Endings and Beginnings

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Quote is from “Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:”

Time is a circle. The end is the beginning.
Day by day, a year comes and goes. Today’s end is the beginning of the rest of our lives. We take with us what we have learned today. We are the same and not the same. As long as we are alive, we will continue to wrestle with questions, seek answers, and solve problems. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and others, choosing to respond with non-judging love and acceptance instead of unrealistic demands of perfection.

We have found a blueprint for recovery. Our preoccupation with not enough and too much has led us to a spiritual solution. Each day brings us new opportunities to express our development – a more patient response to a traffic jam, the ability to empathize with a child’s embarrassment, the acceptance of a disappointment. Today is another day to learn how to be serene, to nurture body and spirit so that we may function as an integrated totality. We will continue to learn and grow toward recovery. I will begin and end today by listening to my inner voice.

End of quote.

My thoughts/comments: I really enjoyed todays quote above. I think it covers a lot for this New Year’s Eve day . . . and so enough is enough. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all, and to all a good night!!

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Seeking Answers

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Abstinence is but the beginning of recovery.  It’s the changes that occur in working the Steps that make my life bearable, and I become a willing partner in my quest for sobriety.  The final part of the Twelve Steps is where I learn to live the life intended for me – with daily maintenance of my program, daily communication with a Higher Power, and a daily reaffirmation of my faith in a Higher Power, faith in the Program, and faith in my own abilities.
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Steps to the Principals

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Joy – a definition: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune, or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; delight, gaiety; a state of happiness; to experience great pleasure or delight.

Step Twelve has three different parts to it – first it proclaims that we have had a “spiritual awakening” from working the Steps, then it continues on to our efforts to “carry the message,” and then finally it urges us to “practice these principles in all our affairs.” Now, I have to agree that if all three of these actions are accomplished, that feelings of joyfulness would abound. Carrying the message to others keeps reaffirming those self-same blessings that I have received.

There are so many avenues to joy in the Program, I need only look. I see it in the faces of those around the tables, I read it in the writings and literature of the Program, I hear it in the laughter, and feel it in the hugs of those close to me. The joy of living is certainly available to all who participate in recovery. I am grateful for being able to feel joy in my life, once again.

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Photo Courtesy of Tom S

Participation and Partnership

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I believe we are all part of the “system” of life.  There is the plant life, and the animal life, and there are even little tiny microscopic forms of life.  Now just because “man” has put himself at the top of the heap, does not mean that life begins and ends with “him.”  In the program of Alcoholics Anonymous I have learned that “love and tolerance is our code.”  I need to respect the differences I have with others, and to embrace the similarities – and there are many.  (THANKS MAGGS & PAUL D!!) We are not all exactly like each other – even though we all have the same disease, and are all seeking the same solution; we each work the Program in our own way.  I am no longer alone, and this is no further away than the next meeting, the next phone call, or the next chance encounter.  We work together to conquer this disease of the body and soul.

Love surrounded me when I walked through the doors, I knew I would never have to be alone, again, unless it was by choice.  There was a connection I felt that had not happened before – I was simply not ready before.  I welcomed the love and friendship that was offered, and so I began my journey to a happy destiny.  I KNOW without a doubt I am to stay sober and help others – how simple, how clear the message has been.  I have truly been blessed in so many ways, and just as the Program teaches me, I work to practice Step One – and Step Twelve everyday, along with all those “in-between” Steps.  I am in partnership with the God of my understanding, I am in partnership with the Program of A.A., and I am in partnership with all my many friends – because I am no longer alone. For THAT….I am FOREVER GRATEFUL!!

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The Way UP

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Your struggle has not been in vain. For every struggle on this journey, there is a resolution. Peace, joy, abundant blessings, and reward are yours here on earth. Enjoy.
(From the Language of Letting Go)

Today, I will accept where I am and continue pushing forward. If I am in the midst of a learning experience, I will allow myself to continue on with the faith that the day of mastery and reward will come. Help me, God, understand that despite my best efforts to live in peaceful serenity, there are times of mountain climbing. Help me stop creating chaos and crisis, and help me meet the challenges that will move me upward and forward.

Photo Courtesy of R.S.

Photo Courtesy of R.S.

There are STEPS in AA

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A.A. is not a “two-step” program, it not only has Twelve Steps, it also has Twelve Traditions, Twelve Promises, and Twelve Concepts.  The Twelve Steps are the Programs guide to sobriety, the Twelve Traditions help us to form and maintain a group status, the Twelve Promises are what we can expect from a life of recovery, and the Twelve Concepts serve as a guide for World Service functions.  It does not serve me well to “dance” around the Twelve Steps, they are numbered in a manner that speaks to the recovery process which then leads me to a life of sobriety.  Most members learn to work the Steps in the order in which they were written.  There is an order to the Steps for good reason.  I could not understand the concept of spiritual principles, before coming to terms with the idea of a Higher Power.  Nor could I make sincere amends to others before making a searching moral inventory.

There’s a short story in the January 2015 edition of the “Grapevine” about a newcomer who accidentally spilled some coffee on an old-timer, and began cleaning it up when the old-timer said to the newcomer “Aren’t  you even going to say you’re sorry?” and the newcomer replied “I would but I’m not on Step Ten yet.”  Sometimes we take things so literally – the Steps are guides that lead to recovery.  So when it comes to the Program I also need to consider the practical application of the Steps, and not take everything so literally.  Not drinking is success – while failure is not working the Steps to the best of my ability.  My life reflects not only my abstinence, but it also represents the peace I have because of the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  There is a connection between the two events [abstinence and recovery]- thank goodness we only have to live this Program a day at a time.  The older I get in the Program, the closer I am to achieving both.

Photo courtesy of Mark S.

Photo courtesy of Mark S.

Step 12

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The steps of Alcoholics Anonymous walk us through the journey of waking up to the reality and the truth about ourselves. We learn to detach from our ego, our Personal Self, our past wrong actions, emotions and thoughts, so that we may live in the “sunlight of spirit” and express the love within us in our lives. Step Twelve is expressed through being of service and service can be defined as love in action. This new perspective on life is made possible by a spiritual awakening, which brings about a personality shift, a paradigm shift, and a new passion to our lives.

We can express this step by living a life that includes all of the steps, every day. This is our personal evolution as humans, from a personality, “me” oriented perspective, to a realization that we are not separate and alone, that we are one with all things in the Universe. Our new mission is to express love in all areas of our lives. As the day of giving and receiving closes, it is with gratitude and love for my life that I say “THANK YOU!”

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