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Mind's Traps

Posted on October 18, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments 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


Our A.A. literature tells us how we can avoid alcohol related pitfalls and traps.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions says on p22;  "The tyrant alcohol wielded a double-edged sword over us:  first we were smitten by an insane urge that condemned us to go ondrinking, and then by an allergy of the body that insured we would ultimately destroy ourselves in the process.  Few indeed were those who , so assailed, had ever won through in single handed combat.  It was a statistical fact that alcoholics almost never recovered on their own resources."


Our friends and family may be missing in action.  We need God and other alcoholics to survive the traps, the pitfalls and the double edged sword.


Where can we find another alcoholic?

Alcoholics Anonymouse pp. 152-153 says, "You are going to meet these new friends in your own community.  Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship.  If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Among them you will make lifelong friends.  You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.  Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life.  You will learn the full meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself."


It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more.  How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness?  The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you.  Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come.  The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!"


Alcoholics Anonymouse p. 60 says, "We decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him.  Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do?


The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success."


Let's take the high ground and be better able to see our enemy.


God knows where we are, all the time.  Other alcoholics help us learn to let God deal with that double-edged sword.  Acceptance with kindness are not on the scandalon or the pitfall.

It's already better.

Keep going

Posted on October 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Never forget why you stopped.

Easy does it.


Don't watch the clock; do what it does.

Keep going.

Sam Levenson


Do the first thing first.

Do the last thing last.

In the middle, keep-a-going.

Ray Ray


Just keep going like crazy and look back when it's over.

Otherwise you just get confused.

Cliff Burton

 

I learned that life is a long and difficult road,

but you have to keep going, or you'll fall by the wayside.

Steve McQueen


Even if I don't finish, we need others to continue.

It's got to keep going without me.

Terry Fo

 

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas A. Edison


You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C. S. Lewis


The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Mark Twain


Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe


You have to learn the rules of the game.

And then you have to play better than anyone else.

Albert Einstein


Keep-A-Goin

Well, if you strike a thorn or rose, Keep a-goin'!

And if it hails or if it snows, Keep a-goin'!

Ain't no use to sit an' whine 'Cause the fish ain't on your line

Bait your hook and keep a-tryin'-- Keep a-goin'!

 

When the weather kills your crop, Keep a-goin'!

Why, it takes work to reach the top, Keep a-goin'!

If the skys look dark and gray Tell the world you'll be OK

And don't forget to pray! Keep a-goin'!

 

If you're up against the wall, Keep a-goin'!

Swallow hard and just stand tall, Keep a-goin'!

S'pose you're out of any dime, Bein' broke ain't any crime!

It'll all work out in time, Keep a-goin'!


And if the doctor says you're through, Keep a-goin'!

Why he's a human just like you, Keep a-goin'!

Ain't no law says you must die,Wipe them tears from off your eye,

Give ol' life another try -- Keep a-goin'!


Ain't no law says you must die, Wipe them tears from off your eye,

Trust the Good Lord up on high -- He'll help! Keep a-goin'! Keep a-goin'!

Frank Stanton


Drunks

 

We died of pneumonia in furnished rooms where they found us three days later when somebody complained about the smell.

 

We died against bridge abutments and nobody knew if it was suicide and we probably didn't know either except in the sense that it was always suicide.

 

We died in hospitals, our stomachs huge, distended and there was nothing they could do.

 

We died in cells, never knowing whether we were guilty or not.

 

We went to priests, they gave us pledges, they told us to pray, they told us to go and sin no more, but go. We tried and we died.

 

We died of overdoses, we died in bed (but usually not the Big Bed)

 

We died in straitjackets, in the DT's seeing God knows what, creeping skittering slithering shuffling things.

 

And you know what the worst thing was? The worst thing was that nobody ever believed how hard we tried.

 

We went to doctors and they gave us stuff to take that would make us sick when we drank on the principle of so crazy, it just might work, I guess, or maybe they just shook their heads and sent us to places like Dropkick Murphy's.

 

And when we got out we were hooked on paraldehyde or maybe we lied to the doctors and they told us not to drink so much, just drink like me. And we tried, and we died.

 

We drowned in our own vomit or choked on it, our broken jaws wired shut. We died playing Russian roulette and people thought we'd lost, but we knew better.

 

We died under the hoofs of horses, under the wheels of vehicles, under the knives and boot heels of our brother drunks.

 

We died in shame.

 

And you know what was even worse, was that we couldn't believe it ourselves, that we had tried.

 

We figured we just thought we tried and we died believing that we hadn't tried, believing that we didn't know what it meant to try.

 

When we were desperate enough or hopeful or deluded or embattled enough to go for help we went to people with letters after their names and prayed that they might have read the right books that had the right words in them, never suspecting the terrifying truth, that the right words, as simple as they were, had not been written yet.

 

We died falling off girders on high buildings, because of course ironworkers drink, of course they do.

 

We died with a shotgun in our mouth, or jumping off a bridge, and everybody knew it was suicide.

 

We died under the Southeast Expressway, with our hands tied behind us and a bullet in the back of our head, because this time the people that we disappointed were the wrong people.

 

We died in convulsions, or of "insult to the brain", we died incontinent, and in disgrace, abandoned .

 

If we were women, we died degraded, because women have so much more to live up to.

 

We tried and we died and nobody cried. And the very worst thing was that for every one of us that died, there were another hundred of us, or another thousand, who wished that we could die, who went to sleep praying we would not have to wake up because what we were enduring was intolerable and we knew in our hearts it wasn't ever gonna change.

 

One day in a hospital room in New York City, one of us had what the books call a transforming spiritual experience, and he said to himself "I've got it ." (no, you haven't you've only got part of it) " and I have to share it." (now you've ALMOST got it) and he kept trying to give it away, but we couldn't hear it. We tried and we died.

 

We died of one last cigarette, the comfort of its glowing in the dark. We passed out and the bed caught fire. They said we suffocated before our body burned, they said we never felt a thing , that was the best way maybe that we died, except sometimes we took our family with us.

 

And the man in New York was so sure he had it, he tried to love us into sobriety, but that didn't work either, love confuses drunks and he tried and we still died.

 

One after another we got his hopes up and we broke his heart,

Because that's what we do.

 

And the worst thing was that every time we thought we knew what the worst thing was something happened that was worse.

 

Until a day came in a hotel lobby and it wasn't in Rome, or Jerusalem, Or Mecca or even Dublin, or South Boston, it was in Akron, Ohio, for Christ's sake.

 

A day came when the man said I have to find a drunk because I need him As much as he needs me (NOW you've got it).

 

And the transmission line, after all those years, was open, the transmission line was open. And now we don't go to priests, and we don't go to doctors and people with letters after their names.

 

We come to people who have been there, we come to each other. We come to try and we don't have to die.

Jack McCarthy

 

Most of the time, when I encountered people

in my drunken state,

they would keep going.

Hey! It's me!

They would go. 

Not everyone.

In the end, it was just me and I was used to that.

That was fine with me.

I was damaged.

It's already better.

Positivity

Posted on October 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most well known and widely available group for alcoholics in recovery.  The  AA  fellowship uses the set of guiding principle, the 12 steps, to help members achieve and maintain sobriety.  The goal is total abstinence from drinking.

 

A key part of a 12-step program is choosing a sponsor, a former alcoholic who has time and experience remaining sober.  A sponsor helps you understand and work the steps to alcohol recovery and provides support when you are feeling the urge to drink.

 

AA members attend group meetings facilitated by other members i.e. recovering alcoholics.  Meetings take place on a regular basis, at various times, and in many different locations around the world.  Members are free to attend any of the many meetings held each week.


An initial 90 day Trudging on the Road of (it is of not to) Happy Destiny from one meeting to the next meeting with naps in between is a proven way to begin a sober life with a positive outlook despite the trudging.


A VISION FOR YOU

 

Our book is meant to be suggestive only.  We realize we know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will come, if your own house is in order.  But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.  See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others.  This is the Great Fact for us.

 

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.  Alcoholics Anonymous p. 164


It can be very tempting to substitute online meetings for all of the real live meetings.  However online meetings are not the same as going to real live meetings where you can see and be seen by people in recovery.  We alcoholics need the real live fellowship with each other.


Most sober alcoholics that return to drinking, stop going to real live meetings before they take the real live drinks that could take their real live lives.


We are here in the AA Fellowship to help each other.  The Online Fellowship, for many is a good and convenient outlet if used properly and positively.  Typing away in real time online and hitting the send button helps me learn to be more positive about trusting the "Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny" process  in a different high-tech, non-personal way. .


I still need face-to-face, in-person contact with other sober alcoholics, who are staying sober!  The tried and true, time tested, old fashioned, low tech ,"Go to Meetings" way of establishing a foundation on which to construct a sober lifestyle worked during a few times of my utter desperation.  Sitting around with and interacting with sober AA people was fundamental for my "not-drinking" process.  


During  the "Going to Meetings" process we alcoholics eventually learn what alcoholism is about and we learn eventually that alcohol is destructive to us.  Alcohol will kill us if we continue to keep on drinking alcohol.  We make friends in the AA meetings.  We are keeping the reallity of alcoholism in the forefront of our minds and helping newcomers in a social situation.  It is a fun time.


Luddites, visit the anti-technology website ludditelink.org.uk:):)

It's already better.

No Axe to Grind

Posted on September 27, 2014 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Turning The Grindstone:

When I was a little boy I remember one cold winter's morning I was accosted by a smiling man with an ax on his shoulder.  "My pretty boy, said he, "has your father a grindstone?" " Yes sir ", said I.  "You are a fine little fellow." said he.  "Will you let me grind my ax on it?"  Pleased with the compliment of "fine little fellow," "Oh yes, sir," I answered.  "It is down in the shop." "And will you my man," said he, patting me on the head, "get me a little hot water?"  How could I refuse?   I ran and soon brought a kettle full. "How old are you and what's your name?" continued he, without waiting for a reply; "I am sure you are one of the finest lads that ever I have seen." "Will you just turn a few minutes for me?" Tickled with flattery like a little fool, I went to work and bitterly did I rue the day.  It was a new ax and I toiled and tugged till I was almost tired to death.  The school bell rang and I could not get away.  My hands were blistered and the ax was not half ground.  At length, however, it was sharpened and the man turned to me with, "Now you little rascal you've played truant; scud to the school or you'll rue it."  Alas, thought I, it was hard enough to turn a grindstone this cold day but now to be called a little rascal is too much.   Benjamin Franklin


That story is probably the source of the idiomatic expression "axe to grind" i.e. using flattery or some other manipulation in serving one's own private ends while hindering, delaying, or gaining an advantage over another.  According to the Big Book, selfish demonstrations of "axes to grind" are not examples of understanding and effectiveness.


"But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours.  Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

 

That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions we have found most effective.  After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again." pp.18-19  Alcoholics Anonymous.

 

Poems of Henry Gibson on retro or classic TV.

Posted on September 21, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)


"Keep a' Goin'"!

 

Well, if you strike a thorn or rose, Keep a-goin'!

And if it hails or if it snows, Keep a-goin'!

Ain't no use to sit an' whine 'Cause the fish ain't on your line.  Bait your hook and keep a-tryin'-- Keep a-goin'!

 

When the weather kills your crop, Keep a-goin'!

Why, it takes work to reach the top, Keep a-goin'!

If the skys look dark and gray, Tell the world you'll be OK and don't forget to pray! Keep a-goin'!

 

If you're up against the wall, Keep a-goin'!

Swallow hard and just stand tall, Keep a-goin'!

S'pose you're out of any dime, Bein' broke ain't any crime! It'll all work out in time, Keep a-goin'!

 

And if the doctor says you're through, Keep a-goin'!

Why he's a human just like you, Keep a-goin'!

Ain't no law says you must die, Wipe them tears from off your eye, Give ol' life another try -- Keep a-goin'!

 

Ain't no law says you must die, Wipe them tears from off your eye, Trust the Good Lord up on high -- He'll help! Keep a-goin'!

Keep a-goin'!


Is the Frog the Farmers Friend?

Is the frog the farmers friend?

I don't know.

Is the frog the farmers friend?

I don't know.

Is the frog the farmers friend?

I'll tell you in the end.

Is the frog the farmers friend?

I don't know.


The Frog

Why does the farmer hate the frog?

I don't know why the farmer hates the frog.

Thank you.


The Rhino

Some people say that the Rhino is a drunk.

Other people say he turns on with junk.

But me I think that's alot of bunk.

The rhino is a wino!

Oh Rhino Oh Rhino

Don't take much to turn you on.

Oh Rhino Oh Rhino

Just some Cabernet Sauvignon.


The Bull Moose

The Bull Moose is my pal true blue.

He don't smoke or drink or chew.

His only hang-up is he sniffs glue.

If I was a bull moose I would too.


The Smells of Summer

The smells of summer ain't all so sweet,

Heck there's mildew in showers and hot tired feet...

There's smells in the household from cellar to attic-

Sure gets dramatic!"

Spirit Time

Posted on September 13, 2014 at 9:15 AM Comments 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".  Is it 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 was an aberrration and outside of the realm but I still believed in God .  I was gnostic, 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)


I am currently a recovered alcoholic.  I knelt down several times and handed it over. I would class recovery as a miracle of neccessity. (not a gift of desperation)


I am sober today and I saw this spiritual alchemy thing again.  With the help of a computer, it was possible to find relationships between Alchemy and Alcoholics Anonymous using searched historical writings.


For instance:

1.  In the 15th Century, an alchemist monk named George Riply wrote:


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.


2.  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).


3.  In 1858 Ethan Allen Hitchcock wrote a book about Emanuel Swedenborg.


Emanuel Swedenborg, founder of the New Church religion, read about twelve steps the philosopher's stone prior to writing Divine Providence in 1764. 

 

"But to what did he refer in this allusion to angels, to a Palace and to twelve steps leading to it? (referring to Divine Providence)

 

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 Company1858, available on Google Books. http [:/] /books.google.com/books?id=QNBpiENXwj4C&vq=twelve%20gates&pg [=P] A108#v=snippet&q=twelve%20gates&f=false pp. 108-110


4.  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:

http://stepstudy.org/2008/07/29/discrete-degrees-in-successive-and-simultaneous-order/

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AAHistoryLovers/conversations/topics/6239


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... 

Thy will, not mine, be done.  Amen ✝


 http://design.spiritalchemy.com/portfolio/logos/

Thanks, It's already better.

"The Problem"

Posted on September 6, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments 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:

ETHANOL

enzymes convert the ethanol into

ACETALDEHYDE

enzymes convert acetaldehyde into

DIACETIC ACID

enzymes convert diacetic acid into

AN ACETATE

 

 

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

 end:

The solution:   Following the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in life.

1   http://www.aa-israel.org/pages/problem.htm

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

It's already better.

Sobriety is Loving Being Sober

Posted on August 30, 2014 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Sobriety according to..

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

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


There are other places where sobriety is defined.  Here are the convenient ones:


1. Google

so·bri·e·ty  səˈbrīətē,sō-/noun: sobriety: the state of being sober.

"the price of beer compelled me to maintain a certain level of sobriety"

synonyms: soberness, clearheadedness; More

abstinence, teetotalism, nonindulgence, abstemiousness, temperance

"she noted his sobriety"

the quality of being staid or solemn.

synonyms: seriousness, solemnity, gravity, gravitas, dignity, levelheadedness, common sense, pragmatism, practicality, self-control, self-restraint, conservatism

"the mayor is a model of sobriety"

 

Origin: late Middle English: from Old French sobriete or Latin sobrietas, from sobrius (see sober).


2. Wikipedia: the online encyclopedia of everything


12 step programs

 

Sobriety may refer to being clear of immediate or residual effects of mind-altering substances, referring to a specific substance that is the concern of a particular 12 step program (alcohol, opiates, marijuana, tobacco). "Clean and sober" is a commonly used phrase, which refers to someone having an extended period without drugs or alcohol in their body.


Law enforcement

 

Field sobriety tests and breathalyzer testing are two ways law enforcement officers often test for sobriety in a suspected drunk driver. These "standardized field sobriety tests" are at the officer's discretion.  Standardized tests that can be performed include:

 

One-leg stand test

Walk and turn test

HGN (eye) test (horizontal gaze nystagmus test)

 

Non-standardized tests include:

 

Romberg's test

(The essential features of the test are as follows: The subject stands with feet together, eyes open and hands by the sides.

the subject closes the eyes while the examiner observes for a full minute.)

Finger-to-nose test

Finger-count test

Hand pat test

Alphabet recitation test

Counting numbers backwards

 

From Google and Wikipedia, I learn that sobriety is a very old fashioned word and that law enforcement officers like to make greater fools out of illegal drunks.  Can't they just smell the booze smell?  In context, having the ability to perform one of the silly field sobriety tests while inebriated does not prove that anyone is sober or is a non-alcoholic nor does being named Cocky Locky and occasionally saying cock-a-doodle-do make anyone a rooster.


3. Alcoholics Anonymous:  The Big Book does not formally define sobriety.  However if you look in the Big Book, sobriety is the purpose of the whole book.  Sobriety occurs forty five times in the Big Book and first occurs on p. v, (Table of Contents).

"Dr. Bob's Nightmare A co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  The Birth of our Society dates from his first day of permanent sobriety, June 10, 1935". 

In context, sobriety first occurs on p. xvii, Foreward to the Second Edition:

"By late 1937, the number of members having substantial sobriety time behind them was sufficient to convince the membership that a new light had entered the dark world of the alcoholic."

Deep Thoughts

Posted on August 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)



"Happiness and sadness" quotes from the movie "This is Spinal Tap" (1984)


Marty DiBergi:

David St. Hubbins... I must admit I've never heard anybody with that name.

 

David St. Hubbins:

It's an unusual name, well, he was an unusual saint, he's not a very well known saint.

 

Marty DiBergi:

Oh, there actually is, uh... there was a Saint Hubbins?

 

David St. Hubbins:

That's right, yes.

 

Marty DiBergi:

What was he the saint of?

 

David St. Hubbins:

He was the patron saint of quality footwear.

 

Nigel Tufnel:

Well, I suppose I could work in a shop of some kind or... or do um... freelance... selling of some sort of... um... product, you know...

 

Marty DiBergi:

A salesman, you think you...

 

Nigel Tufnel:

A salesman, like, mabye in a haberdasher, or maybe like a... um, a chapeau shop, or something... you know, like: "Would you... what size do you wear, sir?" and then you answer me.

 

Marty DiBergi:

Uh... seven and a quarter.

 

Nigel Tufnel:

"I think we have that...", you see, something like that I could do.

 

Marty DiBergi:

Yeah... you think you'd be happy doing something like-...

 

Nigel Tufnel:

"No! We're all out, do you wear black?", see, that sort of thing, I think I could probably muster up.

 

Marty DiBergi:

Yeah, do you think you'd be happy doing that?

 

Nigel Tufnel:

Well, I don't know, wh-wh-what are the hours?


Marty DiBergi:

It's very pretty.

 

Nigel Tufnel:

Yeah, I've been fooling around with it for a few months.

 

Marty DiBergi:

It's a bit of a departure from what you normally play.

 

Nigel Tufnel:

It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I'm working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don't know why.

 

Marty DiBergi:

It's very nice.

 

Nigel Tufnel:

You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like - I'm really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it's sort of in between those, really. It's like a Mach piece, really. It's sort of...

 

Nigel Tufnel:

The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...

 

Marty DiBergi:

Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

 

Nigel Tufnel:

Exactly.

 

Marty DiBergi:

Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?

 

Nigel Tufnel:

Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

 

Marty DiBergi:

I don't know.


 Nigel Tufnel:

Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

 

Marty DiBergi:

Put it up to eleven.


 Nigel Tufnel:

Eleven. Exactly. One louder.


 Marty DiBergi:

Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?


 Nigel Tufnel: [pause]

These go to eleven.

 

Turn the volume up to ELEVIN. (Spinal Tap fans??, anyone??, Hands Please!!)


D minor according to Nigel is the saddest of keys.  Music theory confirms that minor keys are usually employed for a downbeat sound.


Incidently, the current hit song phenomenon Happy written, produced and performed by Pharrel Williams is written in the key of F minor.  F minor is described as a key with a miserable and depressed sound to it.  Perhaps being a song about happiness written in a sad key makes it great.


Minor keys in theory are sad and major keys in theory sound happy.  The happy summer song MMMBop (1996) was written and performed by Hanson in the key of A major.  I suppose the feel good hit of this summer if there was one was a happy song called Wiggle, written and performed by Jason Derulo in G major.  The stoner rock drug/alcohol song Feel Good Hit of the Summer written and performed by Queens of the Stone Age (2000) was writen in the B flat major key which could imply that drugs, alcohol and cigarettes make you happy.  If so, happiness is highly overrated.


Stepping off and away from the music keys, it appears that happiness is not the key to happiness at all while meaning is.  The meaning of happiness is another matter entirely.


Here are some excerpts from the article in theatlantic.com ( http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/meaning-is-healthier-than-happiness/278250/ ) that show lack of meaning in life is harmful:

 

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness - Emily Esfahani Smith - The Atlantic (via TDG)

 

"People who are happy but have little-to-no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are enduring chronic adversity.

 ...

But a new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) challenges the rosy picture. Happiness may not be as good for the body as researchers thought. It might even be bad.

 ...

It seems strange that there would be a difference at all. But the researchers, who looked at a large sample of people over a month-long period, found that happiness is associated with selfish “taking” behavior and that having a sense of meaning in life is associated with selfless “giving” behavior.

 ...

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of the study wrote. "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need.” While being happy is about feeling good, meaning is derived from contributing to others or to society in a bigger way. As Roy Baumeister, one of the researchers, told me, "Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy.”

 ...

“Empty positive emotions” — like the kind people experience during manic episodes or artificially induced euphoria from alcohol and drugs — ”are about as good for you as adversity,” says Fredrickson.

 ...

This is too bad given the more beneficial gene expression pattern associated with meaningfulness.

 ...

From the evidence of this study, it seems that feeling good is not enough. People need meaning to thrive. In the words of Carl Jung, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Jung’s wisdom certainly seems to apply to our bodies, if not also to our hearts and our minds."


A most interesting story about a literal key to happiness:

Once, a long or short time ago a sober traveler was searching for the literal key to happiness.  He went searching for the wisest AA sponsor in the land and asked where he could find the key to happiness.  The wise sponsor only knew that the key to happiness was located where nobody would ever think to look.  He explained that people have looked high and low, under the sea, in the deep caves, on top of the high mountains, in the remotest deserts etc. and the key to happiness was not there.  The key must be in a place where no one would ever think to look. The sober traveller thought that the key might be hidden in his shorts but no, it was not there.  He needed a meeting.


In the AA meeting that night the sober traveler listened as the group shared on the topics of a higher power and a spiritual experience.  Someone shared that a higher power could be a chair. " A chair ", thought the traveler, " How could a chair be a higher power?"  He heard, "Imagine that your heart is a big box.  Inside the box is a chair.  Imagine who is sitting in the chair."  The traveler immediately thought, "Me,  I am in the chair."  He then heard, "If it is you in the chair, get out of that chair.  Perhaps you were sitting on the key to happiness or perhaps you were sitting on Jesus' lap."  Either way, the chair, not you, can be thought of as a higher power."  "Oh, ok", thought the traveler and he decided he needed some coffee.


" Perhaps I could use the key to happiness to unlock the door and release the demons in my soul.  Perhaps."  It's already better.

Drink Enough Water.

Posted on August 16, 2014 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 


"If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alterna­tives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help." p.25 Alcoholics Anonymous


There are only two options here, only two.

 

1. Be desperate or convinced to the point where we stop drinking forever (one day at one time) because alcohol is obviously not good for us.

2. Continue drinking as much as you like whenever you like regardless of the consequences of alcoholism.


Option one is clearly the only sane option here.


As an alcoholic, I have tried countless alternative options to these only two.  I used to get dehydrated from alcohol and would drink liters of water the next day.  This did not help my alcoholism at all.  Drinking heroic quantities of water was not an option.


Today, no longer dehydrated from alcoholism in the mornings, I need to remember to drink at least eight cups of fluid a day (all fluids count toward the daily total).


Today's healthy tip:

10 Reasons to Drink Water. 

 

1.  Water is essential for survival. A person can live for about a month without food, but only about a week without water.

 

2.  Water helps to maintain healthy body weight.

 

3.  Water leads to increased energy levels.

 

4.  Drinking adequate amounts of water can decrease the risk of certain types of cancers.


5.  For a majority of sufferers, drinking water can significantly reduce joint or back pain.

 

6.  Water leads to overall greater health by flushing out wastes, toxins and bacteria.

 

7.  Water can prevent and alleviate headaches.

 

8.  Water naturally moisturizes our body tissues.

 

9.  Water aids in the digestion process.

 

10.  Water is the primary mode of transportation for all nutrients in the body and is essential for proper circulation.

 

 

WATER -- Natures drink-- available with or without a fancy bottle.

Wonderful

Abundant

Tasteful

Essential

Refreshing

Patience and tolerance

Posted on August 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


I found this piece about patience and tolerance this morning upon finding the roof here leaking and water again dripping into the second floor bedroom.  The past two weeks of improvements have made the roof better but after last night's rain, it is leaking where it always dripped before.  I'm going to calmly call the man that guarantees no leaks for ten years.  I also need to practice patience while working with this website maker today.  A nice thing about the principles of patience and tolerance is having plenty of time to pray for patience and tolerance.


Patience and Tolerance

 

By Margaret Ann Lembo

 

According to Random House Dictionary, tolerance is “1. a liberal spirit toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own; 2. the power to endure or resist discomfort or hardship.” To tolerate is “1. to allow without hindrance.” Patience is “1. bearing misfortune or pain without complaint; 2. calmly tolerating provocation or delay.”

 

Being patient or tolerant is a practice. Daily we have the opportunity to practice either or both of these qualities. Some days we are better at it than others depending on what else is happening in our personal reality. Perhaps having compassion and empathy for what might be going on in an individual’s personal reality is the key to becoming patient and tolerant.

 

We often lose our patience when we are reacting to circumstances which appear outside of our control. Notice I said that circumstances appear outside of our control. Of course, the weather is outside of our control, disasters and accidents are outside of our control. The reaction of being impatient often reveals that there is something underneath waiting to brew up to be dealt with. Fear is usually the greatest cause of impatient behavior. Actually, fear is usually the greatest cause of intolerance as well.

 

We are fearful of the unknown. We find ourselves unable to tolerate someone whose beliefs are so different than our own. It scares us so we judge them. It scares us because we do not understand or relate to their reality. We become impatient because there are diverging points of view instead of embracing that difference and honoring another’s Sacred Point of View. It is their View and unless it is being inappropriately forced upon us, then Vive la Difference! Live and Let Live! Agree to disagree and go on being friends or amicable acquaintances.

 

Having awareness that each person’s thoughts, belief system, personal reality is different than the next, provides an avenue for compassion and understanding. Once we remember that their ‘come from’ place is not the same as ours, we can embrace that difference. But we must remember that constantly. We have not walked a mile in that person’s moccasins so we can not judge why they may act or feel the way they do! Being patient and tolerant is a practice that extends infinitely within our conscious lives. It even includes being patient and tolerant of those whom we perceive are not patient and tolerant. Yep, it’s the old saying, “when you point your finger at someone there are 3 pointing right back at you.” This saying can be an additional tool to help us be more patient and tolerant of others.


Let’s go back to things appearing outside of our control. Once again, let us remember that whatever we focus on is what we create. If we are interacting with many who are impatient or intolerant, then we must take the time to observe ourselves to find where we may judge others and have similar reactions in a different setting. Through this practice of self-observation and taking that deep look within, we may allow for more self-tolerance and patience as well as that tolerance and patience of others.

 

Regardless of how it manifests, stress in our lives can create havoc. This havoc will often play out in our reaction towards others. So, what can we do about shifting our stress, relieving it and going back to our true self, which is Love? Take the time to meditate, relax, contemplate, pray, eat healthy and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Yes, everyone of us has a true nature that is Love. The more we believe and act as if we are Love and everyone with whom we interact with is Love, then amazingly tolerance and patience becomes evident within our daily lives in all our interactions.

 

May we all remember that we are all human. May we honor that every day is an opportunity to Love more fully and therefore, become more aligned with tolerance and patience. May we develop our compassionate nature and be kind at all times.

Insanity

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

 

Drunk and weeping. It’s another night

at the live-in opera, and I figure

it’s going to turn out badly for me.

The dead next door accept their salutations,

their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.

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

meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,

and after that comes lechery and lying.

And, oh, how to piece together a life

from this scandal and confusion, as if

the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting

with us, just for the music’s sake.


  The miracle that transforms things:

You can change anything if you accept it with thanksgiving.

  The miracle that opens all doors:

You can make anyone receptive if you serve them.

 The miracle that makes all your wishes come true:

You can obtain anything if you have the right motive.

 The miracle that supplies everything you need:

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

  The miracle that calms all tempests of hate:

You can destroy every wrong if you forgive it.

 The miracle that takes you anywhere:

You can get anywhere if you risk everything.

 The miracle that makes you invulnerable:

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

  The miracle that withers up falsities:

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

 The miracle that delivers from evil influence:

You can open any hell if you share it.”


The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat:

They took some honey,

and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

 

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,

How charmingly sweet you sing!

Oh! let us be married;

too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?"

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the bong-tree grows;

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.

 

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

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

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.


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

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

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

this business of resentment is infinitely grave.

We found that it is fatal.

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

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

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

The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us.

They may be the dubious luxury of normal men,

but for alcoholics these things are poison.


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

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


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