Faith that Works

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The phrase “God as we understand him” is perhaps the most important expression to be found in our whole AA vocabulary.  Within the compass of these five significant words there can be included every kind and degree of faith, together with the positive assurance that each of us may choose his own.  Scarcely less valuable to us are those supplemental expressions – “a higher power” and “a power greater than ourselves.”  For all who deny, or seriously doubt a deity, these frame an open door over whose threshold the unbeliever can take his first easy step into a reality that is unknown to him – the realm of faith.

Faith is more than our greatest gift, its sharing with others is our greatest responsibility.  So may we of AA continually seek the wisdom and the willingness by which we may well fulfill that immense trust which the giver of all perfect gifts has placed in our hands.

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You can see further in the dark than in the day!

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Looking back over our lives, we can often see patches of light and dark, clusters of events that we remember as good times or bad.  During the dark days we probably had little faith in silver linings, little belief that tragedy could yield unexpected blessings.  In fact, we may have been angry at anyone who suggested to us to look for the good side.  And when we were showered with blessings – even if they were right in our face – we probably couldn’t see them for what they were.  We simply didn’t have the tools.  All we could do was keep alert for the down side, and spend so much attention looking for pitfalls that we overlooked the good.
But today it’s different.  When we look back, the past is not so shadowy as it once was.  There were moments of clarity and focus, especially during the dark days.  One of those moments was probably the beginning of our recovery, the moment we began to realize we could no longer live like we had, the moment we began to choose life over death.  We are continuing to choose life every day in recovery, and by this choice we are creating a light even in our darkest days.
I took this last night. A little fuzzy...but there's a rainbow!!

I took this last night. A little fuzzy…but there’s a rainbow!!

The Concept of God

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I have come to accept that God does not expect me to be perfect, He knows that I come complete with shortcomings and character defects.  God knows that I am human and therefore flawed in many ways – but He also knows that I am capable of change and growth.  I love the idea of “a God of my understanding,” and have imbued my God with the characteristics that I strive for: kindness, tolerance, love, courage, honesty, humility and integrity to name a few.  I prefer and choose to be a believer rather than a non-believer – as I embrace this new concept of God, my life is better for it.   I find the peace and comfort that I have sought for so long.  I also find the assurance and understanding that faith brings – God loves me. . . what a blessing that is.

Accepting the A.A. concept of God  has been easier than trying to come to terms with the angry God of my youth.  I felt doomed in the religion I grew up in and finally just gave up trying to appease this angry God.  Today I feel that God and I are partners in my life and in my recovery.  God wants me to succeed in the changes that I work towards.  God is my ally, no longer my enemy.  I have faith today, faith in God, faith in the Program and faith in myself.  I am capable of change, I am capable of growth and I am capable of working the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous on a daily basis.  In looking back I am always amazed to find an image of myself that is quite different from the person I am today.  A power greater than myself was at work in my life on that fateful day of years gone by.  How can I not believe in God when I look at my todays as compared to my yesterdays – the “evidence” is there – I am new, again.  I am sober, again.  I am a better person, by God’s grace. I apologize if too much God talk offends anyone. :)

Photo Courtesy of Soto

Photo Courtesy of Soto

Your Thoughtfulness Welcome!

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“Surely this was the answer – self-knowledge. But it was not, for the frightful day came when I drank once more.” Page 7 – Bill’s Story.

“But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.” Page 39

These quotes have something in common – attempting to understand one’s illness is a long way from having a basic understanding about the AA Program of Action – our 12 Steps. Self knowledge is absolutely useless. But knowing how our program works is an obligation…not a “nice to have.” What are your thoughts on this…..a little change up on this MONDAY!!!

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Honesty, Hope and Faith

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There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterward, when you’ve worked on your own corner.
–Aldous Huxley

I could not pass this quote up.  Sometimes I need to  follow my own advice.  I sponsor some women, and recently I find that what I encourage in others is the very thing lacking in my own program.  Thank goodness for the Steps as they afford me a source for growth and change, and a place to “work” from.  Each Step is related to a Spiritual Principle, and each Principle is related to my behavior.  Just working the first three Spiritual Principles of Honesty, Hope and Faith can change my behavior to a point of growth.  Above all else I need to constantly search for my honesty within.  Honesty in all things – not just pocketbook honesty, but emotional honesty, spiritual honesty, and honesty about my feelings, thoughts and actions.  This is not always an easy task for me, it is something that I constantly work on.
I cannot give away what I do not possess – if I want change in my sponsees I first have to find that change in myself.  Dear God please help me to achieve the changes that are needed within me, by means of the Spiritual Principles of Honesty, Hope and Faith.
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Get Peaceful First

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I am seeking peace, so that I may respond to my lessons and challenges today without anger, fear, sadness or unrest.  Sometimes it takes me a while to find the peace I am seeking.  I first have to become willing to let go of any anger that may be lingering beneath my façade.   Next comes fear about the outcome of my actions – reminding me that I am not in charge – God is.  Sadness and unrest come to me from unfinished business, unresolved issues, and lingering doubts.  The more I learn the less I know . . .

I try to give myself time when confronted with negative feelings or anger.  It takes me a while to process my feelings and sometimes I simply do not know what to do.  I tend to avoid people or minimize my conversations with others, out of fear of erupting in anger.  I do not want to do that – so here I sit muddling through life and trying to work my program of recovery.  In the meantime life goes on, and my responsibilities are requiring my attention.  I have obligations to meet, and tasks to perform.  I pray for peace, I pray that the right action will be revealed to me.  I pray that all I do be done in love and peace.

This24 is in need of new pictures and if you’re so inclined, a reflection or two. Please send your photos or reflections to: this24submissions @gmail.com

Thanks for keeping the blog alive….if WE don’t do it, nobody will, RIGHT PAUL D(GRIN)

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From Head to Heart

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I have learned to “listen” to my feelings, to pay attention to how I feel about events or things, not just what I know in my head to be “right,” but also what I know within my heart to be right for me.  I was quite sure that I could “out-think” the disease of alcoholism via means of “control.” I got pretty good at fooling myself and others. Even when I finally came to the rooms of A.A., I was not sure if I was in the right place for me. After attending a few meetings I became sure that I was right where I am supposed to be. It felt good to be among others who were searching for answers, as I was. It felt right that I should be at the tables, listening and hoping for my mind to finally be still, and at rest. I wanted the peace and joy I saw in others.

To NOT drink – means working the Program one day at a time, it also may mean lots and lots of meetings, it could also mean getting a Sponsor and working the 12 Steps – which is always encouraged. Prayer comes easily for some and for others it takes time to be comfortable communicating with the God of their understanding. Prayer invites God into my life and reminds me to live by God’s will, not my will. Prayer gives me an ally to rely on, and a friend whenever I may need one. Helping others comes in time and in a variety of ways, from one on one conversations with old timers and new comers; to sponsoring others, and serving as a “trusted servant,” to ensure the continuation of the Program. Wherever my service to the Fellowship takes me, I will continue to learn, to change and to grow in my own recovery – because I have learned to listen with both my brain and my heart.

PS: GO GIANTS…sorry. I’m an AVID Giants fan….next time DOC….WORLD SERIES HERE WE COME!!!

Photo Courtesy of M.K.

Photo Courtesy of M.K.

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