A Common Bond

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In the Program I found a whole roomful of others who shared the same experiences that I had.  I related to their stories and was amazed time and again to hear parts of my story in the story of others.  We shared the same insanity, the same skewed thinking, the same devastation in life, and the same hopeless state of mind.  What a genuine surprise it was to find a whole bunch of people who I could relate to as having the same or similar background as my own.  I was not so “unique” after all.  It was only when I became willing to face the prospect of change in my life that I had any chance of recovery from alcoholism.  At first I thought A.A. would reject me – well that never happened.  Then I thought that I was not truly an alcoholic – and that proved to be untrue.  I have the disease of alcoholism, and cannot manage my life when I drink.  I drink to excess, and then I drink some more – this is not “normal” drinking.  The only thing stopping me from claiming recovery was . . . me!  Once I accepted my condition, only then could I begin the process we lovingly call “recovery.”  

My Family Is

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I am blessed to say that I have friends in the Program, some of which are my sponsees and one who serves as my sponsor.  The Program has blessed me with these friends, and the majority of my friends are people I have met in the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes I am torn between my immediate family and my family in the Program.  I have commitments and time constraints as I serve as sponsor and have a couple of service commitments, as well.  There are days when my energy level is low and I pretty much don’t want to do anything. The Program keeps me grounded, gets me off my butt and out the door to live this life I have been blessed with.  So, true to my varied past, I continue to be a complicated person, a struggling member of the Program, and a mother, grandmother, sister, and an aunt who loves many people, both those related to me and those whose relationship is based on Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.  However I define the term “relative,” I have one relationship that I can always depend on – and that is the one I have with the God of my understanding.

I’m Excited

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When I was new to the Program, the enthusiasm of those around the tables was a shocker.  I expected a “doom and gloom” atmosphere. Instead, I got laughter, hugs, and a warm welcome from many members.  Being overly enthusiastic can, at times, bring about doubt in the mind of the newcomer.  I try to bring my enthusiasm down a notch or two to a place of quiet serenity when others want to know what my experience have been in the Program.  We each work our program in our own way.  Sometimes I start with a lot of enthusiasm and then it begins to wane.  This usually happens when I haven’t considered what my project requires, and I come to understand that it takes more than just enthusiasm. It takes dedication, perseverance, patience and humility. This applies to Step work which is one of the cornerstones to recovery.  Originally I was very enthused, but as I progressed, I came to understand that Step work is a life-time process, just like recovery!

Photo Courtesy of MX


 

I Can Say No

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I have learned to say what I mean and mean what I say.  I can say no just as easy as I can say yes.  It took a while for me to learn this new “habit” or behavior.  I was so used to expressing what I thought others wanted to hear.  I played that game for a very long time. I never wanted to make others upset with me or disappointed with my decisions so I sought the “softer easier way.” While I have gained some ground with this behavior I am still very much an imperfect human being.  I try to take a little time with my decisions especially when they affect my recovery.  I have learned to ask for a little time or space, or both, to ensure that my decision will be the best one for me.  I believe in service to the Fellowship but there are limits to my efforts and it is okay to say no when it is appropriate for me.  I need to check myself when trying to determine the best course of action. What are my motives and how will this decision affect others in my life?
How do you check yourself?

Design For Living

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We in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works.
ALCOHOLIC ANONYMOUS , p. 28

I try each day to raise my heart and hands in thanks to God for showing me a “design for living” that really works through our beautiful Fellowship. But what, exactly, is this “design for living” that “really works”? For me, it is the practice of the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability, the continued awareness of a God who loves me unconditionally, and the hope that, in each new day, there is a purpose for my being. I am truly, truly blessed in the Fellowship.

Photo courtesy of Mags!!

Driven

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Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.
ALCOHOLIC ANONYMOUS , p. 62

My selfishness was the driving force behind my drinking. I drank to celebrate success and I drank to drown my sorrows. Humility is the answer. I learn to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. My sponsor tells me that service keeps me sober. Today I ask myself: Have I sought knowledge of God’s will for me? Have I done service for my A. A. group?

Step 6-Change

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When the pain of where I am is worse than the fear of where I am going, I welcome change. I came to the tables full of pain, unsure of who I was, what I was and where I was going.  A.A. offered me respite from the turmoil that defined my life.  I found hope at the tables and began to believe that I, with the help of God, could find the courage to face the changes I needed to make.  Believing in a Higher Power, and having the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, with its Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, was but a beginning to facing my demons and working towards the recovery I so desperately wanted and needed.  I had to recognize and define my problem before I could begin the process of change that sobriety called for.  I know today that change is the very basis of recovery from my defects of character – if nothing changes, nothing changes.  I have to change what I do, in order to change how I feel.  When I ask God to remove my shortcomings, I am taking a big step towards changing my liabilities to assets.  I become better when I behave better.

Photo Courtesy of MX

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