My income does not define who I am. My physical body does not define me. I am the totality of all my experiences, and all of my inter-actions with others. I am defined by my actions, not always by my word. It’s how I behave towards others that matters, not what I say so much as what I do. In recovery I have been blessed with understanding, and work on a daily basis to be of service to others. There are no guarantees in life, sometimes we serve as examples of what not to do, or how not to behave towards others. Some of the “greatest” people in the world have been those who work to help others – I think of Mother Teresa who gave so freely of herself. There are many who give generously of their time and effort, and yet remain “anonymous.” ❤ Whenever I have been able to give to others I try to do so “anonymously.” I look for the reward in giving, but the real reward comes from my Higher Power, and the knowledge that through His love I have grown – I am blessed. Hope you all had an amazing Sunday-the photo is from the ocean, where I feel closest to the Universe! Blessed!!!
Ironically, the word “alcohol” is only used once in the Twelve Steps. It is found in Step One, and is found in conjunction to our admission of being “powerless” over it. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I started out to have “one or two” drinks, and ended up closing the bar at 2 a.m. Once I entered the rooms of A.A., my recovery began. First I had to admit defeat – alcohol won, I did not! The unmanageability of my life was readily visible, when I looked at it with sober eyes. The rest of the Steps are about behavior and they call for action, honesty, and a willingness I did not know I possessed. One other thing- open-mindedness – this came to the forefront with the “God” thing. Being open-minded was essential to an acceptance of a Higher Power, who has kept me safe throughout my entire life. Grateful for the GIFT!!
In the Program we are advised to “work” Step Ten, at night, before falling off to sleep. Working Step Ten, for many, means a review of the days activities and interactions with others. I look for mistakes in my exchange with others. In conversations I may have not said what I intended, or maybe I was rude without meaning to be rude. I look for old self-defeating behaviors and actions that did not work in my life before or after I began the recovery process. I did not grow up with any sense of courtesy beyond the standard “please and thank you.” I forget or don’t remember to acknowledge another members pain, or the hardship someone else is going through. I forget how hard it is to share the difficult times in life, it’s always easier to share the good things. Step Ten further encourages me to be prompt about admitting my wrongs. Not to do so means that I’m carrying around a lot of unnecessary “baggage.” Faults that may be used to undermine my recovery. So action is a key factor in Step Ten. How do you view step 10?
I believe in supporting the Fellowship by any means, from cash donations to being of service in whatever way is needed. It takes a group to be a group. I am grateful for the changes in my life that have occurred as the direct result of being a member of A.A. I have been blessed in many, many ways; from gaining the peace of mind, to learning to live one day at a time. Today my life has purpose and direction, something that gives me a feeling of being part of the world, part of life. One of my shortcomings was my selfishness, and this has given way to feelings of generosity and kindness towards others. A.A. has given me a lot, and now it’s my turn to give back, and I do so willingly and freely. I work to share my experience, strength and hope with others that they may gain some insight into their own behavior. “Alcoholism is but a symptom.” The real culprit is my behavior, my actions and my prior belief that life is written in stone. Change is not only possible, it is absolutely needed to maintain a true sense of recovery. The Promises tell us that “We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. That self-seeking will slip away.” One of the basics in A.A. is that recovery happens when we move beyond our selves. I am but a part of a whole – a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A.A. continues because there is sorely a need. The Program’s purpose has remained steadfast for over 81 years. We do not gather to socialize, we do not gather to catch up on the events in the lives of friends, we do not gather to seek the approval of others – our sole purpose is to relate to those present, our experience, strength, and hope that recovery is possible. There is hope in the Program, it is by sharing our experiences that we demonstrate the strength we have received through working the Twelve Steps. Every day there are literally thousands who open the door to a Fellowship in the hope of change and growth. Be they sober a long time or just a few hours – the hope is there, always. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
I find that it is a joy to be free enough to be honest with my past. The shame of my past behaviors has lifted, and in it’s place is understanding of the disease of alcoholism. Having a fresh start to the Program is such a learning experience, and one that continues to this very day, the fact of my ability to be honest about my past is yet another example of the power of the Program, and the effect it has had on my life in the last 23 days. Instead of shame and regret, I now find that I can and do feel good about who I am and what I am becoming. I am Bonnie, sober alcoholic and active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I no longer regret my recent past, today I know that it serves as a “teacher” of what I don’t want in my life, and it serves as an example to others of the power Alcohol….and the redemption because of the Twelve Steps. Change is possible – change in my behavior results in changes in the way I feel about myself, and life in general. God has brought me to a place of change, and I have a true sense of gratitude, Just for today.
I may or may not be a significant person in the lives of others. When I “turn it over” and let God do His job, and me do mine – the world spins just as it was made to do. I cannot solve the problems of the world, I cannot create a utopia here on earth – that’s out of my realm. But I can and do work to change my behaviors, that I might reach out to others and share my experience, strength, and hope. I can work towards change and growth – and by doing so, help others to achieve that same change and growth in their lives, being mindful of the fact that I serve as an example to others. Sometimes I lose my “place” in the world, and try to effect changes that are not mine to do. My ego still gets in the way of humility at times, and I struggle to remember that I am but a mere human, no more and no less. Whenever I “Let go and Let God” my stress level drops, and my path becomes clearer. I gain a perspective about my place in the world, and I know that the very best I can do is to take care of me that I might then be there for others, when they are ready to Step up and Step out in the world of recovery and sobriety.