Bringing The Message Home

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Can we bring the same spirit of love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our A.A. group?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS , pp. 111 -112

My family members suffer from the effects of my disease. Loving and accepting them as they are – just as I love and accept A.A. members – fosters a return of love, tolerance and harmony to my life. Using common courtesy and respecting other’s personal boundaries are necessary practices for all areas of my life.

I Am Just

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There are days when I seek the willingness to just keep trying, in spite of disappointments.  I seek no reward for my efforts, but am blessed with acceptance, patience, and humility.  The gift of stability has enabled me to search out solutions to problems that used to baffle me.  I am capable of waiting for my expectations to be met.  I am capable of putting one foot in front of the other, day after day.  I no longer place my stability on the shoulders of others. Today I know what is mine, and what is not mine.  Being of service enables me to feel connected to others, and helps me to develop friendships and relationships that I can count on and learn from.  My job is to keep on trying, time and again.  To know that life will never be perfect, that solutions will not always be spontaneous, and that problems will continue to present themselves in spite of my best efforts.  Today I am never alone. Today I have a friend in God and in the Program of A.A.

We Just Try

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My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.
The Best Of Bill, pp. 46-47

As long as I try, with all my heart and soul, to pass along to others what has been passed along to me, and do not demand anything in return, life is good to me. Before entering this program of Alcoholics Anonymous I was never able to give without demanding something in return. Little did I know that, once I began to give freely of myself, I would begin to receive, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all. What I receive today is the gift of “stability,” as Bill did: stability in my A.A. program; within myself; but most of all, in my relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God.

Amends

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Coming to an understanding that I am not the person I once was feels good.  But it’s not my feelings that I concern myself with, it is the feeling others have toward me.  I ask myself how can I make the amends that is needed and it requires more than “I’m sorry.”  Some of my amends guide me to service in the Fellowship, some guide me to be of service to my community in some way.  I have made verbal amends, written amends, and living amends (my recovery).  Working Steps Eight and Nine have brought me to a clearer picture of my part in my life, and has helped me to identify my character defects and shortcomings.  I think back to a time when I let another take the blame for what I had done.  Or when I accused someone falsely for something I did.  In looking back I can see where I was  selfish, self-centered, envious, dishonest in both word and deed, and time and again acting out of resentment and jealousy.  I had to find the courage to face those I owed an amends to, and to do my part, without regard to the behavior of others.  Amends was about my behavior, alone.

A Frame Of Reference

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Referring to our list [inventory] again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 67

There is a wonderful freedom in not needing constant approval from colleagues at work or from the people I love. I wish I had known about this Step before, because once I developed a frame of reference, I felt able to do the next right thing, knowing that the action fit the situation and that it was the correct thing to do.

The Wonder Of It All

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The Program teaches me to “pass it on” and while this refers to the Steps and Traditions, it can also mean the life lessons that I have learned in the process we call recovery.  I pass on what has been given to me by means of sponsorship, and just the simple acts of learning to live in sobriety.  There are life lessons every day and I look to others for the knowledge they have gained through working the Steps, attending meetings, and all the literature that is available to us.  I pray that I remain open and willing to continue to learn from others, be they my sponsors, my friends and all those in attendance at meetings.  I am truly blessed to have had the “teachers” I have had in my life.  From my life experiences to the lessons in recovery, it has been a marvelous and wondrous journey on my path to sobriety.  I have learned that there is much to learn, and that I will never know it all.  Nature is a teacher, life is a teacher, and A.A. has helped me to know that I will never quit learning about living a spiritual life, if I am Honest, Open and Willing.

I Am Confident

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I still doubt myself and my ability to speak, but I do it anyway. I honor myself by living a spiritual life, and I honor the God of my understanding by choosing a life of recovery.  I have faith today, faith in a Higher Power, and faith in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  My thinking has changed and now encompasses positive thoughts followed by positive actions.  I am capable of loving others, I am capable of generosity, humility, patience, and I trust in the Program, and in others.  I can and have changed my behavior, which in turn has changed my feelings.  Today I have hope for a better life. I believe in the power of faith, and in the power of forgiveness.  Sobriety has empowered me to live a life I could only dream about. A life I found when I walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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