I Was Slipping Fast

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We A.A.’s are active folk, enjoying the satisfactions of dealing with the realities of life, . . . . So it isn’t surprising that we often tend to slight serious meditation and prayer as something not really necessary.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 96

I had been slipping away from the program for some time, but it took a death threat from a terminal disease to bring me back, and particularly to the practice of the Eleventh Step of our blessed Fellowship. Although I had fifteen years of sobriety and was still very active in the program, I knew that the quality of my sobriety had slipped badly. Eighteen months later, a checkup revealed a malignant tumor and a prognosis of certain death within six months. Despair settled in when I enrolled in a rehab program, after which I suffered two small strokes which revealed two large brain tumors. As I kept hitting new bottoms I had to ask myself why this was happening to me. God allowed me to recognize my dishonesty and to become teachable again. Miracles began to happen. But primarily I relearned the whole meaning of the Eleventh
Step. My physical condition has improved dramatically, but my illness is minor compared to what I almost lost completely.

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Benefits And Blessings

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I care about others and I care about myself today.  I know there is a better way of living that I no longer have to dwell in a past that was so full of misdirection and confusion.  I have a life “partner” whom I choose to call God, and He has become my “soul-mate,” my friend, and my teacher.   Remaining honest, open and willing were the keys that opened the door to recovery and those took a while to occur.  I was skeptical at first, but I claimed my seat long enough for my eyes to see and my ears to hear the real truth of what recovery is all about.  Honesty was new to me and has turned out to be my greatest ally, while openness allowed me to consider the spiritual. Last, but not least was willingness.  Without willingness there can be no benefits, no rewards and no sobriety.

Overcoming Lonliness

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Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 90

The agonies and the void that I often felt inside occur less and less frequently in my life today. I have learned to cope with solitude. It is only when I am alone and calm that I am able to communicate with God, for He cannot reach me when I am in turmoil. It is good to maintain contact with God at all times, but it is absolutely essential that, when everything seems to go wrong, I maintain that contact through prayer and meditation.

Optimism

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A sober alcoholic finds it much easier to be optimistic about life.  Optimism is the natural result of my finding myself gradually able to make the best, rather than the worst, of each situation.  As my sobriety continues, I come out of the fog, gain a clearer perspective and am better able to determine what courses of action to take.  As vital as physical sobriety is, I can achieve greater potential for myself by developing an ever-increasing willingness to avail myself of the guidance and direction of a Higher Power.  My ability to do so comes from my learning – and practicing – the principles of the A.A. program.  The melding of my physical and spiritual sobriety produces the substance of a more positive life.

Self Will Run Riot

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I can see where people and my moral principles came in second in my life.  I have been blessed to learn the lesson of giving from the heart, of caring for others and letting go of my selfish habits and behaviors. I strive to practice the spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, one of which is to let go of selfish habits, and work towards the discipline of letting go of selfish attachments.  I like the feeling that giving of myself gives me, I have learned to give willingly without thoughts of getting something back.  There is a practice in the Program of giving anonymously, without telling anyone about it.  I have learned about the giving part, but I’m still working on the anonymous part.  I have the urge to tell someone when I do a generous act – so I’m still a work in progress.  I have learned much from A.A., and much from others, be they members or just your average human being, searching for a better way, a better life. 

Looking Outward

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“We ask especially for freedom from self-will and are careful to make no requests for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.”
—ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87

As an active alcoholic, I allowed selfishness to run rampant in my life. I was so attached to my drinking and other selfish habits that people and moral principles came second. Now, when I pray for the good of others rather than my “own selfish ends,” I practice a discipline in letting go of selfish attachments, caring for my fellows and preparing for the day when I will be required to let go of all earthly attachments.

Afraid Of Ego

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Sometimes we like to claim that we weren’t in complete control of our actions, that we were overcome by an irresistible urge. We can’t, however, say that with a clear conscience. At one time in our addictive past, maybe, but not now. Now, we can be responsible. An urge can overcome us only to the extent that we let it – only as we give it the power of believing in it.

We have a choice. We can listen to the voice of our ego or the voice of God. How can we tell the difference? By how we feel. The ego’s urgings always leave us with some misgivings. God’s guidance assures us.

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