Willpower and Windchill

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Surrender – a definition:  – to give over or resign (oneself) to something [The Program]

I have surrendered to the idea that I am an alcoholic and that my life requires my participation in recovery, and I prefer that participation to be in the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I need to live one day at a time, and, for me, that means a constant awareness of the Spiritual Principles.  Coupled with surrender is a willingness to do whatever is needed to maintain my sobriety.  I am grateful for these positive traits that help me live a life blessed in so many ways.

I listen to the news and feel sorry for those who are in the throes of winter, and seven-foot snow falls.  Furthermore I am grateful for the weather we have here, even though I hear others complain when we have days of rain and grayness, I know the sun will return, and I know we desperately need the water.  There is always pluses and minuses to weather – but recovery continues in any weather, day after day, and year after year if I am fortunate enough to have surrendered to my Higher Power.  Willpower alone cannot do the job of recovery, it takes willingness and my recognition of a power greater than myself.  Getting to meetings is an important part of my recovery, and I absolutely know that my life is better for having attended meetings.

Well, my friends, Christmas is fast approaching and I have much to do, as do others – so I will keep this short, LOL….. by the way….. a subscription to Grapevine is a terrific Christmas present, especially for sponsors and sponsees.

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Friendships

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Today, I have friends – many friends – I’m happy to say.  I think the reason I have friends is because I have learned to be a friend, without smothering or engulfing others.  I have a group of women whom I call my “sponsees.”  They are each unique and different in many ways, and yet they all have a strong desire to get sober and stay that way. Friends are truly one of the benefits of sobriety.  I have learned to be a friend, I have learned to have friends, and I have learned that when my family cannot understand me I can always count on my friends to understand me . . . because we all speak the language of the heart. Maggs, Double D(3D), Jaybird, Tom S, Tom R, Bill, Jack, PAUL(GRIN), DOC, Kt, All of you who come to This24 on a daily basis….Thank you for hanging with me on this journey. Zuzu….without you and Oggy, this wouldn’t be happening!! Blessings to all!!!

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Faith/Hope/Trust

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Faith eluded me for many years, as I was caught up in the argument of it all.  Is there a God, or isn’t there?  I wanted “proof” of such a thing.  My life was such that belief in a “higher power” seemed so improbable, plus the sad condition of the world and so many people in it underscored my disbelief.  I lived in a world of material goods, the spiritual world was nothing more than a brief thought, and since there was no concrete evidence of it, I placed little value on it.

Faith is both hope and trust in the process we call recovery.  If I can have faith in recovery, then it serves that I can also have faith in a power greater than me.  I see this faith in others – who tell of years gone by when faith was absent from their lives, and now almost a complete reversal has occurred.  They have come from a dark place of no faith to be embraced by the sunshine of the spirit – and the transformation can be amazing.  Kindness replaces mistrust of others, I have learned to give without expectation of getting, to love without chains, to give willingly of myself, and that material possessions are not the blessings I once thought so important – now they are only “things.”  Things are not important – what I do with my life is more important than what I get in life.  Today I choose to live by the Spiritual Principles, to the best of my ability.  Faith brings me to hope and hope brings me to faith, again and again.

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Grace

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Sobriety does not require intellectual exercises – it only requires a desire to stop drinking.  The spiritual component of A.A. is based on my acceptance of the idea of a Higher Power – a power that is stronger than me, stronger than my disease and stronger than my deepest, darkest secrets.  Through the recovery process I have come to an understanding of what is meant when I hear the term “spiritual principles.”  The spiritual process of A.A. is absolutely essential to my recovery.  Stopping drinking was but a beginning, the true “work” began when I started working the Steps.

I am grateful to be sober and know that this now serves as an example of the benefits of sobriety to others.  I only need to relate what has worked for me.  I have removed myself from the debating team – is there a God, or not?  I choose to believe in a God of my understanding.  I believe that the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous works – I am living proof of that.

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

I Feel GOOD…………

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I don’t always like my feelings, but through the Program I have learned that I no longer have to respond to every feeling I have.  I am capable of just feeling the feeling, and then letting it go.  I don’t have to start yelling and screaming at others because I’m angry; I can quietly acknowledge those feelings, try to understand where the feelings are coming from, and express the feelings verbally to others; be they friends, family, or my sponsor.  I am grateful that I can accept my feelings today – without judging whether they are right or wrong, just that they do exist.

There are counter feelings that may help the emotional side of feelings – if I am angry, I can try for feelings of being happy; if I am sad and blue, I can try for feelings of joy by remembering better times or better circumstances than my present situation.  I don’t have to stay with negative feelings forever, I can work towards the positive feelings – and I only have to go as far as my memory will take me.  When was the last time I laughed so hard I cried?  When the last time I felt small, sweet arms hug me?  When was the last time I did something that made me feel good about myself?  For every negative feeling there is a positive action.

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The Higher Will Power

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The way I see it, it could have gone in several different directions – the fact that I became a member of A.A. and chose a life of recovery is the work of a Higher Power, and no other.  Believing and working Step Three came right after Steps One and Two – which means that I first had to become willing to understand my powerlessness over alcohol, and then I had to search out a Power greater than me.  Making a decision to turn my life and my will over to this Power greater than me, and greater than my disease was not an overnight event – it took time, time, time.  I became willing to rely on my Higher Power fairly early in recovery.  He led me to the tables and the rooms of A.A., and it is there that I found a reason to continue to live – that I might be of service to others, in whatever way that defines itself. Turning my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand Him – that is just the very beginning of understanding acceptance, and willingness.

Photo courtesy of MAGGS

Photo courtesy of MAGGS

H.O.W.

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Being open-minded means allowing others to come to their own conclusions, and find their own way to recovery. There are different ways and approaches to sobriety, but the Program of A.A. strongly suggests that I make use of what has worked for others. There are some basic guidelines to the Program, and while the term “suggest” is used, many find that to mean “must.” Or as it is said in the Program, “If you want what we have, you need to do what we do.” I know that I “must” practice abstinence. I know that I “must” work the Steps. I know that I “must” find my Higher Power, and become willing to follow His will for me. While I know there are some definite “musts” in the Program, I also know that I must come to an acceptance of these “musts” on my own. I “must” find my own path to recovery. . . no one can force to me an acceptance of A.A.

I try to reach out to others, especially those who are new to the Program. Doing anything to help can mean a variety of things; from rides to meetings, to conversations before and after the meetings, to phone calls to and from the newcomer, however that may define itself, I work to remain available and willing to be of service to others. I only need remember how I felt when I was new – how unsure of everything I was, how scared I was to walk through that door, how impossible the task of getting sober seemed. Having someone to talk with always helps – and then I remind myself that is HOW we work the Program – by being Honest, Open-minded, and Willing. That applies to not only the newcomer but to those of us who have been in the Program a while – regardless of our time in the Program, we all need to remember HOW.

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