March 4, 2015
As Bill Sees It
I asked myself, “Why can’t the Twelve Steps work to release me from this unbearable depression?” By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer: “It is better to comfort than to be comforted.” Suddenly I realized what the answer might be. My basic flaw had always been dependence on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and confidence. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionists dreams and specifications, I fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression. Reinforced by what grace I could find in prayer, I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people and upon circumstances. Then only could I be free to love as Francis had loved.
March 3, 2015
There have been times when I absolutely did not know how to live in the moment. I dragged my past around with me for years and years, and would use it to distance myself from others – reaffirming my poor self image, and beating myself up for past mistakes – thereby justifying my drinking. I had very little hope for a better future, and truly believed that my “lot” was cast a long time ago.
This focus on today helps me in many ways; I am no longer in a constant state of depression because of my past. I come out ahead when I look at my lifetoday, as compared to my life of yesterday. I would rather concentrate on right here, right now – as it is a more positive place to be. I go forward in faith – faith in God, faith in the Program and with more faith in myself than I have had at any other time in my life.
March 2, 2015
I have had moments and times of discouragement in recovery, I believe that others experience these same feelings, as well. The difference between how I handle those feelings now, as compared as to how I used to handle them is just about one hundred percent opposite. It was, at one time, the perfect excuse to say “to hell with it,” which I did most of the time, and that was followed with a bout of drinking, after all I didn’t have to answer to anyone, I could do as I damn well please. Who needs (it, whatever “it” was at that moment) anyway? I was good at starting things – but my ability to finish anything was sorely lacking. If I became even just a little discouraged I would “throw in the towel!”
Hope is always there for me – it was there that first time I went to a meeting, and it continues to be there for me, daily. Hope tells discouragement to move on down the road, that this place, this time is not where discouragement is welcomed. Our Serenity Prayer talks about having the “courage to change the things I can” which calls for determination and confidence – and these two are the antithesis of discouragement. One thing I know for sure, my Higher Power, God, is always there for me. Should I ever get discouraged all I need do is ask the God of my understanding for help – and it will come, sometimes in ways that are quite a surprise to me. I particularly liked the part of the quote that stated: “May I always remember that the power within me is far greater that any fear before me.”
March 1, 2015
I can’t begin to tell you how important this Tradition was for me, early in my recovery, and how it continues to be of importance even today, many years later. My path to the tables of A.A. was a long and arduous trip of many years, and when I finally arrived at the doors of A.A., I was still not absolutely sure that I was “in the right place.” I had many questions, and was only sure of two things, I needed help, and A.A. had helped countless others – so why not me? Like many others I had a preconceived definition of what an alcoholic is, and I had worked hard to avoid being labeled as such. My life was a mess, I was full of fear, and I was at the end of the road – there was no place else to turn to. I am so grateful that not only was I allowed to remain in the rooms but I was welcomed warmly and had no idea why that was but felt an overwhelming sense of “rightness” about being “in the Program.” It was like being thrown a life raft in a raging sea, after falling overboard. . . I clung on to that “raft” with both hands – and felt the stirrings of hope for the first time in my life.
“The ONLY requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” It does not matter what my religious affiliation is, or if I have one; it does not matter what my financial status is, it does not matter what my marital status is, it does not matter what my social status is, it does not matter! What does matter is my desire to stop drinking. I just love the simplicity of A.A., and am thankful that those who were involved in the early years were wise enough to realize the need for A.A. to be “inclusive” not “exclusive.” This simple guideline has saved literally thousands of lives, if not millions. This Tradition continues to challenge the Fellowship in many ways. Today we have many members – some of whom are also addicts, some of whom are also mental health clients, some of whom are atheists, some of whom can also be defined in other ways. Whatever way we define ourselves the bottom line for me is that I have “a desire to stop drinking.” That is the only requirement I need to claim a seat at the tables and to say “Hi, my name is Bonnie, and I’m an alcoholic.
February 28, 2015
As Bill Sees It
Conviction and Compromise, p. 59
One qualification for a useful life is give-and-take, the ability to compromise cheerfully. Compromise comes hard to us “all or nothing” drunks. Nevertheless, we must never lose sight of the fact that progress is nearly always characterized by a series of improving compromises.
Of course, we cannot always compromise. There are circumstances in which it is necessary to stick flat-footed to one’s convictions until the issue is resolved. Deciding when to compromise and when not to compromise always calls for the most careful discrimination.
Twelve Concepts, pp. 39-40
February 27, 2015
I know that I would not be where I am today, without having a Higher Power in my life. The A.A. program of recovery tells me that abstinence alone is not enough. Basic changes in my behavior, and attitude, are also needed, if I am to remain sober. Coming to believe in a Higher Power happened to me slowly, over time, but today it is a strong faith I have in this Power, and I work to stay in touch with the God of my understanding. I choose to believe in a Higher Power because it gives me strength, serenity, and courage to go forth in my life.
I am blessed with purpose and direction in my life, I am blessed with friends and family who love me, I am blessed with service commitments and dedication to others, I am blessed to have both peace and serenity in my life – which replaces all the turmoil and discontentment of days gone by. I am touched by God in so many ways; I have enough today – enough love, enough strength, enough money to live on, enough faith to remain true to my Higher Power, and enough wisdom to know that I must work to remain open to new ideas, new changes, and new ways of living that I might then be of service to others and to my Higher Power, God.
February 26, 2015
I have often seen others in the rooms of A.A. that also attend other 12-Step meetings. Sometimes our relationship with others who are also addicted in some fashion, urges us to attend meetings, other than just the A.A. program. Relationships are complex and dynamic – constantly changing and redefining themselves. I know that I have changed in many ways and that my family may not be anticipating this “new me.” There are some who have spouses who are also in recovery of some type, alcoholism and addiction are often referred to as being a “family disease.” I believe this to be true.
There are new groups, and then there are some that have been established for years and years. I am grateful to say that I live in an area where there are many choices, which affords me with variety – that is something I enjoy, on occasion. I like the stability of my “home group” but also the variety of other groups in my “area.” I am grateful for the way this program of recovery has grown and changed over the years – but when it all shakes down, I’ll stick with Alcoholics Anonymous – the original group, and the original Program.