Thursday, February 28, 2013
WHAT? NO PRESIDENT?
When told that our Society has no president having
authority to govern it, no treasurer who can compel the
payment of any dues, . . . our friends gasp and exclaim,
"This simply can't be. . . ."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 132
When I finally made my way to A.A., I could not believe
that there was no treasurer to "compel the payment of
dues." I could not imagine an organization that didn't
require monetary contributions in return for a service. It
was my first and, thus far, only experience with getting
"something for nothing." Because I did not feel used or
conned by those in A.A., I was able to approach the
program free from bias and with an open mind. They
wanted nothing from me. What could I lose? I thank God
for the wisdom of the early founders who knew so well the
alcoholic's disdain for being manipulated.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A UNIQUE STABILITY
Where does A.A. get its direction? . . . These practical folk
then read Tradition Two, and learn that the sole authority
in A.A. is a loving God as He may express Himself in the
group conscience. . . . The elder statesman is the one who
sees the wisdom of the group's decision, who holds no
resentment over his reduced status, whose judgment,
fortified by considerable experience, is sound, and who is
willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 132, 135
Into the fabric of recovery from alcoholism are woven the
Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. As my recovery
progressed, I realized that the new mantle was tailor-made
for me. The elders of the group gently offered suggestions
when change seemed impossible. Everyone's shared
experiences became the substance for treasured friendships.
I know that the Fellowship is ready and equipped to aid
each suffering alcoholic at all crossroads in life. In a world
beset by many problems, I find this assurance a unique
stability. I cherish the gift of sobriety. I offer God my
gratitude for the strength I receive in a Fellowship that
truly exists for the good of all members.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
NO ORDINARY SUCCESS STORY
A.A. is no success story in the ordinary sense of the word. It
is a story of suffering transmuted, under grace, into
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 35
Upon entering A.A. I listened to others talk about the
reality of their drinking: loneliness, terror and pain. As I
listened further, I soon heard a description of a very
different kind—the reality of sobriety. It is a reality of
freedom and happiness, of purpose and direction, and of
serenity and peace with God, ourselves and others. By
attending meetings I am reintroduced to that reality, over
and over. I see it in the eyes and hear it in the voices of
those around me. By working the program I find the
direction and strength with which to make it mine. The joy
of A.A. is that this new reality is available to me.
Monday, February 25, 2013
THE CHALLENGE OF FAILURE
In God's economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we
learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed,
painful though it is.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 31
How thankful I am today, to know that all my past failures
were necessary for me to be where I am now. Through
much pain came experience and, in suffering, I became
obedient. When I sought God, as I understand Him, He
shared His treasured gifts. Through experience and
obedience, growth started, followed by gratitude. Yes, then
came peace of mind—living in and sharing sobriety
Sunday, February 24, 2013
A THANKFUL HEART
I try 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
My sponsor told me that I should be a grateful alcoholic
and always have "an attitude of gratitude"—that gratitude
was the basic ingredient of humility, that humility was the
basic ingredient of anonymity and that "anonymity was the
spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us
to place principles before personalities." As a result of this
guidance, I start every morning on my knees, thanking God
for three things: I'm alive, I'm sober, and I'm a member of
Alcoholics Anonymous. Then I try to live an "attitude of
gratitude" and thoroughly enjoy another twenty-four hours
of the A.A. way of life. A.A. is not something I joined; it's
something I live.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Such is the paradox of A.A. regeneration: strength arising
out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old
life as a condition for finding a new one.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 46
What glorious mysteries paradoxes are! They do not
compute, yet when recognized and accepted, they reaffirm
something in the universe beyond human logic. When I
face a fear, I am given courage; when I support a brother or
sister, my capacity to love myself is increased; when I
accept pain as part of the growing experience of life, I
realize a greater happiness; when I look at my dark side, I
am brought into new light; when I accept my vulnerabilities
and surrender to a Higher Power, I am graced with
unforeseen strength. I stumbled through the doors of A.A.
in disgrace, expecting nothing from life, and I have been
given hope and dignity. Miraculously, the only way to keep
the gifts of the program is to pass them on.
Friday, February 22, 2013
. . . this means a belief in a Creator who is all power,
justice, and love; a God who intends for me a purpose, a
meaning, and a destiny to grow, however . . . haltingly,
toward His own likeness and image.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 51
As I began to understand my own powerlessness and my
dependence on God, as I understand Him, I began to see
that there was a life which, if I could have it, I would have
chosen for myself from the beginning. It is through the
continuing work of the Steps and the life in the Fellowship
that I've learned to see that there is truly a better way into
which I am being guided. As I come to know more about
God, I am able to trust His ways and His plans for the
development of His character in me. Quickly or not so
quickly, I grow toward His own image and likeness.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
I'M PART OF THE WHOLE
At once, I became a part—if only a tiny part—of a cosmos.
. . .
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 225
When I first came to A.A., I decided that "they" were very
nice people—perhaps a little naive, a little too friendly, but
basically decent, earnest people (with whom I had nothing
in common). I saw "them" at meetings—after all, that was
where "they" existed. I shook hands with "them" and, when
I went out the door, I forgot about "them."
Then one day my Higher Power, whom I did not then
believe in, arranged to create a community project outside
of A.A., but one which happened to involve many A.A.
members. We worked together, I got to know "them" as
people. I came to admire "them," even to like "them" and,
in spite of myself, to enjoy "them." "Their" practice of the
program in their daily lives—not just in talk at meetings—
attracted me and I wanted what they had. Suddenly the
"they" became "we." I have not had a drink since.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER
At this juncture, his A.A. sponsor usually laughs.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 26
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.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I'M NOT DIFFERENT
In the beginning, it was four whole years before A. A.
brought permanent sobriety to even one alcoholic woman.
Like the "high bottoms," the women said they were
different; . . . The Skid-Rower said he was different . . . so
did the artists and the professional people, the rich, the
poor, the religious, the agnostic, the Indians and the
Eskimos, the veterans, and the prisoners . . . nowadays all
of these, and legions more, soberly talk about how very
much alike all of us alcoholics are when we admit that the
chips are finally down.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 24
I cannot consider myself "different" in A. A.; if I do I
isolate myself from others and from contact with my
Higher Power. If I feel isolated in A.A., it is not something
for which others are responsible. It is something I've
created by feeling I'm "different" in some way. Today I
practice being just another alcoholic in the worldwide
Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Monday, February 18, 2013
OUR PATHS ARE OUR OWN
. . . there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple
kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 25
My first attempt at the Steps was one of obligation and
necessity, which resulted in a deep feeling of
discouragement in the face of all those adverbs:
courageously; completely; humbly; directly; and only. I
considered Bill W. fortunate to have gone through such a
major, even sensational, spiritual experience. I had to
discover, as time went on, that my path was my own. After
a few twenty-four hours in the A.A. Fellowship, thanks
especially to the sharing of members in the meetings, I
understood that everyone gradually finds his or her own
pace in moving through the Steps. Through progressive
means, I try to live according to these suggested principles.
As a result of these Steps, I can say today that my attitude
towards life, people, and towards anything having to do
with God, has been transformed and improved.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
THE LOVE IN THEIR EYES
Some of us won't believe in God, others can't, and still
others who do believe that God exists have no faith
whatever He will perform this miracle.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 25
It was the changes I saw in the new people who came into
the Fellowship that helped me lose my fear, and change my
negative attitude to a positive one. I could see the love in
their eyes and I was impressed by how much their "One
Day at a Time" sobriety meant to them. They had looked
squarely at Step Two and came to believe that a power
greater than themselves was restoring them to sanity. That
gave me faith in the Fellowship, and hope that it could
work for me too. I found that God was a loving God, not
that punishing God I feared before coming to A.A. I also
found that He had been with me during all those times I had
been in trouble before I came to A.A. I know today that He
was the one who led me to A.A. and that I am a miracle.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes,
and right action is the key to good living.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 125
There came a time in my program of recovery when the
third stanza of the Serenity Prayer—"The wisdom to know
the difference"—became indelibly imprinted in my mind.
From that time on, I had to face the ever-present
knowledge that my every action, word and thought was
within, or outside, the principles of the program. I could no
longer hide behind self-rationalization, nor behind the
insanity of my disease. The only course open to me, if I
was to attain a joyous life for myself (and subsequently for
those I love), was one in which I imposed on myself an
effort of commitment, discipline, and responsibility.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Are these extravagant promises? We think not They are
being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes
slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
One of the most important things A.A. has given me, in
addition to freedom from booze, is the ability to take "right
action." It says the promises will always materialize if I
work for them. Fantasizing about them, debating them,
preaching about them and faking them just won't work. I'll
remain a miserable, rationalizing dry drunk. By taking
action and working the Twelve Steps in all my affairs, I'll
have a life beyond my wildest dreams
Thursday, February 14, 2013
EXPECTATIONS vs. DEMANDS
Burn the idea into the consciousness of ever, man that he
can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is
that he trust in God and clean house.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98
Dealing with expectations is a frequent topic at meetings. It
isn't wrong to expect progress of myself, good things from
life, or decent treatment from others. Where I get into
trouble is when my expectations become demands. I will
fall short of what I wish to be and situations will go in
ways I do not like, because people will let me down
sometimes. The only question is: "What am I going to do
about it?" Wallow in self-pity or anger; retaliate and make
a bad situation worse; or will I trust in God's power to
bring blessings on the messes in which I find myself? Will
I ask Him what I should be learning; do I keep on doing the
right things I know how to do, no matter what; do I take
time to share my faith and blessings with others?
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
WE CAN'T THINK OUR WAY SOBER
To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman, many A.
A.'s can say, "Yes, we were like you—far too smart for our
own good. . . . Secretly, we felt we could float above the
rest of the folks on our brain power alone."
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 60
Even the most brilliant mind is no defense against the
disease of alcoholism. I can't think my way sober. I try to
remember that intelligence is a God-given attribute that I
may use, a joy—like having a talent for dancing or drawing
or carpentry. It does not make me better than anyone else,
and it is not a particularly reliable tool for recovery, for it is
a power greater than myself who will restore me to
sanity—not a high IQ or a college degree.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
"THE ROOT OF OUR TROUBLES"
Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root
of our troubles.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62
How amazing the revelation that the world, and everyone
in it, can get along just fine with or without me. What a
relief to know that people, places and things will be
perfectly okay without my control and direction. And how
wordlessly wonderful to come to believe that a power
greater than me exists separate and apart from myself. I
believe that the feeling of separation I experience between
me and God will one day vanish. In the meantime, faith
must serve as the pathway to the center of my life.
Monday, February 11, 2013
THE LIMITS OF SELF-RELIANCE
We asked ourselves why we had them [fears]. Wasn't it
because self-reliance failed us?
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 68
All of my character defects separate me from God's will.
When I ignore my association with Him I face the world
and my alcoholism alone and must depend on self-reliance.
I have never found security and happiness through self-will
and the only result is a life of fear and discontent. God
provides the path back to Him and to His gift of serenity
and comfort. First, however, I must be willing to acknowledge
my fears and understand their source and power
over me. I frequently ask God to help me understand how I
separate myself from Him.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
I DON'T RUN THE SHOW
When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed
crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly
face the proposition that either God is everything or else
He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't What was our
choice to be?
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 53
Today my choice is God. He is everything. For this I am
truly grateful. When I think I am running the show I am
blocking God from my life. I pray I can remember this
when I allow myself to get caught up into self. The most
important thing is that today I am willing to grow along
spiritual lines, and that God is everything. When I was
trying to quit drinking on my own, it never worked; with
God and A.A., it is working. This seems to be a simple
thought for a complicated alcoholic.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
GETTING THE "SPIRITUAL ANGLE"
How often do we sit in AA meetings and hear the speaker
declare, "But I haven't yet got the spiritual angle." Prior to
this statement, he had described a miracle of
transformation which had occurred in him—not only his
release from alcohol, but a complete change in his whole
attitude toward life and the living of it It is apparent to
nearly everyone else present that he has received a great
gift; " . . . except that he doesn't seem to know it yet!"
We well know that this questioning individual will tell us six
months or a year hence that he has found faith in God.
LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p. 275
A spiritual experience can be the realization that a life
which once seemed empty and devoid of meaning is now
joyous and full. In my life today, daily prayer and
meditation, coupled with living the Twelve Steps, has
brought about an inner peace and feeling of belonging
which was missing when I was drinking.
Friday, February 8, 2013
CONVINCING "MR. HYDE"
Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy will still elude
us. That's the place so many of us A. A. oldsters have come
to. And it's a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our
unconscious—from which so many of our fears,
compulsions and phony aspirations still stream —be
brought into line with what we actually believe, know and
want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden "Mr.
Hyde" becomes our main task.
THE BEST OF BILL, pp. 42-43
Regular attendance at meetings, serving and helping others
is the recipe that many have tried and found to be
successful. Whenever I stray from these basic principles,
my old habits resurface and my old self also comes back
with all its fears and defects. The ultimate goal of each A.A.
member is permanent sobriety, achieved One Day at a
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A PATH TO FAITH
True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and
every A.A. meeting is an assurance that God will restore us
to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33
My last drunk had landed me in the hospital, totally broken.
It was then that I was able to see my past float in front of
me. I realized that, through drinking, I had lived every
nightmare I had ever had. My own self-will and obsession
to drink had driven me into a dark pit of hallucinations,
blackouts and despair. Finally beaten, I asked for God's
help. His presence told me to believe. My obsession for
alcohol was taken away and my paranoia has since been
lifted. I am no longer afraid. I know my life is healthy and
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
A RALLYING POINT
Therefore, Step Two is the rallying point for all of us.
Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand
together on this Step.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33
I feel that A.A. is a God-inspired program and that God is
at every A.A. meeting. I see, believe, and have come to
know that A.A. works, because I have stayed sober today. I
am turning my life over to A.A. and to God by going to an
A.A. meeting. If God is in my heart and everyone else's,
then I am a small part of a whole and I am not unique. If
God is in my heart and He speaks to me through other
people, then I must be a channel of God to other people. I
should seek to do His will by living spiritual principles and
my reward will be sanity and emotional sobriety.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
A GLORIOUS RELEASE
"The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and
feel Right there, Step Two gently and very gradually began
to infiltrate my life. I can't say upon what occasion or upon
what day I came to believe in a Power greater than myself,
but I certainly have that belief now. To acquire it, I had
only to stop fighting and practice the rest of A.A. 's program
as enthusiastically as I could."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 27
After years of indulging in a "self-will run riot," Step Two
became for me a glorious release from being all alone.
Nothing is so painful or insurmountable in my journey
now. Someone is always there to share life's burdens with
me. Step Two became a reinforcement with God, and I
now realize that my insanity and ego were curiously linked.
To rid myself of the former, I must give up the latter to one
with far broader shoulders than my own.
Monday, February 4, 2013
WHEN FAITH IS MISSING
Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or
rejected faith than to those who never had any faith at all,
for they think they have tried faith and found it wanting.
They have tried the way of faith and the way of no faith.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28
I was so sure God had failed me that I became ultimately
defiant, though I knew better, and plunged into a final
drinking binge. My faith turned bitter and that was no
coincidence. Those who once had great faith hit bottom
harder. It took time to rekindle my faith, though I came to
A.A. I was grateful intellectually to have survived such a
great fall, but my heart felt callous. Still, I stuck with the
A.A. program; the alternatives were too bleak! I kept
coming back and gradually my faith was resurrected.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
FILLING THE VOID
We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. "Do I
now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a
Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that
he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically
assure him that he is on his way.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 47
I was always fascinated with the study of scientific
principles. I was emotionally and physically distant from
people while I pursued Absolute Knowledge. God and
spirituality were meaningless academic exercises. I was a
modern man of science, knowledge was my Higher Power.
Given the right set of equations, life was merely another
problem to solve. Yet my inner self was dying from my
outer man's solution to life's problems and the solution was
alcohol. In spite of my intelligence, alcohol became my
Higher Power. It was through the unconditional love which
emanated from A.A. people and meetings that I was able to
discard alcohol as my Higher Power. The great void was
filled. I was no longer lonely and apart from life. I had
found a true power greater than myself, I had found God's
love. There is only one equation which really matters to me
now: God is in A.A.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
RESCUED BY SURRENDERING
Characteristic of the so-called typical alcoholic is a
narcissistic egocentric core, dominated by feelings of
omnipotence, intent on maintaining at all costs its inner
integrity. . . . Inwardly the alcoholic brooks no control from
man or God He, the alcoholic, is and must be the master of
his destiny. He will fight to the end to preserve that
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 311
The great mystery is: "Why do some of us die alcoholic
deaths, fighting to preserve the 'independence' of our ego,
while others seem to sober up effortlessly in A.A.?" Help
from a Higher Power, the gift of sobriety, came to me when
an otherwise unexplained desire to stop drinking coincided
with my willingness to accept the suggestions of the men
and women of A.A. I had to surrender, for only by reaching
out to God and my fellows could I be rescued.
Friday, February 1, 2013
". . . Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate
my life. I can't say upon what occasion or upon what day I
came to believe in a Power greater than myself, but I
certainly have that belief now."
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 27
"Came to believe!" I gave lip service to my belief when I
felt like it or when I thought it would look good. I didn't
really trust God. I didn't believe He cared for me. I kept
trying to change things I couldn't change. Gradually, in
disgust, I began to turn it all over, saying: "You're so
omnipotent, you take care of it." He did. I began to receive
answers to my deepest problems, sometimes at the most
unusual times: driving to work, eating lunch, or when I was
sound asleep. I realized that I hadn't thought of those
solutions—a Power greater than myself had given them to
me. I came to believe.