Archive | March, 2012

When trying to make a decision, a sponsor helps by asking the sponsee:

31 Mar

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#1. “Did you pray about it?”

#2. Have you applied the steps/traditions or Big Book principles to it, and if so, how?”

#3. “What would a good member of the program who trusted God do? Not you, but a REALLY good member that was willing to trust God – what would THEY do in this situation!” (This one gets me, because he is really offhandedly telling me I’m not behaving like a good member of the program. lol)

#4. “If your sponsee came to you with this problem, what would you suggest they do in this situation?”

#5. “What is the guiding principle your operating under the guise of; love or fear, are you being driven by ego, or led by God?”

#6. “Does it square with the principles of the program… Is it complimenting or contaminating them?”

And finally, #7. “is this decision factual, friendly, fair & firm – i.e. Kind, Necessary and True?”

ALWAYS being mindful of, “Perhaps your story will help him see where he has failed to practice the very precepts he knows so well.” – BB pg 93)

Other mindful reminders and considerations:

“Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems. I have since been brought into a way of living infinitely more satisfying and, I hope, more useful than the life I lived before. My old manner of life was by no means a bad one, but I would not exchange its best moments for the worst I have now. I would not go back to it even if I could.” (42:3)

“Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances.” (100:1)

Is it possible to be happy and satisfied whatever happens? Totally. But you will never believe that unless you have experienced it, because it runs counter to the belief system forming the fabric of pre-recovery life.

I had life backwards, upside-down, inside-out.

“You, as well as your husband, ought to think of what you can put into life instead of what you can take out. Inevitably your lives will be fuller for doing so. You will lose the old life to find one much better.” (120:0)

Happiness and satisfaction have come for me when I have been entirely focused outwards, not inwards: the flow is from me to you, not from you to me. When I am empty, I must give utterly of myself. It is entirely counter-intuitive—anything in the material realm that is empty needs filling to be filled. Anything in the spiritual realm that is empty needs emptying to be filled.

I cannot inch and slouch my way to the fourth dimension. And, let me tell you, I have tried. I have tried half measures in AA, a little bit of inventory, a whole bunch of meetings, but never fully taking on board the idea that God is everything and my reliance must be 100% on Him, never making all my amends (and getting people to counter-sign my get-out clauses to slim down the list), never truly admitting the delusion that I have utterly failed to make myself happy on the basis of living in accordance with what I think I want. I have tried combining these half measures with all sorts of therapies and approaches involving increasing my intellectual understanding of ‘myself’ and my ‘problems’ in the hope that my unhappiness would be chipped away at, that I would be nudged in the direction of peace.

And the result was nil. Because anything less than full measures will jam the mechanism of the catapult, and, yes, I will be shot out of it, but it will not be the fourth dimension I land in.

I pray that I am kept by God’s grace in the life I have now, because I do not want to go back. But the job of maintaining my spiritual condition is up to me—without daily action, I can perfectly well fall back into the sleep of delusion.

A person may go on pondering deeply in intense emotion about his needs, about the need of the moment. That is not yet prayer. Adding “in the name of God” to it will not make it prayer. It is the cry of anguish which becomes a realization of God’s mercy that constitutes prayer. It is the moment of a person in anguish forgetting his anguish and thinking of God and God’s mercy. That is prayer…. It may last a moment but it is the essence of a lifetime.

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Anyone can verbally attack another. Anyone can be a smart aleck. Anyone can be angry and tell other people things that will hurt them. Anyone can be sarcastic, devaluating and belittling , but it takes real strength to be silent. Silence is so powerful. Silence can be so loving.

31 Mar

Anyone can verbally attack another. Anyone can be a smart aleck. Anyone can be angry and tell other people things that will hurt them. Anyone can be sarcastic, devaluating and belittling , but it takes real strength to be silent. Silence is so powerful. Silence can be so loving.

My value and worth today doesn’t come from what others think of me.. It only comes from my relationship with God… Be still and know.

If you feel hurt because someone insulted you. This is ego. Feel great with praise? This is ego. A managed ego state (or egoless state) is free from emotional attachment and reaction from the judgment of others. When ego is attacked or hurt, it does what ego does: fights and hurts back for ego is not love, it is separation.

Ego only wants to play with problems, there is no such thing as a grateful ego, happy ego or problem solving ego. Ego: the optical illusion of consciousness. The only problem(ego): conscious separation from God. The only solution(God): Conscious contact/awareness with God. Everyone is You and You are they. The bodies create the illusion of separate being; but consider the fingers of a hand: they all look different, but they’re all part of the hand. Look beyond the outer appearance; release the imprisoned splendor!

“The only problem(ego): conscious separation from God. The only solution(God): Conscious contact/awareness with God.” As the BB states many times, “There is One Who has All Power that One is God may you find Him now. Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. … for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.”

If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.~”It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.”

The answer is not separate from the problem.~”A good problem statement often includes:

(a) what is known
(b) what is unknown
(c) what is sought.”
I knew I was being driven mad, I did not know why, I asked for help in a moment of clarity.

“I cannot do life well on my own..”

“Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps till the legend, “over steep ways to the stars,” fulfills itself.” -/- Without the sad, we could not know happiness and the difference we learn to cherish..

“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them. If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem.”

“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.”

Our bitter experiences with alcohol can also furnish lessons about the kinds of goals we should strive for in sobriety. Let’s take an inventory if we find ourselves thinking that our happiness depends on certain people, places, or things. Our true happiness comes from our Higher Power and the right combination of love and service. With the right attitude, we can actually be happy under many kinds of conditions and with all sorts of people.
What, then, should we pray for? “Knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out,” is a prayer that puts things in proper order. Seek to do God’s will, and you might be utterly amazed at the results. After all, it is God’s pleasure to give you good things.
I’ll pray for knowledge of God’s will today, while exercising prudence in all my affairs.

If we have a banner, that word, anonymity, which speaks of the surrender of the individual–the ego–is emblazoned on it. Let us dwell thoughtfully on its full meaning and learn thereby to remain humble, modest, ever conscious that we are under divine direction.– Dr. Bob

Anonymity is a state of mind of great value to the individual in maintaining sobriety. While I recognize its protective function,I feel that any discussion of it would be one-sided if it failed to emphasize the fact that the maintenance of a feeling of anonymity — “I am nothing special” –- is a basic insurance of humility and so a basic safeguard against further trouble with alcohol. This kind of anonymity is truly a precious possession. — Dr. Harry Tiebout, M.D.

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.– Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing In The World

Anxious Apartness — “But we soon discovered that while we weren’t alone any more in a social sense, we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness.” 12&12 p.57, Step Five

I cannot hold back. I must not continue to suffer that shyness, aloneness, that overwhelming sense of self … in my affairs. I must get involved in a group of people to practice these principles in all my affairs. Only the total approach is healing. Anything less is little more than driving my disease deep … and if I do that … it will continue to eat away, trying to destroy me.

Our recovery from alcoholism through the Steps must be a three-fold process. It is not one-dimensional. When we say, that we have a triangle … recovery, unity, service … we mean it. In working the Steps, I clear a pathway for two purposes … first, to come into a group of human people and away from the fringe of society where I have spent most of my emotional life. Secondly, discovering ‘belonging’, through service to the people within that group. It is only this entire, threefold process that heals.

It is especially true for those of us who suffer from the spiritual malady to a great degree. Perhaps the 12th Step says it best: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps (recovery), we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics (service) and practice these principles in all our affairs (unity).

Here is a form of a prayer Mother Teresa used, “Love Them Anyway; People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS TREATMENT

Here is a mental treatment that is guaranteed to cure every ill that flesh is heir to: Sit for half an hour every night and mentally forgive everyone against whom you have any ill will or antipathy. If you fear or if you are prejudiced against even an animal, mentally ask forgiveness of it and send it thoughts of love. If you have accused anyone of injustice, if you have discussed anyone unkindly, if you have criticized or gossiped about anyone, withdraw your words by asking him, in the silence, to forgive you. If you have had a falling out with friends or relatives, if you are at law or engaged in contention with anyone, do everything in your power to end the separation. See all things and all persons as they really are—pure Spirit—and send them your strongest thoughts of love. Do not go to bed any night feeling that you have an enemy in the world.

Be careful not to think a thought or to say a word that will offend. Be patient, loving, and kind, under all circumstances. You can do this if you are faithful to the silent hour, because there you will be helped to overcome the selfishness of the carnal sense.

There is an immutable law lying back of this healing method. God is love, and love is manifest as life. God is thus manifest in and through all His creations. If we do aught to cut off the love of any person we are cutting off the love of God; hence, we are cutting off the life that flows through all. When we, by withdrawal from our fellows, in any way cut the cords of love that bind us together as men and women, we at the same time sever the arteries and veins through which the universal life flows. We then find ourselves mere bundles of strained nerves, trembling and shaking with fear and weakness, and finally dying for the lack of God’s love. But omnipresent Spirit ever seeks to flow into us and to stimulate us in every faculty. We must, however, by our words and acts acknowledge this all-powerful Presence as the moving factor in our lives, because each of us has inherent free will, which welcomes or rejects all, even God not being excepted.

Self-condemnation is also a great error, leading to dire results. If you have accused yourself of ignorance, foolishness, fear, sickness, anxiety, poverty, anger, jealousy, stinginess, ambition, weakness, or if you are melancholy and indulge in the “blues,” ask forgiveness, for each, of the loving Father in whose image and likeness you spiritually have perfect life. Say often to this omnipresence:

I do now sacrifice these human limitations unto Thee, O Father! I am obedient unto the law of my being, and I know that in Thee I am brave, true, energetic, wise, pure, perfect, strong, rich, and courageous. Thou art my almighty Resource, and I do trust Thee utterly.

“We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

31 Mar

“We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” (BB pg 83)

A man sat in the audience and cracked a joke. Everybody laughs like crazy. After a moment, he cracked the same joke again and again. When there is no laughter in the crowd, he smiled and said: You can’t laugh at the same joke again and again, but why do you keep crying over the same thing over and over again?

I suffered from severe, at time crippling, depression my first 8 years of recovery. I tried everything; working the steps, sponsoring, service, meetings, etc. etc… But it wasn’t till I off-handedly found out that I had a deep seated resentment that I was not conscious of did that feeling of self-loathing lift (God removed it!)

I had never met my father and resented that he abandoned me in the despicable life I was raised in as a child. I never met him and only heard bad things about him and hated him for my life being so horrible. An oldtimer pointed out that I had a resentment toward my father and I chewed him out about telling me that because I said WHO WOULDN’T … Like I deserved to have it and that forgiving my father would effectively take him off the hook. I did work the steps and to my amazement found that I did have a resentment and was finally after 36 years ready to let it go. THE VERY NEXT DAY 12 HOURS LATER THE PHONE RANG!

It was a sister I had not met who called saying my/our father was dead and that he had been trying to find me the last 2 years of his life. He was in agonizing pain from cancer and cried everyday asking if they ever found his Joey… I went to my father’s funeral and saw my father for the 1st time in my life lying in the casket. Here was a fellow alcoholic that never made it to the program… HOW COULD I NOT FORGIVE HIM!? With God’s help I did and you know what? THE DEPRESSION LEFT AND HAS NEVER RETURNED!

If anyone has depression, my experience is simply this, look and see if there is anyone or thing you haven’t forgiven and ask God for His sufficient grace to empower you to do so!

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“Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past.” (Big Book pg. 132)

31 Mar

Laughter Cheerfulness and laughter are an important part of our usefulness to them. Laughter is an instant vacation. – We are absolutely sure God wants us to be happy joyous and free.

The chapter in the Big Book the Family Afterwards speaks of the newcomer and how our cheerfulness and laughter are an important part of our usefulness to them. This truly is a great read which contains a popular line from the Big Book, “We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free.”

Before my recovery from alcoholism began, laughter was one of the most painful sounds I knew. I never laughed and I felt that anyone else’s laughter was directed at
me! My self-pity and anger denied me the simplest of pleasures or lightness of heart. By the end of my drinking not even alcohol could provoke a drunken giggle in me. When my A.A. sponsor began to laugh and point out my self-pity and ego-feeding deceptions, I was annoyed and hurt, but it taught me to lighten up and focus on my recovery. I soon learned to laugh at myself and eventually I taught those I sponsor to laugh also. Every day I ask God to help me stop taking myself too seriously.

The Set Aside Prayer God, help me to set aside everything I know; About myself, my alcoholism and you; About the Big Book, the Twelve Steps and the Fellowship. On this new day, let me have an opened mind, And enjoy a new experience with all of these, Especially You Lord! THY WILL – NOT MY WILL – BE DONE

31 Mar

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‎”There was always one more attempt — and one more failure.” (BB pg. 151)

The Paradox of Surrendering to win:

On the face of it, surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. But it is in AA 
Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit “bottom” in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety which we could never accomplish before. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win. (Big Book 1955 2nd Edition, pp. 341-2)

In God’s Economy

“In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.”
We did not always come closer to wisdom by reason of our virtues; our better understanding is often rooted in the pains of our former follies. Because this has been the essence of our individual experience, it is also the essence of our experience as a fellowship.
1. LETTER, 1942 – 2. GRAPEVINE, NOVEMBER 1961

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TURN IT OVER AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN…

31 Mar

TURN IT OVER AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN...

When I hit life problems I’m constantly turning things over to God, not just MY will and life but every area of my life 24/7. I ask myself in every situation that arises in my life how would a good member of AA who was really trusting God and believed that God was their Father and taking care of them act? Then I pray for the courage and grace to follow the dictates of my higher Power’s Guidance… this takes pesisten and consistent dilligence and willingness on my part which is a trait a selfish, self-centered to the extreme alcoholic like myself doesn’t come easy to.

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DO THE RIGHT THING! WHO CARES WHAT YOUR MOTIVE IS FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING? There is NO WRONG MOTIVE for doing the right thing – EVER!

31 Mar

DO THE RIGHT THING! WHO CARES WHAT YOUR MOTIVE IS FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING? There is NO WRONG MOTIVE for doing the right thing - EVER!

MOTIVES QUESTION: Do motives really matter?

“We ask God to direct our thinking especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity,dishonest or self-seeking motives.” (BB pg 86)

Whatever your motive is does not matter! Nor is your motive very important? There is NEVER a wrong motive for doing the right thing! Spiritual principles will solve all my problems. The guiding principle of AA is found on page 28 of the Big Book, ‘Giving rather than getting becomes our guiding principle.” WHO CARES WHAT YOUR MOTIVE IS FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING? There is NO WRONG MOTIVE for doing the right thing – EVER!

It really does not matter if ou are divorced from self will or not – ONLY YOUR ACTIONS that you take will be the real demonstration of if your divorced from self will or not…. how many people do we know that know the Big Book from cover to cover and can recite it and also know every in and out of the steps and how to ‘properly’ take them, and profess all sorts of spiritual protestations in the one hour meeting BUT their lives are 180 degree different matter – THEY SAY THEY HAVE BEEN DIVORCED FROM SELFWILL AND SELFSEEKING but if you woul look at the ‘ACTIONS’ in their much more important areas of practicing these principles (home life, occupation and affairs ref to BB pg 19) their actions are in direct conflict with what they ‘say’. So, in this way, ONLY ACTIONS COUNTS – NOT MOTIVES! It doesn’t matter what your motive is ONLY what your actions are – DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE WRONG MOTIVE AND IT WILL TURN OUT RIGHT EVERY SINGLE TIME – ALWAYS! y sponsor told me when I was new that he would listen to what I said with his eyes! It really didn’t make sense then but it sure does now!