receptionist that Joe would be out sick for a few days.  Joy spent the better part of the next three hours yelling at him.  She nagged and nagged.  "You're disgusting and you stink."  She cried and cried.  Finally, hoping to elicit some guilt she said, "How would you like it if you didn't see me for three days."


Joe thoughtfully responded, "What would be wrong with that?"

Well, then after Joe's answer he awoke on Tuesday.


All day Tuesday went by and Joe didn't see his wife.


Then Wednesday came and went, still he didn't even get a peak at his wife.


Then all day Thursday passed and still no sight of his wife Joy.


Finally, Friday rolled around and the swelling around his eyes had gone down enough that he could just barely see Joy out of the corner of one eye.


Eventually, after several more disasters, Joe finallly admitted to himself that he was an alcoholic and tried to quit drinking.  However,  Joy had left him for good.  In fact, everything he once had was gone.


In utter desperation, Joe  went out and got some help at the AA meetings.  He sometimes drank between meetings and had a few slips so he went to the hardware store for some rubber tub and shower floor stickers and also learned to not reach for or pick up a drink.   Joe is now sober and clean every day.


My Daughter Is Your Reward

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)


My daughter is your reward:


Once upon a time, in the land of alcoholics there was a rich sober king, who collected live alligators.  He kept them in the pool in back of his palace.  The king also had a beautiful daughter who was sober and single.  One day he decided to throw a ball and invited all the alcoholics of the kingdom to the palace.  Some of the guests shared about wanting a drink and some did their best to impress the beautiful princess.  After a long or short time, the king announced, "My dear guests . . . I have a proposition to every man here.  I will give my daughter or 1000 cases of transylvania goofy juice to the man who can swim across this pool full of alligators and emerge alive!"


As soon as he finished his last word, there was the sound of a large splash!!  There was one guy in the pool swimming with all he could and screaming out of fear.  The crowd cheered him on as he kept stroking as though he was running for his life.  Finally, he made it to the other side with only a torn shirt and some minor injuries.  The king was impressed.


He said, "My boy that was incredible!  Fantastic!  I didn't think it could be done!  Well I must keep my end of the bargain.  Do you want my daughter or one thousand cases of transylvania goofy juice?"


The guy said to the king, "Listen, I don't want your goofy juice, nor do I want your daughter!  I want the person who pushed me in that water!"


All characters in these stories are fictitious.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Misery

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

MISERY (Adapted from an old Russian Fairy Tale) http://stephenlloydwebber.com/2012/12/misery-russian-fairy-tales/

 

In a certain town there lived two brothers; one was poor and alcoholic and the other was well off with no alcohol problem.  The rich younger brother lived downtown in a big house, and belonged to the small business association.  But the poor alcoholic brother often had not even a piece of bread in his house, and his little children sometimes wept and begged for some food to eat.  Day after day he struggled, but he never brought home any money.  One day he said to his alcoholic wife: “I will go to town and ask my brother for help.” He came to the rich brother and asked: “brother, can you please help me a little in my misery; my wife and children go hungry for days on end.” “Work in my house all week, then I will help you.” What could the poor man do?  He set to work, swept the yard, washed the car, cleaned the rugs and the basement.  At the end of the week the rich brother gave him some food to take home and some AA literature. “This is for your work!” he said. “Thank you even for that,” said the poor brother; he hugged his brother and was about to go home.  “Wait a minute!  Visit me tomorrow and bring your wife with you.  Tomorrow is my birthday.” “Little brother, I don’t belong here, you know it well.  Your other guests will be merchants in expensive clothes, and we wear peasant clothes.” “Never mind. There will be a place for you.” “Very well then, brother, I will be there.”


The poor man returned home, gave the food and literature to his wife, and said: “Listen, wife, we are invited to a get together tomorrow.” “A get together?  Who has invited us?” “My brother.  Tomorrow is his birthday.” “Very well, then, we’ll go.”  The next day they went to town;  They parked down the street and walked on up to their rich brother’s house, congratulated him, and sat down on a bench.  Many prominent guests were already seated at the table.  The host served them all abundantly, but fearing that his alcoholic brother and sister-in-law would ruin the party, he did not offer them anything to drink; they just sat and watched the others.  The dinner was over, the guests began to rise from the table, and to thank the host and hostess.  The poor man too rose from his bench and hugged his brother.  The guests went to their designated driver's cars, drunken and merry; they were noisy and sang songs.


The poor man, however, walked to his truck feeling somewhat depressed.  He said to his wife: “Let us sing a song too.” “You blockhead! The others are singing because they drank their fill.  What gives you the idea of singing?” “Well, after all, I have been at my brother’s party;  I am ashamed to walk without singing.  If I sing, everyone will think that I too had a good time.” “Well, sing if you must, but I won’t.” The alcoholic began singing a song and heard two voices.  He stopped and asked his wife: “Was it you who accompanied me?”  “What is the matter with you?  I wouldn’t think of singing a note!” “Then who was it?”  “I don’t know,” said the woman, “but sing again in the truck, I will listen.”  He sang again, and although he alone sang, two voices could be heard.  He stopped and said: “Is it you, Misery, who are singing with me?"  Misery answered: “Aye, master, I am singing with you.”  “Well, Misery, let us ride together.”  “We shall, master.  I will never desert you now.”


The alcoholic came home, and Misery asked him to go to the tavern with him. The man answered:  “I have no money.” “Oh, alcoholic!  What do you need money for?  I see you have a new coat, but of what use is it?  Summer will be here soon, you will not wear it anyhow.  Let us go to the tavern and sell the coat.  The alcoholic and Misery went to the tavern and drank away the new coat.  On the following day Misery began to moan that his head ached from drinking, and he again called upon his master to go drinking.  “I have no money,” said the alcoholic.  “What do we need money for?  Take your tools—they will do.”  There was nothing to be done, the man could not rid himself of Misery; he took his tools, to the tavern, and drank them away with his companion.  The following morning Misery moaned even more and called upon his master to go drinking again.  During the next few days, the alcoholic drank away all his electronics and household appliances.  Before a month had gone by, he had squandered everything; he had even pawned his pickup truck to a neighbor and taken the money to the tavern.  But Misery again pressed him: “Come, let us go to the tavern. No, Misery, do as you like, there is nothing more to sell.” “Why, has not your wife two dresses?  Leave her one, and the second we will drink away.” The alcoholic took one dress, drank it away, and thought: “Now I am cleaned out!  I have neither house nor home, nothing is left to me or my wife!”


Next morning Misery awoke, saw that the alcoholic had nothing left to be taken away, and said: “Master !” “What is it, Misery?” “ Listen to me.  Go to your neighbor and ask to borrow the pickup truck.”  The alcoholic went to his neighbor and said: “Give me the truck for a short time; I will work a week to pay you for the hire of it.”  “What do you need it for?” “To go to a meeting in town and to haul some wood” “Very well, take it; but don’t overload the bed.” “Of course I won’t, my benefactor." 


"You call that a pickup truck?" said Misery as the alcoholic returned from the AA meeting.  With misery sitting on the passenger side, the alcoholic drove into the open field to gather some wood. “Master,” said Misery, “do you know the big stone in this field?” “Of course I know it.” “Then go straight to it.” They came to the stone, stopped, and got out of the truck.  Misery ordered the alcoholic to lift the stone.  The alcoholic lifted it with Misery’s help; under it, they saw a ditch filled to the brim with gold. “Well, why do you stare?” said Misery. “Hurry up and get it into the truck.”


The alcoholic set to work putting the gold in the truck bed.  He took everything out of the ditch,  When he saw that nothing was left, he said: “Have a look. Misery, is there any gold left?”  Misery leaned over the ditch. “Where? he said. “I cannot see anything.” “But it’s shining there in the corner.” “No, I don’t see it.” “Crawl into the ditch, then you will see it.”  Misery crawled into the ditch.  He no sooner had got in than the alcoholic covered him with the stone.  “That way it will be better,” said the alcoholic, “for if I take you with me, miserable Misery, I will drink away all this fortune, even though it will take a long time.”  The alcoholic came home, stashed the gold, took the pickup truck back to his neighbor, continued going to AA and began to consider how to establish himself in society.  He built himself a large house, and lived twice as richly as his brother.


After some time, a long time or a short time, he went to town to invite his brother and sister-in-law to his sobriety anniversary celebration.  “What an idea!” his rich brother said to him. “You have nothing to eat, yet you are celebrating.” “True, at one time I had nothing to eat, but now, thank God, I am no worse off than you. Come and you will see.” “Very well then, I will come.” The next day the rich brother and his wife came to the celebration; and lo and behold, the once wretched man had a large wooden house, new and lofty, such as not every merchant has!  The alcoholic gave them a royal feast. The rich brother asked him: “Tell me, please, how did you become so wealthy?” The alcoholic brother told him truthfully how miserable Misery had attached himself to him, how he had led him to drink away all his possessions, down to the last thread, till nothing was left but the soul in his body, how Misery had shown him the treasure in the open field, how he had then taken the treasure and got rid of Misery.


The rich man was envious. He thought to himself: “I will go to the open field, lift the stone, and let Misery out—let him ruin my brother completely, so that he will not dare to boast of his riches to me.”  He sent his wife home, and rushed to the field; he drove to the big stone, turned it to one side, and stooped to see what was beneath it.  Before he could bend his head all the way down, Misery jumped out and sat on his neck. “Ah,” he shrieked, “you wanted to starve me to death in there, but I’ll never leave you now.” “Listen, Misery,” said the merchant, in truth, it was not I who imprisoned you beneath that stone.” “Who then did it, if not you?” “It was my brother who imprisoned you, and I came for the express purpose of freeing you.” “No, you are lying! You cheated me once, but you won't cheat me again!”  Misery sat securely on the merchant's neck; the merchant carried him home, and his fortune began to dwindle away.  From early morning Misery applied himself to his task; every day he called upon the merchant to drink, and much of his wealth went to the tavern keeper. “This is no way to live,” thought the merchant. “It seems to me that I have sufficiently amused Misery.  It is high time I separated from him.  But how?”


He thought and thought and finally had an idea. He went out into his broad courtyard. He found an empty bottle and removed the cap.  He came to Misery. “Why, Misery, do you always lie on your side?” “What else shall I do?” “What else?  Come into the courtyard and play hide-and seek with me.” Misery was delighted with this idea.  They went into the yard.  First the merchant hid; Misery found him at once, and now it was Misery’s turn to hide. “Well,” he said, “you won’t find me so soon.  I can get into any hole, no matter how small!” “You’re bragging,” said the merchant. “You can’t even get into that tire swing, let alone a hole.” “I can’t get into that tire? Just wait and see how I shall hide.”  Misery crawled into the empty bottle.  The merchant capped the bottle and cast it together with Misery into the river.  Misery drifted out to sea.  The merchant and his wife lived again as of old.  The alcoholic and his wife kept on going to their local AA meetings and lived alcohol free.  

Road to Recovery

Posted on June 14, 2014 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I was trudging along on the eleventh of July, meeting sober people on the Road to Happy Destiny and trying to figure out where I was.


I was undoubtedly on the same road as the man mentioned on p. 139 in my BB. 

"He is undoubtedly on the road to recovery."  p. 139, Ch. 10, "To Employers", Alcoholics Anonymous.


The day was warm.  It was half past noon on free slurpee day.          

Entering a convenience store, I asked no one in particular, "How far is Recovery from here?"  

A fellow AA member kindly conveyed this information...

and also this information...

and this even...

The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s definition of recovery is “overcoming both physical and psychological dependence to any psychoactive drugs while making a commitment to sobriety”.


Ok, the signs to look for on the Road to Recovery are don't pick up the first drink and make a commitment to sobriety.

So that being said, he searched for sobriety and found no maps, images or a medical definition even...


Sobriety according to..

The Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior | 2001 | CHAPPEL, JOHN N.; FREY, REBECCA J. | Copyright

The term sobriety is not defined in current medical or psychiatric literature. The term abstinence is found more often and is generally agreed upon as the treatment goal for severe alcoholics.

 

Sobriety, as used by most recovering people in AA, refers to abstinence plus a program of activity designed to make the abstinence comfortable and to improve functioning in relationships and in other aspects of life.


So Recovery involves abstinence, commitment to sobriety and a program of positive action.  


Everyone in that 24 hour store I had entered for directions when I was not sure of my exact location was in Recovery by the way.  How convenient.

It's already better.

AA is a Great Program

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The Foreword to the Second Edition Big Book claims: “Of alcoholics who came to AA and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way, 25% sobered up after some relapses and among the remainder, those who stayed on with AA showed improvement.”  


 Is this claim true now or are success rates much lower now than the confirmed success rates of 1955? 


Let's analyze: "Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Recovery Outcome Rates, Contemporary Myth and Misrepresentation", January 1, 2008.


The data in the Figure C-1 below seems to show a dismal 5% success for people trying AA for 12 months.



The tendency of some observers to offer a pessimistic view of AA today is based on a misreading of the graph shown above.  It has been extracted from a summary in a 1990 internal GSO report on AA Triennial Membership Surveys. The misreading of the summary report has been circulated widely.  


The title of the misquoted graph is "% of those coming to AA within the first year that have remained the indicated number of months.”


The hand-written graph above is at the center of erroneous assertions that contemporary AA has a 5% success rate outcome.  The sequence of percentages at the bottom ends in 5% above month 12 of the x-axis of the graph.  This 5% value has been erroneously interpreted as the percentage of candidates who stayed a full year and it is a completely inaccurate interpretation of what the 5% value actually represents.


The data plotted in Figure C-1 represent a subset of the overall survey sample populations.  The population subset reported a year or less since their first-time-ever attendance in AA.  The x-axis of the graph shows intervals of time for the first through 12th month of attendance in AA.


The Figure C-1 graph data were NOT retention percentages as has been frequently misinterpreted and erroneously reported.  The reasoning is as follows:


Each Triennial Survey is a cross-sectional study, a snapshot at one point in time.  Assume that the same number of new people have been attending their first meetings every month. That is how many will be in their first month when the observation is made.


The ratio of the second month people in the survey to the first month people is the retention rate between the first and second months.  In that same way, it is possible to find the retention between any two sampled months.  If there were perfect retention for all twelve months, then 8.3% of the first year people would be found in each of the twelve months. That is not the case but it shows how a retention calculation can be done. 


In the actual data presented:

Month 1 = 19 does NOT mean that "81% (i.e. 100% -19%) dropped out in a month as some sources claim.

Month 3 = 10 does NOT mean that "90% (i.e. 100% -10%) leave within 3 months and

Month 12 = 5 does NOT mean that "95% (i.e. 100% -5%) stop active participation in AA inside of a year.


Instead, what the data does show is that for every 100 people surveyed with under a year since first attendance:

19% of that population were in their first month.

13% were in their 2nd month.

9% were in their 4th month.

7% were in their 6th month.

6% were in their 8th month, etc.


We see in Fig. C-1 that half of those coming to AA within their first year (of not-drinking) were in their 5th-12th month.  We are not sure if they "remained that way". 


The confirmed claims of 1955 are:  “Of alcoholics who came to AA and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses and among the remainder, those who stayed on with AA showed improvement.” 


 Do these 50% + 25% claims only pertain in the years 1938-1955?


With furthur logical assumptions, Fig. C-1 reveals that roughly 50% of those in the third month ("really tried") were still in AA at the 12th month and roughly 25% reached month 12 in AA after some relapses.


Assumptions:

1. "remaining in AA" means not-drinking.

2.   The data patterns are similar for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc... time attenders (relapsers) in AA. (Why would they not be?  “For I am the Lord, I do not change."  Malachi 3:6)


Explanation:

When we add the x-axis percents, the total is 102 instead of 100 on Fig. C-1.  We have a 2% margin of error in the results due to the rounding of the percents on the x axis.


The chart reveals 19% of the attenders were in month one, 10% in month three and 5% in month twelve.


To show that the first claim of 50% is true from 1977-1989, look at 100 people which started going to AA and were at some point in the time of their first year.  Five were in the 12th month and ten were in the 3rd month leading us to conclude that 5/10 or 50 percent of the 3rd month people ("really tried") continued on to month twelve.


For the second claim of 25%, take any 19 of the original 100 people who relapsed and started over in AA (1st month).  Five of those 19 relapsers made it to the 12th month.  5/19 or 26 percent of the relapsers that started over at month one reached month twelve. ("after some relapses").  We can assume similar results for a range of relapse occurances.  (Why would we not? “For I am the Lord, I do not change."  Malachi 3:6)


50% + 26% is 76%.  With a 2% margin of error, Fig. C-1 clearly shows a 74-78 percent AA success rate over various 12 month periods of time between 1977 and 1989 supporting the original Big Book p. xx claims of 1955.


See the 1938-1955 confirmation of p. xx at:  http://hindsfoot.org/recout01.pdf

It's already better.

Right At The End There...

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years he was drinking not so much for the effect but merely to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it was. 

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years when he was drinking despite deliterious effects on every aspect of life and to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it was.

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years when he was still drinking despite valiant and temporary successful periods of abstinance and then to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it was.

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years when he was just drunk 10 hours a day to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it was. ....

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years when he was drinking, it was only beer and merely to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it WAS.

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years when he can't remember all the drinking merely to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it WAS.

Right at the End There—those days, months, maybe years when he was a spiritual jackass, drinking merely to keep the shakes at bay and some semblance of a self together. And a miserable self it WAS.


I am one reach and one gulp away from blowing the whole thing.  I can remember that and take actions necessary to stay sober.


"The here and now was good enough for us.  The will to win would carry us through.  But then alcohol began to have its way with us.  Finally, when all our score cards read ‘zero,’ and we saw that one more strike would put us out of the game forever, we had to look for our lost faith.  It was in A.A. that we rediscovered it.  And so can you.”   http://aa.org/twelveandtwelve/en_pdfs/en_step2.pdf p. 29

Life Is Not Meant To Be Easy So Easy Does It

Posted on May 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

"Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.  The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle".  The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain.  "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, and he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just wonder what kind of jackass put him up there to begin with"."

 

"The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.   On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.  Most people try to live by self-propulsion.  Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way.  If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great.  Everybody, including himself, would be pleased.  Life would be wonderful.  In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous.   He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing.  On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest.  But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.


What usually happens?  The show doesn't come off very well.  He begins to think life doesn't treat him right.  He decides to exert himself more.   He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be.   Still the play does not suit him.  Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame.  He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying.  What is his basic trouble?   Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind?   Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?  Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants?  And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show?  Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?


Our actor is self-centered - ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays.  He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up.  Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?


Selfishness - self-centeredness!   That, we think, is the root of our troubles.  Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.  Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.


So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.  Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.  We must, or it kills us!  God makes that possible.   And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid.  Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power.   We had to have God's help.


This is the how and why of it.   First of all, we had to quit playing God.  It didn't work.  Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.  He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children.  Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.


When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.  We had a new Employer.  Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.  Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.  As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.  We were reborn." http://anonpress.org/bb/Page_60.htm


Jacob was running his life on self will in Genesis and came to a turning point where he was running from his problems so God wrestled him.
 

 "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."  But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."  The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."  Jacob said, "Please tell me your name."  But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?"  Then he blessed him there.  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."  The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip." (Genesis 32:24-31)


Looking at the situation that Jacob was in gives us a better understanding of it.  Jacob had an issue with running away from his mistakes instead of confronting them head on.  This ultimately took a toll on Jacob's life.  God decided it was time for Jacob to become a man.  He actually starts forcing Jacob to confront his fears head on.  His uncle Laban actually runs Jacob down and captures him after Jacob just ran off without talking with him first,(he was afraid).  He left because God told him to go back to where he had deceived his brother and ran away.  This is where Jacob's fear overcomes him and he actually comes to grips with himself and admits to God how unworthy he was to be blessed by the Lord.  Jacob still let his fear overtake him again and was attempting to flee again before meeting his brother face to face.  That is when God in the flesh comes down and wrestles with Jacob and dislocates his hip. He is too far in the game to flee with a dislocated hip now.  He has no choice but to see his brother face to face now.


In the end, Jacob does what we all must do. He confronts his failures, his weaknesses, his sins, all the things that are hurting him . . . and faces God.  Jacob wrestled with God all night.  It was an exhausting struggle that left him crippled.  It was only after he came to grips with God and ceased his struggling, realizing that he could not go on without Him, that he received God’s blessing (Genesis 32:29).

 

What we learn from this remarkable incident in the life of Jacob is that our lives are never meant to be easy.  This is especially true when we take it upon ourselves to wrestle with God and His will for our lives.

It's already better.

Good Morning Heartache

Posted on May 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Life, death and booze — and Alcoholics Anonymous

By: Jing Luo Published: Apr 23, 2012

The meeting, in which alcoholics come together anonymously and discuss their struggles, has been a key component of the AA method since the movement was founded.

“How do you know when an alcoholic woman consents to sex? She’s conscious,” said Kathy D., a comedian and alcoholic who tells self-deprecating jokes in her stand-up routine.

Kathy is also a volunteer at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at the Triangle Club in Atlanta. She comes to talk to participants every Saturday.

The participants are guided by the “Twelve Steps,” outlining the course of action for recovery from addiction. The steps were first published in a 1939 book, which people inside the meeting call “The Big Book.”

The steps are also posted on the wall, starting with “we admitted we are powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Other 12-step programs, patterned on AA, now address addictions to other substances and to various types of destructive behavior. But AA remains best-known because alcohol addiction is such a big problem. It affects millions of people in the United States alone.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 17.6 million U.S. adults are alcoholics or alcohol abusers. Alcoholism, classified as a chronic disease, affects an estimated 429,000 Georgians. AA meetings, like the one at the Triangle Club, can be found every day of the week all over the state.

For alcoholics at this meeting, sobriety is about knowing your strength without becoming complacent about your weakness.

An idea that has worked

AA has a few detractors, some of whom object to its spiritual, though completely nonsectarian, approach to addiction. But over the generations, a vast number of people from every background have attested to how it benefited them.

“AA is a brilliant idea. It’s free. It’s self-supporting. I myself went to AA meetings,” said Neil Kaltenecker, executive director of Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. “It is not only about healing alcoholism; it is about being a better person, having better relationships. AA serves a great need.”

Volunteers and participants agree to remain anonymous. The tradition was born out of the stigma of alcoholism at the time AA was founded.

“The tradition made sure there was a safe place where members could focus on recovery,” Kaltenecker said. “I can talk about my personal experience using my real name, but I cannot talk about other members.”

At meetings, participants share their stories using their first names. Bob C, a regular participant, shared his. “I am an alcoholic. I have been drinking for 32 years,” he said.

Besides self-awareness, AA is also about self-support. The organization never accepts donations from non-alcoholics.

“Once we received a check for $1,000, and we found out that the person was not an alcoholic, so we sent it back,” Kathy D said. “It is important for members to know how strong we are.”

But knowing their strength may lead to another problem recovering alcoholics try to avoid: complacency. As one member named Lanie said, most people start drinking again due to inflated self-confidence, thinking they are now strong enough to control their consumption.

This was the case for Bob. He has undergone many periods of sobriety, which all ended in drinking again. The longest period was from 1995 to 2008. “It was 13 years, and everything seemed so perfect to me — work, health, friends — and I had regular AA meetings, so I thought it was OK for me to celebrate it with a beer.” He did not stop drinking again until Sept. 25, 2011.

“You’ve got to drink again because you forgot what makes you sober,” Bob said.

Coming back from the brink

Complacency is the reason for all failed attempts at sobriety, according to Kathy D. “Once you have a big ego, you are edging God out.” The third step of the 12 steps to recovery is to let go of your own ego and let God take over: “Let go and let God,” the step says.

At a recent meeting, most of the participants’ stories were related to the deaths of loved ones. Jesse, 24, went to jail because of his alcoholism. His decision to stop drinking was triggered by the death of his aunt.

“I received a call in which I was told that my aunt died because of drinking,’’ he said. “I realized that this would kill me and my family would suffer, so I stopped.”

The host, Jimmy K, shared the same pain. “My wife died of cancer in 1982, and I was angry at everything. People always say that God gives you this, God gives you that. But I thought that was all bull, and I started drinking for eight years.”

Kathy D lost her brother-in-law in 2004 because of his alcoholism. “His organs were damaged, he went to clinic and rehab; that did not help, so he left us.”

Then, five months ago, she lost one of her friends. “I did not even know he was an alcoholic. If he told me, I think I could have helped, and AA could, too.”

http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2012/04/life-death-booze-alcoholics-anonymous/


List of deaths through alcohol:

:) Name Death date Location Cause Age Occupation :)

John Barrymore 29 May 1942 Hollywood, United States Various 60 Actor

Brendan Behan 20 March 1964 Dublin, Ireland Alcoholism 41 Writer

Bix Beiderbecke 6 August 1931 New York, United States Pneumonia 28 Musician

George Best 25 November 2005 London, United Kingdom Alcoholism 59 Football player 

John Bonham 25 September 1980 Windsor, United Kingdom Asphyxiation 32 Drummer for Led Zeppelin, Musician

Julia Bruns 24 December 1927 New York City, United States Alcohol poisoning 32 Actress, model

Rob Buck 19 December 2000 Pittsburgh, United States Liver failure 42 Musician

Richard Burton 5 August 1984 Geneva, Switzerland Cerebral hemorrage 58 Actor

David Byron 28 February 1985 Reading, United Kingdom Alcoholism 38 Musician

Truman Capote 25 August 1984 Los Angeles, United States Liver disease 59 Writer

Torsten Carleman 25 January 1949 Stockholm, Sweden Alcoholism 57 Mathematician

Leonard Chadwick 18 May 1940 Boston, United States Asphyxiation 61 War hero

Raymond Chandler 26 March 1959 La Jolla, United States Pneumonia 70 Writer

Michael Clarke 18 December 1993 Treasure Island, United States Alcoholism 47 Musician

Brian Connolly 9 February 1997 Slough, United Kingdom Renal failure 52 Singer

Peter Cook 9 January 1995 London, United Kingdom Gastro-intestinal hemorrage 57 Comedian

Michael Elphick 7 September 2002 London, United Kingdom Alcoholism 55 Actor

W. C. Fields 25 December 1946 Pasadena, United States Alcoholism 66 Actor

F. Scott Fitzgerald 21 December 1940 Hollywood, United States Heart attack 44 Writer

Errol Flynn1 4 October 1959 Vancouver, Canada Heart attack 50 Actor

Garrincha 20 Jan 1983 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Alcoholism 49 Footballer

Alexander Godunov 18 May 1995 Hollywood, United States Alcoholism 45 Dancer/actor

Patrick Hamilton 23 September 1962 Sheringham, United Kingdom Cirrhosis 58 Writer

William Rowan Hamilton 2 September 1865 Ireland Gout 60 Mathematician

Lorenz Hart 22 November 1943 New York City, United States Alcoholism 48 Lyricist

Ira Hayes 23 January 1955 Arizona, United States Exposure 32 War hero

Ian Hendry 24 December 1984 London, United Kingdom Stomach hemorrage 53 Actor

O. Henry 5 June 1910 New York, United States Cirrhosis 47 Writer

Christopher Hitchens 15 December 2011 Houston, Texas Esophageal cancer 62 Writer

William Holden 12 November 1981 Santa Monica, United States Alcoholism 63 Actor

Billie Holiday 17 July 1959 New York City, United States Alcoholism 44 Singer

Naftali Herz Imber 8 October 1909 New York, United States Alcoholism 53 Poet

Yootha Joyce 24 August 1980 London, England Alcoholism 53 Actress

Phil Katz 14 April 2000 Wisconsin, United States Alcoholism 37 Computer programmer

Jack Kerouac 21 October 1969 Tampa Bay, United States Alcoholism 47 Writer

Veronica Lake 7 July 1973 Vermont, United States Acute hepatitis 50 Actress

Jani Lane 10 August 2011 Los Angeles, California, United States Alcohol poisoning 47 Musician

Kevin Lloyd 2 May 1998 Staffordshire, United Kingdom Alcoholism 49 Actor

Mickey Mantle 13 August 1995 Dallas, United States Liver cancer 63 New York Yankees center fielder

Joseph McCarthy 2 May 1957 Maryland, United States Acute hepatitis 48 Politician

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan 8 March 1973 Corte Madera, United States Gastrointestinal hemorrage 27 Musician

Clyde McPhatter 13 June 1972 The Bronx, United States Heart attack 39 R&B singer

Grace Metalious 25 February 1964 Boston, United States Cirrhosis 39 Writer

Gary Moore 6 February 2011 Estepona, Spain Heart attack 58 Musician

Jim Morrison 3 July 1971 Paris, France Alcoholism 27 Musician, Poet

Modest Mussorgsky 28 March 1881 Saint Petersburg, Russia Alcoholism 42 Composer

Barbara Payton 8 May 1967 San Diego, United States Liver failure 39 Actress

Franklin Pierce 8 October 1869 Concord, United States Edema or cirrhosis (death certification) 64 U.S. President

Oliver Reed 2 May 1999 Malta Alcoholism 61 Actor

Ramses Shaffy 1 December 2009 Dr. Sarphati House, Amsterdam, the Netherlands Esophageal Cancer 76 Singer, Actor

Jean Stafford 26 March 1979 White Plains, United States Cardiac arrest 63 Writer

Miika Tenkula 19 February 2009 Muhos, Finland Alcoholism 34 guitarist

Dylan Thomas 9 November 1953 New York, United States Alcoholism 39 Writer

James Thurber 2 November 1961 New York, United States Stroke 66 Cartoonist and writer

Townes Van Zandt 1 January 1997 Texas, United States Heart attack 52 Musician

Vladimir Vysotsky 25 July 1980 Moscow, Soviet Union Heart attack 42 Singer, songwriter, poet, and actor

Amy Winehouse 23 July 2011 London, United Kingdom Alcohol poisoning 27 singer/songwriter

Keith Whitley 9 May 1989 Nashville, United States Alcohol poisoning 33 Country music singer

Hank Williams 1 January 1953 Oak Hill, United States Acute ventricular dilation 29 Musician

David Woodley 4 May 2003 Shreveport, United States Liver disease 44 NFL quarterback

Lester Young 15 March 1959 New York, United States Heart failure 49 Musician


Discrimination

Posted on May 3, 2014 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Known Your Rights (A brochure from the US Department of Health and Human Services)


Are you in recovery from alcohol or drug problems?


The brochure will help you:


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER FEDERAL LAWS THAT PROTECT YOU FROM DISCRIMINATION IN –

-  Employment and job training

-  Housing

-  Government services and programs

-  Health care and other public accommodations

-  Education.


KNOW THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF SUBSTANCE USE-RELATED CONDUCT THAT MAY LIMIT YOUR RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN AREAS SUCH AS –

-  Public housing and other federally assisted housing

-  Federally funded public assistance and food stamps

-  Federal student loans and aid.


KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO TO –

-  Prevent or remedy violations of your rights under Fed-eral non-discrimination laws

-  Overcome legal barriers that other laws may impose dueto past or current substance use related conduct, including convictions for substance use offenses.


THE FEDERAL NON-DISCRIMINATION LAWS THAT PROTECT YOU (Q & A)

Q: I am in recovery from substance abuse, but I still face discrimination because of my addiction history. Does any law protectme?

A: Yes. Federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination in many areas of life against qualified “individuals with disabilities.”  Many people with past and current alcohol problems and past drug use disorders, including those in treatment for these illnesses, are protected from discrimination by:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Rehabilitation Act of 197

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA).


WHO IS PROTECTED?

The non-discrimination laws discussed in this brochure protect individuals with a “disability.”  Under these Federal laws, an individual with a “disability” is someone who –

-  has a current “physical or mental impairment” that “substantially limits” one or more of that person’s “major life activities,” such as caring for one’s self, working, etc.

-  has a record of such a substantially limiting impairment or

-  is regarded as having such an impairment.

Whether a particular person has a “disability” is decided on an individualized, case-by-case basis.

Substance use disorders (addiction) are recognized as impairments that can and do, for many individuals, substantially limit the individual’s major life activities.  For this reason, many courts have found that individuals experiencing or who are in recovery from these conditions are individuals with a “disability” protected by Federal law.

To be protected as an individual with a “disability” under Federal non-discrimination laws, a person must show that his or her addiction substantially limits (or limited, in the past) major life activities.

• People wrongly believed to have a substance use disorder(in the past or currently) may also be protected as individuals “regarded as” having a disability.


WHO IS NOT PROTECTED?

People who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs are not protected under these non-discrimination laws, except that individuals may not be denied health services (including drug rehabilitation) based on their current illegal use of drugs if they are otherwise entitled to those services.

People whose use of alcohol or drugs poses a direct threat—a significant risk of substantial harm—to the health or safety of others are not protected.

People whose use of alcohol or drugs does not significantly impair a major life activity are not protected (unless they show they have a “record of ” or are “regarded as” having a substance use disorder—addiction—that is substantially limiting).


WHAT IS, AND IS NOT, ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION?

Discriminating against someone on the basis of his or her disability—for example, just because he has a past drug addiction or she is in an alcohol treatment program—may be illegal discrimination.  Discrimination means treating someone less favorably than someone else because he or she has, once had, or is regarded as having a disability.

Acting against a person for reasons other than having a disability is not generally illegal discrimination, even if the disability is related to the cause of the adverse action.

For instance, it is not likely to be ruled unlawful discrimination if someone in substance abuse treatment or in recovery is denied a job, services, or benefits because he –

-  does not meet essential eligibility requirements

-  is unable to do the job

-  creates a direct threat to health or safety by his behavior, even if the behavior is caused by a substance use disorder

-  violates rules or commits a crime, including a drug or alcohol-related one, when that misconduct is cause for excluding or disciplining anyone doing it.

Since the basis for the negative action in these cases is not (or not solely) the person’s disability, these actions do not violate Federal non-discrimination laws.


etc...  The brochure has 15 pages of useful information.

http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Are-You-in-Recovery-from-Alcohol-or-Drug-Problems-Know-Your-Rights/PHD1091

http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/PHD1091/PHD1091.pdf

Comic, Lies, Tooth Fairy

Posted on April 26, 2014 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

A short story in pictures by a professional writer:


Our Drunken Mistake of a Toothfairy

When I was growing up we had an issue every time we lost a tooth.  Our tooth fairy NEVER remembered to come.

Now my mother did her best to explain the situation.  She told us elaborate tales of our alcoholic tooth fairy that couldn't quite get it together.


She suggested I draw huge signs to tape all around the house so the tooth fairy couldn't miss them.  No matter how ridiculously drunk she got.  So I spent hours drawing huge posters to direct the tooth fairy.


But the tooth fairy still forget.  The more the tooth fairy forgot the more my mother explained.


I was so fascinated that I wanted to meet this drunken mess of a fairy.  So as any child would do I lay in wait.


Which inevitably lead to a certain amount of surprise.


and of course the only logical conclusion.

written by:  With all the Finesse of a Badger

http://alvycarragher.blogspot.com/2013/11/our-drunken-mistake-of-toothfairy.html

Health versus Habits

Posted on April 19, 2014 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Being an alcoholic and checking [x] No, means that I'm a winner today. :)
Sometimes life is as simple as yes or no.  
Sometimes there are other variables in the picture. 
You know what? 

"What is good for one man is not for another, but to the fact that some can rise under a weight which will crush others." 

A TREATISE ON A SOBER LIFE.   Luigi Cornaro(1467-1566), A Noble Venitian.


" Health is so necessary to all the duties, as well as pleasures of life, that the crime of squandering it is equal to the folly;

and he that for a short gratification brings weakness and diseases upon himself, and for the pleasure of a few years, 
condemns the maturer and more experienced part of his life to the chamber and the couch, may be justly reproached, 
not only as a spend thrift of his own happiness, but as the robber of the  public, as a wretch that has voluntarily disqualified 
himself for the business of his station, and refused that part which Providence assigns him in the general task of human nature."
Dr. Samuel Johnson. 1750

"It is a thing past all doubt, that custom, by time, becomes a second nature, forcing men to use that, whether good or bad, 
to which they have been habituated: nay, we see habit, in many things, get the better of reason.  This is so undeniably true, 
that virtuous men, by conversing with the wicked, very often fall into the same vicious course of life.  The contrary, likewise,
we see sometimes happen; viz. that, as good morals easily change to bad, so bad morals change again to good.  For instance: 
let a wicked man, who was once virtuous, keep company with a virtuous man,  and he will again become virtuous; 
and this alteration can be attributed to nothing but the force of habit, which is, indeed, very great."  L. Cornaro. 1548

http://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-56710220R-bk

I'm staying sober (with God's and AA's help) because I know that I had a dangerous drinking problem. 

I am dealing with life one day at a time.
Over-dwelling on my issues alone is dangerous.
I will not over-dwell on my issues alone.
I had a dangerous drinking problem.
I will not deal with the irreversability of it alone.

2014 Round UP Beach Meeting in Cape May N.J. Photo 
Sometimes, It's already better.
To Good Health Habits. 
Don't Experiment.
Let's do what is good and necessary for ourselves.

AA Involvement Patterns

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)


The Alcohol Research Group is in Oakland CA. (mission)

This is an interesting paper about meeting attendance. :)


Alcoholics anonymous careers: patterns of AA involvement five years after treatment entry.

Kaskutas LA 1, Ammon L, Delucchi K, Room R, Bond J, Weisner C.

Author information   1 Alcohol Research Group, 2000 Hearst Avenue, Suite 300, Berkeley, CA 94709-2176, USA.


Abstract

BACKGROUND: Most formal treatment programs recommend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) attendance during treatment and as a form of aftercare, but we know very little about treatment seekers' patterns of AA involvement over time and how these relate to abstinence.


METHOD: This paper applies latent class growth curve modeling to longitudinal data from 349 dependent drinkers recruited when they were entering treatment and were re-interviewed at one or more follow-up interviews one, three and five years later, and who reported having attended AA at least once.


RESULTS: Four classes of AA "careers" of meeting attendance emerged: The low AA group mainly just attended AA during the 12 months following treatment entry. The medium and high AA groups were characterized by stable attendance at the second and third follow-ups-at about 60 meetings a year for the medium group and over 200 meetings per year for the high group, followed by slight increases for the medium group and slight decreases for the high group by year five. The declining AA group doubled its meeting attendance postbaseline, to almost 200 meetings during the year following treatment entry, but by year five they were only attending about six meetings on average. Decreases in AA meetings did not necessarily signal disengagement from AA; at the five-year follow-up, a third of the low AA group and over half of the declining AA group said they felt like a member of AA. Activities other than meeting attendance, such as having a sponsor, otherwise paralleled the meeting careers, but social networks were similar by year five. Rates of abstinence by year five (for the past 30 days) were 43% for the low AA group, 73% for the medium group, 79% for the high group and 61% for the declining group. Rates of dependence symptoms and social consequences of drinking did not differ between the groups at year five.


CONCLUSIONS: The prototypical AA careers derived empirically are consistent with anecdotal data about AA meetings: some never connect; some connect but briefly; and others maintain stable (and sometimes quite high) rates of AA attendance. However, contrary to AA lore, many who connect only for a while do well afterwards.


PMID:16340455 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16340455


The 30 days of abstinance percentages suggest that people with an AA background continue to try to stay sober. :)

If I am heading to a meeting or in a meeting, I'm not drinking. 

I'm heading toward the next meeting.  I haven't arrived yet.


It's already better.

Should Have Known

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)


Thirty two months have passed since I had my last drink. In moments of quiet like this one, there is less denial, more surrender. Less perfectionism, more slow progress. More it is what it is, and less resentment. There are several things I should have known about recovery from alcoholism at this point.  I should know them. 


#1 Helping others is what keeps us sober.

It’s the 12th Step of the Twelve Steps and probably the most: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This is the heart and soul of the program and what you’ll often hear is that we can’t keep what we have without giving it away.  Recovery is not easy or free.  I am extremely selfish/self-centered.  By helping other alcoholics, I am also helping my own recovery. 


#2 Marijuana maintenance doesn’t work.

Once we get clean and sober, we’re feeling better, a lot better. Sometimes, people think that they can smoke marijuana, as long as they’re not drinking or using other drugs. The problem with this thinking is that marijuana still IS a drug. And so, it’s not being clean and sober if you’re smoking pot.  Some may argue that marijuana is a natural substance, but so are alcohol (hops is also a plant), cocaine (plant), heroin (plant)...


#3 SuWUCHI and ROOTS drinks in places that sell jerk chicken and chinese stuff are alcoholic.

…or anything else mood or mind-altering even if it wasn’t your drug of choice when you were using. So many times, I have heard people share that they went to treatment in the past for one substance and, when they got clean, started using something else because it wasn’t there original DOC. Guess what happened? They ended up drunk again.  Being an alcoholic means that we have to stay away from all substances.


#4 That I'm still a little crazy. 

Two years sounds like a long time but, really it’s just a drop in the bucket. Think of it this way: when I first got sober, that’s like being born again so,  after two years, that baby is still only a two year old.  All the substances are out of my system, but I'm still re-learning how to live without substances.  Oftentimes, I'm still working through issues and emotions.


At 2 3/4 years sober, I find that I still have some bad habits – “alcoholic behaviors.” That’s because being an alcoholic really has nothing to do with  alcohol. It’s about behaviors and thinking that something external will bring us internal happiness. So, careful with acting out – through sex, relationships, gambling, gaming, being online all the time – basically, behaviors that I can take to the extreme and use in order to avoid feelings.

 

#5  That I might still be suffering consequences.


At times in active alcoholism and early recovery, I broke rules and relationships.  When I got sober, things got a lot better but, in the first years of sobriety, I'm still often dealing with the fallout of it all.  So I am being patient with myself and should be patient with others also. 


It gets more better, one day at a time

One Day at a Time

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Is the slogan "One Day At A Time" in the Big Book?

If not where does it come from?

"One Day At A Time" is not in the main text of The Big Book.

It is not on p. 135 with the three other slogans.

 

The phrase "One Day at a Time" does appear at the end of The Oxford Group pamphlet called The Four Absolutes.


The booklet ends with:

"Remember our four questions, "Is it true or false?", "Is it right or wrong?", "How will this affect the other fellow?", and "Is it ugly or beautiful?". Answering these queries every day with absolute integrity, and following the dictates of those answers one day at a time, will surely lead us well on our journey toward absorbing and applying the Absolutes."


AA grew out of The Oxford Group and the pamphlet pre-dates the beginning of AA, so this could be a source for the phrase. 

 

"One Day At A Time" does appear in many personal stories published in The Big Book and appears in other AA literature as well.  It can be found in As Bill Sees It and Twelve Concepts for World Service among other books and pamphlets."


On p.188, "Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three", Fourth Edition Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Bill Dotson says:

"The next question they asked was, “You can quit twenty-four hours, can’t you?”  I said, “Sure, yes, any­body can do that, for twenty-four hours.” They said, “That’s what we’re talking about. Just twenty-four hours at a time.”  That sure did take a load off of my mind.  Every time I’d start thinking about drinking, I would think of the long, dry years ahead without hav­ing a drink; but this idea of twenty-four hours, that it was up to me from then on, was a lot of help."


Bill Dotson does not precisely say "One Day at a Time".


Matthew 6:34 ASV,  "Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil  thereof.", does not precisely say "One Day at a Time".


Another pre-AA source from http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/07/26/just-for-today/

Quote Investigator: The earliest instance of closely matching text located by QI was dated 1921 in the Boston Globe. The author was Frank Crane who wrote a newspaper column called “DR CRANE SAYS”. The piece contained a set of ten daily suggestions and was titled “Just for Today”

Here are ten resolutions to make when you awake in the morning.

They are Just for One Day. Think of them not as a life task but as a day’s work.

These things will give you pleasure. Yet they require will power. You don’t need resolutions to do what is easy.

1. Just for Today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life-problem at once. I can do some things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

2. Just for Today, I will be Happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from Within; it is not a matter of Externals.

3. Just for Today, I will Adjust myself to what Is, and not try to Adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come, and fit myself to them.

4. Just for Today, I will take care of my Body. I will exercise it, care for it, and nourish it, and not abuse it nor neglect it; so that it will be a perfect machine for my will.

5. Just for Today, I will try to strengthen my mind, I will study. I will learn something useful, I will not be a mental loafer all day. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

6. Just for Today, I will exercise my Soul. In three ways, to wit:

(a) I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. If anybody knows of it, it will not count.

(b) I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, as William James suggests just for exercise.

(c) I will not show any one that my feelings are hurt. They may be hurt, but Today I will not show it.

7. Just for To-day, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible,  talk low,  act courteously, be liberal with flattery, criticize not one bit  nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate nor improve anybody.

8. Just for Today, I will have a Programme. I will write down just what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. It will save me from the two pests Hurry and Indecision.

9. Just for Today, I will have a quiet half hour, all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, some time, I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective to my life.

10. Just for Today, I will be Unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to be Happy, to enjoy what is Beautiful, to love and to believe that those I love love me.

(Copyright, 1921 by Frank Crane)

The copyright statement at the end of the column suggested that Crane was claiming authorship.  (Special note: Since the text above was published in the U.S. before 1923 QI believes that the copyright has now expired and the essay is in the public domain in the U.S.)  But QI is not certain that Crane originated the entire list of statements.  Oddly, in 1932 a nearly identical set of ten resolutions was published in the Christian Science Monitor.  However, Frank Crane’s name was not mentioned.  Instead, the words were attributed to “Hugh Barret Dobbs”.  This probably was a misspelling of the name of Hugh Barrett Dobbs who was a popular radio entertainer.

Not precisely "One Day at a Time".


After a Big Book/12and12 Book search, I found that the word One occurs 344 times, Day occurs 111 times and Time occurs 202 times.  Those three words are some of the most occuring words in those two books.  The words just do not occur together precisely.


Coincidently, in the Big Book, the phrases " at one time" and "One day" occur on p.136, two paragraphs after the slogans "First Things First", Live and Let Live" and "Easy Does It" which occur at the bottom of the previous page.

I suppose just happened, maybe in the 60's .

It's better already.

Spring into Spring in AA

Posted on March 22, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)



Anytime of the year is a good time to get sober.  Anytime.  For me, when the weather started getting nicer and my life was getting worse and worse, I would then think about getting sober.  Once upon a few times, when I eventally needed to get sober because my alcoholism was so bad, it was Springtime.  Getting sober for real involves traveling around town to some easy to find AA meetings.  There, I learn from people just like me.  There are so many meetings.  I can just search the word spring and all these meetings and events have the word spring in them.


Meeting: SPRINGFIELD MONDAY NIGHT

Address: Church of the Redeemer, W. Springfield & Hillcrest Rds.

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Monday at 8:00 pm

Type: CD

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: THE FRIENDS

Address: Princeton Presbyterian Ch., 933 Baltimore Pike & Church Rd.

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Sunday at 8:30 pm

Type: OD

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: SAFARI

Address: Princeton Presbyterian Church, 933 Baltimore Pike

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Tuesday at 7:30 pm

Type: CS

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE

Address: St. Matthew's UCC, Route 401 & St. Matthew's Rd.

Neighborhood: CHESTER SPRINGS

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Friday at 7:30 pm

Type: CS/T

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

 

Meeting: JOY OF LIVING (DELCO)

Address: St. Francis of Assisi Ch., Conway Hall, Saxer Ave. & Rolling Rd.

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Thursday at 8:30 pm

Type: CD

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: SERIOUS BUSINESS

Address: St. Matthew's UCC, Rt. 401 & St. Matthews Rd.

Neighborhood: CHESTER SPRINGS

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Tuesday at 7:30 pm

Type: CBB

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

 

Meeting: COURAGE TO HEAL

Address: First Presbyterian Church, Summit & Cascade Rds., Springfield, PA 19064

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Thursday at 6:30 pm

Type: OST

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: THE DELCO OLDTIMERS

Address: Princeton Presbyterian Ch., 933 Baltimore Pike & Church Rd, Springfield, PA.

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Friday at 7:00 pm

Type: OT

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: SPRINGFORD

Address: Royersford Baptist Ch., S. Lewis & Vaughn Rds.

Neighborhood: SPRINGFORD

County: MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Day/Time: Thursday at 8:00 pm

Type: OD

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: GRATEFUL LIVING

Address: St. Matthew's UCC Ch., Rt. 401 & St. Matthews Rd.

Neighborhood: CHESTER SPRINGS

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Saturday at 7:30 pm

Type: OV

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: BOOK STUDY GROUP

Address: St. Joseph Cath. Church (Parish House) 3640 Schuykill Road

Neighborhood: SPRING CITY

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Monday at 7:00 pm

Type: CL

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: BACK TO BASICS

Address: Spring City United Methodist Ch., Church & Broad Sts.

Neighborhood: SPRING CITY

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Monday at 8:00 pm

Type: CD

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: LAST SUNDAY of the MONTH BREAKFAST MEETING

Address: Somerton Springs Swim Club, Bustleton Ave & County Line Rd.

Neighborhood: FEASTERVILLE

County: BUCKS COUNTY

Day/Time: Sunday at 8:45 am

Type: OS

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Meeting: BOOK STUDY GROUP

Address: St. Joseph Cath. Church (Parish House) 3640 Schuykill Road

Neighborhood: SPRING CITY

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Thursday at 7:00 pm

Type: CST

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: BONNIE BRAE

Address: Zion Lutheran Ch., Rt. 724 & Bonnie Brae Rd.

Neighborhood: SPRING CITY

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Monday at 7:00 pm

Type: OBB

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Meeting: MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Address: St. Matthew's U.C.C., Route 401 & St. Matthew's Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425

Neighborhood: CHESTER SPRINGS

County: CHESTER COUNTY

Day/Time: Monday at 7:30 am

Type: CD

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Meeting: HAVERTOWN SPRINGFIELD

Address: St. Kevin's Catholic Ch, Rt. 320 (next to Springfield CC)

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Wednesday at 8:00 pm

Type: OSD

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Meeting: ALIVE AGAIN

Address: St. Kevin's Catholic Church, 200 W. Sproul Road

Neighborhood: SPRINGFIELD

County: DELAWARE COUNTY

Day/Time: Sunday at 8:00 pm

Type: OD

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


If I could ever get myself out of town, I could attend AA meetings or events around the World.

Ecuador has nice Spring weather year round, perpetual Spring and AA meetings.


AA Meetings in English (Cuenca):  There are English speaking AA meetings in Cuenca at noon every day of the week. The meetings are at Borrero 7-68 between Sucre and Presidente Cordova, Second floor, room facing the street.


There are big Springtime AA events in Arkansas and at the New Jersey Shore.

The 38th Annual                                  

SPRINGTIME IN THE OZARKS CONVENTION

April 17, 18, 19 and 20, 2014

Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

479-253-9768

THEME:    "...moments sublime with intervals hilarious.

           

April 11, 12 and 13, 2014:  SEPIA ANNUAL ROUND UP

Grand Hotel of Cape May, 1045 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ   

Send check payable to "SEPIA Round Up" and registration form to:

SEPIA ROUND-UP

444 N 3rd St Ste 3E

Spring Garden, Northern Liberties

Philadelphia, PA 19123


AA Fellowship People, AA Fellowship Places and Things, One Spring Day at a Time.

It's already better.

A Tale of Alcoholic Supernaturality

Posted on March 15, 2014 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

THE BLACK CAT by Edgar Allen Poe Illustration for “The Black Cat” by Aubrey Beardsley (1894–1895).

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror — to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place — some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point — and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

Pluto — this was the cat's name — was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.

Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character — through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance (alcoholism)— had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me — for what disease is like Alcohol! — and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish — even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning — when I had slept off the fumes of the night's debauch — I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any pain. He went about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, fled in extreme terror at my approach. I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a creature which had once so loved me. But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSENESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart — one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself — to offer violence to its own nature — to do wrong for the wrong's sake only — that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute. One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; — hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; — hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; — hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin — a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it — if such a thing wore possible — even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God.

On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was done, I was aroused from sleep by the cry of fire. The curtains of my bed were in flames. The whole house was blazing. It was with great difficulty that my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escape from the conflagration. The destruction was complete. My entire worldly wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to despair.

I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity. But I am detailing a chain of facts — and wish not to leave even a possible link imperfect. On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. This exception was found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about the middle of the house, and against which had rested the head of my bed. The plastering had here, in great measure, resisted the action of the fire — a fact which I attributed to its having been recently spread. About this wall a dense crowd were collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention. The words "strange!" "singular!" and other similar expressions, excited my curiosity. I approached and saw, as if graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat. The impression was given with an accuracy truly marvellous. There was a rope about the animal's neck.

When I first beheld this apparition — for I could scarcely regard it as less — my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length reflection came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been immediately filled by the crowd — by some one of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of which, with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, had then accomplished the portraiture as I saw it.

Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether to my conscience, for the startling fact just detailed, it did not the less fail to make a deep impression upon my fancy. For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place.

One night as I sat, half stupified, in a den of more than infamy, my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object, reposing upon the head of one of the immense hogsheads (63 gallons) of Gin, or of Rum, which constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had been looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and what now caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner perceived the object thereupon. I approached it, and touched it with my hand. It was a black cat — a very large one — fully as large as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one. Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of the breast. Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. I at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but this person made no claim to it — knew nothing of it — had never seen it before.

I continued my caresses, and, when I prepared to go home, the animal evinced a disposition to accompany me. I permitted it to do so; occasionally stooping and patting it as I proceeded. When it reached the house it domesticated itself at once, and became immediately a great favorite with my wife.

For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me. This was just the reverse of what I had anticipated; but — I know not how or why it was — its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. I avoided the creature; a certain sense of shame, and the remembrance of my former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it. I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it; but gradually — very gradually — I came to look upon it with unutterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of a pestilence.

What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was the discovery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes. This circumstance, however, only endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling which had once been my distinguishing trait, and the source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures.

With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself seemed to increase. It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend. Whenever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus nearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this manner, to my breast. At such times, although I longed to destroy it with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly by a memory of my former crime, but chiefly — let me confess it at once — by absolute dread of the beast.

This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil — and yet I should be at a loss how otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed to own — yes, even in this felon's cell, I am almost ashamed to own — that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimaeras it would be possible to conceive. My wife had called my attention, more than once, to the character of the mark of white hair, of which I have spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees — degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a long time my Reason struggled to reject as fanciful — it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name — and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared — it was now, I say, the image of a hideous — of a ghastly thing — of the GALLOWS! — oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime — of Agony and of Death!

And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast — whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed — a brute beast to work out for me — for me a man, fashioned in the image of the High God — so much of insufferable wo! Alas! neither by day nor by night knew I the blessing of Rest any more! During the former the creature left me no moment alone; and, in the latter, I started, hourly, from dreams of unutterable fear, to find the hot breath of the thing upon my face, and its vast weight — an incarnate Night-Mare that I had no power to shake off — incumbent eternally upon my heart!

 

Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates — the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, alas! was the most usual and the most patient of sufferers.

One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demoniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan.

This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar. Again, I deliberated about casting it in the well in the yard — about packing it in a box, as if merchandize, with the usual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it from the house. Finally I hit upon what I considered a far better expedient than either of these. I determined to wall it up in the cellar — as the monks of the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims.

For a purpose such as this the cellar was well adapted. Its walls were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented from hardening. Moreover, in one of the walls was a projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, that had been filled up, and made to resemble the red of the cellar. I made no doubt that I could readily displace the bricks at this point, insert the corpse, and wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could detect any thing suspicious. And in this calculation I was not deceived. By means of a crow-bar I easily dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole structure as it originally stood. Having procured mortar, sand, and hair, with every possible precaution, I prepared a plaster which could not be distinguished from the old, and with this I very carefully went over the new brickwork. When I had finished, I felt satisfied that all was right. The wall did not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked up with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said to myself — "Here at least, then, my labor has not been in vain."

My next step was to look for the beast which had been the cause of so much wretchedness; for I had, at length, firmly resolved to put it to death. Had I been able to meet with it, at the moment, there could have been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my previous anger, and forebore to present itself in my present mood. It is impossible to describe, or to imagine, the deep, the blissful sense of relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my bosom. It did not make its appearance during the night — and thus for one night at least, since its introduction into the house, I soundly and tranquilly slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder upon my soul!

The second and the third day passed, and still my tormentor came not. Once again I breathed as a freeman. The monster, in terror, had fled the premises forever! I should behold it no more! My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little. Some few inquiries had been made, but these had been readily answered. Even a search had been instituted — but of course nothing was to be discovered. I looked upon my future felicity as secured.

Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police came, very unexpectedly, into the house, and proceeded again to make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrassment whatever. The officers bade me accompany them in their search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my arms upon my bosom, and roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.

"Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, "I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By the bye, gentlemen, this — this is a very well constructed house." [In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.] — "I may say an excellently well constructed house. These walls are you going, gentlemen? — these walls are solidly put together;" and here, through the mere phrenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom.

But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! — by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman — a howl — a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation.

Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!


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