|Posted on March 1, 2014 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
Today's AA Daily Reflections is what I'm reading this morning.
AA members at meetings often say, "That is exactly what I needed to hear" and then, I often think to myself, "How did they know exactly what they needed to hear?"
Apparently, it's a hunch or a reassuring feeling or perhaps a renewed confidence that AA is still working and making him or her feel "on the AA beam".
Today's Daily Reflections:
It works — it really does. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 88
When I got sober I initially had faith only in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Desperation and fear kept me sober (and maybe a caring and/or tough sponsor helped!). Faith in a Higher Power came much later. This faith came slowly at first, after I began listening to others share at meetings about their experiences — experiences that I had never faced sober, but that they were facing with strength from a Higher Power. Out of their sharing came hope that I too would — and could — "get" a Higher Power. In time, I learned that a Higher Power — a faith that works under all conditions — is possible. Today this faith, plus the honesty, openmindedness and willingness to work the Steps of the program, gives me the serenity that I seek. It works — it really does.
From the book Daily Reflections
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
That's exactly what I needed or wanted to hear/read today...
So what exactly is an AA beam?
The word beam occurs once in the Third Edition Big Book and three times in the 12&12 book ;
"Had I tried honestly and sincerely to practice the Twelve Steps I would have seen that I was getting off the beam - I would have found that there were some active resentments in my life, a terrific amount of self pity." - Alcoholics Anonymous - 3rd. Edition - Page 471
1. ... 12&12 Step Nine, p.84 First we will wish to be reasonably certain that we are on the A.A. beam.
2. ... 12&12 Step Twelve, p.111 We may often pass through Twelfth Step experiences where we will seem to be temporarily off the beam.
3. ... 12&12 Step Twelve, p.112 Without necessarily taking that first drink, we often get quite far off the beam.
In the Webster's Dictionary:
On the beam: Aeronautic: on the course indicated by a radio beam, as an airplane on course to its destination.
or Informal: proceeding well; correct; exact:
Then there is the line from the original Star Trek; "Beam me up, Scotty!".
With all of that Star Trek technology, you would think that the Captain would have been able to beam himself up.
"Scotty...I need more power!"
"I'm giving it all she's got Captain."
"Resistance is futile."
It's already better.
|Posted on February 22, 2014 at 4:25 AM||comments (0)|
What is the necessary psychic change needed for removing alcohol from an alcoholic's life ?
The answers can be found by looking in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery. Page xxvii
Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power. Page 43
Total, complete reliance on a Higher Power so that we can:
..react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
Alcoholics Anonymous Page 85
Thus begins the journey. Over a short amount of time the desire to drink naturally disappears and we rely on our higher power to keep us on that right path. It works and it is working so why worry. Despite the difficulties of living life on life's terms and of conforming to the demands of the Spirit of the Fellowship, contentment without alcohol can be and is a reality for us. As the book says, just...
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you - until then. Page 164
It's already better.
|Posted on February 15, 2014 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
What Bill Wilson originally penned and what ended up coming off the presses as the text-book for AA does differ, slightly.
"If you aren’t convinced of these vital issues, you ought to reread the book to this point or else throw it away!" was in the original text.
What he meant by vital issues is on page 60 following the 12 Steps:
a. That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives
b. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism
c. That God could and would if He were sought
Bill’s suggestion of re-reading the book up to this point for those who are not convinced of the ABCs, is not an attempt at humor.
"We alcoholics are fighting for our lives, or else in a gesture of defeat, we’re drinking ourselves into an early grave. There’s no riding the fence for an alcoholic. To drink is to give up; to drink is to die or slowly become brain-damaged and disabled first, and then die a tragic alcoholic death. I’ve met a lot of sober alcoholics that quit drinking for the sole reason that they didn’t want to die like that." 1
It’s a choice. We can choose continuing to drink or we can discover a better way of living by assessing the reality of our situation and taking the 12 Steps to recover.
The statistics of alcoholism have broadened dramatically since the first publication of the text in 1939. The consumption per capita of alcohol is on the rise or steady depending on where you have lived in the past few years.
Citizens of the small, post-Soviet republic of Moldova are the world's biggest drinkers, knocking back the equivalent of more than 18 litres of pure alcohol per year, according to a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
After a financial crash that pushed their government into bankruptcy, the Irish may at last have a good excuse for imbibing like crazy. And they'll need it: In the years measured by the World Health Organization, the Irish consumed a staggering 14.1 liters of pure alcohol per capita.
Americans aged 15 and up drink only three-quarters as much alcohol as Europeans, but are far more likely to be involved in fatal alcohol-related accidents or die from other alcohol-related causes. There’s no single reason Americans are less responsible with alcohol, but some speculate that a higher legal drinking age in the U.S. leads to more destructive underage drinking habits. Another explanation: Far more Europeans take public transportation home from the bar.
Despite having some of the world’s toughest drunk-driving laws, Russia leads the planet in alcohol-related deaths and other negative effects of excessive drinking. Only half as many Americans die from alcohol, and only a fifth as many Europeans. This could be explained by Russia’s rates of binge drinking, which leave the rest of the world in the dust. Astoundingly, alcohol is a factor in one in five deaths among Russian men. Alcoholism is so epidemic in Russia that it ranks as the country’s No. 1 killer. 2
In Korea, public drunkenness is certainly more tolerated than in America. Korea has no open container law that is common in the U.S., and no "drunk tank" that rounds up the intoxicated. In fact, at night around popular hangouts, it is quite common to see people having passed out on the street.
Ugandans consume more alcohol than counterparts in any African country, according to a survey done by US broadcaster Cable News Network (CNN). In Uganda’s case, the study says patrons generously drink “waragi, also known as war gin. Though drinking too much inevitably leads to surrender. Uganda leads its African neighbours for alcohol intake, largely thanks to a it's trade in illegally made gin and a formula of booze made from bananas.
We can not determine a winner. However, the membership in Alcoholics Anonymous and the number of new groups is still growing world wide.
The judges therefore have decided that Alcoholics Anonymous deserves this gold medal in 2014.
Throwing the Big Book is not an Alcoholic Olympics event.
It's already better.
|Posted on February 8, 2014 at 4:45 AM||comments (0)|
What comes with sobriety and the 12 steps? God, family, friends, colleagues and Cadillac problems (problems money can solve) and deeper problems (red beasts). ( National Wear Red Day was on Feb. 7th in the U.S.A.)
In one of the AA meeetings near me on top of the hill, the chairperson chooses a topic and finds the pages fom As Bill Sees It-Selected Writings by AA 's co-founder Bill Wilson. We read the pages and share on the topic. These four As Bill Sees It pages help me keep my faith in God while I am dealing with adversity.
1. God Will Not Desert Us, p. 221 (faith and adversity)
"Word comes to me that you are making a magnificent stand in adversity--this adversity being the state of your health. It gives me a chance to express my gratitude for your recovery in A.A. and especially for the demonstration of its principles you are now so inspiringly giving to us all.
"You will be glad to know that A.A.'s have an almost unfailing record in this respect. This, I think, is because we are so aware that God will not desert us when the chips are down; indeed, He did not when we were drinking. And so it should be with the remainder of life.
"Certainly, He does not plan to save us from all troubles and adversity. Nor, in the end, does He save us from so-called death--since this is but an opening of a door into a new life, where we shall dwell among His many mansions. Touching these things I know you have a most confident faith."
2. Meeting Adversity, p. 184 (relapse, failure, setbacks, critisism, restraint, self-examination, calm persuasion and forgiveness)
"Our spiritual and emotional growth in A.A. does not depend so deeply upon success as it does upon our failures and setbacks. If you will bear this in mind, I think that your slip will have the effect of kicking you upstairs, instead of down.
"We A.A.'s have had no better teacher than Old Man Adversity, except in those cases where we refuse to let him teach us."
"Now and then all of us fall under heavy criticism. When we are angered and hurt, it's difficult not to retaliate in kind. Yet we can restrain ourselves and then probe ourselves, asking whether our critics were really right. If so, we can admit our defects to them. This usually clears the air for mutual understanding.
"Suppose our critics are being unfair. Then we can try calm persuasion. If they continue to rant, it is still possible for us--in our hearts--to forgive them. Maybe a sense of humor can be our saving grace--thus we can both forgive and forget."
1. Letter, 1958
2. Letter, 1966
3. Imaginary Perfection, p. 181 (spiritual pride and progress not perfection)
When we early A.A.'s got our first glimmer of how spiritually prideful we could be, we coined this expression: "Don't try to be a saint by Thursday!"
That old time admonition may look like another of those handy alibis that can excuse us from trying for our best. Yet a closer view reveals just the contrary. This is our A.A. way of warning against pride-blindness, and the imaginary perfections that we do not possess.
Only Step One, where we made the 100 per cent admission that we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection. The remaining eleven Steps state perfect ideals. They are goals toward which we look, and the measuring sticks by which we estimate our progress.
1. Grapevine, June 1961
2. 12 & 12, p. 68
4. Down To Earth, p. 178 (reality, sane and happy usefulness)
Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives.
We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.
Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 130
Need a tranportation transformation?
Don't forget to pray.
It's already better.
|Posted on February 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM||comments (0)|
"You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun." - Shaun Hick
“Stars and shadows ain't good to see by.” - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” - Aesop
Information in the Chillicothe Gazette today (Interactive):
SUNDAY IS GROUNDHOG DAY
This will be the first Superbowl played on Groundhog Day.
Things To Do:
SAT 1 SUN 2 MON 3 TUE 4 WED 5 THU 6 FRI 7
Free breakfast for people in need, New Life Christian Church Chillicothe, OH
Ancestry research, Ross County Genealogical Society Chillicothe, OH
Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings, Carver Community Center Chillicothe, OH
Information on A.A. Meetings for Clearfield and Jefferson counties Pennsylvania:
The meeting list, located below, is the most up to date and accurate meeting list for District 15, as it is updated as soon as any changes are reported. The printable meeting list is updated twice a year, usually in January and again in July. Also, there is small article on the different types of meetings and a description on their meaning.
Open & Closed Meetings
In District 15 you will find several different kinds of A.A. meetings. The two main types are “open meetings” and “closed meetings”. At open meetings anyone may attend as the name suggests they are open to family, friends, relatives or anyone that may be interested in Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes you will find students from local colleges at open meetings as part of their class work.
Meetings For Saturday February 01, 2014
Almost Prefect Group
DRMC Hospital-East — Maple Ave. DuBois, PA
Open Discussion Meeting
Big Book Group
Grace Lutheran Church — 406 Pine Street Curwensville, PA
Big Book Study Meeting - Meets at Bilgers Rocks During the Summer
The Presbyterian Church — 106 East. Union Street Punxsutawney, PA 15767
Open Discussion Saturday, Big Book Study Wednesday
Saturday Night Meeting
Mount Zion Methodist Church — 16 Denton Street DuBois, PA 15801
Open Discussion/Step Study.
Information from Groundhog in Google Groups (not good information):
5/24/12 - show quoted text -
"I swear... listening to a hot babe talk about having a hole that
couldn't be filled! Definitely didn't make me think about drinking!
I guess there are some things I miss about going to meetings."
USA TODAY research Bob Laird and Alex Gonzalez, USA TODAY
There are AA meetings on Groundhog Day, a Groundhog Group of Alcoholics Anonymous and a former (or present?) member of AA named Groundhog.
It's already better.
|Posted on January 25, 2014 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
It is not obvious to me when I am treading on thin ice in my recovery. The solution for me is to ask myself whether I am treading on thin ice and attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and listen to others in that community.
This week, I read some things from http://www.dangerthinice.org/aa%20articles.htm. Danger Thin Ice promotes AA as a dangerous religious cult conspiracy. I do not agree with their agenda. Getting a soul-saving in AA is a good thing IMHO.
I read of how the notion of a “self-help group”, twelve-step therapy, designed specifically for people and families overcoming a long term struggle with alcohol dependency (Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon, ACOA and Alateen) had franchised from "one notional asylum to the next", assisting everyone in need of soul-saving:
"Narcotics Anonymous, Over-Eaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Shoplifters Anonymous, Suicide Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, Parents Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, Molesters Anonymous, Abortion Survivors Anonymous, Addicted Jews In Recovery Anonymous, Homosexuals Anonymous, Clutterers Anonymous, Dollars Anonymous, Fear of Success Anonymous, Media Anonymous, Shame Anonymous, Vulgarity Anonymous, Professional Artists Anonymous and, for those who may feel suffocated by so much anonymity, Fellowships Anonymous and Recoveries Anonymous. These groups – just a sample of hundreds - are neither inventions nor parodies, but actual twelve-step organizations (the addresses and phone numbers of which can be found on the internet today)."
"If proof was required that AA and its doctrines had been warmly received by society at large, here it was at last, the ultimate evidence of embrace: AA and 20th century culture had reproduced, the names of their offspring fluttering from community noticeboards all over the world."
I found a community noticeboard online from KILJ Radio in Mt. Pleasant Iowa:
ICE SAFETY REMINDER AS IOWA LAKES FREEZE OVER
Written by Theresa Rose on December 3, 2013 in News • There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.
• The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recommends a minimum of four inches of quality ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.
• Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water. Things like current and springs slow ice growth. Rocks, trees or docks that poke through the ice will conduct heat and make the ice around it less stable.
• There could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed, so it would be wise to check ice thickness as you go out.
• The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
• Safety items in the bucket: Ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and a throwable floatation seat cushion for use in case of rescue.
• Ice fishing is a social activity, don’t go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone would be there to call for help or to rescue.
• Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
• Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t look right, stay off.
January 24, 2014 – Coffee Chat
January 24, 2014 – Senior Coffee & Tea
January 25, 2014 – Coffee Chat
January 26, 2014 – Coffee Chat
January 26, 2014 – Alcoholics Anonymous
January 27, 2014 – Coffee Chat
January 27, 2014 – Bingo
I have no interest in joining Ice Fishing Anonymous.
I can go into the Bingo Hall for an AA meeting and stay off of the lake just for today. Amen
It's already better.
|Posted on January 18, 2014 at 5:20 AM||comments (0)|
Pain is inevitable - suffering is optional.. or is it.. Rain is inevitable - suffering is optional? It's probably both.
"The weather is something I can't control, but I do the best job I can." -Eddie Pruett
"WOULD A DRINK HELP? By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 23
When I was still drinking, I couldn't respond to any of life's situations the way other, more healthy, people could. The smallest incident triggered a state of mind that believed I had to have a drink to numb my feelings. But the numbing did not improve the situation, so I sought further escape in the bottle. Today I must be aware of my alcoholism. I cannot afford to believe that I have gained control of my drinking — or again I will think I have gained control of my life. Such a feeling of control is fatal to my recovery." AA Daily Reflections for Jan. 18th.
Why would I feel "In Control"?
"Knowledge was all-powerful. Intellect could conquer nature. Since we were brighter than most folks (so we thought), the spoils of victory would be ours for the thinking. The god of intellect displaced the God of our fathers. But again John Barleycorn had other ideas. We who had won so handsomely in a walk turned into all-time losers. We saw that we had to reconsider or die. We found many in A.A. who once thought as we did. They helped us to get down to our right size. By their example they showed us that humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first. When we began to do that, we received the gift of faith, a faith which works. This faith is for you, too. ”Another crowd of A.A.’s says: “We were plumb disgusted with religion and all its works. The Bible, we said, was full of nonsense; we could cite it chapter and verse, and we couldn’t see the Beatitudes for the ‘begats’. In spots its morality was impossibly good; in others it seemed impossibly bad. But it was the morality of the religionists themselves that really got us down. We gloated over the hypocrisy, bigotry, and crushing self-righteousness that clung to so many ‘believers’ even in their Sunday best. How we loved to shout the damaging fact that millions of the ‘good men of religion’ were still killing one another off in the name of God. This all meant, of course, that we had substituted negative for positive thinking. After we came to A.A., we had to recognize that this trait had been an ego-feeding proposition. In belaboring the sins of some religious people, we could feel superior to all of them. Moreover, we could avoid looking at some of our own shortcomings. Self-righteousness, the very thing that we had contemptuously condemned in others, was our own besetting evil. This phony form of respectability was our undoing, so far as faith was concerned. But finally, driven to A.A., we learned better." TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 30
As a verb, to weather can mean to withstand or to endure (e.g., to weather the storm) or to erode (overtime) (e.g., to weather the surface rock).
I can either endure (good AA) or erode (bad AA).
1 Cor. 10:13. says:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (ESV)
This passage is about temptation. What God promises is to never allow anyone to be tempted beyond their ability to resist the temptation.
It does not say that God will never allow us to face more than we can bear in regards to grief, pain, abuse, debt, hurt etc…
The AA slogan is:
"God will never give you more than you can handle."
Some AA-ers absolutely, positively live 30, 40, 50 etc.. years without a drink, without needing a drink and perhaps without wanting a drink. Their testimony is proof that God is helping me with my not-drinking. Not-drinking is the number one most important aspect of this alcoholic's life and health. Today, I can not-drink and trust God. Yay.
Rain, rain go away.
Let's have a great day with dry socks and shorts.
It's already better.
|Posted on January 11, 2014 at 4:35 AM||comments (0)|
"The good is the enemy of the best." - anonymous
"The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire.
The good: Me not-drinking, not-being self-righteous.
The best: Me, the program and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous helping someone else break the cycle of active alcoholism.
The perfect: Me accepting perfection as not reachable with the exception of working AA's step one.
So which quote is it today? It's probably both.
Regarding the first quote, we can never become so complacent that our way is "good enough." We must always strive to become better at whom we are and what we do by continuous improvement. This idea is also useful for work on new (and different) ideas to help jump the boundaries of "we've always done it this way."
On the other hand, we don't want to spend so much time looking for the best that nothing happens. This is where the Voltaire quote is used, particularly when railing against the idea of "best practices." The concern is that we spend so much time either trying to become the best or trying to find the best way to do something that we never actually get anything done.
"The Pareto principle or 80–20 rule explains this numerically. For example, it commonly takes 20% of the full time to complete 80% of a task while to complete the last 20% of a task takes 80% of the effort. Achieving absolute perfection may be impossible and so, as increasing effort results in diminishing returns, further activity becomes increasingly inefficient."
80% of the alcohol at a drinking event is drunk by 20% of the guests. I wonder who?
"The quotation, "the good is the enemy of the best," was credited by Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder, Bill Wilson, as having played a crucial role in keeping AA's a strictly voluntary organization in its service to suffering alcoholics. In the late 1930s, when AA was beginning to show signs that its program of sober AAs freely passing on their formula for recovery from alcoholism to others who still suffered was in danger of being compromised by Bill himself. Aware of the success Bill's AA program had been having sobering up chronic alcoholics, a hospital in NYC that treated alcoholism offered Bill a position on their staff at a time when he desperately needed work after years of unemployment. When he excitedly reported the hospital's lucrative offer to his fellow members of the buddying NYC AA group, they threw cold water on the idea of him "commercializing" the AA program, which had saved their lives, and in which freely offering their experience of recovery to others was considered a vital component in their own recovery as well as to the future growth of AA. While truly sympathetic to Bill's financial plight, they argued against Bill accepting the offer. As he tells it, he was persuaded not to accept the position when one of the members pointed out that while the job would be good for Bill, it could have a damaging effect on the AA program he had worked so hard to develop citing that anonymous quote." (Ned N.)
Nice. Thanks Ned.
AA quote: "Easy Does It"
It's already better.
|Posted on January 4, 2014 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
This week I found these passages from an interview of Sister Ruth by John Barleycorn in 2005 as I am experiencing car problems this week... month...year.
"I do the steps each morning. I surrender in the First Step and ask God to restore my sanity during the Second Step, and then add a word to my Third Step. When Bill Wilson originally wrote the Third Step, he wrote: "Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care and direction of God as we understood Him. "He included that word direction. You can see that in the original multilithed draft that they passed around to look at and comment on. But since alcoholics hate to be given directions, the committee removed that word before they sent the Big Book to the typesetters. But I put it back in there, and I say it to myself as "turn my will over to the care and direction of God."
I once heard an explanation about the Third Step and how we turn our life and will over to the "care" of God. When our car develops mechanical problems, we don't give the mechanic our car, we put it under his care and let him fix it, so we can drive it again.
I also want to talk about pages 86 to 88 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. These are my three favorite pages of the whole book. I ask God each morning to keep me tuned in to his wave length. My mind is like a radio and I must keep my antennae pointed in the right direction in order to hear a clear signal. When we stay tuned to God's will for us, we develop a "sixth sense". "This is so important, especially to newcomers, because when we wake up each morning we need to read, hear and understand this passage even before we get out of bed and before we ever put our foot on the floor to do our prayer and meditation.
"On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives .... In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of our mind ...
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask [God] for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day "Thy will be done. "We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves."
The Big Book's passage on pages 86 to 88 is a lot of words to memorize, especially for beginners, so I began by saying, "God please keep me from drinking today and keep my thinking straight." Today I no longer have a drinking problem but I still have a thinking problem, so I must ask God for His guidance and help. The fatal malady of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, powerful and it can make us believe all sorts of lies. Alcoholics can't distinguish the true from the false and so we must ask God to direct our thinking, and if we do that we won't drink. We must trust God and put ourselves totally in His hands.
This is something that takes time and most newcomers think it's impossible to totally surrender, and I must confess it wasn't easy for me either, but by persistent practice these "new" daily actions will happen. It takes daily practice, lots of practice, but it's worth it because it gives us this new and wonderful, intuitive "sixth sense." "
It's already better.
|Posted on December 29, 2013 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
There is an infinite variety of higher powers in this program. I had never even heard of any higher power until I entered AA.
I knew of God in the Bible and He is what I use as my higher power and the God of my own limited understanding.
It is interesting that the fourth chapter in the big book is titled "We agnostics" and not "To Agnostics". To me it is the same "we" that is on p. 59 in the big book, " Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." It would have been shorter and more to the point for step 2 to say "Came to believe that God could restore us to sanity" and step 3 to say "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God". Bill Wilson seems to be referring back to "We Agnostics" and the choice of one's own concept of a higher power when making a spiritual beginning.
When I was drinking, I think I was still gnostic.
Because alcoholism blocks peoples spiritual awareness and physical awareness for that matter, when we get sober, we have the opportunity to connect to a "Presence of Infinite Powers and Love", our Creator, our Guardian Angel, the Magnus Opus of the philosopher's stone, a tree, a Goddess, to Gifts of Desperation, Good Orderly Directions, to Groups of Drunks or to any spiritual entity or gate more powerful than ourselves.
Because of the infinite pantheon of higher powers, AA is not a religion, thus the program is spiritual (i.e. not physical). We use AA to deal with our insides. "No one needs to have difficulty with the spitituality of the program." (AA Big Book, 3rd edition, p. 570)
To stay in the moment's spiritual serenity, it is appropriate for AA groups to avoid the sticky topics of sex, religion and politics and keep these topics out of the AA meeting discussions thus following the twelve traditions.
ESH (sharing experience, strength and hope) keeps us in unity despite all of these different higher powers as do the principles of willingness, open mindedness and honesty.
"We forget that life can only be defined in the present tense. It is is is. And it is now only…That nowness becomes so vivid to me that in a perverse sort of way I’m serene. I can celebrate life…The nowness of everything is absolutely wonderful…The fact is that if you see, in the present tense – boy, can you see it; boy, can you celebrate it. " (Dennis Potter, English playwrite)
A paradox for me is that surrender brings peace. I sat down one night and handed it over. I would class it as a miracle of neccessity. (not a gift of desperation)
Just for today this topic of spiritual alchemy took me along this Alcoholics Anonymous links time line:
You are now within the first gate,
Of the Castle where the Philosophers dwell.
Proceed wisely that you may win,
And go through more gates of that Castle.
This Castle is round as any bell,
And gates it has yet eleven more,
One is conquered, now to the second go.
The end of the First Gate.
from http://www.levity.com/alchemy/ripgates.html " Ripley's twelve gates" in The Alchemy Web Site. George Ripley died in 1490.
George was an alchemist and wrote about the twelve gates leading to the making of the philosopher's stone, a material that turns cheap metals to gold (transmutation) and gives it's maker eternal youth. He is credited with making gold by transmutation. No one knows how he did it.
An intermission joke: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer's fake nose pops off as he is chatting with Clarese and she asks, without noticing his problem, "What just rolled by me?" Rudolf replies, "No body nose" and then runs off embarassed.
Emanuel Swedenborg, founder of the New Church religion, communicated with an angel named Cosmopolita about the philosopher's stone before 1764 and he died in 1772.
"But to what did he refer in this allusion to angels to a Palace and to twelve steps leading to it?
I answer without the slightest suspicion of error that the angel who spoke to him of a Palace was no other than the alchemist Cosmopolita who left a work behind him entitled An open entrance to the shut Palace of the King or in other words to a knowledge of the wisdom of God. He spoke to Swedenborg through his book and the twelve steps is an allusion to one or both of two of the most noted Alchemic or Hermetic books extant, one by the Monk George Ripley and the other by a monk also Basil Valentine. Ripley's work is entitled The compound of Alchemy or the ancient hidden Art of Alchemy containing the right and most perfect means to make the Philosopher's Stone and Aurum Potabile with other excellent experiments. Divided into Twelve Gates. This work was written in the reign of King Edward the Fourth and was dedicated to him." (1461-1483)
Swedenborg, Hermetic Philosopher: Being a Sequel to Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists... By Ethan Allen Hitchcock, New York, D. Appleton and Company1848, p. 109, available on Google Books.
Emanuel Swedenborg wrote Divine Providence in 1764.
"Wisdom that comes to perception is perception of truth from being affected by it, especially perception of spiritual truth. For there is civil, moral, and spiritual truth. Those who have some perception of spiritual truth from affection by it also have perceptions of moral and civil truth, for the affection of spiritual truth is the soul of those perceptions. I have spoken with angels at times about wisdom who said that wisdom is conjunction with the Lord because He is wisdom itself, and that the man who rejects hell comes into this conjunction and comes into it so far as he rejects hell. They said that they picture wisdom to themselves as a magnificent and highly ornate palace into which one mounts by twelve steps. No one arrives at even the first step, they said, except from the Lord by conjunction with Him; and according to the measure of conjunction one ascends; also as one ascends, one perceives that no man is wise from himself but from the Lord. Furthermore, they said that the things in which one is wise are to those in which one is not wise like a few drops of water to a large lake. By the twelve steps into the palace of wisdom are meant goods united to truths and truths united to goods."
from http://www.sacred-texts.com/swd/dpr/dpr04.htm , Divine Providence, chapter 36, by Emanuel Swedenborg, 1764, founder of The New Church (Swedenborgians).
Bill Wilson characterized himself as a "conservative atheist" and married Lois Burnham a Swedenborgian before co-founding Alcoholics Anonymous.
"AA was co-founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. Bill Wilson first came into contact with Swedenborg's writings in the summer of 1915 while falling in love with Lois Burnham. Lois was the granddaughter of the Rev. N.C. Burnham, a Swedenborgian scholar and one of the founders of the Swedenborgian Academy of the New Church in Pennsylvania. Her family was very active in the New Church, and in 1918 Bill and Lois were married in the Swedenborgian church in Brooklyn, New York. After the worst part of Bill's battle with alcoholism and his founding of AA, Lois founded the companion group Al-Anon for support to family and close friends of those afflicted with the disease of alcoholism. Her activities with Al-Anon and her references to her Swedenborgian background are detailed in her autobiography, Lois Remembers."
http://www.oakarbor.org/why_oakarbor/wilsons.html , A New Church website.
New Light on Alcoholism; God, Sam Shoemaker, and AA. 2d ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, 1999]. p. 91.)
More about the Bill Wilson- Emanuel Swedenborg spiritualism connection:
Those are the links along the spiritual alchemy lines...
May our hearts be transmuted from stone into flesh...
May our spirits be transmuted from lead into gold...
May our souls be transmuted from hell to a better place... justified, sanctified and glorified.
Thy will, not mine, be done. Amen ✝
Thanks, It's already better.
|Posted on December 21, 2013 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power. from: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (The Big Book), The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism - Third Edition - New York, 1976. p. 43
The following excerpts were taken from the Doctor’s Opinion and are reprinted without the expressed permission of Alcoholics Anonymous, www.aa.org.
The 5 types of alcoholics:
#1. The Psychopaths- They are over-remorseful and make many resolutions but never a decision.
#2. He is unwilling to admit that he can not take a drink .
#3. After being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time, she believes that she can take a drink without danger.
#4. The manic depressive type.
#5. Then, there is the type entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon him.
The most important part of this page is the second to the last paragraph in which it reads…
All these, and many others have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity.
…. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.
Types of love:
There are five:
* Eros (ἔρως érōs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "(romantic) love". However, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia love of friendship. It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. Plato refined his own definition. Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. It should be noted Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, "without physical attraction". Plato also said eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros. The most famous ancient work on the subject of eros is Plato's Symposium, which is a discussion among the students of Socrates on the nature of eros.
* Philia (φιλία philía), which means friendship in modern Greek, a dispassionate virtuous love, was a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts, philia denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers. This is the only other word for "love" used in the ancient text of the New Testament besides agape, but even then it is used substantially less frequently.
* Agapē (ἀγάπη agápē ) means "love" in modern day Greek, such as in the term s'agapo (Σ'αγαπώ ), which means "I love you". In Ancient Greek it often refers to a general affection rather than the attraction suggested by "eros"; agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one's children, and the feelings for a spouse. It can be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard. The verb appears in the New Testament describing, amongst other things, the relationship between Jesus and the beloved disciple. In biblical literature, its meaning and usage is illustrated by self-sacrificing, giving love to all--both friend and enemy. It is used in Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbour as yourself," and in John 15:12, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you," and in 1 John 4:8, "God is love." However, the word "agape" is not always used in the New Testament in a positive sense. II Timothy 4:10 uses the word in a negative sense. The Apostle Paul writes,"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved (agapo) this present world...." Thus the word "agape" is not always used of a divine love or the love of God. Christian commentators have expanded the original Greek definition to encompass a total commitment or self-sacrificial love for the thing loved. Because of its frequency of use in the New Testament, Christian writers have developed a significant amount of theology based solely on the interpretation of this word.
* Storge (στοργή storgē ) means "affection" in modern Greek; it is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family.
* Thelema (θέλημα thélēma) means "desire" in modern Greek; it is the desire to do something, to be occupied, to be in prominence.
It seems, Narcissistic Anhedonia (ναρκισσιστής ανηδονία nar-si-sis'-tick an-hee-doh'-knee-uh) unquenchable self-centeredness, is a disorder, not love. (sigh)
I suppose my point this week is:
There is a type of love available for every type of alcoholic.
Interpret this however you may interpret things that you interpret.
It's already better.
|Posted on December 14, 2013 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, originally written by Bill Wilson, came from his own personal experience with alcoholism.
Step One, We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable, expresses the relief experienced when his doctor convinced him that his alcoholism was caused by an allergy over which he was powerless.
Thus, when Bill Wilson completed his drying out treatment, he thought his problem was solved. He had been relieved of guilt for moral failure and had been diagnosed as having a disease. The cure was simple. Just don’t take another drink. Nevertheless, his confidence in his newly found sobriety did not last long. In spite of his belief that his excessive drinking was not his fault, but rather due to an allergy, Bill Wilson felt doomed.
During this time Wilson received a phone call from an old drinking buddy, Ebby Thatcher. They hadn’t seen each other for five years and Thatcher seemed like a new man. When Wilson asked him why he wasn’t drinking and why he seemed so different, Thatcher replied," I’ve got religion." He told Wilson that when he had prayed, God had released him from the desire to drink and filled him with peace of mind and happiness of a kind he had not known for years. 1
Bill Wilson was uncomfortable with EbbyThatcher’s testimony. Yet he desired Ebby Thatcher’s freedom from alcohol. Bill Wilson drank for several more days and again experienced hopelessness (the full intensity of Step One) . He then returned to the hospital for detoxification treatment.
Bill Wilson’s Conversion.
Bill Wilson’s religious experience occurred at the hospital. He deeply desired the sobriety his friend had, but up to the last moment, Bill Wilson resisted the idea of God. Nevertheless, at this extreme point of agony, alone in his room, he cried out, "If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!" 2
Bill remembered: "Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. Every joy I had known was pale by comparison. The light, the ecstasy. I was conscious of nothing else for a time."
He saw an internal vision of a mountain with a clean wind blowing through him. He sensed a great peace and was acutely conscious of a Presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit. He thought, "This must be the great reality. The God of the preachers."
He said: "For the first time, I felt that I really belonged. I knew that I was loved and could love in return. I thanked my God, who had given me a glimpse of His absolute self. Even though a pilgrim upon an uncertain highway, I needed to be concerned no more, for I had glimpsed the great beyond." 3
I interpret that experience in this spiritual way:
Perhaps alcoholism demons (i.e. demon rum) were expelled from Bill Wilson and were looking for a way to get back in control of Bill Wilson's life. The white light presence that he experienced could possibly have been angels protecting Bill Wilson from the dark demons.
When I got sober, AA helped me a day at a time and gave me suggestions such as prayer to keep me free from alcohol.
I am convinced now that whatever I do using my self will becomes disappointing in some way. I pray for inspiration for life in general
and my disappointment with the results has been lessened. My life is less stressful and I feel somehow protected from dark influences.
Perhaps this is crazy. It works.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. KJV.
You know what? The dark spirits are probably right here still and planning a takeover of me and the guardian angels are probably right here today helping to guide my life and protect me.
1 Pass It On: The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984, pp. 111, 115.
2 Ernest Kurtz. Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous. Center City, MN: Hazelden Educational Services, 1979, p. 19.
3 Pass It On, op. cit., p. 121.
It's already better.