Changing Within

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I don’t like to be around others who are drinking with the intention of getting drunk.  They behave poorly, are rude, loud-mouthed, and have no sense of decorum.  I think that describes me, pretty accurately, when I drink.  It’s good for my recovery to see this kind of behavior and to remember my own poor behavior.  The more I drank, the louder I got, and the more “trashy” I became, totally unaware of my utterly and unreservedly vulgarity, not to mention my absolute lack of concern for anyone else around me.  I was completely rude, crude and definitely had an attitude!
The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous has enabled me to change and grow above and beyond those behaviors of old.  Today I work towards modesty, humility, honesty, morality, and selflessness – to name a few.  Stopping drinking was but a beginning.  Behavioral changes have taken place within me, and I have the Program and my Higher Power to thank for that.  I am no longer ashamed of who I am.  I can participate in the community I live in – and have quit “hiding” from the rest of the world.  I am not alone in this struggle, and I learn from others who are working on themselves, and who show me by example what it means to be a woman with standards and morals. . . one that no longer has to be the loudest voice in the crowd. :)
heart-rays-of-sunlight1

Sobriety through Service

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I love my sponsees, and I respect their efforts when it comes to sobriety.  Some are working hard and some are hardly working, lol.  I work to be there for them all, when they need me.  My sponsees come in all shapes and sizes; from the newly sober to those with multiple years in recovery.  Having sponsees works to keep me sober as I know that I serve as an example to them of what sobriety can look like.  And just like them, I am not perfect either – nor do I have all the answers.  I encourage them to use others in the Program, and I believe in the power of prayer.  I further believe that recovery is a group effort.
Sponsor/sponsee – this is a very special relationship between two people – it is a gift, and one that just keeps on giving from me to others, and also to me from others.  I call it a gift because it is a love without strings, without expectations, and without obligations.  I give what I can, and I receive what is made available to me.  I love each and every woman I have ever sponsored, they are each unique from the other, and yet so similar in their desire to be sober.  They teach me much, and never cease to amaze me.  Each day is a new beginning, each sponsee can become the person they desire, and each encounter with another alcoholic is yet an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to change.  Being a sponsor is a special responsibility that continues to teach me about self-less love, and that I am capable of loving others unconditionally. . . be they sober a day or a decade.  We are all in the same boat together, going down a river of love, sobriety, and gratitude.
Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Change Can Happen

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I can change the way I behave.  I can change the way I respond to others.  I can change the way I live.  I can change the way I feel.  I can change . . . I don’t have to sit around waiting forever for change to happen, I can initiate change within me, and I can take that all important first step towards change, acceptance.  I do not have to wait for change to happen, I do not have to wait for God to make the changes I want/need in my life – I can begin the process of change.  Change can be as simple as believing that change is possible – I am capable of learning new things.  How I view change can be the difference between helping myself to change and fighting the very process that I need to make my life better.
I need to change my attitude first, when considering a behavior change.  If I can get to a positive attitude, I find that it is much easier to make the changes needed to get to an acceptance of this change.  If I can visualize the benefits of a change, it is easier to make that change with that in view.  For example, I want to make some changes in my life style, with the ultimate goal of better health and, lets face it, looking better – thinner.  Looking at myself in a full-length mirror can urge my desire to achieve this goal.  Since I can’t be taller, I want to be thinner.  Yes, some of it is wanting to be healthier, but some of it is ego too.  Growing older changes the way I look, as well as the way I feel.  It is now harder to do the exercises that used to help me loose those extra pounds.  I am still able to move and can still exercise, and I believe that time will improve that process also.  Not exercising will not get me to the goal I have set for myself, continuing to exercise will.  I just need to be persistent and dedicated to the changes I desire – the Program teaches me that.  So in addition to improving my life through the recovery process, the Program also teaches me about how to achieve a healthier life style.  I mean, how good can it get?
Butterfly-Transformation

Big God, Small Fears

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(Reflection courtesy of Paul D-thank you for the reprieve…it’s been good!!!)

Before recovery, we were driven by a hundred forms of self-centered fear.  During steps 6 and 7, we began to release some of these character defects, but some habits are hard to break.  Like feeding into our fears.

But when we can pause and work our program of recovery, we remember that we are not alone.  In fact, our greatest asset in our new life is our connection with and relationship to our Higher Power.  We know from repeated experience that God has, can and continues to work miracles in our lives and in the lives of those we meet in the rooms.

Rather than giving power to my fears today, I now give my fears to God.  My solution is that when I’m telling my fears how big my God is, I’m thinking about God — not my fears.  And that is when the miracle takes place.

 

(Thank you AINV for the video♥)

 

People have the right NOT to Recover

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(Reflection courtesy of Paul D-GRIN)

The first time I heard this saying I thought it was cruel and insensitive. I had been in A.A. about six months and was still convinced that I not only could help other people in my life recover, but that it was in fact my job to do so. Learning to detach with love was still foreign to me and the idea of allowing someone to destroy their life was unthinkable. When I asked my sponsor what to do he told me to look at my own experience.

I knew first hand how ineffective others were in trying to get me to see the dangers of my drinking. The more they tried to warn me or control my behavior, the more I resented and avoided them. In fact, their attempts had the opposite effect – they drove me to isolate and drink even more! In the end what I learned to be true is what I’ve since heard in meetings a thousand times – until we admit to our innermost selves that we’re an alcoholic (or addict) we won’t do the things we need to do to get and stay sober.

Over the years one of the things that continue to baffle me is why some people recover and others – who so obviously need it and would benefit from it – don’t. I’ve had to accept my powerlessness over others, but it’s still hard to see those I care about ruin their lives. My sponsor once told me that I needed to respect someone’s decision to drink themselves to death. That still sounds harsh but there’s a strange, sad truth to it.

It’s a reminder that people have the right to not recover

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A Brief History

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Today I’m trying out something new – I received a small booklet from World Services in New York, which is entitled “A Brief History of the Big Book.”  It is written in several languages, and I am including the English version here.  Thought you might enjoy learning about how our basic text came to be . . . so here it is:
In May 1938, when Bill W. began work on the first draft of what is now the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, in new York City and Newark, New Jersey, he had been sober about three and half years.  Dr. Bob was sober for a few months less than three years, and the other 100 early members who contributed in one way or another to the writing of the book had been sober for periods ranging from a couple of years to a couple of months.
The early members realized the book would need a “story” section.  “We would have to produce evidence in the form of living proof, written testimonials of our membership itself.  It was felt also that the story section could identify us with the distant reader in a way that the text itself might not.”
Dr. Bob and the members in Akron, Ohio led this effort.  One member of the Akron Group was a former newspaperman with two years of sobriety, named Jim.  He and Dr. Bob “went after all the Akronites who had substantial sobriety records for testimonial material.  In most cases Jim interviewed the prospects and wrote their stories for them.  Dr. Bob wrote his own.”  By January, the Akron Group had come up with 18 stories.
In New York, where there was no one with writing expertise, they decided that each member with substantial sobriety would write his own story.  When Bill and a fellow member turned to edit these “amateur attempts.” there were objections. “Who were we, said the writers, to edit their stories?  That was a good question, but still we did edit them.  The cries of the anguished edited tale-tellers finally subsided and the story section of the book was complete[d] in the latter part of January, 1939.  So, at last, was the text.”
The book still lacked a title.  “The Akron and New York groups had been voting for months on possible titles.  This had become an after-the-meeting form of amusement and interest.  The title ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ had appeared very early in the discussion. . . We do not know who first used these words.  After we New Yorkers had left the Oxford Group in 1937 we often described ourselves as a ‘nameless bunch of alcoholics.’   From this phrase it was only a step to the idea of ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.'”
More than 100 titles were considered, but in the end, it came down to “Alcoholics Anonymous” or “The Way Out,” and when the two groups voted, “The Way Out” received a slight majority.  At this point, one of the A.A.s visited the Library of Congress to research the number of books titled “The Way Out’ versus  those called “Alcoholics Anonymous.”  There were 12 with the former title, none with the latter, and since nobody wanted to make the book the thirteenth “Way Out,” the problem was solved.  “That is how we got the title of our book, and that is how our society got its name.”
So, this somewhat shaky, often fearful group of men and women somehow brought to publication, on April 10, 1939, the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
The book became a blueprint for recovery from alcoholism that has been followed successfully for nearly 80 years – and something of a publishing phenomenon.  The Big Book has been translated into 69 languages and is read by millions of people in approximately 170 countries around the world.  Approximately 35 million copies of the first four editions of the Big Book (in English) have been distributed.  It sells about one million copies per year, worldwide.
I have used the punctuation and quotation as it was written.  Hope you enjoyed this brief history of the Big Book, I did.  For those of you who may be new to the Fellowship, I would like to point out that the personal stories change with each edition.  The “crux” of the Program can be found in the first 164 pages of any edition of the Big Book titled “Alcoholics Anonymous.”  Just as my recovery program works – it took a combined effort to produce the Big Book, so it does take a combined effort for my sobriety.
Photo Courtesy of MX

Photo Courtesy of MX

Voices Within

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Good Morning Family!
 Quote is from “Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much” September 22nd:  “Confusion” (edited for content)
 I seem to have an awful lot of people inside me.
-Dame Edith Evans
 Frequently it is the people that we carry around inside us who encourage our alcoholic behaviors.
 We have little voices in our minds that tell us, “You are expendable.  Employers can get rid of people who are not high producers.  You are what you do.  If you aren’t doing something, you are nothing.  No one will ever want you just for who you are.  You have to make yourself indispensable, and then you can feel secure.  You aren’t intelligence enough.  You’re too intelligent.”  Voices, voices, voices. No wonder we often feel confused.  We have a chorus on twenty-four-hour duty.
Growing up and claiming our own lives is partially a process of listening to our own voices and distinguishing them from the crowd inside us, especially when the internal committee is a group of Alcoholics!!!
maggie aa this way

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