I need balance

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My life gets out of balance, easily.  I have to be very vigilant with my time, or I find that the day has passed and I have not accomplished much.  I am trying to go back to work, and since I live in a small place, there is not much “work” to be done around the house.  I try to dedicate some time to working on my home, working on my daily writings, working with my sponsees, and working on my recovery program.  I am very grateful for my sponsees as they help to define my day and give me a true sense of purpose and direction.

So, let’s see now – there is the Program, my writings, my sponsees, my sponsor, my service positions, my home, my yard, my grandaughter, my family, my friends – whew!  I did not realize I was so busy, I have to go lay down now.  Talk about balance – I’d say my life is more balanced than I thought.

Photo Courtesy of SMB

Photo Courtesy of SMB

Directions and Purpose

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Traditions Three is about membership for individuals in the Program, whereas Tradition Four is about the individuality of each group, with the exception of its “affect on A.A., as a whole.”  The controlling factor is the “rest of the story,” and reads . . . “provided that as a group they have no other affiliation”   This all relates back to our primary purpose which is “to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”  We are not a “Christian A.A. group, nor are we a “Catholic A.A. Group.”  We are simply an A.A. group – this is our purpose, this is our direction, and this is our focus – nothing else.  We are at the tables to share our experience, strength and hope with each other.

I love the fact that I have a “home group” and that my home group is part of the community of A.A. groups in the area.  I can visit other groups, I can attend meetings in different locations within the city where I live, and I can feel comfortable wherever I go and whatever meeting I attend.  There are similarities wherever I go.  I hear the same “readings” I say the same prayers, and I see the same attitudes on the faces of those in the rooms, wherever I go. I am blessed beyond measure today, and I am so glad that there were others in the past who bothered to write the suggestions we have both for our individual behavior, and the behavior of any given group.  A.A. will be celebrating 79 years, come this June 10th – imagine that?

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Hello Hello….?????

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Clearing my mind and focusing on what the other person is saying is critical to good communication between myself and others.  Anyone who is talking to me deserves my full attention, and that applies to people who are talking at meetings, be they speakers or those that are simply sharing their experience, strength, and hope.  It’s up to me to ensure that what I hear is what is being said.  My interpretation may be way off base, as was demonstrated here, so my job is to reiterate what was said in the hope of clarifying whatever “message” was given.  Communication with others is very important, and I pray that I may learn improved methods of communicating with others – be they family or friends.

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Fourth Step Lists

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I believe we get three lists from our 4th Step: our character defects, the people we own an amends to, and a list of our assets.  It’s not as difficult as I first thought to come up with these lists.  For one thing, the lists can be self-generating.  Our character defects have a positive opposite, which is our assets.  So if I list the character defect of dishonesty, the opposite would be honesty.  Or if I list pride as a character defect, the opposite behavior would be humility.

I have one of those little wallet cards that lists both liabilities and assets, and will share it here with you:

Self-pity. . . . . Selflessness

Self-justification. . . . . Acceptance

Self-Importance. . . . . Modesty

Self-condemnation . . . . . Self-valuation

Dishonesty. . . . . Honesty

Impatience. . . . . Patience

Hate. . . . . Love

Resentment. . . . . Forgiveness

Pride. . . . . Humility

Jealousy. . . . . Trust

Envy. . . . . Generosity

Laziness. . . . . Industry

Procrastination. . . . . Promptness

Insincerity. . . . . Frankness

Negative thinking. . . . . Positive thinking

Vulgarity. . . . . Civility

Immorality. . . . . Morality

Criticism. . . . . Encouragement

Now that’s quite a list, but really it’s only a beginning for me.  I have a list of positive traits or attributes that I composed from words written on cards, letters, notes, and said by friends and family.  So here’s my personal list of the good, the bad and the ugly:

Kind . . . . . Mean

Strong . . . . . Weak

Loving . . . . . Uncaring

Thoughtful . . . . Rash

Beautiful . . . . . Ugly

Generous . . . .  Selfish

Tolerant . . . . . Intolerant

Understanding . . . . . Negative thinking

Good Natured . . . . . Ill-Tempered

Nurturing . . . . . Uncaring

Supportive . . . . Self-Centered

Intelligent . . . . . Humility

Loyal . . . . . Disloyal

Reliable . . . . . Unreliable

Fun-Loving . . . . . Taciturn

Optimistic . . . . . Pessimistic

Encouraging . . . . . Discouraging

So there are a number of suggestions for your own list – or make up one that you feel best represents you.  Now as to the last list . . . . the people I owe an amends to, it begins with my name at the top of the list.  Then comes others – my parents, my siblings, my spouse(s), my children, friends and acquaintances, co-workers, strangers we may never see more than once. . . the list goes on ad-infinitem.  These lists are my reminders of the changes I need to make, they serve as my guides to better behavior, they give me behavior goals in terms that I understand – and in many ways they represent the Spiritual Principles of the Program.  There are multiple lists to be developed in recovery, and just like the slogans they are constant reminders of the changes I need to make in my life.  I am grateful for the recovery I have found in the Program and through my Higher Power, God.

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Searching for Happiness

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I am truly blessed today.  I never expected to have the life I have today.  I have people in my life today that sincerely love me.  I have the opportunity to love others, I have the opportunity to give to others, and I have the opportunity to be grateful for the gifts that God has graced my life with.  He led me back to the tables and that is where I have found my happiness, one day at a time.  I thank the God of my understanding for all the blessings in my life – AA, my family, my friends, my life, my sobriety – these are all gifts.

Photo Courtesy of Angi

Photo Courtesy of Angi

 

The Search for my Truth

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Whether I am at home, or at a meeting of my fellows – the Program and my Higher Power are always available in some form or another.  I believe the search for my truth is a lifelong process and some aspect of growth and change happens every day.  My job is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  This is not always easy for me – and that is my truth today.  My age and health issues can limit my participation in the Program -at least from the standpoint of meetings.  But there are other means of seeking my truth through the process of recovery.  There is sponsorship which helps me to “stay the path.”  When others are looking to me for guidance it causes me to “walk my talk.”  I cannot expect others to do as I say without following my own directions.

I am no longer alone – this I need to remind myself every day.  All it takes is reaching out to others – and with the technology we have today that can happen in a variety of ways – telephone calls, emails, voice mails, face to face meetings, fellowship meetings, e-messages – the list just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  I truly love the Program of A.A., and I truly believe in and have faith in my Higher Power, God. I am grateful to be alive, I am grateful to be sober, and I am grateful to believe in the power of recovery.

Photo Courtesy of AinV

Photo Courtesy of AinV

Love me Love you

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I have found that I had to learn to love myself before I could accept the love of others.  I believe that others sincerely care about me, and I have found a whole bevy of friends whom I care about.  There is a lot of love in the rooms of A.A., and I have learned to sincerely care about others.

Also there is the fact of my grand daughter, who teaches me every day about loving others, and myself.  Today I do not dominate another, nor am I dependent on another.  I have remained a solitary woman – but I am a mother, and a grandmother and through these relationships I have learned to love myself.  Today I am capable of giving to others, instead of expecting more than I can give – I try to give more than I get.  Through the Program and my faith in a Higher Power, God, I can truly say that I have learned to love myself, and because of that I am capable of loving others.  The Program continues to teach me new ways of loving, new ways of giving, and new ways of receiving love.

Photo Courtesy of MX

Photo Courtesy of MX

 

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