Grace?

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Trusting in a “power” greater than myself is what enabled me to begin the process of change we call recovery. I had finally reached a point of acceptance that I could not get sober on my own. I came to the rooms of A.A. and found a whole room full of people who were in varying stages of recovery; some of them for many years, and some, like me, with just a few days. I was skeptical, at first, about this “God thing,” but in time came to the knowledge that there was a path to sobriety with the help of a power greater than myself. There seemed to be a wide variety of names given to this power – I chose to call my Higher Power, God. In the Program we are each encouraged to “create” and name our own “power.” What I call my Higher Power is not as important as believing in this power. The “proof” of a power greater than the disease of alcoholism is in the reality of those present at the tables. . . many of whom have been sober for years. It took acceptance, willingness and openness for me to reach a place of believing in a Higher Power, but I am so grateful that I have reached that place.

Instead of the “battle” I was expecting, what I found was peace and serenity through working the Steps of the Program. The key to opening the doors to sobriety is willingness. I just had to keep claiming my seat at the tables, work to keep an open mind, and try for acceptance. I could see the Program at work in the lives of those present at the tables, and I wanted whatever it was they had. It’s been a process – a process of change that has occurred in my life. Today I go where I am led and follow my heart. I hear the term “the grace of God” and have come to understand what that means – for me, it means that the God of my understanding, is always there for me and that he graces me with a life unearned – and yet I am becoming worthy of this life. Being of service to others is one way for me to “return the favor,” for my recovery is truly a blessing, and one that I shall be eternally grateful. ♥
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Learning Life Lessons

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I believe that I learn from many sources; I learn from others in recovery, I learn from the literature I read daily, I learn from the writing I do daily, I learn from strangers, sometimes, and I learn from those who have preceded me, as well as those who are bringing up the rear, the newcomer. I learn from my sponsor, my trudge-buddies, and from the many “life experiences” I have had, and continue to have, daily. I learn when I least expect it, and I learn when I read the same passage for the umpteenth time. Every time I pick up the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I learn something new about life, about myself as a human being, about the recovery process, about living one day at a time.

I never know when or where my “teachers” will appear, I am to be open to them, and open to the lessons that will be of benefit to me and through me to others. I have learned from the LOVE of my LIFE, and my grand daughter, they teach me patience, tolerance and love. I learn from my “sisters in recovery” by allowing me the privilege of being a fellow traveler on this “road to a happy destiny.” I look for the lessons in life – especially those lessons that appear when I am challenged in life; as I wait for a decision about my job(LIMBO ISN’T FUN) . I look to the oldtimer in the Program, as well as the newcomer when it comes to life lessons. The oldtimer may be able to impart the ways and means they have found to serenity and happiness, but the newcomer can also teach me just how rotten it is “out there” and remind me of the treachery of alcoholism: IT is always “THERE” waiting. . .waiting for me to forget just who I am. I am and always will be “Bonnie, alcoholic.”

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Fake It Then MAKE it….

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Walk in Dry Places
April 22
Faking it, and then making it.
Finding the Spirit of the Thing.

We’re sometimes advised to “fake it until you make it.” But how can anything false really lead us to recovery? Aren’t we told that this is an honest program? We’re not being dishonest by pushing ourselves to become actively involved in AA. The self-help movements have told us for years that we have to form an image of what we want to be in order to reach our goals. We are forming an image that corresponds to the sober people we want to be. We are actually rehearsing sober living and working to accept a picture of sobriety in our heart of hearts. There’s also much to be said for “faking it” enough to attend meetings and try to benefit from association with people….. even those we don’t like. This puts us in line for the change we really need. A lot of members say that they “white-knuckled it” during the first months or years of sobriety. If this worked to bring recovery, it had to be the right approach.
Even if there is rebellion within, today I’ll talk and act like the sober person I want to be!
– I AM THAT PERSON TODAY….ARE YOU? Prayers still for our friends, Albert, Tom, Doc…and all who are part of This24!! HUGS
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I’m Waiting………..

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Waiting is within my power to do so. Wait is one of God’s responses to prayer, the other two are Yes, and No. Waiting is not a trait that I was familiar with, at all, especially when I was “out there” in my disease. Before recovery I did not wait . . . for anything, or anyone.
Since coming to the Program I have had instances of waiting – waiting for the time to be right, waiting for my feelings to catch up with my actions, waiting for events to unfold as God wills them, not as I will them. I have had the opportunity to practice patience when it comes to waiting. Turning my life over to the care of my Higher Power has involved the art of waiting. I’ve had to sit still, not behave as I did before recovery, and accept that waiting is really the action that I need to take at that moment, at that place and time. Putting the control over my life in the hands of the God of my understanding, means that I have to take that all important step back, and wait. Wait for God to send me a message, wait for people and events to support the decision I’m trying to make, and wait for my own certainty to know that I am on the right path.

It all comes down to time – is it the right time, is it time for action or is it time for waiting? Do I need to give myself more time, time to learn and grow into what is desired, making sure that it “fits” my life, and is in the best interest of myself. I need to take the time to be sure of my feelings, sure of my direction, and sure that my path coincides with the path God has planned for me. Assurance of the rightness of a change needs to be sought through consideration of those affected by the change. Waiting is what allows me the time to ensure my direction is the “right” one; which is demonstrated by practicing the art of waiting. A behavior that is both new and old to me, in many respects. Today, I know that waiting is required in most major decisions, and that waiting will enable me to make the best decision for me, and conversely those around me. Involving my Higher Power, God, into this “waiting game” makes it more tolerable, and helps me to stay the path to sobriety and peace.
lengthofyell

Self Examination

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We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
– Alcoholics Anonymous p. 86
When said sincerely, this prayer teaches me to be truly unselfish and humble, for even in doing good deeds I often used to seek approval and glory for myself. By examining my motives in all that I do, I can be of service to God and others, helping them do what they want to do. When I put God in charge of my thinking, much needless worry is eliminated ad I believe He guides me throughout the day. When I eliminate thoughts of self-pity, dishonesty and self-centeredness as soon as they enter my mind, I find peace with God, my neighbor and myself.
End of quote.

Looking at my motives is always a good thing for me to do, it helps to clarify my intentions, or my goals. Manipulation was a tool that I used freely, and always with full justification for my behavior. Being self-centered can sneak up on me under the disguise of being of service to others. I have to check myself, constantly, to make sure that I am being of service to others, and not just trying to bolster my sagging ego by appearing to be helpful. Sometimes I go around and around with this thinking, until I finally realize that what it takes is some sort of action, and how that is defined is not as important as the act itself. How I may define as act can be very different from how others see my action. I try to get out of my head and into doing something that can be of use to others. When I quit thinking about me, me, me; I can change my thought pattern by simply focusing on what I can do, or to put it another way – I can attempt to do the “next right thing.”Being humble and unselfish does not come naturally to me. It takes concerted effort, and sometimes it simply takes a “head down, elbows out” stance whereby I do not “think myself into apoplexy,” but go forward in faith.♥

Photo Courtesy of Tom R

Photo Courtesy of Tom R

I’m Blessed With A Gift

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“While I wouldn’t recommend that anyone become an alcoholic, I believe that sober alcoholics living the AA way of life have been blessed with a gift. It’s a gift that can’t be bought, that can’t be won in a lottery, that can’t be stolen, forged, or rented.”(From the Best of the Grapevine Volume 3)

I believe I am the recipient of the gift mentioned above in the quote. And just as it states, I did nothing to earn this gift, that’s why it is called a “gift.” I hear others talk about God’s grace in their lives, and grace is described as “unmerited divine assistance.” I believe that describes my journey in the Program. With the help of a Higher Power, and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been given a reprieve from the disease known as alcoholism. I know for certain that I was unable to stop drinking on my own, and when I came to tables of A.A., I found a whole room full of people just like me – but sober and happy to be so. At first, it seemed improbable and I was sure that others claiming long term sobriety were not telling the truth. There are days when I still feel like a newcomer and there is so much more for me to gain in understanding.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings in my life – I am changed at a very basic level. I am becoming the woman You always knew me to be. I have faith in you, and conversely I believe You have faith in me. The miracle of recovery has occurred in my life. I pray that I remain strong in both my purpose and direction in life. I ask for serenity, courage and wisdom that I might be of service to others. Doc spoke of the Key…..it was always willingness for me, but that suggestion of prayer every morning….worked for me too!! Let’s keep our friends in prayer as well. Albert, Tom S, Doc…all those who are in need!!!
Gift

A New Path

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It takes a concentrated effort for me to remain honest, I have to check myself constantly. Making myself “nicer” than I really am comes fairly easy to me. I want to seem nicer, kinder, more in tune with whomever I’m talking with, so I tend to omit certain things, while at the same time adding other things – both of which are really not true. I really want to be the person I project, but I quite often fall short of that goal. Most of the time I catch myself and correct the deception on the spot. But there are still other times when I let it be and tell myself it’s really a small lie and really doesn’t affect the real truth. I deceive myself into believing that my deception is a minor thing and therefore doesn’t count.

I am finding that I am not so different from others there. There seems to be a likeness, in many respects, to Alcoholics Anonymous. It seems to be inclusive, not exclusive. Different living arrangements are accepted. Different social status, or different beliefs – all seem to be accepted. Acceptance, for me, seems to be the key here, as I have always lived in the belief that I was not acceptable to others. I have been made to feel welcomed and accepted – and the most amazing part is that I don’t have to lie about anything. I am who I am – and that’s okay. I believe Honesty and Open Mindedness is an enhancement of my journey in recovery, and I believe it will lead me to the “Road of a Happy Destiny.”
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