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Groundhog Day again

Posted on January 31, 2015 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)


It just might be our core dilemma.  We might be caught in our own individual Groundhog Day, repeatedly repeating the same habitual habits, asking ourselves, “What happened last night?” It seems that it takes a lot of repeated repetitions to begin to finally convince us that our search to reclaim some past euphoria is never, ever going to happen.  We might be clenching and clinging to our old patterns with such tenacity because we believe that we are somehow normal in our drinking habits and that life would be unbearable without alcohol.  Lacking any real connection to a Higher Power, self provides the only ground and the only hope we have.  We don’t give up easily.  Around we go on the wheel of life and death.  In that situation, where is there any freedom, any real selfhood?  We are desperate to get out of here.  We try bad relationships, cars, trips, pills or potions to escape our doom.  We might try sobriety, but are not able to handle the normal stresses of life while sober.  Nothing seems to work because as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, “Wherever you go, there you are.”  Even so, as days and days and days go on, the insanity and the frustration begin to wear ourselves down and just giving up is a consideration.  We can just surrender and begin to find freedom.


And the next morning Phil wakes up (once again) to Sonny and Cher, but now he is beginning to change.


"And the publican, standing at-a-distance, was not willing even to lift-up his eyes to heaven, but was striking his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’"


Meetings For Saturday January 31, 2015

10:00 AM

 Almost Prefect Group

DRMC Hospital-East — Maple Ave. DuBois, PA

Open Discussion Meeting

 

8:00 PM

 Big Book Group handicap accessible

Grace Lutheran Church — 406 Pine Street Curwensville, PA

Big Book Study Meeting -

NOTE: From late spring till early fall this meeting is held at Bilgers Rocks.

Groundhog Group

The Presbyterian Church — 106 East. Union Street Punxsutawney, PA 15767

Open Discussion Saturday, Big Book Study Wednesday

Subtle Foe

Posted on January 24, 2015 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Expectedly or unexpectedly, here comes the idea that it would be nice to have a drink of alcohol.  The Idea is not a good idea.  Taking a drink is an insane, terrible thing to do.  The idea is a terrible idea.  The idea goes away when I get to an AA meeting.  That is why I like being at AA meetings.  It is a good idea to get to an AA meeting.  I must be vigilent about ideas. 


The Big Book describes alcohol as a subtle foe.


"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels.  We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe.  We are not cured of alcoholism.  What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.  Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.  "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done."  These are thoughts which must go with us constantly.  We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish.  It is the proper use of the will.


Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power.  If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us.  To some extent we have become God-conscious.  We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense.  But we must go further and that means more action.


Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation.  We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer.  Better men than we are using it constantly.  It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it.  It would be easy to be vague about this matter.  Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.


When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.  Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?  Do we owe an apology?  Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?  Were we kind and loving toward all?  What could we have done better?  Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time?  Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?  But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others.  After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.


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.  Under these conditions we can employ our mental 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.


In thinking about our day we may face indecision.  We may not be able to determine which course to take.  Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision.  We relax and take it easy.  We don't struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while."

Alcoholics Anonymous  pp.85-86

Any Lengths

Posted on January 17, 2015 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

One popular European legend had it that a white stoat would die before allowing its pure white coat to be besmirched.  When it was being chased by hunters, it would supposedly turn around and give itself up to the hunters rather than risk soiling itself.


Malo mori quam fcedari.  Better die than be sullied was the motto on the ermine.  The old fancy was that if an ermine were surrounded by mud it would rather suffer itself to die than defile it's fur.

Once, a long or short time ago, a hunter while hunting located the small hole opening of the den of the Stoat ermine.  Being a smart hunter, he set his hounds on the scent trail of the white weasel and covered up the hole location with various manners of filth. 


The ermine was out sunning himself on a rock when he heard hounds approaching.  He scurried off to his lair as the hounds began to chase.


The weasel made it quickly to his doorway but stopped at once, encountering the filth and stench.  Immediately the ermine turned and fought against the hounds to a vicious death.  The ermine weasel chose death before letting his beautiful fur to be desecrated.


He was willing to remain pure at all costs.  He went to any lengths.

What Is Sponsorship?

Posted on January 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)


I was analyzing and picking apart AA one day and the thought came to me that since the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking and I'm already stopped that i don't need to belong to AA anymore.  When I analyze and justify things, I'm told "call your sponsor."  Working with others is in the book but not sponsorship, I analyze and justify that.  I find that its all very simple if I simply take suggestions and follow directions.  It's not  about rocket surgery or brain science.  It's all about staying sober, being a good person, not a disgusting wet drunk burden on society.  I do not want to be that. 


Anyone can belong in AA and anyone who worked on the steps and has willingness can sponsor others.


AA SPONSORSHIP

 

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.


Tea?  This description of sponsorship suggests tea. 1.

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. T’ien Yiheng

A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards. A.A. Milne

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

1.http://www.darvsmith.com/dox/aa.html

Etymology

Posted on January 3, 2015 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

 

In this state, the liquor stores were once called State Stores but are now called Wine and Spirits Shoppes.  I notice these stores sometimes but I don't think I should even notice them or the Beer Stop at all.  Why is liquor called "spirits"?.  I don't really want to know why but this specific topic was discussed at the alcathon on Thursday.


A non-alcoholic person may figure that it is called that because it puts you in "high spirits" if you have just the right amount.


So what does the internet have to offer about the etymology of spirits this week?


Alcohol comes from the Arabic "al-kuhl" which was the name of a body-eating spirit.  This is basically what is felt, a numbing of senses when drinking.  And as you are being numbed, your insides are being eaten away slowly i.e, the name "rot-gut" for cheap liquor.  "Al-ghawl" is the origin of ‘ghoul’ in English, said to be another word for spirit.  Ghouls,(now called zombies) were also folkloric monsters that ate human flesh.


When Arab alchemists' ingested alcohol their senses deadened and they named the substance according to its "body-taking" qualities.  Knowing this, European speakers who understood its etymology coined the use of the term "spirits" for alcohol.  Alcohol is able to numb the body somewhat so that an olde-time doctor could amputate or remove a bullet after a patient took a long draw from a whiskey bottle.  Alcohol can in greater quantities produce blackouts.  That's when the control of your mind and body are completely taken away.  Blacked out or not being able to recall anything that happened or what you did when you were drunk or why the bed was wet because your brain and body were out of control is the general unrecalled experience.


Then in a few years perhaps blood starts appearing in the bathroom without any apparent reason other than the fact that a solvent is eating away at your internal organs  They are not reacting normally due to all the alcohol that youv'e poured down your throat for years and years. 


Spirit comes from Latin ‘spiritus’ which means breath, then meant the essence or non-physical part.  A distillation scientist might say it's called this because distilling mash into strong alcohol releases the "spirit" or essence of the beer or mash and condenses it into strong alcohol or spirits that evaporate if you leave the bottle open.  When making spirits the fermented product is boiled because the ethyl alcohol (ethanol) boil at a lower temperature. This process separates it as a vapor. The process is repeated for liquor that's distilled multiple times till the desired alcohol by volume is reached. 


What of the etymology for the word yeast?  Yeast is from the Old English/Dutch/German (Saxon) word 'gist' or 'gyst'. Meaning 'visitor', and sometimes 'unseen visitor'.  We also get the words ghost and gas from 'gyst'.  The first beer and wine makers may have had no idea that the micro-organism yeast was the cause of fermentation and attributed the fermentation to ghosts and spirits rather than the wild yeast in the air that usually caused the desired results.

Grateful , Thankful , and Appreciative

Posted on December 31, 2014 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Thankful People Are Happy People.

In the year 2003, there was a mental health experiment to determine whether grateful people are generally happier than people who are not; “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation Of Gratitude And Subjective Well-Being In Daily Life.”

 

The researchers studied three subgroups of people in three different experiments.  One third of the subgroups counted and listed their blessings.  One third listed annoyances, and the other third wrote about life-neutral events.


Two experiments were conducted using university undergraduate students. The first experiment involved 201 original undergraduate participants (147 women and 54 men) enrolled in a health psychology class in a large university.  Of these, nine were dropped from the analysis because of incomplete data, leaving a total of 192 participants. The second experiment involved 166 undergraduates (125 women and 41 men).  Of these, nine were dropped from the analysis because of incomplete data, leaving a total of 157 participants.


The first two sets of experimentees were blessed by receiving credit for the experimental learning component of the course.  A third experiment was conducted with 65 people (44 women and 21 men) with Neuro-Muscular Diseases.  They were blessed with twenty dollars for filling out twenty one daily questionnaire forms and fifteen dollars for filling out less questionnaires.  Virtually everyone in the third experiment filled out all twenty one questionnaire forms.

 

The researchers found that the subgroups that counted blessings (wrote from a grateful outlook) reported higher positive effect in psychological well-being and were more likely to pursue social relationships in all three experiments.


Those findings may explain why AA gratitude meetings are popular.  When people talk about the blessings of sobriety they are reminded of their negative past.  Going back to that alcoholic life is less likely when it is in the forefront of the mind. That is a blessing of the AA program.


Yes, the study found evidence that "counting one’s blessings” leads to enhanced psychological and physical functioning.  After ten weeks of writing or completing the 21 questionnaires,  the subgroups that wrote down blessings tended to be more optimistic about the coming week, had less physical symptoms of illness or depression, exercised more and had an overall better life as a whole than the subgroups that wrote down their neutral life events.  The subgroups that wrote down their neutral life events, in turn tended to be more optimistic about the coming week, had less physical symptoms of illness or depression, exercised more and had an overall better life as a whole than the subgroups that wrote down their problems and annoyances.


It is therefore my conclusion that practicing an attitude of gratitude is good for health and happiness.

Aloneness

Posted on December 20, 2014 at 5:35 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Have you ever been to a "As  Bill Sees It" meeting?  In the "As Bill Sees It" meeting , the chair person chooses a topic and some pages to read in the "As Bill Sees It" book.  Then we share and drink coffee.  We take a break for the seventh tradition, then we share some more and close the meeting in a nice way.  Before the meeting, I find a chair with a book that is not falling apart.  The "As Bill Sees It" books that hold up better have a blue ribbon place holder string attached in the binding.  On p. 51 of "As Bill Sees It" is a "As Bill Sees It" example for the topic of Faith.  It can be found using the Alphabetic index under the topic of Aloneness, in the A section.


The Coming of Faith

 

In my own case, the foundation stone of freedom from fear is that of faith: a faith that, despite all worldly appearances to the contrary, causes me to believe that I live in a universe that makes sense.

 

To me, this means a belief in a Creator who is all power, justice, and love; a God who intends for me a purpose, a meaning, and a destiny to grow, however little and haltingly, toward His own likeness and image. Before the coming of faith I had lived as an alien in a cosmos that too often seemed both hostile and cruel. In it there could be no inner security for me.

 

<< << << >> >> >>

"When I was driven to my knees by alcohol, I was made ready to ask for the gift of faith. And all was changed. Never again, my pains and problems notwithstanding, would I experience my former desolation. I saw the universe to be lighted by God's love; I was alone no more."

 

1. GRAPEVINE, JANUARY 1962

2. LETTER, 1966

Common Solution

Posted on December 13, 2014 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)


We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill.  Nearly all have recovered.  They have solved the drink problem.

 

We are average Americans.  All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and religious backgrounds.  We are people who normally would not mix.  But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful.  We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain's table.  Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us.  But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined.

 

The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution.  We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.

p. 17 ALCOHLICS ANONYMOUS

The common solution:

Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling powerful! Without help it is too much for us.  But there is One who has all power-that One is God.  May you find Him now!  Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.  We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

 

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery.

 

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him,praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

pp. 58-60 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

The twelve steps are the common solution.

"Thy Will Be Done. Amen"

Posted on December 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)


As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works - it really does.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS pp.87-88


"Thy will be done."  Thats what the book recommends and some days "Thy will be"  done gets said a hundred times.  Some days, perhaps I say "Thy will be done" only once or twice.  I definitely say "Thy will be done" every morning after waking up.


Not once, but twice in my Alcoholic Recovery in AA, first from a lady, second time a man, I was given a laminated novena card with a picture of St. Andrew and this prayer and told that it works and to try it daily all December long until Christmas.


 Saint Andrew Christmas Novena Prayer

 

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. x 15

 

From the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle to the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ one may begin a special prayer, simply called the "Christmas Prayer" to obtain favors if one's requests are in accordance with God's will. It is believed that whoever recites the prayer with a pious heart 15 times a day from November 30th (this year December 1) to December 25th, will obtain whatever is asked. This Christmas prayer carries an Imprimatur from Archbishop Michael Augustine of New York City during the Pontificate of Pope Leo XIII on February 6, 1897. Since one should say this short prayer 15 times a day, it is recommended to memorize it so you can say it wherever you are 1

It works - it really does.  It just requires some extra praying time.

1. http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/qt/Andrew_Novena.htm

Holiday Crafting

Posted on November 29, 2014 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)


It is almost 2015 now and I wish I could say that I remember all of the past Decembers in my lifetime.  At various points,  some of the time, I was in a rehab facility or some other group home or institution.  During the course of those days, I learned about the disease concept, the importance of the AA lifestyle and living life on lifes terms afterwords etc. etc.  I also have a fond memory of making a red, white and blue belt out of leather, a plaster cast painted small mouth bass and a really nice paint by the numbers.  We also had some puzzles to put together at rehab.  We had arts and crafts time sometimes on Fridays after the evening meal and before the AA meeting. That was socialization time for me.  Since I remember those times, they might have been good.  I suppose the crafts activities were good for me.  I remember taking home the bass and belt and remember giving the belt to a young woman hoping for some type of reciprocation of effection. That did not work.


With all the people in rehabs, if they could organize the crafting like the silk makers in Cambodia (see http://www.rehabcraftcambodia.org/indexPRODUCTS.html ), the U.S. economy might benefit slightly. The stuff could be sold online using etsy or some other social networking stores..


Here are some nice therapeutic crafts ideas.  They are comparable to the plaster cast bass painting  but they are not as nice as the belt or that really nice paint by the numbers.  These activities are great for socialization, kind of like BINGO is for BINGO players.


Rolling pin art

Size of Group: 4 or 5

Equipment: rolling pin, white paper or watercolor paper, paint brush, non-toxic paint, optional hair dryer

Description: Provide paper, paint, and brush to participants. Place paint dots on paper and fold paper in half. Use the rolling pin and roll over the paper several times. Unfold and the painting is revealed. A hair dryer will speed up the drying process. Hold pictures up for discussion. Mat and hang.

 

Notes: You will be surprised at the creative process it allows lower cognitive residents. Completed art work in 5 to 10 minutes. Starts a discussion on what they see in their picture. It can be anything they want it to be. Accept the art work at its own merit. Non-controversial. Use of rolling pin by participants provides physical movement opportunities.


Christmas Ornament made with Puzzle Pieces

 Size of Group: 1-6

 Equipment/Supplies Needed:(

green paint, brown paint

puzzle pieces

glitter, green gold and white

mardi gra necklaces (small beads)

hair spray

 

Activity/Treatment Objective or Expected Outcome:

To make a Christmas ornament for themselves or family.

Eye hand coordination.

Creativity.

Great group project and working together.

 

Description of the Activity: Glue puzzle pieces in shape of a tree or a wreath. Paint green for tree. Brown for the bottom of the tree. Cut apart the necklaces. Glue the different color beads on the tree. Add glitter and spray with hair spray at the end to hold every thing on.


My goal for today is to never make another woven leather belt in a alcohol treatment facility.

Source for crafts:  http://www.recreationtherapy.com/tx/txpaper.htm

"The Varieties of Religious Experience"

Posted on November 25, 2014 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The Varieties of Religious Experience  by William James is the book that Bill read after his spiritual experience at Towns Hospital.  Bill was very intelligent if he "breezed" through this long PhD level book.


The below excerpts are from various talks and articles by and on Bill Wilson, and were compiled by Jim Burwell. They reveal a wealth of the thinking and insight of the co-founder of A.A. concerning the spiritual experience.


19Q - Could you describe your spiritual experience for us and your understanding of what happened?


19A - In December 1934 (12/11/1934), I appeared at Towns Hospital, New York. My oldfriend, Dr. William Silkworth shook his head.  Soon free of my sedation and alcohol I felt horribly depressed.  My friend Ebby turned up and although glad to see him, I shrank a little as I feared evangelism, but nothing of the sort happened.  After some small talk, I again asked him for his neat little formula for recovery.  Quietly and sanely and without the slightest pressure he told me and then he left. (12/14/1934)


Lying there in conflict, I dropped into the blackest depression I had ever known.  Momentarily my prideful depression was crushed.  I cried out, "Now I am ready to do anything - anything to receive what my friend Ebby has." Though I certainly didn't expect anything, I did make this frantic appeal,"If there be a God, will He show Himself!"  The result was instant, electric beyond description.  The place seemed to light up, blinding white. I knew only ecstasy and seemed on a mountain.  A great wind blew, enveloping and penetrating me.  To me, it was not of air but of Spirit.  Blazing, there came the tremendous thought, "You are a free man."  Then the ecstasy subsided.  Still on the bed, I now found myself in a new world of consciousness which was suffused by a Presence.  One with the Universe, a great peace came over me.  I thought, "So this is the God of the preachers, this is the great Reality."  But soon my so-called reason returned, my modern education took over and I thought I must be crazy and I became terribly frightened. (12/14/1934)


Dr. Silkworth, a medical saint if ever there was one, came in to hear my trembling account of this phenomenon.  After questioning me carefully, he assured me that I was not mad and that perhaps I had undergone a psychic experience which might solve my problem.  Skeptical man of science though he then was, this was most kind and astute.  If he had of said, "hallucination,"I might now be dead.  To him I shall ever be eternally grateful.


Good fortune pursued me.  Ebby brought me a book entitled "The Varieties of Religious Experience" and I devoured it. (12/15/1934)  Written by William James, the psychologist, it suggests that the conversion experience can have objective reality.  Conversion does alter motivation and it does semi-automatically enable a person to be and to do the formerly impossible.  Significant it was, that marked conversion experience came mostly to individuals who knew complete defeat in a controlling area of life.  The book certainly showed variety but whether these experiences were bright or dim, cataclysmic or gradual, theological or intellectual in bearing, such conversions did have a common denominator - they did change utterly defeated people.  So declared William James, the father of modern psychology.  The shoe fitted and I have tried to wear it ever since.


For drunks, the obvious answer was deflation at depth, and more of it.  That seemed plain as a pikestaff. I had been trained as an engineer, so the news of this authoritative psychologist meant everything to me.  This eminent scientist of the mind had confirmed everything that Dr. Jung had said, and had extensively documented all he claimed.  Thus William James firmed up the foundation on which I and many others had stood all these years.  I haven't had a drink of alcohol since 1934. (N.Y. Med. Soc. Alcsm., April 28,1958).


Here are two excerpts from the The Varieties of Religious Experience  by William James.


The first explains the Higher Power and truth.   For instance my Higher Power revealed the truth that I am an alcoholic after several people told me that I was an alcoholic.


The second excerpt stands out because it seems to contains the phrase  "Jails, Institutions and Death".


 

"For one thing, gods are conceived to be first things in the way of being and power. They overarch and envelop, and from them there is no escape. What relates to them is the first and last word in the way of truth. Whatever then were most primal and enveloping and deeply true might at this rate be treated as godlike, and a man's religion might thus be identified with his attitude, whatever it might be, toward what he felt to be the primal truth."  1


 

"The Christian also spurns the pinched and mumping sick-room attitude, and the lives of saints are full of a kind of callousness to diseased conditions of body which probably no other human records show. But whereas the merely moralistic spurning takes an effort of volition, the Christian spurning is the result of the excitement of a higher kind of emotion, in the presence of which no exertion of volition is required. The moralist must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense; and so long as this athletic attitude is possible all goes well--morality suffices. But the athletic attitude tends ever to break down, and it inevitably does break down even in the most stalwart when the organism begins to decay, or when morbid fears invade the mind. To suggest personal will and effort to one all sicklied o'er with the sense of irremediable impotence is to suggest the most impossible of things. What he craves is to be consoled in his very powerlessness, to feel that the spirit of the universe <47> recognizes and secures him, all decaying and failing as he is. Well, we are all such helpless failures in the last resort. The sanest and best of us are of one clay with lunatics and prison inmates, and death finally runs the robustest of us down. And whenever we feel this, such a sense of the vanity and provisionality of our voluntary career comes over us that all our morality appears but as a plaster hiding a sore it can never cure, and all our well-doing as the hollowest substitute for that well-BEING that our lives ought to be grounded in, but, alas! are not.


And here religion comes to our rescue and takes our fate into her hands. There is a state of mind, known to religious men, but to no others, in which the will to assert ourselves and hold our own has been displaced by a willingness to close our mouths and be as nothing in the floods and waterspouts of God. In this state of mind, what we most dreaded has become the habitation of our safety, and the hour of our moral death has turned into our spiritual birthday. The time for tension in our soul is over, and that of happy relaxation, of calm deep breathing, of an eternal present, with no discordant future to be anxious about, has arrived. Fear is not held in abeyance as it is by mere morality, it is positively expunged and washed away."   2


Ready, Exercise..  Breath in one.. breath out... Breath in two.. breath out... Breath in three.. breath out...


Sources:

http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JamVari.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all

lecture II  Circumscription of the Topic

1.   p. 35

2.   pp. 46-47

or at:  http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/wjames/ch02.html


It's already better.

Whatever's Fair..

Posted on November 15, 2014 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Here are quotes of Paul to the 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 begets Happy , Love begets Love.  Looking forward to the Happy International Tolerance Day on Sunday, November 16th, 2014.    

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-day-tolerance


My counter-culture message of the week.

It's already better.


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