Saturday, March 31, 2012
NO ONE DENIED ME LOVE
On the A. A. calendar it was Year Two. . . . A newcomer
appeared at one of these groups. . . . He soon proved that
his was a desperate case, and that above all he wanted to
get well . . . [He said], "Since I am the victim of another
addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism, you may
not want me among you."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 141-42
I came to you—a wife, mother, woman who had walked out
on her husband, children, family. I was a drunk, a pill-head,
a nothing. Yet no one denied me love, caring, a sense of
belonging. Today, by God's grace and the love of a good
sponsor and a home group, I can say that—through you in
Alcoholics Anonymous—I am a wife, a mother, a
grandmother and a woman. Sober. Free of pills. Responsible.
Without a Higher Power I found in the Fellowship, my
life would be meaningless. I am full of gratitude to be a
member of good standing in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Friday, March 30, 2012
OUR GROUP CONSCIENCE
". . . sometimes the good is the enemy of the best"
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE P- 101
I think these words apply to every area of A.A.'s Three
Legacies: Recovery, Unity and Service! I want them etched
in my mind and life as I "trudge the Road of Happy
Destiny" (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164). These words,
often spoken by co-founder Bill W., were appropriately
said to him as the result of the group's conscience. It
brought home to Bill W. the essence of our Second Tradition:
"Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not
Just as Bill W. was originally urged to remember, I think
that in our group discussions we should never settle for the
"good," but always strive to attain the "best." These
common strivings are yet another example of a loving God,
as we understand Him, expressing Himself through the
group conscience. Experiences such as these help me to
stay on the proper path of recovery. I learn to combine
initiative with humility, responsibility with thankfulness,
and thus relish the joys of living my twenty-four hour
Thursday, March 29, 2012
They are servants. Theirs is the sometimes thankless
privilege of doing the group's chores
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 134
In Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis describes an
encounter between his principal character and an old man
busily at work planting a tree. "What is it you are doing?"
Zorba asks. The old man replies: "You can see very well
what I'm doing, my son, I'm planting a tree." "But why
plant a tree," Zorba asks, "if you won't be able to see it bear
fruit?" And the old man answers: "I, my son, live as though
I were never going to die." The response brings a faint
smile to Zorba's lips and, as he walks away, he exclaims
with a note of irony: "How strange—I live as though I were
going to die tomorrow!"
As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have found
that the Third Legacy is a fertile soil in which to plant the
tree of my sobriety. The fruits I harvest are wonderful:
peace, security, understanding and twenty-four hours of
eternal fulfillment; and with the soundness of mind to listen
to the voice of my conscience when, in silence, it gently
speaks to me, saying: You must let go in service. There are
others who must plant and harvest.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Peace has a great deal to do with warm-heartedness and respect for the lives of others, avoiding doing them harm and regarding their lives as being as precious as our own. If, on that basis, we can also be of help to others, so much the better.
Our membership ought to include all who suffer from
alcoholism Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover.
Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or
conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together
for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided
that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 565
Prior to A.A., I often felt that I didn't "fit in" with the
people around me. Usually "they" had more/ less money
than I did, and my points of view didn't jibe with "theirs."
The amount of prejudice I had experienced in society only
proved to me just how phony some self-righteous people
were. After joining A. A., I found the way of life I had been
searching for. In A.A. no member is better than any other
member; we're just alcoholics trying to recover from
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
We trust that we already know what our several freedoms
truly are; that no future generation of AAs will ever feel
compelled to limit them. Our AA freedoms create the soil in
which genuine love can grow. . . .
LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p. 303
I craved freedom. First, freedom to drink; later, freedom
from drink. The A.A. program of recovery rests on a
foundation of free choice. There are no mandates, laws or
commandments. A.A.'s spiritual program, as outlined in the
Twelve Steps, and by which I am offered even greater
freedoms, is only suggested. I can take it or leave it.
Sponsorship is offered, not forced, and I come and go as I
will. It is these and other freedoms that allow me to recapture
the dignity that was crushed by the burden of drink,
and which is so dearly needed to support an enduring
Monday, March 26, 2012
THE TEACHING IS NEVER OVER
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit
your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the
wreckage of your past Give freely of what you find and join
us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and
you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of
Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you—until
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164
These words put a lump in my throat each time I read them.
In the beginning it was because I felt, "Oh no! The teaching
is over. Now I'm on my own. It will never be this new
again." Today I feel deep affection for our A.A. pioneers
when I read this passage, realizing that it sums up all of
what I believe in, and strive for, and that—with God's
blessing—the teaching is never over, I'm never on my own,
and every day is brand new.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
A FULL AND THANKFUL HEART
try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful
heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with
gratitude, one's heartbeat must surely result in outgoing
love, the finest emotion that we can ever know.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 37
I believe that we in Alcoholics Anonymous are fortunate in
that we are constantly reminded of the need to be grateful
and of how important gratitude is to our sobriety. I am truly
grateful for the sobriety God has given me through the
A.A. program and am glad I can give back what was given
to me freely. I am grateful not only for sobriety, but for the
quality of life my sobriety has brought. God has been
gracious enough to give me sober days and a life blessed
with peace and contentment, as well as the ability to give
and receive love, and the opportunity to serve others—in
our Fellowship, my family and my community. For all of
this, I have "a full and thankful heart."
Saturday, March 24, 2012
ACTIVE, NOT PASSIVE
Man is supposed to think, and act He wasn't made in God's
image to be an automaton.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 55
Before I joined A.A., I often did not think, and reacted to
people and situations. When not reacting I acted in a
mechanical fashion. After joining A. A., I started seeking
daily guidance from a Power greater than myself, and
learning to listen for that guidance. Then I began to make
decisions and act on them, rather than react to them. The
results have been constructive; I no longer allow others to
make decisions for me and then criticize me for it.
Today—and every day—with a heart full of gratitude,
and a desire for God's will to be done through me, my life
is worth sharing, especially with my fellow alcoholics!
Above all, if I do not make a religion out of anything, even
A.A., then I can be an open channel for God's expression.
Friday, March 23, 2012
. . . AND NO MORE RESERVATIONS
We have seen the truth again and again: "Once an alcoholic,
always an alcoholic.". . . If we are planning to stop
drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any
lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.
. . . To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have
to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have.
This is particularly true of women. Potential female alcoholics
often turn into the real thing and are gone beyond
recall in a few years.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 33
These words are underlined in my book. They are true for
men and women alcoholics. On many occasions I've turned
to this page and reflected on this passage. I need never fool
myself by recalling my sometimes differing drinking
patterns, or by believing I am "cured." I like to think that, if
sobriety is God's gift to me, then my sober life is my gift to
God. I hope God is as happy with His gift as I am with
Thursday, March 22, 2012
NO MORE STRUGGLE. . .
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone— even
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
When A.A. found me, I thought I was in for a struggle, and
that A.A. might provide the strength I needed to beat
alcohol. Victorious in that fight, who knows what other
battles I could win. I would need to be strong, though. All
my previous experience with life proved that. Today I do
not have to struggle or exert my will. If I take those Twelve
Steps and let my Higher Power do the real work, my
alcohol problem disappears all by itself. My living
problems also cease to be struggles. I just have to ask
whether acceptance—or change—is required. It is not my
will, but His, that needs doing.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING
Fear . . . of economic insecurity will leave us.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
Having fear reduced or eliminated and having economic
circumstances improve, are two different things. When I
was new in A.A., I had those two ideas confused. I thought
fear would leave me only when I started making money.
However, another line from the Big Book jumped off the
page one day when I was chewing on my financial
difficulties: "For us, material well-being always followed
spiritual progress; it never preceded." (p. 127). I suddenly
understood that this promise was a guarantee. I saw that it
put priorities in the correct order, that spiritual progress
would diminish that terrible fear of being destitute, just as it
diminished many other fears.
Today I try to use the talents God gave me to benefit
others. I've found that is what others valued all along. I try
to remember that I no longer work for myself. I only get the
use of the wealth God created, I never have "owned" it. My
life's purpose is much clearer when I just work to help, not
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
LOVE AND TOLERANCE
Love and tolerance of others is our code.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
I have found that I have to forgive others in all situations to
maintain any real spiritual progress. The vital importance
of forgiving may not be obvious to me at first sight, but my
studies tell me that every great spiritual teacher has insisted
strongly upon it.
I must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter
of form, but in my heart. I do this not for the other persons'
sake, but for my own sake. Resentment, anger, or a desire
to see someone punished, are things that rot my soul. Such
things fasten my troubles to me with chains. They tie me to
other problems that have nothing to do with my original
Monday, March 19, 2012
Recognizing our human nature as beings whose happiness is dependent on others, we learn to open our hearts, and in so doing we gain a sense of purpose and a sense of connection with those around us.
PRAYER: IT WORKS
It has been well said that "almost the only scoffers at
prayer are those who never tried it enough."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 97
Having grown up in an agnostic household, I felt somewhat
foolish when I first tried praying. I knew there was a
Higher Power working in my life—how else was I staying
sober?—but I certainly wasn't convinced he/she/it wanted
to hear my prayers. People who had what I wanted said
prayer was an important part of practicing the program, so I
persevered. With a commitment to daily prayer, I was
amazed to find myself becoming more serene and
comfortable with my place in the world. In other words, life
became easier and less of a struggle. I'm still not sure who,
or what, listens to my prayers, but I'd never stop saying
them for the simple reason that they work.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The more we become willing to depend upon a Higher
Power, the more independent we actually are.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 36
I start with a little willingness to trust God and He causes
that willingness to grow. The more willingness I have, the
more trust I gain, and the more trust I gain, the more
willingness I have. My dependence on God grows as my
trust in Him grows. Before I became willing, I depended on
myself for all my needs and I was restricted by my incompleteness.
Through my willingness to depend upon my
Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, all my needs are
provided for by Someone Who knows me better than I
know myself—even the needs I may not realize, as well as
the ones yet to come. Only Someone Who knows me that
well could bring me to be myself and to help me fill the
need in someone else that only I am meant to fill. There
never will be another exactly like me. And that is real
Saturday, March 17, 2012
. . . out of every season of grief or suffering when the hand
of God seemed heavy or even unjust, new lessons for living
were learned, new resources of courage were uncovered,
and that finally, inescapably, the conviction came that God
does "move in a mysterious way His wonders to perform."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 105
After losing my career, family and health, I remained
unconvinced that my way of life needed a second look. My
drinking and other drug use were killing me, but I had never
met a recovering person or an A.A. member. I thought I was
destined to die alone and that I deserved it. At the peak of
my despair, my infant son became critically ill with a rare
disease. Doctors' efforts to help him proved useless. I
redoubled my efforts to block my feelings, but now the
alcohol had stopped working. I was left staring into God's
eyes, begging for help. My introduction to A.A. came
within days, through an odd series of coincidences, and I
have remained sober ever since. My son lived and his
disease is in remission. The entire episode convinced me of
my powerlessness and the unmanageability of my life.
Today my son and I thank God for His intervention.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Although violence and the use of force may appear powerful and decisive, their benefits are short-lived. Violence can never bring a lasting and long term resolution to any problem, because it is unpredictable and for every problem it seems to solve, others are created. On the other hand, truth remains constant and will ultimately prevail.
AS WE UNDERSTAND HIM
My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. . . .
"Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"
That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual
mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many
years I stood in the sunlight at last. It was only a matter of
being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself.
Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 12
I remember the times I looked up into the sky and reflected
on who started it all, and how. When I came to A.A., an
understanding of some description of the spiritual
dimension became a necessary adjunct to a stable sobriety.
After reading a variety of versions, including the scientific,
of a great explosion, I went for simplicity and made the
God of my understanding the Great Power that made the
explosion possible. With the vastness of the universe under
His command, He would, no doubt, be able to guide my
thinking and actions if I was prepared to accept His
guidance. But I could not expect help if I turned my back
on that help and went my own way. I became willing to
believe and I have had 26 years of stable and satisfying
Thursday, March 15, 2012
THE GOD IDEA
When we saw others solve their problems by a simple
reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop
doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the
God idea did.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 52
Like a blind man gradually being restored to sight, I slowly
groped my way to the Third Step. Having realized that only
a Power greater than myself could rescue me from the
hopeless abyss I was in, I knew that this was a Power that I
had to grasp, and that it would be my anchor in the midst of
a sea of woes. Even though my faith at that time was minuscule,
it was big enough to make me see that it was time
for me to discard my reliance on my prideful ego and
replace it with the steadying strength that could only come
from a Power far greater than myself.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas
are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new
and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62
A keystone is the wedge-shaped piece at the highest part of
an arch that locks the other pieces in place. The "other
pieces" are Steps One, Two, and Four through Twelve. In
one sense this sounds like Step Three is the most important
Step, that the other eleven depend on the third for support.
In reality however, Step Three is just one of twelve. It is the
keystone, but without eleven other stones to build the base
and arms, keystone or not, there will be no arch. Through
daily working of all Twelve Steps, I find that triumphant
arch waiting for me to pass through to another day of
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
A WORLD OF THE SPIRIT
We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is
to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an
overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
The word "entered" . . . and the phrase "entered into the
world of the Spirit" are very significant. They imply action,
a beginning, getting into, a prerequisite to maintaining my
spiritual growth, the "Spirit" being the immaterial part of
me. Barriers to my spiritual growth are self-centeredness
and a materialistic focus on worldly things. Spirituality
means devotion to spiritual instead of worldly things, it
means obedience to God's will for me. I understand
spiritual things to be: unconditional love, joy, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and humility.
Any time I allow selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and
fear to be a part of me, I block out spiritual things. As I
maintain my sobriety, growing spiritually becomes a
lifelong process. My goal is spiritual growth, accepting that
I'll never have spiritual perfection.
Monday, March 12, 2012
A DAY'S PLAN
On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours
ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin,
we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it
be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 86
Every day I ask God to kindle within me the fire of His
love, so that love, burning bright and clear, will illuminate
my thinking and permit me to better do His will.
Throughout the day, as I allow outside circumstances to
dampen my spirits, I ask God to sear my consciousness with
the awareness that I can start my day over any time I
choose; a hundred times, if necessary.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
GOOD ORDERLY DIRECTION
It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that
we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most
wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the
misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our
problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into
agreement with God's intention for us. To make this
increasingly possible is the purpose of A.A.'s Twelve Steps,
and Step Three opens the door.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 40
All I have to do is look back at my past to see where my
self-will has led me. I just don't know what's best for me
and I believe my Higher Power does. G.O.D., which I
define as "Good Orderly Direction," has never let me
down, but I have let myself down quite often. Using my
self-will in a situation usually has the same result as forcing
the wrong piece into a jigsaw puzzle—exhaustion and
Step Three opens the door to the rest of the program.
When I ask God for guidance I know that whatever
happens is the best possible situation, things are exactly as
they are supposed to be, even if they aren't what I want or
expect. God does do for me what I cannot do for myself, if
I let Him.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
TODAY, IT'S MY CHOICE
. . . we invariably find that at some time in the past we have
made decisions based on self which later placed us in a
position to be hurt.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62
With the realization and acceptance that I had played a part
in the way my life had turned out came a dramatic change
in my outlook. It was at this point that the A.A. program
began to work for me. In the past I had always blamed
others, either God or other people, for my circumstances. I
never felt that I had a choice in altering my life. My decisions
had been based on fear, pride, or ego. As a result,
those decisions led me down a path of self-destruction.
Today I try to allow my God to guide me on the road to
sanity. I am responsible for my action—or inaction—
whatever the consequences may be.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the
care of God as we understood Him.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 34
No matter how much one wishes to try, exactly how can
one turn his own will and his own life over to the care of
whatever God he thinks there is? In my search for the
answer to this question, I became aware of the wisdom with
which it was written: that this is a two-part Step.
I could see many times where I should have died, or at
least been injured, during my previous style of living, and it
never happened. Someone, or something, was looking after
me. I choose to believe my life has always been in God's
care. He alone controls the number of days I will be granted
until physical death.
The matter of will (self-will or God's will) is the more
difficult part of the Step for me. It is only when I have
experienced enough emotional pain, through failed attempts
to fix myself, that I become willing to surrender to God's
will for my life. Surrender is like the calm after the storm.
When my will is in line with God's will for me, there is
Thursday, March 8, 2012
TURNING IT OVER
Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to
stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step
Three. Isn't it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol,
each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the
care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? .
. . Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe
harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this
is not turning one's will and life over to a newfound
Providence, then what is it?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 35
Submission to God was the first step to my recovery. I
believe our Fellowship seeks a spirituality open to a new
kinship with God. As I exert myself to follow the path of
the Steps, I sense a freedom that gives me the ability to
think for myself. My addiction confined me without any
release and hindered my ability to be released from my selfconfinement,
but A.A. assures me of a way to go forward.
Mutual sharing, concern and caring for others is our natural
gift to each other and mine is strengthened as my attitude
toward God changes. I learn to submit to God's will in my
life, to have self-respect, and to keep both of these attitudes
by giving away what I receive.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
THE KEY IS WILLINGNESS
Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and
have the door ever so slightly open, we find that we can
always open it some more.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 35
The willingness to give up my pride and self-will to a
Power greater than myself has proved to be the only
ingredient absolutely necessary to solve all of my problems
today. Even the smallest amount of willingness, if sincere,
is sufficient to allow God to enter and take control over any
problem, pain, or obsession. My level of comfort is in
direct relation to the degree of willingness I possess at any
given moment to give up my self-will, and allow God's will
to be manifested in my life. With the key of willingness,
my worries and fears are powerfully transformed into
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
THE IDEA OF FAITH
Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual
terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they
mean to you.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 47
The idea of faith is a very large chunk to swallow when
fear, doubt and anger abound in and around me. Sometimes
just the idea of doing something different, something I am
not accustomed to doing, can eventually become an act of
faith if I do it regularly, and do it without debating whether
it's the right thing to do. When a bad day comes along and
everything is going wrong, a meeting or a talk with another
drunk often distracts me just enough to persuade me that
everything is not quite as impossible, as overwhelming as I
had thought. In the same way, going to a meeting or talking
to a fellow alcoholic are acts of faith; I believe I'm arresting
my disease. These are ways I slowly move toward faith in a
Monday, March 5, 2012
A LIFELONG TASK
"But just how, in these circumstances, does a fellow 'take it
easy?' That's what I want to know."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 26
I was never known for my patience. How many times have
I asked, "Why should I wait, when I can have it all right
now?" Indeed, when I was first presented the Twelve
Steps, I was like the proverbial "kid in a candy store." I
couldn't wait to get to Step Twelve; it was surely just a few
months' work, or so I thought! I realize now that living the
Twelve Steps of A.A. is a lifelong undertaking.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
WEEDING THE GARDEN
The essence of all growth is a willingness to make a
change for the better and then an unremitting willingness
to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 115
By the time I had reached Step Three I had been freed of
my dependence on alcohol, but bitter experience has shown
me that continuous sobriety requires continuous effort.
Every now and then I pause to take a good look at my
progress. More and more of my garden is weeded each
time I look, but each time I also find new weeds sprouting
where I thought I had made my final pass with the blade.
As I head back to get the newly sprouted weed (it's easier
when they are young), I take a moment to admire how lush
the growing vegetables and flowers are, and my labors are
rewarded. My sobriety grows and bears fruit.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.
They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme
example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't
think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of
this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62
For so many years my life revolved solely around myself. I
was consumed with self in all forms—self-centeredness,
self-pity, self-seeking, all of which stemmed from pride.
Today I have been given the gift, through the Fellowship of
Alcoholics Anonymous, of practicing the Steps and
Traditions in my daily life, of my group and sponsor, and
the capacity—if I so choose—to put my pride aside in all
situations which arise in my life.
Until I could honestly look at myself and see that I was
the problem in many situations and react appropriately
inside and out; until I could discard my expectations and
understand that my serenity was directly proportional to
them, I could not experience serenity and sound sobriety.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Do not be discouraged.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 60
Few experiences are of less value to me than fast sobriety.
Too many times discouragement has been the bonus for
unrealistic expectations, not to mention self-pity or fatigue
from my wanting to change the world by the weekend.
Discouragement is a warning signal that I may have
wandered across the God line. The secret of fulfilling my
potential is in acknowledging my limitations and believing
that time is a gift, not a threat.
Hope is the key that unlocks the door of discouragement.
The program promises me that if I do not pick up
the first drink today, I will always have hope. Having come
to believe that I keep what I share, every time I encourage,
I receive courage. It is with others that, with the grace of
God and the Fellowship of A.A., I trudge the road of happy
destiny. May I always remember that the power within me
is far greater than any fear before me. May I always have
patience, for I am on the right road.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
As a bagpiper, I play many gigs.
Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service
for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be
at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical
male, I didn't stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone
and the hearse was nowhere in sight.
There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt
badly and apologized to the men for being late.
I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was
already in place.
I didn't know what else to do, so I started to pl ay. The workers put down
their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for
this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played
before for this homeless man. And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers
began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together.
When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my
head hung low, my heart was full. As I opened the door to my car, I heard
one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin' like that before and I've
been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."
Apparently I'm still lost.
It's a man thing.
It works—it really does.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 88
When I got sober I initially had faith only in the program of
Alcoholics Anonymous. Desperation and fear kept me
sober (and maybe a caring and/or tough sponsor helped!).
Faith in a Higher Power came much later. This faith came
slowly at first, after I began listening to others share at
meetings about their experiences—experiences that I had
never faced sober, but that they were facing with strength
from a Higher Power. Out of their sharing came hope that I
too would—and could—"get" a Higher Power. In time, I
learned that a Higher Power—a faith that works under all
conditions—is possible. Today this faith, plus the honesty,
open-mindedness and willingness to work the Steps of the
program, gives me the serenity that I seek. It works—it