August 2, 2015
Made a list of all people we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
“This is a very large order.”
I stopped smoking today!!! But I’m exhausted and if I go to sleep I won’t smoke!! I hope you’ll give us insights on this step and I will add mine tomorrow!
Thank you Maggie for the honest Reflection!!
August 1, 2015
I love “Bill’s Story” it has in it all the twelve Steps of A.A., which begins on page 12. But to fully understand how Bill arrived at what later became the Steps, I need to read the full chapter, from page 1 to page 16, for it was his own experiences that he wrote from, and in his story is the story of A.A. It talks of his “incomprehensible demoralization” and his journey to recovery, which began later, with a simple conversation; a language of the heart, between himself and another man, our co-founder Dr. Bob. The simplicity of such a beginning to what A.A. is today is truly a spiritual excursion.
My disease was not something that I could fathom. I only had to open my eyes and my heart. All the love and joy I had searched for was right there. I opened the Big Book, and it opened a world for me and has brought me the happiness I never believed I deserved. That brought me to a place where I could love others – without reservation or question. I know today that I love A.A., I love my family and friends, and now, I can finally say I love me. I am grateful to Bill W. and to Dr. Bob for their giving hearts, their work on the Program of A.A., and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Note: I encourage each and everyone of you to read “Bill’s Story” in the Big Book, it will revive your recovery and remind us all of how truly blessed we are.
SPECIAL WELCOME BACK to Tom S. And ALBERT…you are missed!!!
July 31, 2015
It is so important for me to pay attention to changes in my attitude. If I don’t identify and address downward trends, I become used to them and they start to feel normal. From there, further decline is the natural progression. The greatest evidence that I will never be cured of my alcoholism is the fact that my thoughts do not stay healthy without continual reminders from AA. There is something just wrong in the way my mind grabs hold of certain ideas and hangs on to them. I can get very worked up if I feel that someone has been thoughtless toward me. As simple as the principles of AA are, and as many times as I have read, heard and spoken them, they refuse to take permanent root in my mind. A fresh supply is always needed. I do depend on a consistent long-term program of recovery. It is the safety net that ultimately keeps me from dropping into a chasm of unknowable pain.
Photo courtesy of AinV
July 30, 2015
Quote is from “The Language of Letting Go”
Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Enjoy life! We do not have to be so somber and serious. we do not have to be so reflective, so critical, so bound up with ourselves and the rigid parameters others, and often ourselves, have placed around us. This is life, not a funeral service. Have some fun with it. Enter into it. Participate. Experiment. Take a risk. Be spontaneous. Do not always be so concerned about doing it right, doing the appropriate thing.
Do not always be so concerned about what others will think or say. What they think and say are their issues not ours. Do not be so afraid of making a mistake. Do not be so fearful and proper. Do not inhibit yourself so much. So many rules. So much shame we’ve lived with. It simply isn’t necessary. We have been brainwashed. It is time now to free ourselves, let ourselves go, and enter fully human into a full life. Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Break a few rules. We won’t be punished by God. We do not have to allow people to punish us. And we can stop punishing ourselves. As long as we’re here and alive, let’s begin to live.
Today, I will let myself have some fun with life. I will loosen up a bit, knowing I won’t crack and break. God, help me let go of my need to be so inhibited, proper, and repressed. Help me inject a big dose of life into myself by letting myself be fully alive and human.
July 29, 2015
For many years I tried to hide from life, shame and doubt were my companions. But I’ve always had this notion in the back of my mind that I was meant to live large. And here I am in the “latter” years of my life, and I am just now beginning to live big. I no longer live in shame and regret. It feels good to be exactly who I am, where I am and when I am. I don’t try to live by the standards of others, now I work to live by the spiritual principles of the Program, and my own standards. I never had any standards before recovery, I was always trying to emulate others; how they dressed, behaved and looked. I have grown up in the Program, in many ways.But I am still human. If I don’t stay VIGILANT, old behaviours creep back in….and I make mistakes and must make amends. I still hurt the people I love most in the world…IF…I don’t practice the principles in ALL my affairs. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it feels like a death. I am a sober member of AA. First and foremost, that is the most important thing. The rest comes with practice, and for THAT I am grateful!
July 28, 2015
Giving freely came to me slowly, I had always extracted a “price” for anything I gave, so giving without return was a new concept for me, and it was one that I was skeptical of. But over time I have come to understand that giving can be done in a wide variety of ways, not just monetarily. Giving of myself; my time, my energy, or my knowledge of recovery – this was also “giving freely.” When I look back to my beginning in the Program, I can see where the idea of “giving” to others began to grow right along side of my growth in recovery. I was told early on to give without any expectancy of getting something back – and I tried it and found that I did receive something back. That something was feeling good about my behavior towards others. There was a “payoff” – but the trick was not to expect it – to just give because I could, because I wanted to, or because it was the next right thing to do. Anonymous giving was encouraged – but if I told someone, or was “found out” in some way – then it did not count. Giving means total selflessness – without motive or expectation – and especially without anticipation of a return.
In coming to terms with expressing my gratitude to the Program, I found that service work helped, as did dropping a dollar or two in the basket. Being present when a newcomer was in the room was, yet another way of giving back. If I could relate my experience as a newcomer to the Program, it might serve to help the newcomer come back to reclaim their seat at the tables. Keep Coming Back, are the three most important words a newcomer can hear in a meeting. Dear Higher Power, I ask for your wisdom and knowledge that I might be given the blessing of selflessness and learn the blessing of willingness to do whatever I can, whenever I can. Take away my selfishness that I might do your will and not mine. Amen!!
July 27, 2015
I need serenity in my life. Before recovery my life was defined by chaos and confusion. Most of my actions were based in some form of negativity – peace and calmness were not in my life. I just know that I never thought of myself as “normal” but it was something I was constantly trying to achieve.
Coming to an understanding of what it means to have a Higher Power in my life meant the beginning of experiencing moments of calmness and peace in my life. There was a steadiness and a real sense of “sameness” that caused in me feelings of hope that change was possible, that my life did not have to continue on the same downward path that it had been on for as long as I could remember. I got into some acceptance and found all the love and support I needed at that time, in the people around the tables, and in my Higher Power. I found that I could actually sit still, that I did not have to run off somewhere, nor did I have to find another someone to fill the void in my life. I could use the Program, I could use the blessings of my Higher Power, and I could use the members – all those who were living the Program, a day at a time. The opposite of peace and calmness is fear and chaos – I much prefer the former, rather than the latter!!
Steps 1-3: Give Up
Steps 4 & 5: Own Up
Steps 6-9: Clean Up
Steps 10-12: Grow Up