|Posted on December 7, 2013 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
The AA 9" by 12" cards in the meetings are "Live and Let Live, Easy Does It, But For the Grace of God, think Think think, and First Things First, printed in Olde English calligraphy using red and black ink. They are familiar in AA rooms everywhere and part of literature kits for AA groups. Some groups arrange and display the cards in this order, making a sentence with the first words on each card; Live easy but think first. Sobriety or sober or recovery or recovered or AAized has alot to do with living and thinking... and gratitude too.
Occasionly, I have seen the think Think think card displayed upside down.., whadahay?
The background of the slogan think Think think is unknown.
Here is what I have found and heard about the possible history of think Think think.
In the 1940s, IBM was using the word THINK as a motto/slogan/logo for advertising and an AA member in New York decided to have Think printed at the bottom of some cards he was mailing to AA groups. When he received his order back from his printer the word Think was printed upside down three times on the cards. He liked the way the mistake looked and mailed the materials the way they were.
The slogan caught on. Think Think think was the AA slogan featured on the inside back cover of the February, 1957 Grapevine issue and became one of the 9" x 12" slogan cards in AA meetings.
All of this sounds plausible. but..
The Serenity Prayer was published in early Grapevine issues, which helped usher its use into the AA fellowship. The Serenity Prayer has been a regular part of the Grapevine magazine's format since July, 1967.
Coincidently, there is a similar story to the one above about the Serenity Prayer and it's AA origins at aa.org.
"Q. What are the origins of the Serenity Prayer?
A. It was debated for years who wrote the Serenity Prayer, and its origins are still somewhat murky, but it seems most likely to have been written by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, a well-known theologian who served for many years as Dean and Professor of Applied Christianity at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. G.S.O.’s Archives can provide more information about this prayer’s historical origins upon request.
Alcoholics Anonymous became aware of the Serenity Prayer in 1941, when it was discovered printed in the New York Tribune newspaper. Ruth Hock, AA’s first secretary and a non-alcoholic, was immediately taken with it. The headquarters staff thought of printing the prayer on a card to distribute to AA members.
On June 12, 1941, Ruth wrote Henry S., a Washington, D.C.-based AA member and printer by profession, saying:
“One of the boys up here got a clipping from a local newspaper which is so very much to the point and so much to their liking, that they have asked me to find out from you what it would cost to set it up on a small card, something like a visiting card, which can be carried in a wallet... here it is...would appreciate it if you would let me know right away.”
Henry answered back immediately and enthusiastically:
“...Your cards are on the way and my congratulations to the man who discovered that in the paper. I can’t recall any sentence that packs quite the wallop that that does and during the day shown it to the A.A.’s that dropped in and in each case have been asked for copies. I sent you 500 copies in as much as you didn’t say how many you wanted. If you need any more, let me know. Incidentally, I am only a heel when I’m drunk, I hope, so naturally there could be no charge for anything of this nature.”
Ruth responded again on June 17, and wrote:
“Your generous response to my request for the little cards is certainly much appreciated by us all up here. Glad so many of you down there liked it too, for it backs me up in my feeling that it really has ‘something.’"
As it turns out, the actual origin of the Serenity Prayer is also uncertain...
Back to think Think think right side up or upside down, what does it mean?
Here is an explanation that I like, by soberjulie. (located at a soberrecovery.com forum page)
"Have you ever sneaked a couple of thinks?
Im laffin like a crazy girl over here.
This slogan, for me is simple.
The first think(a small one on the slogan poster) is allowed for yesterday....I pull out that think and use it to help others, when I need a remember when, I dont go back and marinate in yesterday...but sometimes I 'need' a small think in that department, lest I forget what got me here.
The last think (also a small one on the slogan poster) is for tomorrow. Yeah, I live in the moment, just for today and ll that....but I have a mortgage payment due on Friday. Its okay for me to think about that and make sure the money is there. It is totally ok to make plans and set goals for myself that are not in today.
The middle think (the biggest one on the slogan poster) is for today.
It reminds me to live in the moment.
Today is all I really know that I have.
Just my interpretation."
The Big Book, page 86, the second paragraph should also put the think Think think issue to rest.
It says, “On awakening let us think about the 24 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, dishonesty or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives." 1
"God.. Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference." Amen
1 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. Chapter 6 "Into Action", Page 86.
It's already better.
|Posted on November 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
There will be a test today.
Does anyone know which famous mentally ill person this is? Is it A. Warren Peas B. Leo Tolstoy C. Nikolai Gogol or D. George Orwell ?
Sometimes I enjoy listening to the stories of people with "other psychological conditions" during sharing time. Everyone should get their turns.
The following snippets are from a SoberRecovery alcoholism forum page:
"A while back a member of the fellowship who doesn’t always make sense, shared and shared and shared, it was all over the place. Now there were issues about him going on far too long (but there was no time limit on the shares in this meeting).
What slightly upset me and i have noticed this a few times in certain other meetings that as he went on some people started to giggle. We have no control of what others do, but i realised something. We come in the rooms to get better, but we live with an illness, some say a form of mental illness. But here we are and like Animal Farm, some people are more equal than others, and we start to find other people’s state of mind, especially someone whose brain is not all together there (incidentally there is a big campaign to demystify mental illness in the Uk saying it is not that someone is weak but that have tried to be strong for far too long.)
Now if we stay sober until we get older how will we feel if sometimes people laugh at us rather than with us, i hope that people will be kind and tolerant. Obviously we have people who come in with wet brains, or severe psychological issues.
Part of this is down to people in groups behaving as if they are back at school, and groups of younger folk can a little hyper or playful in meetings. Or perhaps this laughter is reaction to nervous discomfort at other people, in this case, mutterings that didn’t make sense." (TigerClub)
"I work my program as I would like to see others work theirs.
I practice thoughtfulness, kindness, and consideration to ALL who cross my path and treat others as I would like to be treated.
Now I have to admit that some days are better than others, but I do this to the best of my ability on a DAILY basis.
I have found that by being an example, others sometimes follow, sometimes don't. However, I go to bed each night, after my Step 10 knowing that I did my best for the day, and have made amends for that day when needed to whomever.
I personally believe that LIVING the 12 step program to the best of my ability is the only EXAMPLE of how I can have any affect on any one else. In the instances you have mentioned, I always try and make a point of going up to the person after the meeting and 'thanking' them for their share and meaning it. I believe this shows the person that at least someone heard them." (laurie)
"I find the older I get,the more compassion I seem to have for others.
I am very grateful for that. Between page 1 and Page 164" (Tommyh)
Thank you laurie, Tommyh and TigerClub.
When EF Hutton talked, people listened.* Maybe this is because EF Hutton shared eloquently, had wealth, looked nice and smelled clean.
Our AA big book suggests that real alcoholic people in the meetings arrive with over-inflated egos.
As there are valid IQ tests that measure intelligence, there are also valid tests out there today that measure people's egos at various stages of their existence.
Psychologist Jane Loevinger classified ego development across nine stages and created a test called the Washington University Sentence Completion Test to identify each individual's stage of ego development as he matures and evolves across his lifespan.
Test takers complete 36 sentences after filling out their name, marital status and education level.
This is a sample of some incomplete statements for men to complete and my responses :
#1: When a child will not join in group activities ...("he is possibly shy, bored, rebellious or has a good reason to not participate.")
#2: Raising a family...("is seriously difficult without help.")
#3: When I am criticized...( ",it is probably meant for my benefit but I need time to think about it so I should take notes for future reference.")
#4: A man's job...("requires God's assistance.")
#5: Being with other people ...("that don't drink helps me not drink.")
#6: The thing I like about myself is ...("I'm so grateful to God and people today".)
#8: What gets me into trouble is ...("my self-centeredness.")
#14: When they talked about sex I ...("thought it was inappropriate, got slightly resentful and stayed quiet.")
#25: My main problem is ...("growing up.")
#32: If I can't get what I want...(",then it is possibly not meant for me so I pray for acceptance of Gods will.")
#35: My conscience bothers me if...("I'm going back to my character defects.")
#36: A man should always...("be mindful of other people's needs.")
My responses would be analyzed and scored using an algorithm to determine a total protocol rating from the 36 individual responses to identify my ego.
I'm not a psychologist trained to score these tests. Therefore, I will not know, but neither am I concerned about what my answers have to say about my inflated ego. Whadahay! Inflated is not even one of the stages. This was such a waste of time.
If my test were to actually be scored, the scorer would compare my responses to similar other responses. Since I am an alcoholic, all of my ego stages have been inflated and on this nine stage scale somewhere. (I'm not very far up the scale with my 2.3 years of AA influence and it is ok because there is no bonus for being at stage nine and being one with the universe. My goal is be to be at stage 8, autonomy.)
Ego Development : the nine stages theory of Jane Loevinger
The first stage is the pre-social and symbiotic stage.
This is the stage that the ego is typically in during infancy. A baby has a very id-like ego that is very focused on gratifying immediate needs. They tend to be very attached to the primary caregiver, often the mother, and while they differentiate her from the rest of the world, they tend experience a cognitive confusion and emotional fusion between the caregiver and the self. But our understanding of this stage is more speculative than our understanding of other stages because pre-verbal infants we cannot use sentence completions and instead must rely on inferences based on observations.
The second stage is the impulsive stage.
While this is the modal stage for toddlers, people can be in this stage for much longer, and in fact a small minority of people remain in this impulsive stage throughout their life. At this stage the ego continues to be focused on bodily feelings, basic impulses, and immediate needs. Not being particularly good at meeting these needs on their own, however, they are dependent and demanding. They are too immersed in the moment and in their own needs to think or care much about others; instead, they experience the world in egocentric terms, in terms of how things are affecting me. If something or someone meets my needs, it is good; if something or someone frustrates my needs, it is bad. Thus, their thinking is very simplistic and dichotomous.
The third stage is the self-protective stage.
While this stage is particularly common in early and middle childhood, some individuals remain at this stage throughout their lives. The self-protective ego is more cognitively sophisticated than the impulsive ego, but they are still using their greater awareness of cause and effect, of rules and consequences, to get what they want from others. Therefore, they tend to be exploitive, manipulative, hedonistic, and opportunistic. Their goal is simply to “get what I want without getting caught”. Assuming others are like them, they are wary of what others want. They are also self-protective in the sense of externalizing blame--blaming others when anything goes wrong. Individuals who remain in the stage into adolescence and adulthood tend to, unless they are very smart, get into trouble; indeed, research using Loevinger’s sentence completion test shows that a high proportion of juvenile delinquents and inmates score at this self-protective stage.
The fourth stage is the conformist stage.
We tend to see this stage emerging at the time Freud said the superego first emerges, around five or six, and is the most common stage later in elementary school and in junior high school. However, a number of people remain at this stage throughout their lives. Conformist individuals are very invested in belonging to and obtaining the approval of important reference groups, such as peer groups. They tend to view and evaluate themselves and others in terms of externals—how one looks, the music that you listen to, the words or slang that you use, the roles people assume to show what group they are in and their status within the group. They view themselves and others in terms of stereotypes—broad generalizations about what members of certain groups are or are not like. While from the outside such individuals may seem superficial or phony, they do not experience it that way because this group self is their real self. More generally, they tend to view the world in simple, conventional, rule-bound and moralistic ways. What is right and wrong is clear to them—namely, what their group thinks is right or wrong. Their feelings also tend to be simple and rule-governed, in the sense that there are some situations in which one feels happy, and other situations in which one feels sad. While Loevinger does try to avoid describing some stages as better than others, she does use the somewhat pejorative terms "banal" and “clichéd” to describe the conformist understanding of feelings. Interestingly, both feelings of happiness and feelings of shame tend to peak at this stage. Shame peaks because they are so concerned about approval from their group; consequently, the threat of shame is a powerful tool that groups can use to control individuals at this stage. On the other hand, as long as their place in the group is not threatened, conformist egos are quite happy, even happier than egos at the later stages, where right and wrong can never again be so simple and clear.
The fifth stage is the self-aware stage.
This stage is the most common stage among adults in the United States. The self-aware ego shows an increased but still limited awareness of deeper issues and the inner lives of themselves and others. They begin to wonder what do I think as opposed to what my parents and peers think about such issues as God and religion, morality, mortality, love and relationships. They tend to not be at the point where they reach much resolution on these issues, but they are thinking about them. They are also more aware that they and others have unique feelings and motives, different from those that might be prescribed by the feeling rules they have learned from movies and books and other people. They recognize that just because one is part of the group does not mean that one always feels or thinks the same as the other group members and that’s true for other people in other groups as well. In short, they are appreciating themselves and others as unique. Increasing awareness of one’s unique feelings and motives creates tension between the “real me” and the “expected me”, which can lead to increased conflicts with family and peers. Finally, this ability to wonder whether your family or peers are right about what is right and wrong, to question whether you have been right about what is right and wrong, can lead to increased self-criticism.
At the sixth stage, the conscientious stage, this tendency towards self-evaluation and self-criticism continues.
The conscientious ego values responsibility, achievement and the pursuit of high ideals and long-term goals. Morality is based on personally-evaluated principles, and behavior is guided by self-evaluated standards. Consequently, violating one’s standards induces guilt. This differs from the conformist stage where the tendency is to feel shame. Shame arises from not meeting the others’ expectations; guilt arises from not meeting one’s own expectations. Greater self-reflection leads to greater conceptual complexity; experiencing the self and the world in more complex ways; and this includes experiencing one’s own feelings and motives in more accurate and differentiated ways and expressing them in more unique and personal terms. Finally, with increasing awareness of the depth and uniqueness of others’ feelings and motives as well comes increasing concern with mutuality and empathy in relationships.
The preceding three stages—the conformist, self-aware, and conscientious stages—are the most common for adults in the United States, and there are fewer and fewer people at the stages we are about to examine. Moreover, Loevinger suggests that we all have a hard time understanding stages that are more than one level above our own, so for many of us who are at the middle stages it can be hard to fully grasp the highest stages.
At the seventh stage, the individualistic stage, the focus on relationships increases, and although achievement is still valued, relationships tend to be more valued.
The individualistic ego shows a broad-minded tolerance of and respect for the autonomy of both the self and others. But a wish to give others the autonomy to be who they really are can conflict with needs for connection and intimacy. The heightened sense of individuality and self-understanding can lead to vivid and unique ways of expressing the self as well as to an awareness of inner conflicts and personal paradoxes. But this is an incipient awareness of conflicting wishes and thoughts and feelings—for closeness and distance, for achievement and acceptance, and so on—but there is unlikely to yet be any resolution or integration of these inner conflicts.
At stage eight, the autonomous stage, there is increasing respect for one’s own and others’ autonomy.
The autonomous ego cherishes individuality and uniqueness and self-actualization; individuals’ unique and unexpected paths are a source of joy. These independent paths are no longer seen in opposition to depending on each other; rather relationships are appreciated as an interdependent system of mutual support; in other words, it takes a village to raise and sustain an autonomous ego. There is also greater tolerance of ambiguity. In particular, conflicts—both inner conflicts and conflicts between people—are appreciated as inevitable expressions of the fluid and multifaceted nature of people and of life in general; and accepted as such, they are more easier faced and coped with. Finally, the heightened and acute awareness of one’s own inner space is manifest in vivid ways of articulating feelings.
At the final stage, the integrated stage, the ego shows wisdom, broad empathy towards oneself and others, and a capacity to not just be aware of inner conflicts like the individualistic ego or tolerate inner conflicts like the autonomous ego, but reconcile a number or inner conflicts and make peace with those issues that will remain unsolvable and those experiences that will remain unattainable. The integrated ego finally has a full sense of identity, of what it is, and at this stage it is seeking to understand and actualize her own potentials and to achieve integration of all those multi-faceted aspects of herself that have become increasing vivid as she moved through the preceding three stages.
In Loevinger’s research this highest stage is reached by less than 1% of adults in the United States. 2
It is possible that people at any of these stages could smell of pee at some point.
My apologies for the word pee as it may be somewhat offensive.
Reading about all of these egos and completing those statements has made my ego feel somewhat deflated. God, what have I done to my poor ego by drinking alcohol for years?
* Edward Francis Hutton (September 7, 1875 in New York City – July 11, 1962 in Westbury, Long Island, New York) was an American financier and co-founder of E. F. Hutton & Co.
1 Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT, Loevinger, 1986, 1998)
Happy Advent Season. Nov. 30th - Dec. 24th, I will be praying the Christmas novena:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen
15 times each day from Nov.30th - Dec.24th.
It's already better.
|Posted on November 23, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
I was watching the 1980's videos of the Kelly Foundation with speaker Joe McQuany about step one. He talked about enzymes that metabolize alcohol that we lack as alcoholics. What follows is an essay called "The Problem", published by aa.israel.org, showing the facts stated in the "Dr's Opinion", by Dr. William Silkworth in the Big Book in 1939 and described in the 1980's by Joe McQuany of "Joe and Charlie".
"Have you ever wondered why it is that you cannot stop drinking? If you are like me you probably came up with some theories of you own. I thought my main problem was lack of will power. Actually I had plenty of will power, for most of my drinking career I held down a full-time job despite feeling ill most days - this took incredible will power.
I also thought that I was weak, stupid or bad, depending on my mood. When I came to AA I was told that I suffered from an illness. At first I didn't buy this, I thought these people were just trying to justify their drinking. Then I was introduced to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous where I discovered A Doctor's Opinion of alcoholism.
The Doctor's opinion is that we have a physical allergy to alcohol:
"We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker. These allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all; and once having formed the habit and found they cannot break it, once having lost their self-confidence, their reliance upon things human, their problems pile up on them and become astonishingly difficult to solve."
The definition for the word "allergy" is, "Excess sensitiveness to certain substances which are harmless to most persons."
Alcohol is a poison. The normal reaction to alcohol is to have one or two drinks and not go any further. But, our reaction is very different. We have one or two drinks just to get started. Once an alcoholic starts drinking, because of the unique way it's processed in our body, we set off a craving for more alcohol. This is an allergy or abnormal reaction to alcohol because about nine out of ten people don't get that once they start drinking. So an alcoholic cannot always predict how much they are going to drink, and a non-alcoholic can always predict how much they are going to drink.
When the Doctor's Opinion was written in the 1930's it was just an opinion. Medical science has progressed since then and has confirmed this opinion as fact.
(The physiological explanation brought here is not part of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" or the AA program)
It has been discovered that the metabolism of an alcoholic differs from that of a normal person. Ethanol alcohol is broken down in the body by the following process:
enzymes convert the ethanol into
enzymes convert acetaldehyde into
enzymes convert diacetic acid into
more enzymes convert the acetate into
WATER & CARBON DIOXIDE & SUGAR
The water is expelled from the body through the urinary tract, the carbon dioxide through the respiratory system and the sugar is burned up through physical exercise (or turned into fat).
If a person is not an alcoholic, they can normally successfully drink approximately one ounce of alcohol per hour without getting drunk. Not so with the alcoholic. The chemical decomposition of the ethanol through the alcoholic’s body follows the same process until it reaches the acetate compound and then the liver and pancreas fail to produce sufficient enzymes to complete the decomposition process. The acetate produces the craving that deprives the alcoholic of the ability to control the amount they drink. The craving exceeds the alcoholic’s will power to stop once they have commenced to drink.
Furthermore this is a progressive illness. The craving for alcohol will be greater after the 10th drink than it was with the first. As our drinking progresses, the alcohol attacks the liver and pancreas which produce the enzymes which break down the alcohol. Hence even more acetates stay in our bodies and the craving increases.
If you are an alcoholic who still harbours the idea that your drinking will get better forget it, you have a progressive illness.
If we just suffered from a physical allergy then all you would have to do would be to read this article and a light bulb would come on in your brain and you'd never drink again. With most allergies this is probably the case. I'm sure if I discovered that I was allergic to nuts and that eating them would kill me I'd stop eating them.
With alcohol it's not so simple because as well as having a physical allergy to alcohol we have a mental obsession which tells us to pick up the first drink. Therefore our main problem centre's in our mind.
In our mind alcohol is not our problem it's the solution to our problems. At some stage in our lives alcohol made it easier to cope with life. Our mind stores up this information and when we come across a situation that we can't handle it tells us that having a drink will solve the problem, even though hundred's or thousands of previous experiences should tell us the opposite. When we talk about insanity in Alcoholics Anonymous this is what we mean." 1
The Doctor's Opinion puts it this way:
"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 (which means freedom from problems). 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." 2
The solution: Following the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in life.
2 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS(The Big Book) The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism - Third Edition - New York, 1976. Page xxvi-xxvii
Happy Thanksgiving Day on November 28th and Happy Hanukkah on November 28th-December 5th.
It's already better.
|Posted on November 16, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
And this year's big dummy award goes to...
During those times, when it was neccesary to leave a bar at closing time, or leave someone else's family residence because they wanted to go to sleep, or walk home alone in the middle of the night from some remote location, drunk, occasionally I was noticed by the only other ones out on the street in the middle of the night. Yes, the police would recognize my contributions to the community and award me with a pair of matching silver bracelets. I hated getting the award and being noticed.
It was humiliating beyond my wildest dreams. Occasionally, I received this award during holiday periods making it even more special.
This award has been helpful, since acceptance, as a reminder to stop me from hurting myself or others under the influence of alcohol. I did not realize I was receiving helpful lessons at that time through humiliation that I needed to eventually get sober and learn about myself.
It seemed very wrong at the time, but what do I know.
Page 573 of my Big Book has Appendix "IV THE LASKER AWARD".
"In 1951 the Lasker award was given Alcoholics Anonymous. The citation reads in part as follows:"
“The American Public Health Association presents a Lasker Group Award for 1951 to Alcoholics Anonymous in recognition of its unique and highly successful approach to that age-old public health and social problem, alcoholism . . . In emphasizing alcoholism as an illness, the social stigma associated with this condition is being blotted out . . . Historians may one day recognize Alcoholics Anonymous to have been a great venture in social pioneering which forged a new instrument for social action; a new therapy based on the kinship of common suffering; one having a vast potential for the myriad other ills of mankind.”
Here is a print of the Lasker award in the AA Grapevine.
I am grateful to AA and all the people in AA at every level for helping me to be the alcoholic that I am today.
It's already better.
|Posted on November 9, 2013 at 6:40 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.
http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf has 32 pages so I am trying to find a simpler more condensed manual for AA sponsorship of the twelve steps.
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 Whadahay. 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:
I will trust God, not the step I am on...
Let's be grateful to our AA sponsor for taking us into the 12 steps. Thank you sponsor.
Happy Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day veterans.
It's already better.
|Posted on November 2, 2013 at 4:45 AM||comments (0)|
Honesty was the topic of some online meetings this week.
Honesty is all about being in the moment and in today. In order to do that, I have to be honest with myself and find acceptance for what is, knowing it is all subject to change. Although some of my insanity will be obvious to the world at large, I need to filter my insane thinking before it is projected out to the public. Brutal honesty about myself is healthy. Brutal honesty about you is unwise.
"Honesty means to look below the surface at my own motives and intentions. Honesty means to look at the whole picture and not just see what I want to see. "
"I need to get honest with myself and my God before I can be truly honest with someone else. As the slogan says, Let it begin with me."1
I must look at "me" when all I really want to do is look at everything else.
Honesty is the best policy. It is important to be honest, but best not to be so brutally honest that I hurt someone else. Words are sometimes best when unsaid. Honesty without love is brutality. To me, that means I can be honest with others from a loving careful place.
To be honest, I don't know what other people's needs are and can keep my opinions to myself unless they really want to know them for some insane reason..
How can I make things better without hurting anyone?
"Honesty is how we get well. It's also what will keep us well." 1
Two good friends are walking and a nose without a body flies by. "What was that?", said one of the friends. His friend says, "No body nose".
"Nobody knows the trouble I've seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen
This air smells of politics.
Happy All Souls Day/Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) today and Diwali (festival of light) tomorrow.
It's already better.
Keep coming back. It works if you work it.
|Posted on October 26, 2013 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
There is a chapter in the 1st edition Big Book titled "An Alcoholic's Wife" written by Marie B.
Either Bill W. wrote the Chapter "To Wives" and apparently is ghost writing the thoughts of real wives of alcoholics or "To Wives" may have been written by Marie B.
"People in AA's History" credits Marie B.
* Written in 1939, when there were few women in A.A., this chapter assumes that the alcoholic in the home is likely to be the husband. But many of the suggestions given here may be adapted to help the person who lives with a woman alcoholic—whether she is still drinking or is recovering in A.A. A further source of help is noted on page 121.
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. Chapter 8. Page 104.
When reading this chapter, one would assume that women are represented in the writing.
"We women carry with us a picture of the ideal man, the sort of chap we would like our husbands to be. It is the most natural thing in the world, once his liquor problem is solved, to feel that he will now measure up to that cherished vision. The chances are he will not for, like yourself, he is just beginning his development. Be patient." p. 118 Big Book
However, reliable sources in AA approved literature credit Bill W. for "To Wives"...
Chapter Eleven/'PASS IT ON' (p. 200)
"Bill wrote at least ten of the opening chapters of the book; there is some reason to believe that "To Employers" may have been written by Hank. But there is no doubt about the authorship of "To Wives". Of that chapter, Lois said, "Bill wrote it, and I was mad." She added, "I wasn't so much mad as hurt. I still don't know why Bill wrote it. I've never really gotten into it -- why he insisted upon writing it. I said to him, 'Well, do you want me to write it?' And he said no, he thought it should be in the same style as the rest of the book."
Lois Remembers (pg. 113-14)
"By then I had had my own awakening and realized how much the understanding and loving cooperation of the wife could help the alcoholic in his newfound sobriety. Earlier Bill and I had been puzzled and disappointed that not all the families continued as happy as it seemed they should be, after the pink-cloud period experienced by many new members had waned. We had begun to realize how distorted the relationships in families of alcoholics could often be, how important it was for families to understand about alcoholism and to rearrange their own thinking."
"Therefore I had expected Bill to ask me to write the chapter "To Wives" and perhaps the following one, "The Family Afterward". When I shyly suggested this, he said no; he thought the book, except for the stories, should all be written in the same style. I have never known why he didn't want me to write about the wives, and it hurt me at first; but our lives were so full that I didn't have time to think about it much".
DR. BOB and The Good Oldtimers (pg. 152)
In the same letter, [letter from Bill W. to Dr. Bob S., dated June, 1938] Bill suggested that Anne have a chapter in the book to herself. "My feeling," said Bill, "is that Anne should do the one portraying the wife." Her modesty--her inclination toward staying in the background--may have been the reason that she did not write it.
Lois did not write the chapter, either; she wasn't asked. When she suggested that she do so, Bill said, "Oh, no. It should be in the same style as the book."
Recently, Lois said, "I've always been hurt by it, and I still don't know why Bill didn't ask me, although I never brought it up again."
I'm not exactly sure who wrote the chapter that came to be called "To Wives". Perhaps it was a group project.
Marie B., the wife of a member from Cleveland, wrote this personal account for the story section of the first edition.
How this all came about is curious and interesting to me. Here is the personal story from the 1st Edition.
An Alcoholic's Wife
I HAVE the misfortune, or I should say the good fortune of being an alcoholic's wife. I say misfortune because of the worry and grief that goes with drinking, and good fortune because we found a new way of living.
My husband did not drink, to my knowledge, for several years after we were married. Then we started on an occasional Saturday night party. As I drank nothing except an occasional highball I soon became what was called a "wet blanket." The parties became more frequent and more often I was left at home.
I would sit up and wait for him. As each car passed the house I would return to walking the floor and crying and feeling so sorry for myself, thinking, "Here I am left at home to take care of the baby and him out having a good time."
When he did return sometimes on Sunday and sometimes a week later, it usually called for a scene. If he was still drunk I would put him to bed and cry some more. If he was sober it would mean I would say all the things I had been thinking and cry some more. He usually got drunk again.
I finally went to work as the bills worried me. I thought if I worked and got the bills paid he would quit drinking. He had no money in the bank but would write checks as he knew I would pay them for the boy's sake and in the hopes that each time would be the last.
I thought I should have a lot of credit, as I was paying his bills, taking care of the house and baby, besides my work, making as much money as he was, doing without things I wanted so he could have a good time.
I always went to church and thought I was living a Christian life. After my husband came in contact with Alcoholics Anonymous I thought our troubles were over as I was sure all our trouble was his drinking.
I soon found out that there was a lot wrong with me. I was selfish with my money, time, and thoughts. I was selfish about my time because I was always tired and had no time left for my family's pleasure or to do God's work. All I did was go to Sunday School and Church on Sunday with the boy and thought that was all God wanted me to do. I would be irritable and lose my temper and say all manner of things which usually called for another drunk and me pitying myself all over again.
Since giving my husband's problem to God I have found a peace and happiness. I know that when I try to take care of the problems of my husband I am a stumbling block as my husband has to take his problems to God the same as I do.
My husband and I now talk over our problems and trust in a Divine Power. We have now started to live. When we live with God we want for nothing.
Marie B. -Cleveland, Ohio, "An Alcoholic's Wife" -1st edition Big Book. p. 378
Good Luck wives and God Bless you.
It's already better.
|Posted on October 19, 2013 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
The metal trigger plate in the middle of a steel jaw animal trap is called the scandalon.
When I am offended or angered in some way, am I taking the bait of the offense in the trap that has been set for me?
Let me think this through.
I have been angered or hurt by some situation in my life. In my pain , I throw caution to the wind and reach for the bait of offense that is placed on the scandalon of the trap set for me. The moment I touch that bait, the trap snaps shut. I am caught.
I must be kind, not resentful so that everyone involved also has the sense to stay out of the trap of offense. I have a choice in this. I can avoid the negative thinking patterns described below and avoid the traps.
When you have depression, anxiety or other disorders, you often have patterns of negative thinking. For example, you might automatically believe that you’re “never good enough” when one tiny part of a project doesn’t work out the way you planned. These thoughts can make you feel even more depressed or anxious. The negative thinking patterns listed below are common thinking patterns that can contribute to depression, anxiety and other troubling symptoms.
* All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect you see it as a total failure.
* Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as “always” or “never” when you think about it.
* Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of all of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolours a beaker of water.
* Discounting the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t count.” If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn’t good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positive takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.
* Jumping to conclusions: You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion.
* Mind reading: Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you.
* Fortune-telling: You predict that things will turn out badly.
* Magnification: You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the “binocular trick.”
* Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are.
* “Should” statements: You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be.
* Labelling: Labelling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying “I made a mistake,” you attach a negative label to yourself.
* Personalization and blame: Personalization occurs when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control.
Source: BC Partners for Mental Health & Addictions Information, Anxiety Disorders Toolkit
Acceptance with kindness are not on the scandalon menu. Bon-appe'tit
It's already better
|Posted on October 12, 2013 at 7:50 AM||comments (0)|
Here are quotes of Paul to some Phillipians in 60 AD before AA.
"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.
Happy Indigenous Peoples Day California et al.. PowWow all day, October 14th. Happy belated Native Americans' Day South Dakota, September 27th. Happy Columbus Day USA and Happy Thanksgiving Canada, October 14th and a Blissful Eid al-Adah Muslims, October 15th.
Happy begets Happy , Love begets Love. Looking forward to the Happy Global Love Day on May 1st, 2014 and International Tolerance Day on Saturday, November 16th, 2013. http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-day-tolerance
My counter-culture message of the week.
It's already better.
|Posted on October 5, 2013 at 5:50 AM||comments (0)|
Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89
A man came to the meeting drunk, interrupted the speakers, stood up and took his shirt off, staggered loudly back and forth for coffee, demanded to talk, and eventually called the group's secretary an unquotable name and walked out. I was glad he was there – once again I saw what I had been like. But I also saw what I still am, and what I still could be. I don't have to be drunk to want to be the exception and the center of attention. I have often felt abused and responded abusively when I was simply being treated as a garden variety human being. The more the man tried to insist he was different, the more I realized that he and I were exactly alike.
From the book Daily Reflection
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 88
I have more than enough to handle today, without dragging along yesterday's baggage too. I must balance today's books, if I am to have a chance tomorrow. So I ask myself if I have erred and how I can avoid repeating that particular behavior. Did I hurt anyone, did I help anyone, and why? Some of today is bound to spill over into tomorrow, but most of it need not if I make an honest daily inventory.
From the book Daily Reflections
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
If I took anything from this week's Daily Reflections it is: Don't be the jerk.
There was an acid test on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
Hopeful that my ph is between 7.4 and 7.5 because acidosis is a killer.
Drinking plenty of water and other fluids.
It's already better.
|Posted on September 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
Somehow, what I am and what I do sober is part of God's plan. When all of life's choices seem like random probabilities as they do and I can't choose at all sometimes, I need to do what I can do and stay sober.
"Every day, I feel a little bit more useful, more happy and more free. Life, including some ups and downs, is a lot of fun. I am a part of A.A. which is a way of life. If I had not become an active alcoholic and joined A.A., I might never have found my own identity or become a part of anything." Alcoholism Anonymous 2nd and 3rd edition p. 417 "Stars Don't Fall"
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life—unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes." Alcoholism Anonymous 4th edition p.417 "Acceptance Was the Answer"
I, my attitude and this writing process have mistakes. Otherwise they would continually be right.
However, my mistakes are not mistakes, my mistakes are not mistakes. Page 417 tells me so.
Both pages 417 and 417 show two different perspectives on being an alcoholic and being happy about that fact.
It's already better
|Posted on September 21, 2013 at 7:55 AM||comments (0)|
I will say up front that I am uncomfortable taking oaths and saying or signing pledges. I can not have firm resolutions. They do not work for me. They remind me of my failures.
We say, no dues or fees and no pledges herein sobriety. Yet, there they are. Yet, it is ok.
From various sources:
Our widespread experience is that (usually through a combination of circumstances) the drinker realizes that they can no longer control their drinking and wants to find out how to do something about it. At this point, many decide to seek help.
If you are feeling this way, here are three ways to contact AA:
1. Call the local AA Phone Number at (610) 882-0558.
This line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be placed in contact with a recovering alcoholic who will be happy to listen to you, answer your questions and share their experience, strength and hope with you on how AA is helping them to stay away from the first drink.
2. Go to a Meeting.
3. (one and two is enough, right?)
3. Send us e-mail
Click on "Contact Us" to send us an e-mail message. Someone will definitely respond to your e-mail, though response times will vary. For best results call the number listed above.
To find a meeting near you click "Find a Meeting". The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no fees to pay, no "pledges" to take, no papers to sign. If you'd like, you can just sit and listen. What you will find in AA meetings are other people with drinking problems who have found a way to stay sober, one day at a time.
Information on A.A.
Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
What is the origin of AA's Statement of Responsibility?
Answer: Also known as "The Responsibility Pledge of Alcoholics Anonymous", the Responsibility Declaration was first introduced in July 1965 at the 30th Anniversary International Convention in Toronto, Canada.
It was written by Al S., an editor of The AA Grapevine magazine. The theme of the convention was "Responsibility." The recitation of this pledge was part of the keynote presentation during the conventions "big meeting."
The Statement of Responsibility says:
"I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible."
Yes, I have said this pledge and disagree that reciting a statement of resposibility is helpful or fulfills the AA primary purpose. What's the point?
The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.
What is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?
NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give yourself a break. Our program is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that they work.
There are no strings attached to NA. We are not affiliated with any other organizations, we have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. We are not connected with any political, religious, or law enforcement groups, and are under no surveillance at any time. Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.
We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.
NA group reading:
Just for Today
JUST FOR TODAY my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.
JUST FOR TODAY, through NA, I will try to get a better perspective on my life.
JUST FOR TODAY I will be unafraid. My thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear. Nothing.
I have also said the Just for Today in which I have pledged for only a day and don't have to say "Hear Hear". Remember-- easy does it.
There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery, this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles.
Since I am not much of a joiner there are pledges that I would never have spoken or signed, regardless of whether every one else did:
In Philadelphia in 1863:
Guild of the Iron Cross pledge card:
I pledge myself to resist the sin of intemperance and will use my influence to prevent the commission of this sin by others.
I pledge myself to resist the sin of blasphemy, to honor God's name and bless my fellow-men.
I pledge myself to resist the sin of impurity in thought, word, and deed, and use my influence to draw others from evil talking and immoral living.
Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
A pledge that I signed in 1992 and that I broke in 2007 and retook in 2011:
I, (your name)_______________ do swear that I will not smoke a cigarette from now (date)_______________onward.
If I stay sober today, I don't have to drink for the rest of my life because it's always today. I can start my day over if this is not sinking through my thick head. "We can start it afresh at any time, wherever we are. At home, at work, in a bar or in a hospital room, at 4:00 p.m. or at 3:00 a.m., we can decide right then not to take a drink during the forthcoming 24 hours, or five minutes.", Living Sober, "Using the 24-Hour Plan"
One more day to pledge to not-drink for one day.
Do not worry. Who i see there and what i hear there, when i leave there always stays there.
Not-saying "Hear Hear".
It's already better.