Making a U-Turn

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First a few definitions from the “Miriam Webster’s Dictionary:”   Humility - the state of being humble.  Humble - not proud, not arrogant, offered in a spirit of deference or submission.  Also from the Big Book Dictionary and Concordance:  not showing or feeling superior toward others – and – yielding to the opinion, wishes or judgment of another.

Wanting to be humble rather than feeling like I need to be humble is something I’m working on.  I am humbled before God, as He has done for me what I could not do, in my life.  I am also humbled before King Alcohol, as I lost that battle some time ago.  I am grateful for all the blessings that recovery has brought me, and this all began with the honest admission that I am not a “normal” drinker.  How wrong can a person be – I truly thought that stopping drinking would be the end of my misery.  Little did I realize how much more there was to the idea of “change.”  When A.A. says change – they mean everything.  The need for changes in my thinking, in my doing, in my utterances and in my behavior quickly followed my admission of having a “problem.”  Step One was but a beginning – there were eleven other Steps after the first one.

A turning point from the darkness of my life to the radiant life that AA offered me was only a meeting away.  I never expected the changes that have taken place in my life.  Now, in looking back I can see where I have made a complete U-turn.  I have come from the despair of drinking to the delight of sobriety.  Serenity is in my life today, right along with freedom and joy – none of these existed before recovery.  My life today is nothing like my life of yesterday. I have come to a place of understanding where I “fit” in the world.  I have arrived at the knowledge that I am not alone in the universe.  I am part of a whole, and having come to the tables of A.A. I know that this is where I belong – I have found my family, I have opened my heart and my mind to them.  I have reached my turning point and have completed my U-turn.  I pray that I will continue on this path, this “road to a Happy Destiny.”

Photo and Topic Courtesy of Tom R.

Photo and Topic Courtesy of Tom R.

Full of Fear and Devoid of Faith

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I have faith today – faith in God, faith in the Program and faith in myself.  I have gained this faith by my participation in the recovery program I know and love as A.A.  Alcoholics Anonymous brought me to a place where I could open my mind enough to embrace a Higher Power, and I choose to call mine God.  This Higher Power is more than a mere mental acceptance – it is the essence and heart of my sobriety.  I can look back at my life since walking through the doors, and I can see where God has led me to where I am today.  And where am I?  I am in the loving, gentle, protective, and humble arms of my Higher Power, God.

Not drinking was but a beginning of my journey to the path that God has chosen for me.  And as it is said  “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  The first step for me was to walk though the doors, and claim my seat in the rooms of AA.  And since that day, my life has continued to improve from one of pain and self-pity, to one of faith and forgiveness.  I am now capable of willingness, humility, courage, and a faith unlike anything I ever expected.  God brought me to the Program, and the Program brought me back to the God of my understanding.  So thank you to the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous!
Photo Courtesy of Rocky

Photo Courtesy of Rocky

 

Being of use to others….

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I have 2 years 8 months in the A.A. Program, and I am just now beginning to feel of use to others, my fellow alcoholics.  I have been in service positions of varying sorts for all of my recovery but it took me around 2 years to come to a point where I dared to accept sponsorship of others.  I still have some doubts as to my usefulness in this position, but I also know that I am on the right path, and that knowledge of helping others will come to me – when I am ready to learn.  God has put others in my life who look to me for answers, for understanding, and for encouragement – who am I to question His plan?

Step Seven has helped me to learn that recovery is about helping others, and by doing so I help myself.  I cannot do this alone, it is only by the grace of God that I am sober at all.  Eliminating my character defects by asking God to remove them has been an ongoing process that will probably continue for the rest of my days.  But through the Program of A.A., and with the help of my Higher Power, I am willing to work towards the goal of removing all those things that block me from the sunlight of the Spirit.

 

Photo courtesy of Soto

Photo courtesy of Soto

 

Not so pretty feelings….

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I’ve heard others talk about not wanting to look “bad” in front of others at a meeting, because they have some time in the Program and are afraid others will view them as “not working a good program.”  Just because I’m in recovery does not mean that I don’t have bad days, bad times, and bad behavior, on occasion.  Life happens, and it continues to happen right along with my recovery.  Sharing my bad times at meeting level helps the newcomer understand that life continues to challenge us – but, we in recovery, are blessed to have a myriad of solutions we use to get over those “down” times.  Actually those times are perfect times to express how I use the “tools” of the Program to get over, around or through problems.

I have come to understand that stuffing my bad feelings only causes them to grow to a point where I might erupt.  Instead I choose to release my negative feelings by sharing them with my sponsor and others.  I don’t have to dwell on them and beat myself up for having bad feelings – I can choose to just feel the feelings and then get on with the next step in my recovery.  I may need a little face to face time with my sponsor.  Another resource might be to write about it, but sharing my feelings with others helps me to clarify those feelings, and come to terms with the fact of my humanity.  I will not be all grand and glorious every day. I can work to dispel any negative thoughts and feelings in this manner, and also invite the person I share my thoughts and feelings with to do the same when and if they have a need.  Just because I’m sober doesn’t mean that I won’t have those days, those moments, those times when getting it all out is the best thing I can do for me.  Being a sponsor means being on the receiving end of anger sometimes when others need to vent their feelings, and I’m grateful I can be there for others, just as my sponsor is there for me.  And there is always God, who helps me with my very human feelings with patience and courage.

ugliestrascal

Humbly asked…

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I have never been in a place where change did not require action – I always threw every ounce of energy I could muster when it came to change, sometimes to fight the change, and sometimes to embrace it.  Sitting idly by was never an option for me.  Of course, my need for control was definitely a factor, as I fully believed that the more control I had the better things would be ( now, when I read this, I think HAH!).  Turning my life and my will over to the care of my Higher Power, God, was the beginning of change for me.  Sitting back and doing my part in the background, instead of the foreground, was a big step in my recovery.  I had to learn to be content with sharing my life with the God of my understanding.  Accepting the idea that God has more power than I do, well that was pretty evident when I looked at my fellow travelers on this road to a happy destiny, I could see that through God and the Program, many have stayed sober, some for a very long time.

I am humbled before God, He has done for me what I could not do for myself.  I never imagined myself as someone who does not drink.  I have definitely been changed from the inside out.  I can name my defects of character, and I work on these defects every chance I get.  Step Seven – for me, is about understanding that my shortcomings are blocks to peace and serenity because they will continue to haunt me until I come to terms with them.  The fact of the matter is that drinking was not the beginning of my misbehavior – it was but a symptom.  A display of my character defects started when I was a very young girl.  The sad news is that I fully convinced myself that these defects were justified.  Today I know that to be a lie I told myself, perhaps to make them more palatable.

Through the process of recovery in A.A. I have come to know that my shortcomings and defects are but justification for my misbehavior.  Justification, rationalization, and minimization are what enabled me to continue on this downward spiral into a bottomless pit.  Once in the Program I had to drop all three of these excuses for my poor behavior, I had to “own” them and come to understand the damage they had done in my life.  All I needed to do was strive for an attitude of willingness and humility.  I just had to remain open to “new” ideas and solutions.  I learned to let go of the old and to embrace the new.  My life changed right before my very eyes.  God has done for me what I could not do for myself.

Photo Courtesy of Soto

Photo Courtesy of Soto

From Faults to Assets

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One of my early mentors once told me that if I could turn the same amount of energy towards my recovery as I did towards my sobriety, that I would, in fact, have a much stronger base on which to build my house of recovery.  There was no limits when it came to “restocking” my shelves.  I would sometimes go to great lengths to get what I wanted, never mind the fact that I was totally deluded about my alcoholism.  I figured the world was wrong, and I was right.  I was in total denial for a very long time. My “fault list” is a long one, and I have learned to come to terms with the fact of my imperfections.  I am, after all, human and therefore fallible.  Today I share my experiences with others in the hope of helping them towards a better understanding of the disease we all share.  I was recently at a meeting where there was a “brand new baby,” and so the topic became Step One.  As the meeting progressed, my mind turned to my first meeting, which when I look at it, was really my second or third “first” meeting.  At any rate I was back, again. I am grateful that I have not forgotten that night – it has helped me turn my negative behaviors into positive ones.  My faults have become my assets.  I can share what my experience has been, and how through the Program, I have come to an acceptance of my disease and now readily share that with others.

If others can learn from my mistakes – good.  That is how I have been able to turn my faults into assets.  Today I believe that the Promises do come true, I have seen the Program in action through this sharing of our lives with others.  I look and seek to find answers for today’s problems – they still happen in spite of recovery – but today I have resources beyond measure.  There are the 12 Steps, the Big Book, a Higher Power (God) and all the members of not just my “home group” but all the Fellowships, world-wide.  Amazing, truly amazing!

Photo courtesy of MK

Photo courtesy of MK

 

Step 7

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Reflection courtesy of Paul(GRIN)
Humbly asked Him to remove our short comings.
Asked? Humbly??

When I was drinking I had no trouble asking anyone for darn near anything.
Strangely enough the higher up the social ladder the people I asked, and the bigger the thing I asked for the more likely I was to get it.

Today I find it difficult to ask people for anything. I feel like I am taking money out of hard-earned savings to buy something frivolous.

Asking my Higher Power (God) for things is easier because He is there and I am here, although I do remember to say thank you…a lot!

I was told in A.A.I should not pray for myself unless it will help others which, is A.A. BS.

My good friend Brother Bill once said to me, “Paul if you won’t pray for you who will.”  Oh.

Humility

The most honest thing I can say about my humility is that I am a work in progress. A slow work in progress.

I have come to believe that for me a lot of humility has to do with accepting my self as I am, the good, the bad, and the ugly, warts and all, without exaggerating, or excusing any of it.

As I am here, today. now.

Rocky's Photo of the Big Book on Display at the Library of Congress

Rocky’s Photo of the Big Book on Display at the Library of Congress

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