|Posted on July 23, 2016 at 6:35 AM||comments (1)|
All of the AA meetings are good for me and when I go to a meeting, I stay for the whole meeting. All the AA meetings which I've been to are organized using an AA kit of materials, a format to read from and all but three had a coffee pot. 95 percent of the time, the door to the meeting place was unlocked and the meeting started on time. 95 percent of the time, their were no conflicts or scenes of confrontation during the meeting.
I have observed and I have heard shared some reflections about the promotion of order and harmony in AA meetings:
It was not harmonious when those speaking were in a competition to see who the biggest, baddest alcoholic in the room was.
It was not harmonious when their was one all star person in the room with all the answers and whose authority and popularity was the goal, the topic and the focus of the meeting.
Folks in the meeting spoke of recovery and working the program as it's laid out in the BB, talked of a HP, sponsorship, steps, fellowship, service work and carrying the AA message.
Folks in the meeting realized that they need each other for sobriety.
It was not harmonious when the topic was "drug of choice".
It was not harmonious where people were freely walking about, coming and going and walking outside prior to the 7th tradition and when those outside were selling things from their car, or those with no car were asking for handouts or rides.
It was safe to sit and talk in the meeting and all people were welcomed in the meeting regardless of their differences.
|Posted on July 15, 2016 at 2:10 AM||comments (0)|
Recent generations of Americans are more likely than previous generations to be raised outside of a religious tradition. In addition, those raised with no religion are increasingly likely to have no religious preference as adults. Given their growing numbers, individuals raised with no religion are welcomed, and accepted in A.A. . The adult religious preferences of these individuals provide evidence of modern social change, evidence of a shift in socialization and social influences experienced by those who have grown up with no religion. Compared with earlier generations raised with no religion, more recent generations have had more secular upbringings and tend to be more secular, liberal, and wary of organized religion as adults. They are also more likely to have a religiously unaffiliated spouse, if they marry at all. This trend explains some of the recent differences in the likelihood of remaining unaffiliated with religion as an adult.
The AA tenth tradition:
No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.
|Posted on May 28, 2016 at 6:30 AM||comments (0)|
This week I learned some information from Australia whereby I can relate to being a primary alcoholic. A primary alcoholic, as odd as this may seem, early in life is introduced to drinking and immediately drinks into blackouts. I can relate. That's how it was for me. Oddly enough, shortly after being totally drunk and hungover, I would start drinking again. I had to have it. Once I got it, couldn't get enough of it. Powerlessness from the first drink at a very young age.
I can not relate to anyone who shares why they drank. All the different reasons ad-infinitum were irrelevant. I drank the intial drink, I needed to get more until I was inebriated.
The primary alcoholic in Australia is different than a secondary alcoholic. The secondary alcoholic has a slow progression and builds up tolerance to alcohol over many years. They get to the point where they feel as bad when they drink as they do when they aren't drinking. I can also relate to that. I have heard this type of alcoholic say that they could not get drunk anymore. I can not relate to that.
Australian AA: Rip-snorter for anyone full as a boot, with jumbuck in their wellies or up a gum tree. Ta / tar.
|Posted on April 9, 2016 at 6:10 AM||comments (0)|
Daily Reflections ~ Stepping Into The Sunlight
But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun. AS BILL SEES IT, p. 10
Sometimes I think I dont have time for prayer and meditation, forgetting that I always found the time to drink. It is possible to make time for anything I want to do if I want it badly enough. When I start the routine of prayer and meditation, its a good idea to plan to devote a small amount of time to it. I read a page from our Fellowships books in the morning, and say Thank You, God, when I go to bed at night. As prayer becomes a habit, I will increase the time spent on it, without even noticing the foray it makes into my busy day. If I have trouble praying, I just repeat the Lords Prayer because it really covers everything. Then I think of what I can be grateful for and say a word of thanks.
I dont need to shut myself in a closet to pray. It can be done even in a room full of people. I just remove myself mentally for an instant. As the practice of prayer continues, I will find I dont need words, for God can, and does, hear my thoughts through silence.
Daily Reflections reading November 9th
|Posted on April 2, 2016 at 6:30 AM||comments (0)|
"And then, in the spring of 1939, a very remarkable book was rolled off a New York press with the title "Alcoholics Anonymous." However, due to financial difficulties the whole printing was, for a while, held up and the book received no publicity, nor, of course, was it available in the stores, even if one knew it existed. But somehow my good doctor heard of this book and also he learned a little about the people responsible for its publication. He sent to New York for a copy, and after reading it he tucked it under his arm and called on me. That call marked the turning point in my life.
Until now, I had never been told that I was an alcoholic. Few doctors will tell a hopeless patient that there is no answer for him or for her. But this day my doctor gave it to me straight and said, "People like you are pretty well known to the medical profession. Every doctor gets his quota of alcoholic patients. Some of us struggle with these people because we know that they are really very sick, but we also know that short of some miracle, we are not going to help them except temporarily, and that they will inevitably get worse and worse until one of two things happens. Either they die of acute alcoholism or they develop wet brains and have to be put away permanently."
He further explained that alcohol was no respecter of sex or background, but that most of the alcoholics he had encountered had better than average minds and abilities. He said the alcoholic seemed to possess a native acuteness and usually excelled in his field, regardless of environmental or educational advantages.
"We watch the alcoholic performing in a position of responsibility and we know that because he is drinking heavily and daily he has cut his capacities by fifty per cent, and still he seems able to do a satisfactory job. And we wonder how much further this man could go if his alcoholic problem could be removed and he could throw one hundred per cent of his abilities into action. But, of course," he continued, "eventually the alcoholic loses all of his capacities as his disease gets progressively worse, and this is a tragedy that is painful to watch; the disintegration of a sound mind and body."
Then he told me there was a handful of people in Akron and New York who had worked out a technique for arresting their alcoholism. He asked me to read the book "Alcoholics Anonymous," and then he wanted me to talk with a man who was experiencing success with his own arrestment. This man could tell me more. I stayed up all night reading that book. For me it was a wonderful experience. It explained so much I had not understood about myself and, best of all, it promised recovery if I would do a few simple things and be willing to have the desire to drink removed. Here was hope. Maybe I could find my way out of this agonizing existence. Perhaps I could find freedom and peace and be able once again to call my soul my own.
The next day I received a visit from Mr. T., a recovered alcoholic. I don't know what sort of person I was expecting, but I was very agreeably surprised to find Mr. T. a poised, intelligent, well groomed and mannered gentleman. I was immediately impressed with his graciousness and charm. He put me at ease with his first few words. Looking at him it was hard to believe he had ever been as I was then.
However, as he unfolded his story for me, I could not help but believe him. In describing his suffering, his fears, his many years of groping for some answer to that which always seemed to remain unanswerable, he could have been describing me, and nothing short of experience and knowledge could have afforded him that much insight! He had been dry for two and a half years and had been maintaining his contact with a group of recovered alcoholics in Akron. Contact with this group was extremely important to him. He told me that eventually he hoped such a group would develop in the Chicago area, but that so far this had not been started. He thought it would be helpful for me to visit the Akron group and meet many like himself.
By this time, with the doctor's explanation, the revelations contained in the book, and the hope-inspiring interview with Mr. T., I was ready and willing to go into the interior of the African jungles, if that was what it took, for me to find what these people had.
So I went to Akron, and also to Cleveland, and I met more recovered alcoholics. I saw in these people a quality of peace and serenity that I knew I must have for myself. Not only were they at peace with themselves, but they were getting a kick out of life such as one seldom encounters, except in the very young. They seemed to have all the ingredients for successful living. Philosophy, faith, a sense of humor (they could laugh at themselves), clear-cut objectives, appreciation—and most especially appreciation and sympathetic understanding for their fellow man. Nothing in their lives took precedence over their response to a call for help from some alcoholic in need. They would travel miles and stay up all night with someone they had never laid eyes on before and think nothing of it. Far from expecting praise for their deeds, they claimed the performance a privilege and insisted that they invariably received more than they gave. Extraordinary people!
I didn't dare hope I might find for myself all that these people had found, but if I could acquire some small part of their intriguing quality of living—and sobriety—that would be enough.
Shortly after I returned to Chicago, my doctor, encouraged by the results of my contact with A.A., sent us two more of his alcoholic patients. By the latter part of September 1939, we had a nucleus of six and held our first official group meeting.
I had a tough pull back to normal good health. It has been so many years since I had not relied on some artificial crutch, either alcohol or sedatives. Letting go of everything at once was both painful and terrifying. I could never have accomplished this alone. It took the help, understanding and wonderful companionship that was given so freely to me by my "ex-alkie" friends. This and the program of recovery embodied in the Twelve Steps. In learning to practice these steps in my daily living I began to acquire faith and a philosophy to live by. Whole new vistas were opened up for me, new avenues of experience to be explored, and life began to take on color and interest. In time, I found myself looking forward to each new day with pleasurable anticipation.
A.A. is not a plan for recovery that can be finished and done with. It is a way of life, and the challenge contained in its principles is great enough to keep any human being striving for as long as he lives. We do not, cannot, out-grow this plan. As arrested alcoholics, we must have a program for living that allows for limitless expansion. Keeping one foot in front of the other is essential for maintaining our arrestment. Others may idle in a retrogressive groove without too much danger, but retrogression can spell death for us. However, this isn't as rough as it sounds, as we do become grateful for the necessity that makes us toe the line, for we find that we are more than compensated for a consistent effort by the countless dividends we receive.
A complete change takes place in our approach to life. Where we used to run from responsibility, we find ourselves accepting it with gratitude that we can successfully shoulder it. Instead of wanting to escape some perplexing problem, we experience a thrill of challenge in the opportunity it affords for another application of A.A. techniques, and we find ourselves tackling it with surprising vigor.
The last fifteen years of my life have been rich and meaningful. I have had my share of problems, heartaches and disappointments, because that is life, but also I have known a great deal of joy, and a peace that is the handmaiden of an inner freedom. I have a wealth of friends and, with my A.A. friends, an unusual quality of fellowship. For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and new-found faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding and love—without strings, without obligation—we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless.
There is no more "aloneness," with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing, before, could ever reach it. That ache is gone and never need return again.
Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom."
"THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM" Sylvia K.
|Posted on March 25, 2016 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
It is a misconception of many that recovery is instantaneous, as if one day you quit drinking and the next day you have a new sober life. We have had to give our sobriety priority over all things that distract from it and work the program every day. It is also a misconception that life will automatically get great. Things don’t “just happen” because we attend a meeting or work through a list; they take lots of hard work. Success requires decisiveness. It is also a misconception that anyone in recovery achieves normality. "The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed." AA book p.30.
In the third step we see the word DECISION. We have to decide which means we have to make up our mind. No further required action means anything until we make up our mind.
We did not have to decide to be alcoholics. We either are or we aren't. We did not have to decide whether or not we could be restored to reality or sanity. That is up to God. We must decide whether or not we let Him.
|Posted on March 19, 2016 at 6:20 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 12, 2016 at 6:30 AM||comments (0)|
A DAY’S PLAN
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.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 86
Every day I ask God to kindle within me the fire of His love, so that love, burning bright and clear, will illuminate my thinking and permit me to better do His will. Throughout the day, as I allow outside circumstances to dampen my spirits, I ask God to sear my consciousness with the awareness that I can start my day over any time I choose; a hundred times, if necessary.
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
|Posted on March 5, 2016 at 6:15 AM||comments (1)|
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?
Where did the think THINK think come from? My searching Searching searching of the origin of the slogan think Think think resulted in nothing certain.
I have found and heard this 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.
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 story similar to the think Think think 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 origin of the Serenity Prayer is also uncertain...
Back to the think Think think, right side up or upside down, what does it mean?
The Alcoholic And Grandiosity
The alcoholic is a classic case of "an egomaniac with an inferiority complex." This apparent contradiction in terms comes from the fact that because the alcoholic has low self-esteem, they often feel the need to hide behind a mask of superiority. While they pretend to feel they're better than most people, what they really feel inside is utterly worthless. This is more or less applying the idea that "the best defense is a strong offense."
Of course they can't let anyone know that, so they rarely take the mask off. This tends to make them extremely critical of just about everything and everyone, and they act as if they should be in charge of running the entire universe. Ultimately, this grandiosity is the first obstacle in treatment that must be overcome to get an alcoholic to admit and accept that they are in fact an alcoholic and they need help. Before they get help and begin to start thinking clearly, alcoholics and addicts generally equate needing help with being weak. http://aa.activeboard.com/t35855183/the-alcoholic-and-grandiosity/
The alcoholic has three types of thinking, sober thinking, the positive thinking when applying the AA principles, and two types of inverted thinking;
conceited thinking;(the egomaniac) and discouraged thinking;(inferiority complex).
We get better as we grow the sober thinking and shrink the conceited and discouraged thinking.
Here is an explanation of think Think think by soberjulie. (located at soberrecovery.com )
"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 all 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.
|Posted on February 27, 2016 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Daily Reflections reading February 29th
One A.A. Miracle
Save for a few brief moments of temptation the thought of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 57
The word "God" was frightening to me when I first saw it associated with A.A.'s Twelve Steps. Having tried all the means I could to stop drinking, I found that it was not possible for me to sustain that desire over a period of time. Yet, how could I believe in a "God" that had allowed me to sink to the deep despair that engulfed me-whether drinking or dry?
The answer was in finally admitting that it might be possible for me to know the mercy of a Power greater than myself who could grant me sobriety contingent on my willingness to "come to believe." By finally admitting that I was one among many, and by following the example of my sponsor and other A.A. members in practicing faith I did not have, my life has been given meaning, direction and purpose.
© Alcoholics Anonymous World Services
|Posted on February 20, 2016 at 5:30 AM||comments (0)|
It was Friday afternoon and Joe was leaving work. His wife Joy was home preparing a nice dinner for herself and Joe because they had worked hard all week.
On the way home, Joe met an old drinking friend who offered to buy Joe a beer at the corner tavern.
Joe said, "Why not, I deserve it. I worked hard this week." Joe quickly polished off the first beer, then bought another round, then had three more cold drafts, ordered shots and another beer. He was feeling fine.
Time passed and Joe looked at his watch. "Oh man, I'm late for supper, the wife is going to be mad." Joe thought for a minute and decided to order another shot and a beer while he thought of a good excuse.
Soon Joe got caught up in some excitement and forgot about going home. He just kept on drinking.
One thing led to another and after a long blackout, Joe arrived home early Monday morning , still drunk and a complete mess. There was no way he could work. Joy was furious. She called Joe's workplace and told the receptionist that Joe would be out sick for a few days. Joy spent the better part of the next three hours yelling at him. She nagged and nagged. "You're disgusting and you stink." She cried and cried. Finally, hoping to elicit some guilt she said, "How would you like it if you didn't see me for three days."
Joe thoughtfully responded, "What would be wrong with that?"
Well, then after Joe's answer he awoke on Tuesday.
All day Tuesday went by and Joe didn't see his wife.
Then Wednesday came and went, still he didn't even get a peak at his wife.
Then all day Thursday passed and still no sight of his wife Joy.
Finally, Friday rolled around and the swelling around his eyes had gone down enough that he could just barely see Joy out of the corner of one eye.
Eventually, after several more disasters, Joe finallly admitted to himself that he was an alcoholic and tried to quit drinking. However, Joy left old Joe for good. In fact, everything Joe once had was gone.
In utter desperation, Joe went and got some help at AA meetings. He sometimes drank between meetings and had a few slips so he went to the hardware store for some rubber tub and shower floor stickers and also learned to not reach for or pick up a drink. Joe is now sober and less "accident prone" every day.
|Posted on February 13, 2016 at 9:15 AM||comments (0)|
More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double
life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he
presents his stage character. This is the one he likes
his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation,
but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.
The inconsistency is made worse by the things he
does on his sprees. Coming to his senses, he is revolted
at certain episodes he vaguely remembers. These
memories are a nightmare. He trembles to think someone
might have observed him. As fast as he can, he
pushes these memories far inside himself. He hopes
they will never see the light of day. He is under constant
fear and tension—that makes for more drinking.
Psychologists are inclined to agree with us. We
have spent thousands of dollars for examinations. We
know but few instances where we have given these
doctors a fair break. We have seldom told them the
whole truth nor have we followed their advice. Unwilling
to be honest with these sympathetic men, we
were honest with no one else. Small wonder many in
the medical profession have a low opinion of alcoholics
and their chance for recovery!
We must be entirely honest with somebody if we
expect to live long or happily in this world. pgs. 73,74 Alcoholics Anonymous
Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.
Love and tolerance of others is our code.
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone—
even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned.
We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted,
we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We 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. pgs. 84,85 Alcoholics Anonymous