Lower Than Low

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Incomprehensible demoralization is a mouthful. But I have known anguish, crushing shame, and a yearning for death. I have seen walls moving toward me from every angle, trapping me in a collapsing world. I have heard my own blood pounding in my ears from panic and terror. There is no pain or sorrow in sobriety that is as dark, cutting and relentless as in the bottom of my drinking. Today I recognize my feelings and can evaluate them. My mind listens and responds. AA restores my sanity, and in doing so, creates a harness that draws me back up anytime my emotions travel too far down the ravine. Thanks to this Program, I no longer go lower than low.
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Easy Targets

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Some AA members spend a lot of energy determining whether others’ shares are appropriate and what should be done about it.  Most groups have certain people who repeatedly share about a certain topic.  I have heard people complain “I am so sick of hearing about XYZ, I wish she’d get over it!”  Other people take the position that extraneous material (non-AA books, movies and other works) are acceptable so long as they are used sparingly.  Some people are perpetually on the lookout for overly religious content.  Others are quick to label “gossip” and “cross-talk.”  Some people long for rules governing shares, such as time limits, prohibiting mention of problems other than alcohol, and other restrictions.  Except for time limits, many rules are subjective and difficult to enforce consistently.  If topics other than alcohol cannot be discussed, may someone mention a serious illness or the death of a pet?

The long form of Tradition Four states: ” With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. ” There is a proviso, stating: “no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole. . .” If an AA meeting wants to have rules governing shares, it is free to do so. But the experience of a Newcomer attending that meeting can affect AA as a whole. Do we really value principles before personalities? Can we really live and let live? Can we really say: “Love and tolerance of others is our code. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone . . . “? (BB p. 84)
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A Strand Of Reprieve

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Anytime I connect to the Fellowship and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I find a place to emerge from the tide of worldly concerns, and rest for a moment or two. AA is where I find refuge from the self-centered orientation of many people making their way in the world. It is the island of honest communication in a sea of posturing and image guarding. I feel very fortunate to have someplace to go where people instantly understand my quirky thinking. This place is readily accessible to me, and essentially free of cost. It is consistent, reassuring, and safe. It gives me a new vantage point, from which I can travel in any direction. AA is the strand of tranquility always there for me to find.
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What We Could Not Do For Ourselves

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I never could have imagined myself doing some of the things I am doing today. It would have seemed insane and unmanageable back in the day when I was insane and my life was unmanageable. I may have been a train wreck, but I was busy! Back then I was so easily overwhelmed. It took such a lot of effort to function on the most basic levels, that the thought of juggling several challenging things at once was truly alarming. I had to play it very safe so my life was very small. I told myself it was just fine like that.

Today my Higher Power has me airborne and doing somersaults, compared to my old existence. Once in a while it gets a bit too heady, but a little pause and rest have me ready to go again. While drinking, no amount of coffee or Vitamin B could have given me the energy that I have today. Now that I am no longer assaulting my bloodstream with harmful substances and I have turned myself over to something way smarter than I am, life is full of pleasant surprises. I can do all kinds of fun stuff now. Nothing like the guy in this picture, admittedly. But plenty wild and crazy for me.
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Body Mind And Spirit

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One way to become enthusiastic is
to look for the plus sign.
To make progress in any difficult situation,
you have to start with
what’s right about it and build on that.
-Norman Vincent Peale

Beginning our days with a positive mental outlook is a great depression – chaser. Simply lifting our heads and looking up and out instead of down will make us feel better. Although we can’t spend all our time staring at the sky, we can train ourselves to look for the best in ourselves and others.

Even in the middle of difficulty or pain, we have choices. We can choose a gloom-and-doom attitude and endlessly replay the thoughts that accompany it. Or we can step back and find the one good thing. We may be blinded with pain. The situation may appear hopeless, utterly bleak. But recovery guarantees that we are equal to it, that in our pain there is at least one good thing.

We are the masters of our fate. We can change even the most difficult situations with an attitude of hope and positive expectation. Approaching each day with a hopeful heart will give us a different approach to our troubles.

Today help me find the one good thing. Help me let go of fear and negativity.
Practice1

Step One

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Coming to terms with my drinking, and the fact of my disease, took a long time, for me. Admitting my powerlessness was only possible when I came to accept a Higher Power, a power greater than me – and greater than my disease. I was full of fear, initially, and was very unsure about the results of “letting go.” I was at the “jumping off place” early in my recovery. Everything I had tried, had failed – what did I have to lose? I came to a place where I heard a voice, (mine as it turned out) say “God, help me.” Everything in my world changed after that. I also think that was the moment that my faith was “born.” I found that if I could just let go of the “reins” a little, and give up the idea that I had to do it all, that all those “things” I thought were mine to do, got done – anyway. I learned to quit volunteering for everything, I had to bring my focus closer to home – to my recovery, and not to the continuation of the Program – that was not for me to do – that’s when I got the message about A.A. being a “we” program. I had to let go of my need to control. Manageability came to me, once I let go of thinking I was all that and a bag of chips.

Today, I can release control to others, I can share the responsibility with others, I don’t have to be the “big shot” all the time. I can work on my side of the street and have quit trying to do it all – my recovery is my business. The recovery of others is their business. Just trying to manage my own life is enough for me to do. When I break it down to that I find I can handle my life a lot better – and still even better than that is when I allow my Higher Power, God, to guide me, and help me to know that I can trust the path I’m on, I can trust the Program to work for me, and I can trust my God to continue teaching me about life, about recovery and about this thing we call serenity.
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CAME To BELIEVE

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Wanting desperately to get out of the misery of my life, I just kept on coming back, again and again. I heard many stories and each one seemed to possess similarities to my story. My path to the tables while arduous and convoluted was nonetheless similar to those of others around the tables. All of these “shares” underscored my own experiences, and I came to “know” what it means to be an alcoholic. I accepted that fact of my life, and my journey to recovery began. Being restored to sanity was something that took a little while for me. To begin with I had to come to terms of being insane – that word described others, not me – or so I thought. Writing about my journey to the tables gave me the opportunity to come to an acceptance of the various terms used to identify a person as an alcoholic. It wasn’t what I drank, or how much I drank, or where I drank – it was what happened to me when I drank – my total lack of control after drinking that was what caused me to begin defining myself as an alcoholic. All I needed to do was continue to show up for the meetings – and the rest continues to pass at it’s own pace…one ALCOHOLIC helping another………
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