Life is Better

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My life is so much better without alcohol.  And it’s more than being alcohol free, it’s about learning a new way of living my life. I have a Higher Power in my life, and I choose to call mine, God. It does take a “daily dose” of A.A. to keep my primary purpose in focus, and that can mean a variety of ways.  Meetings, in a group or just one on one, are always one of my “staples.”  Prayers and meditation are another, as are reading and writing about sobriety and recovery – all of these serve to help me stay on the right path.  And then there are service commitments which help me to get off my butt, and out the door, into life.
I had to find my own path to the rooms, and as they say “it takes what it takes” I arrived in the rooms exactly on the day I was supposed to.  God has a plan for me, I just need to believe and try not to get in God’s way, He knows what He’s doing.  My life today is so much better, and then the icing on the cake is GETTING to utilize all the “tools” for living that are available in the Program.  I am twice blessed – God and A.A.  God brought me to the tables of A.A. and A.A. brought me back to God. As I am traveling to Omaha for an interview,  I ask for prayers, good thoughts, and His will in all of this. I had a BAD day yesterday, and was reminded VERY quickly that I am truly blessed and how much love and friendship I have around me.  Life is better indeed!!
Photo Courtesy of MX

Photo Courtesy of MX

The “OTHERS” in My Life

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Step Nine is an action Step – it requires taking action in the form of an amends, or at the very least an honest, and heartfelt “Sorry.”  While my amends have been to many whom I am no longer in contact with, there is the “living” amends I make to my immediate family, and those who have traveled this path to sobriety with me.  I have had the opportunity to work on developing close relationships with others.  I have found true friends, friends which can be termed “trudge buddies.”  They are my friends, my “A.A. family,” and all those in the rooms of A.A. where I share my experience, strength and hope with those around the tables. Working Step Nine, which means that I work towards forgiveness of others past behaviors towards me – so that I can get on with the true intent of Step Nine which is for me to make amends for my poor behavior towards others – it’s not about what was done to me, it is about what I did to others.  I need to get real honest when making my list of amends.  I am so grateful that I no longer treat my friends with jealousy and envy – but now my friendships are about humility, love, courage and honesty.  Forgiveness is a two-way street – my part is to work my side of the street, the other side of the street is not my business.
What an amazing Program we are all blessed with – it just continues to teach, to challenge, and to lead me down this path. Peace of mind – I am blessed to say is mine today.  Serenity is a feeling that stays with me through thick and thin – problems become just temporary set-backs, there are solutions to life “issues.”   Faith in a Higher Power is mine – all it takes is Honesty, Openness, and Willingness.  The rewards are immeasurable, life itself continues to change and I continue to embrace my Higher Power, God, and all those whom I meet on this “Road to Happy Destiny.” I’ll share with you the sunset I was fortunate to witness last night……
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Singleness of Purpose

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Alcoholics Anonymous is my “single eye.”  It is what drives my life, it is what forms my life and it is what enables me to stay the path of sobriety.  Just as Tradition Five states “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers,” I have but one “primary purpose” and that is to stay sober and help others.  I am not alone in this process, there are many beside me to help carry the message of recovery to others.  I believe it is God’s will for me to be of service to other alcoholics.
Initially I was encouraged to listen for the similarities, not the differences – I found that to be wise advice.  At first I did not think I was like the people in the rooms, as I had experienced few “yets.”  But slowly I began to hear the feelings I shared with others, the experiences I had which were similar to the experiences of others.  I began to get a sense of “belonging.”  I stayed in the rooms long enough to begin to understand what it means to be an alcoholic.  Going to a meeting is like a “breather” for me, my life can get pretty busy – but when I’m in a meeting, I can rest, relax, breathe in, breathe out, and know that I am safe, and among friends.  It’s a respite of a spiritual nature.  It gives me time to commune with God, while I hear the “readings,” and the stories of the paths of others. It brings a peace to me, I become comfortable; and I am happy to be able to say “My name’s Bonnie, and I’m an alcoholic.
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I am Responsible

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Today, I am responsible and have learned the lesson of making amends to those I harm, in whatever way that manifests itself.  In the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous we talk about how others affect our lives, and how we learn from others to live this life of recovery and sobriety.  If nothing else I have learned about honesty in relationships, and how important it is to follow my feelings – which  might just be God’s way of communicating with me, I only need to pay attention.
Photo Courtesy of Rocky

Photo Courtesy of Rocky

Being True to Me

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“To Thine Ownself Be True” is stamped on the “chips” which are used to celebrate lengths of sobriety.  That can mean many different things.  For one thing, it means being honest about how I feel, and not just “going along with the crowd.”  It means saying “no” when others may want to hear “yes.”  It means going against the grain sometimes.  It means expressing myself; my thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes, as honestly as I can.  It can also mean declining to participate in activities or behaviors that no longer work for me, or that I feel work against my goals, hopes and dreams.  Above all it means finding the integrity to act in my best interest.
I spent many years trying to get my father to approve of me.  Eventually both my father and my mother came to an acceptance of me. I have learned to let go of those old feelings of resentment and of needing the approval of others.  God loves me, and I love me – enough said. ♥
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Came to Believe

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I believe that the “spiritual” factor in the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous is the difference between other recovery programs and A.A., and it is why A.A.’s “success rate” is the highest.  It took more than my desire to stop drinking, and more than abstinence from alcohol for me to claim any form of recovery.  It is so much more.  It is a new way of living, a new way of responding to trouble and problems, a new way of loving others, and a new way of behaving.  The Program continues to teach me that reliance on the God of my understanding is what will help me to arrive on the other side of any issue in my life, be that alcoholism, addiction, and other forms of defects in my character.  God can do for me what I could not – it’s just that simple.
As I have learned in A.A., I work to remain honest, open and willing in my new life of recovery.  And just as faith is the heart of the Program, so is my belief in a Power greater than me.  The God of my understanding is and continues to be the heart of my program.  I am but a child of God, and I place my small hands in His loving ones, that He will continue to lead me, guide me, teach me, and love me for the person He wants me to be.  My part is to allow myself to be led in whatever direction presents itself in my life, to do the “footwork” however that defines itself, and to make myself available to others as an act of service and love.
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Tradition ONE

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Reflection courtesy of PAUL D (GRIN)
Practice These Principles…
Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on

A.A. unity.

1. Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about

gossip and taking other members’ inventories?

2. Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as “just for the sake of discussion,”

plunge into arguments?

3. Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive?
4. Do I make competitive A.A. remarks, such as comparing one group with another or

contrasting A.A. in one place with A.A. in another?

5. Do I put down some A.A activities as if I was superior for not participating in this or that

aspect of A.A?

6. Am I informed about A.A. as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can A.A. as a whole or

just the parts I understand and approve of?

7. Am I as considerate of A.A. members as I want them to be of me?
8. Do I spout platitudes about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behaviour that

bristles with hostility?

9. Do I go to enough A.A. meetings or read enough A.A. literature to really jeep in touch?
10. Do I share with A.A. all of me, the bad and the good, accepting as well as giving the help of

the fellowship?

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