|Posted on February 5, 2017 at 5:15 AM||comments (0)|
Today's message is about sponsorship, AA sponsorship. The sponsoring of another person's recovery is a very complex and serious responsibility.
AA SPONSORSHIP from the meeting format.
WHAT IS SPONSORSHIP?
AA began with sponsorship. When Bill W. was only a few months sober, he was stricken with a powerful urge to drink. This thought came to him: "You need another alcoholic just as much as he needs you." Bill W. found Dr Bob, who had been trying desperately and unsuccessfully to stop drinking, and out of their common need, A.A. was born. Dr Bob in turn safeguarded his own sobriety by sponsoring countless other alcoholics. In AA the sponsor and sponsored meet as equals, just as Bill & Bob did. The process of sponsoring is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares his experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA. We need constant & close support as we begin to "live sober" lives.
HOW IS A SPONSOR CHOSEN?
We select an AA member with whom we feel comfortable about sharing our struggles and ask him to be our sponsor. This is generally someone further along in recovery and willing to help others. A good sponsor probably should be at least 6 months away from his last drink - & should be enjoying their sobriety. Our sobriety is greatly strengthened when we give it away. Men should choose men as sponsors & women should choose women.
WHAT DOES A SPONSOR DO? The main activity of a sponsor is to help the newcomer to stay sober. They do this by sharing their own personal experience. They are not doctors or professionals. The sponsor will often suggest that the newcomer begin to work on the 12 steps of AA beginning with seeing that they are "powerless over alcohol" and that their lives are unmanageable. They can not stop drinking by their "own willpower". The sponsor encourages and helps the newcomer to attend many AA meetings and introduces them to other recovering alcoholics. They do not impose their personal views on the alcoholic. They may help the alcoholic understand triggers for their slips.
WHO CAN BE A SPONSOR?
An alcoholic that has remained sober for at least 6 months and has a desire to spend time and help a newcomer get started in AA and recovery. Generally it is someone who has worked through at least the first 5 steps of AA. They are volunteers who are not paid.
HOW DOES A SPONSOR HELP THE ALCOHOLIC?
They get together at least once a week, often before or after an AA meeting for tea and whenever there is a special need. The sponsor shares parts of their own story that will help the newcomer. The sponsor does not demand or control the newcomer. The single purpose is to help alcoholics with their drinking. It is not to develop social friendships and to do social things together. The sponsor does not lend money nor need to help the alcoholic to get a job. The sponsor does not impose their beliefs on the alcoholic.
I read this excerpt in the e-aa discussion forum:
by Whadahay » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:26 pm
I cannot remember where I got this from, but it has come in handy for those new sponcees that mistake me for someone that they can whine to about anything and everything. I tell them that if they want emotional sobriety, to work the Steps and I will be happy to work along with them, but I cannot DO them for them.
Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship
1. I will not help you to stay and wallow in limbo.
2. I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definition.
3. I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more excited, less sensitive, more free to become the authority for your own living.
4. I cannot give you dreams or "fix you up" simply because I cannot.
5. I cannot give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow for yourself by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.
6. I cannot take away your loneliness or your pain.
7. I cannot sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, tell you what is best for your world; because you have your own world in which you must live.
8. I cannot convince you of the necessity to make the vital decision of choosing the frightening uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of remaining static.
9. I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend; yet I cannot get close to you when you choose not to grow.
10. When I begin to care for you out of pity or when I begin to lose faith in you, then I am inhibiting both for you and for me.
11. You must know and understand my help is conditional. I will be with you and "hang in there" with you so long as I continue to get even the slightest hint that you are still trying to grow.
12. If you can accept this, then perhaps we can help each other to become what God meant us to be, mature adults, leaving childishness forever to the little children of the world
Here it is: http://12-steps-recovery.com/resources/sponsors/
The Big Book suggests:
"If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within. If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you would like, in any case, to be friendly. Let it go at that."
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS(The Big Book) The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism - Third Edition - New York, 1976. Chapter 7, WORKING WITH OTHERS, Page 95.
For continuity and completion of the process in one day, there is a way of sponsoring the steps in four one hour sessions using this guide:
Let's be grateful to our AA sponsor for taking us into the 12 steps. Thank you sponsor.
|Posted on January 28, 2017 at 6:15 AM||comments (0)|
It just might be our core dilemma. We might be caught in our own individual Groundhog Day, repeatedly repeating the same habitual habits, asking ourselves, “What happened last night?” It seems that it takes a lot of repeated repetitions to begin to finally convince us that our search to reclaim some past euphoria is never, ever going to happen. We might be clenching and clinging to our old patterns with such tenacity because we believe that we are somehow normal in our drinking habits and that life would be unbearable without alcohol. Lacking any real connection to a Higher Power, self provides the only ground and the only hope we have. We don’t give up easily. Around we go on the wheel of life and death. In that situation, where is there any freedom, any real selfhood? We are desperate to get out of here. We try bad relationships, cars, trips, pills or potions to escape our doom. We might try sobriety, but are not able to handle the normal stresses of life while sober. Nothing seems to work because as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Even so, as days and days and days go on, the insanity and the frustration begin to wear ourselves down and just giving up is a consideration. We can just surrender and begin to find freedom.
And the next morning Phil wakes up (once again) to Sonny and Cher, but now he is beginning to change.
Meetings For Saturday February 4, 2017
Almost Prefect Group
DRMC Hospital-East — Maple Ave. DuBois, PA
Open Discussion Meeting
Big Book Group handicap accessible
Grace Lutheran Church — 406 Pine Street Curwensville, PA
Big Book Study Meeting -
NOTE: From late spring till early fall this meeting is held at Bilgers Rocks.
The Presbyterian Church — 106 East. Union Street Punxsutawney, PA 15767
Open Discussion Saturday, Big Book Study Wednesday
|Posted on January 21, 2017 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
MISERY (Adapted from an old Russian Fairy Tale)
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, removed the cap and carefully buried all but the opening under some dirt and leaves. 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.” The merchant turned his back and covered his eyes as he stood up against the large tree in the center of the courtyard and began counting "one, two, three...". Misery located the small opening in the courtyard and crawled into the empty bottle. After saying "Ready or not, here I come.", the merchant capped the bottle and cast it together with Misery into the nearby 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 happily thereafter alcohol free.
|Posted on January 21, 2017 at 6:00 AM||comments (0)|
If you give happiness to others you will never be alone,
happiness will be yours also, knowing that you have
made someone happy.
"A Smile a Well Done a Gentle Touch
when freely given is like the touch of the Chippy Bird flying by. "
We can find a real life set of the particular sort of caring people in AA if we look for them.
Is it their God given personality or is it the result of working the twelve steps or is it both?
If I reject the help I need because of being selfish, greedy and feeling too unimportant or too important for AA, I stay sick, not neccesarily sicker, just not better.
The reason for getting better is not so obvious.
As it is, we end up in AA, not usually by choice, but for the reason of being out of control, out of it, out of people's good graces, outside. It's not so good being on the outside. So I arrive in AA and one of the first things I hear is "All are welcome". The catch, to be welcome for a continous amount of time and be welcome in society at large, I have to get better.
I can not coast by on my good looks, my out of it personality or my continuous days of sobriety.
For today, I will be unafraid of alcoholics, normal people or me but will still fear horses, heights and scary clowns.
|Posted on December 31, 2016 at 7:55 PM||comments (0)|
Happy Sober New Year 2017.
Instead of being our own worst enemys, perhaps we can be our own best friends.
Open the Door a Crack
|Posted on December 31, 2016 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Lines in the movie "Shakes the Clown"
DINK: The thing I don’t understand is why he just can’t drink normally like the rest of us. Ya know, he gets so out of control.
STENCHY: Maybe it’s because he saw his father crushed to death by an elephant. A thing like that can scar you for life.
LUCY: He drinks so much to forget he’s a frinking alcoholic.
|Posted on December 24, 2016 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
|Posted on December 16, 2016 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Thankful People Are Happy People.
In the year 2003, there was a mental health experiment to determine whether grateful people are generally happier than people who are not; “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation Of Gratitude And Subjective Well-Being In Daily Life.”
The researchers studied three subgroups of people in three different experiments. One third of the subgroups counted and listed their blessings. One third listed annoyances, and the other third wrote about life-neutral events.
Two experiments were conducted using university undergraduate students. The first experiment involved 201 original undergraduate participants (147 women and 54 men) enrolled in a health psychology class in a large university. Of these, nine were dropped from the analysis because of incomplete data, leaving a total of 192 participants. The second experiment involved 166 undergraduates (125 women and 41 men). Of these, nine were dropped from the analysis because of incomplete data, leaving a total of 157 participants.
The first two sets of experimentees were blessed by receiving credit for the experimental learning component of the course. A third experiment was conducted with 65 people (44 women and 21 men) with Neuro-Muscular Diseases. They were blessed with twenty dollars for filling out twenty one daily questionnaire forms and fifteen dollars for filling out less questionnaires. Virtually everyone in the third experiment filled out all twenty one questionnaire forms.
The researchers found that the subgroups that counted blessings (wrote from a grateful outlook) reported higher positive effect in psychological well-being and were more likely to pursue social relationships in all three experiments.
Those findings may explain why AA gratitude meetings are popular. When people talk about the blessings of sobriety they are reminded of their negative past. Going back to that alcoholic life is less likely when it is in the forefront of the mind. That is a blessing of the AA program.
Yes, the study found evidence that "counting one’s blessings” leads to enhanced psychological and physical functioning. After ten weeks of writing or completing the 21 questionnaires, the subgroups that wrote down blessings tended to be more optimistic about the coming week, had less physical symptoms of illness or depression, exercised more and had an overall better life as a whole than the subgroups that wrote down their neutral life events. The subgroups that wrote down their neutral life events, in turn tended to be more optimistic about the coming week, had less physical symptoms of illness or depression, exercised more and had an overall better life as a whole than the subgroups that wrote down their problems and annoyances.
It is therefore my conclusion that practicing an attitude of gratitude is good for health and happiness.
|Posted on December 10, 2016 at 6:20 AM||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 and sharing in the rooms will also help us in our goal to speak more clearly. In time, we may be understood by our family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and the world at large.
Other alcoholics and the world may 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.”
|Posted on December 3, 2016 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
Sober Holidays Tip #15
Practice TAMERS every day.
Don’t let up on your brain healing activities.
Practice TAMERS every day:
Think about recovery, Talk about recovery
Act on recovery, connect with others
Meditate and Minimize stress
Exercise and Eat well
|Posted on November 25, 2016 at 6:20 AM||comments (0)|
. . . we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 86
When said sincerely, this prayer teaches me to be truly unselfish and humble, for even in doing good deeds I often used to seek approval and glory for myself. By examining my motives in all that I do, I can be of service to God and others, helping them do what they want to do. When I put God in charge of my thinking, much needless worry is eliminated and I believe He guides me throughout the day. When I eliminate thoughts of self-pity, dishonesty and self-centeredness as soon as they enter my mind, I find peace with God, my neighbor and myself.
From the book Daily Reflections April, 20
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Quotes of Paul to the Phillipians in 60 AD.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." KJV
"Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized." MSG
Whatever books , versions of books, whatever your belief system, we can all make a firm decision to be happy about our sober life .
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. We then can understand, even though life is not always fair, God is fair. I should do this. Do what is asked of me, and not do what I want, when I want, because I'm me and "Whatevah, I do what I want !"
Life must have been less complex in 60 AD before AA. Be of good cheer. Don't drink, don't think, go to meetings.
|Posted on November 6, 2016 at 6:30 AM||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, by then, Joy had left. In fact, everything Joe once had was gone.
In utter desperation, Joe went and got some help at AA meetings. He sometimes drank between meetings. Then a miracle happened and he learned to not reach for or pick up a drink. Joe is now sober and less "accident prone" every day.