More Of 12

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(Before the reflection I’d like to ask for prayers for our friend Tom S, as he is at Standing Rock along with all the other Veterans. I know it’s an outside issue, just asking for the prayers! Thank you)
It was easy to blame others for my poor choices, I just “knew” that if I could get so and so to straighten up, my life would be better. The spiritual aspect of the Program has brought me to a place of wanting to be helpful, both inside and outside the Program of A.A. I try to keep this in mind, particularly when I am attending meetings outside my regular meetings. Courtesy goes a long way in A.A., and I look to others to teach me how to be courteous, kind, and understanding. I try to be equal in all my relationships with others in the Program. I do not pick and choose who I will befriend, I work to respond to anyone asking for help and understanding. The daily moral inventory helps me to stay on track to a “higher ground.” Reviewing my day, and looking for those character defects and shortcomings affords me the chance to identify and rid myself of negative behaviors.

Photo courtesy of Maggs!

Photo courtesy of Maggs!

The 12th Step

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Practicing the Principles in all my affairs means that I strive for positive behaviors and work to rid myself of the negative behaviors of old. Instead of conceit, I practice humility; instead of dishonesty, I practice integrity; instead of being resentful, I practice forgiveness; instead of envy, I practice generosity, etc. There is much to learn in the Program. It has become, for me, a continual growth and change in behaviors – from the negative to the positive. My old ways no longer work in my life, but the new behaviors are there and constantly require my attention and dedication. No one works this Program perfectly, but in looking back at how I was and comparing that to how I am today – I can and do see the growth in my life. Now it’s my turn to share my experiences relating to others what I do to get to the other side of anger, impatience, fear, and all those others negative behaviors. A.A. provides me with ways to change. AMEN
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Along Yesterday’s Shopping Attitudes, …..

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What other ATTITUDES during this HOLIDAY season should I be practicing? To start with, generosity – that is one of the essentials for this season, and it is one of the primary principles of the Program. In order for me to stay sober, I need to share the blessings I have received in recovery. Being generous in nature means that I am practicing the 12th Step, where I am urged to “carry the message.” I want for others what has been so generously given to me, a life of sobriety, peace and serenity. Humility is another item I need to shop for, I am not responsible for any part of this Program, but it is my duty and honor to pass on to others what has been so freely given to me. God has done for me what I could not do for myself, I humbly accept that truth.heartbeat

Shopping Attitudes

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At this time of year patience goes a long way. There will be lines, there will be those who are impatient, in a hurry, and those who do not have the benefit of understanding the spiritual principles. I try to give myself time so that I won’t be rushed, hurried, and lack the patience it requires. Maintaining a sense of humor is also a good thing, especially when I am standing in line for along period of time. I try to find things to do, like texting a friend, balancing my checkbook, smiling and waving at a young child – there are things I can do. Maybe I can bring my headphones so I can listen to some good tunes, or a good speaker. I try to behave as I want others to. I’m certainly not perfect at this, but I continue to work towards these and other good behaviors. I do this in the hope that I will serve as an example to others of how the Program has helped me be a better person. One who can “shop” with a smile on her face.
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Be True

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This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou ‘canst not then be false to any man.
– William Shakespeare

To thine own self be true. A grounding statement for those of us who get caught up in the storm of needs and feelings others. Listen to the self. What do we need? Are those needs getting met? What do we feel? What do we need to do to take care of our feelings? What are our feelings telling us about ourselves and the direction we need to go? What do we want to do or say? What are out instincts telling us? Trust them – even if they don’t make sense or meet other people’s rules and expectations. Sometimes, the demands of other people and our confused expectations of ourselves – the messages about our responsibilities toward others – can create a tremendous, complicated mess. We can even convince ourselves that people-pleasing, going against our nature and not being honest, is the kind, honest thing to do. Not true. Simplify. Back to basics. Let go of the confusion. By honoring and respecting ourselves, we will be true to those around us, even if we displease them momentarily. To thine own self be true. Simple words describing a powerful task that can put us back on track. Today, I will honor, cherish, and love myself. When confused about what to do. I will be true to myself. I will break free of the hold others, and their expectations, have on me.
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Attraction Rather Than Promotion

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I had a strong sense of denial about my alcoholism, and was very sure that I had the right to live as I chose to, regardless of the consequences. I never thought of myself as being an alcoholic. I had a preconceived notion of what being an alcoholic looked like, and I worked hard at being just as opposite as I could be from that “idea.” I had a job, a home and a car – and I dressed the part I played, which fooled both me and everyone else I met. Seeing my image in the mirror the morning after was a sure wake-up call, but it happened so randomly that it was easy to tell myself that it was not the behavior of someone identified as alcoholic. I truly thought that an alcoholic was someone who drank every day, who drank vodka from a paper bag, or someone who drank all day and night. The only problem I had was not being able to stop drinking once I got started. I lost control of my drinking when I drank – that’s what makes me an alcoholic, today I understand that. Did you have preconceived notions of what an alcoholic looked like?
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The Principle Of Attraction

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Each of us serve as examples of how the Program works. We look to other members for answers to questions, and for solutions to life’s problems. Those with a period of sobriety use the principle of attraction by relating “success” stories, at group level. I wanted what others had, initially, that’s what made me keep coming back, time and again. It’s not my place to tell others what they should do, but I can relate how I handled the same problem through working the Steps, and honoring our Program’s “suggestions.” As a practicing alcoholic I did not want to hear all the “advice” I got about my problems in life. What were some of the suggestions YOU TOOK?
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