United We Are

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I have to ask myself, why put temptation in my face – I mean, who needs it?  I love ice cream, but I have found that I can resist ice cream all the more when I do not have any in my home.  If ice cream is to be found, I will find myself indulging, one more time.  It is not good for me, for my health or even for my wallet when I get right down to it.  But I do love my ice cream – so I have come to a place of compromise.

Temptation is more of a dangerous thing for this alcoholic.  Temptation can lead me astray, temptation can set me off, back to that mental obsession and physical allergy, that I have come to understand as the basis for alcoholism.  I do not need to have my “poison” in my face, I do not need to “test” myself.  My past teaches me what happens when I am faced with temptation.  Once started – impossible to stop; that defines my drinking pattern.  My insanity will return and the possibility of death will return, in short order.  I prefer the company of those in recovery, just as I am.  I prefer a life of recovery, rather than a death of alcoholism.  I prefer to surround myself with positive people, in positive places, with positive attitudes.  Temptation can take a hike, as far as I am concerned.  I prefer the safety of the fellowship, the company of those, like me, who are in the same “boat.”  Together we are so much stronger than any temptation that may come our way.  Divided we fall, together we stand strong against any and all temptations.

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Second Thoughts

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Thinking retrospectively about actions such as setting boundaries can cause me to wonder if I did the right thing – most of the time I come up with the same answer – it just takes a while for me to adjust to the idea that I have rights and one of those rights is the expectation that I can treat myself just as well as I treat others.  Being honest and direct takes a little courage sometimes.  Finding the right words is important, I don’t want to offend others, but I do want others to know that I expect others to honor my rights.

In recovery I have found that learning to be assertive is important, that learning to be direct with others is also important, and that I need to search out my feelings after I have worked to set a limit with others.  My feelings are valid, they matter – just as much as the feelings of others.  I can always make amends if I find that my words were not kind or they could have been “nicer.”  I’m still learning what to say and how to say it when it comes to asserting myself.  I’m still learning to stand up for myself, and that what I feel, what I say is just as important as what others say and feel.  I matter too. 💜

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Help Me Help You

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I strongly urge others to sponsor those that ask for that direct help.  I find that being a sponsor really bolsters my own recovery.  For one thing it encourages me to “walk my talk.”  I cannot expect those I sponsor to do what I am unwilling to do.  If I am not “working” the Steps, how can I have any expectation of those I sponsor to work them?  I cannot offer solutions to problems unless I have experienced those self-same solutions, and can therefore relate what my experience has been.  After all, that’s really what sponsoring is all about – sharing my experience, strength and hope with others.

It is a very special relationship, and one that can last for years.  It is more than being a “trudge buddy,” it is more than being a friend, and it is definitely more than being a “fellow” alcoholic.  It is both an honor and a privilege to sponsor others.  It can be frustrating at times, and it can be exceptionally rewarding at other times.  As a sponsor I am a friend, a counselor, an advisor, a teacher, a fellow alcoholic, and a “fellow” traveler on this path to a higher destiny.  And while all that is true the bottom line is that I am simply another woman in recovery sharing what I learn, what my experience has been, and how the Program has helped me to find a life of recovery and faith in a Higher Power, a power I choose to call God.   A.A. has shown me the way of making good choices, the way of belief in a power greater than my disease, and has helped me to know that I have the power of free will, and that I can trust that power today, with the help of the God of my understanding.

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This Too Shall Pass

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Growing older in sobriety, we soon become aware of the fact that both good and bad experiences eventually pass on. No matter how beautiful or ugly a situation becomes, it must change in time. In discussions, we catch this idea by reminding ourselves that “This too shall pass.” We are very fortunate that this is true. Were it otherwise, intolerable conditions would last forever. Our business is to make sure that our own thoughts and actions lead to betterment, for ourselves and others. While we should be willing to accept unpleasantness if the re is no way of avoiding it, we should always hope … And work for improvement. When unpleasant experiences do pass on. We must also be careful not to resurrect them by brooding about how badly we were treated or trying to get even with others. This only prolongs the trouble. The good news in AA is that we can survive any experience and put it behind us.

Whatever I’m facing today, I’ll know that it is temporary and has no power to keep me from the deeper happiness and gratitude I have in the 12 step program.

Walk in Dry Places
March 24
This Too Shall Pass
Fortitude

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Gods Gift

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Reservations, for myself and others…. that means that I hold in the back of my mind the idea that I can safely return to drinking, after a period of time in the Program.  I will never be “cured.”  I will never “graduate” from Alcoholics Anonymous.  I am an alcoholic, and I will always be an alcoholic.  I see this attitude in non-alcoholics who think that after a time in the Program, that it may be safe to drink again, as long as it was in a “reserved fashion.”  That is a lie I, and it is a lie that I may tell myself under the delusion that recovery means I am no longer an alcoholic.  Many alcoholics and a great number of non-alcoholics hold that given enough time in the Program, our disease has abated and we can drink like “normal” people. Being an alcoholic means that my mind is constantly trying to justify, minimize, and rationalize drinking – no matter how bad the drinking had gotten.  Alcoholism is more than abstinence from drinking; it is a new life pattern of behavior, it is a new view of life and a new way of living.  It is an ongoing process of learning both new behaviors and how to eliminate the old behaviors.  It is spiritual in nature and demanding of my time and energy – but no more demanding than it was when I was drinking, day after day.  Replacing drinking with recovery is so much more than just not drinking – stopping drinking is but a beginning. . . but it is a beginning of progress and growth unlike any other time in my life.

Alcoholism, does not have a “sexual preference” it is universally a disease of both the mind and body.  There is no cure, but there is daily recovery, and this has come to be defined as Alcoholics Anonymous, for me and countless others.  It combines the spiritual, physical, mental and social aspects of a disease that has been termed ” alcoholism.”  I love the phrase “that, if sobriety is God’s gift to me, then my sober life is my gift to God.”  It is a phrase I heard often from a man I know who has in excess of 40 years of sobriety.  I have come to understand that the phrase means being of service to other alcoholics as “suggested” in the Program – that is my gift to God. . . while God’s gift to me is my sobriety. I have no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that to turn back to drink would be, for me, the very end of my life, in short order.  I am not ready to give up my life nor my sobriety – I have no more reservations, period.  
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Who You Can Be

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The things that you merely possess can be lost or taken from you in an instant. Yet the things that you become will be a part of you always, thanks to the steps and promises of AA. What you get, even under the best of circumstances, usually is yours only for a limited time. Yet what you give will always be a part of you. If your desires are petty, limited and trivial, the world will always seem to be cold and mean. Expand your priorities beyond the superficial concerns, and suddenly you’ll see life in a whole new, bright and shining light. When you put your efforts into who you can be and what you can do, rather than just on what you can have, something amazing happens. Suddenly, instead of fighting against each moment, each person, each situation, you’re flowing powerfully along with them all. If your goal is only to acquire, then whatever you get loses meaning as soon as you get it. Yet when you seek to become, to do, to give, you enter a realm of ever-increasing fulfillment.

The more you give of yourself, the more of yourself there is to give, to live, to experience and enjoy. it works ——-it really does ! (page 88,line 8 in the big book)
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I Should Be Commited!

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Pay attention to your commitments. While many of us fear committing, it’s good to weigh the cost of any commitment we are considering. We need to feel consistently positive that it’s an appropriate commitment for us. Many of us have a history of jumping – leaping headfirst – into commitments without weighing the cost and the possible consequences of that particular commitment. When we get in, we find that we do not really want to commit, and feel trapped.
Be patient. Do some soul searching. Wait for a clear answer. We need to make our commitments not in urgency or panic but in quiet confidence that what we are committing to is right for us. If something within says no, find the courage to trust that voice. We don’t have to commit out of urgency, impulsivity, or fear. We are entitled to ask, Will this be good for me? We are entitled to ask if this commitment feels right.

Today, God, guide me in making my commitments. Help me say yes to what is in my highest good, and no to what isn’t. I will give serious consideration before I commit myself to any activity or person. I will take the time to consider if the commitment is really what I want.

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