What A Sponsor Does for Me

My Sponsor and I have known each other for over nine years now. We have a strong relationship. As mentioned, after receiving my nine year medallion, he is one of three people who saved my life. He’s been there, night and day, through my “growing pains” of sobriety, thus I am eternally thankful. However, there are times the relationship feels as if I’m about to jump off a cliff; the relationship doesn’t seem to be working. Yet, there are times, like yesterday, when I’m reminded why he’s my Sponsor.

After an exhausting week at work, due to Storm Stella, the plan was to stay at home.  With my job as a CNA, I don’t have a luxury of two days off together. Three days off, like this weekend, is exceptionally rare. I wanted to make the most of it getting things done of my ever growing personal to-do-list. But my Sponsor always seems to put a dent in my plans.

This is the part where I feel the relationship is no longer working.  At the age of 76, I’ve noticed an increasing number of signs attributed with his age.  He tends to be very forgetful, yet insistent he’s always right.  That in itself just drives me nuts, as I just grind my teeth and bare it.Over the years I’ve known him, I have learned he can be a hypocrite.  Another annoying side of him. Lately, he’s become needy and dependent on me.  Every day off he “suggests” I come help him with tasks he should do for himself.  Of course, I indulge him, only regretting my decisions every time.

But there is another side of him – the reason he’s my Sponsor.  While his suggestions can become numerous, he’s typically spot on. For instance, I haven’t been to a meeting in quite a long time.  Yesterday, he made the strong suggestion I need to attend more meetings. Part of me struggles accepting his suggestion, while the other part of me knows he’s exactly right.

A while ago, I made a commitment to attend the noon meeting at a local church daily to myself.  I made it a couple of times, then just stopped going. Excuses: I was to busy having more important things to do; I wasn’t getting any messages for myself there; it was a waste of my time. Then almost every day, I ridicule myself for not going. As I look back, selfishness rears its ugly head putting me on the pity pot. Houston, we have a problem!

But the more I think about it, my Sponsor is right. I need to get involved going to meetings to share my experience, strength and hope.  I’ve seen to many people go down that road never to return again. It’s my experience meetings are an essential part of your recovery – it is a must and should not be ignored.

Therefore, I need to get back to reality. I need to stop thinking and just DO it. That is why I have a Sponsor – to give me a reality check and help me keep my sobriety in tact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Friend in Need

Yesterday I was working on my spirituality, previously mentioned, when I received a Facebook message from an old friend.  This friend literally dropped off the face of the Earth about three years ago.  I assumed he relapsed. My intuition was right, as it often is the case when people relapse, their facebook account goes silent.  I convinced him to talk to me person to person, so I picked him up and we had a chat at a local Wendy’s.

To back track, I had attended a local Big Book reading meeting at 7 p.m. in which we discussed the first couple of pages of Chapter 2, There is a Solution. Honestly I haven’t been to a meeting in a couple of weeks and my Sponsor was up my arse to get to one, so I took his suggestion.  I’m glad that I did!

In a nutshell, my friend is living at home with his parents.  He’s been on Suboxone since he left the program but abuses it.  He’s also been prescribed Klonopin for his anxiety.  Now he’s been drinking for the last couple of months.  No job, no friends, just stays in his “man cave playing Counterstrike or Call of Duty until the early morning hours.  He’s miserable, ‘Mike, I have no life.’

We spoke for about an hour.  I reminded him of where he was and could go again, if he chooses to take my suggestions.  He talked about regretting his past, worrying about the future, etc.  I insisted that he not worry about either, “Concentrate on YOU, not the past or future.  TODAY what do you want to DO to turn your life around.”  He knows I’m a no excuses type guy, yet I still had to remind him.  It brought a smile to his face which I’m sure hasn’t happened in a while.  He thanked me for the needed conversation saying he would keep in touch.  I left the ball in his court with many options, “When you’re ready, make a solid commitment to me and I’ll be there to help in any way that I can, but you need to make that choice. I have faith that you can do this!”

My hope is to hear from him today. That is how our program works through our experience, strength and hope.  We shared both of our experiences, my strength in my sobriety and my hope for him he takes my suggestions so he can change his life around.

I am Responsible.
When Anyone, Anywhere
Reaches Out For Help,
I Want The Hand Of A.A.
Always To Be There.

And For That,
I Am Responsible !

 

DR – Jan 19, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings
January 19, 2017

Daily Reflection

ROUND-THE-CLOCK FAITH

Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 16

The essence of my spirituality, and my sobriety, rests on a round-the-clock faith in a Higher Power. I need to remember and rely on the God of my understanding as I pursue all of my daily activities. How comforting for me is the concept that God works in and through people. As I pause in my day, do I recall specific concrete examples of God’s presence? Am I amazed and uplifted by the number of times this power is evident? I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my God’s presence in my life of recovery. Without this omnipotent force in my every activity, I would again fall into the depths of my disease—and death.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“We think it no concern of ours what religious bodies our members identify themselves with as individuals. This should be an entirely personal affair which each one decides for himself in the light of past associations, or his present choice.”
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, There Is A Solution, pg. 2

Keep It Simple

Study sickness when you are well.—Thomas Fuller

Now is the time to learn about our sickness–chemical dependency. It is a chronic illness. That means it never goes away. We have to live with it the best we can. Luckily, we can live with it–very well! Our program of recovery is so simple, and it feels so good, that we think we’ll never give it up. But we can’t take our recovery for granted. Our disease is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” The more we know about it, the less we’ll let it fool us. Some days we may find we’re headed toward a slip. We must learn to recognize the first trouble signs in ourselves so we can get help to stay sober.

Prayer for the Day:
Higher Power, my addiction is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” Don’t let me use alcohol or others drugs again. Thank you for my sobriety today.

Action for the Day:
Today, I’ll learn my warning signs: I’ll list ten old thoughts, feelings, and actions that were part of my illness. I’ll share this with my sponsor.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

You will know if you recently overstepped your bounds by the severity of challenges you face today. An industrious Mars-Saturn square demands your immediate attention as it stresses your 6th House of Logistics. If difficult driving conditions require you to apply the brakes, do so willingly before anyone asks twice. Your resentment will show if you respond reluctantly and others will be even less supportive of your efforts. Sharing your ideas of success might arouse resistance but all that truly matters is your level of commitment.

DR – Jan 18, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings
January 18, 2017

Daily Reflection

WOULD A DRINK HELP?

By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 23

When I was still drinking, I couldn’t respond to any of life’s situations the way other, more healthy, people could. The smallest incident triggered a state of mind that believed I had to have a drink to numb my feelings. But the numbing did not improve the situation, so I sought further escape in the bottle. Today I must be aware of my alcoholism. I cannot afford to believe that I have gained control of my drinking — or again I will think I have gained control of my life. Such a feeling of control is fatal to my recovery.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: ‘Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.’ Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever.” 
~~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, More About Alcoholism, pg. 33

Keep It Simple

The reality is that changes are coming….they must come. You must share in bring them.
–John Hersey

Change. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s needed. Sometimes it feels bad. But one thing is for sure: it keeps on happening. Just when our life seems settled, it changes. We can’t stop life. We can’t stay this age forever. The world changes. Life moves on. There are always new things to do and learn. Changes means we’re always beginners in some ways. We need to ask for wisdom and courage. We get it by listening, by praying, by meditating. When we ask, our Higher Power will teach us to be part of good changes.

Prayer for the Day:
Higher Power, help me believe that Your plans call for good changes.

Action for the Day:
Today I’ll think about the changes in my life. I’ve lived through a lot. I’ll be okay when more changes come, with God’s help. I can keep on growing.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

You may rush ahead and take unnecessary risks today, but impulsive actions only remind you that you do better when you consider your words and actions first. Warrior Mars rams into a clunky alignment with bombastic Jupiter, possibly inciting an argument or leading you in the wrong direction. It might not be easy to manage your intensity now, yet limiting the scope of your endeavors and tempering your language allow you to apply your passions more productively. George Lucas teaches, “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

DR – Jan 17, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings
January 17, 2017

Daily Reflection

HAPPINESS COMES QUIETLY

“The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it-by the alcohol route. And we weren’t successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. . . . There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone.”
— DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, p. 308

The simplicity of the A.A. program teaches me that happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others. In offering my hand to the newcomer or to someone who has relapsed, I find that my own sobriety has been recharged with indescribable gratitude and happiness.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Big Book Quote

“It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while.” ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, pg. 66

Keep It Simple

When all else fails, read the instructions. ~Agnes Allen

The instructions for recovery are in our Twelve Step program. Yet, there are times when we feel our program isn’t working. at these times, we need to read the instructions. Have you followed the “instructions,” the wise words are found in The Big Book, The Twelve and Twelve, and other recovery literature? When we do, we recover. It’s hard at times, and easy at others. Our problems go deeper than just staying sober. No matter what our problems, our program can help us start fixing them, if we follow the instructions. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs. Go to meeting. Talk often with sponsors and program friends. Work the Steps. Think. Easy Does It. First Things First. Listen. Let Go and Let God. One Day at a Time.

Prayer for the Day:
Higher Power, tell me which instructions to read today. If I’m headed for trouble, help me out.

Today’s Action:
I’ll read the instructions today.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

You’re not very interested in going out to change the world today. In fact, if you had your druthers, you would have the world come to you. However, you might end up feeling isolated if you sink deeper into your emotional safety zone. But don’t waste this opportunity to reflect on your personal life or even look back over larger reaches of family history. What you discover while exploring these inner worlds is magically projected onto the outer realms. Lao Tzu wrote, “Knowing others is wisdom; knowing yourself is enlightenment.”

More About Alcoholism (AA)

Chapter 3
More About Alcoholism

MOST OF US have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals–usually brief–were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.

We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be any kind of treatment which will make alcoholics of our kind like other men. We have tried every imaginable remedy. In some instances there has been brief recovery, followed always by a still worse relapse. Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing a making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.

Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class. By every form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic. If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!

Here are some of the methods we have tried: drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums–we could increase the list ad infinitum.

We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.

Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that early in our drinking careers most of us could have stopped drinking. But the difficulty is that few alcoholics have enough desire to stop while there is yet time. We have heard of a few instances where people, who showed definite signs of alcoholism, were able to stop for a long period because of an overpowering desire to do so.

adobe_pdf_file_icon_32x32  AA – Chapter 3 – More About Alcoholism (aa_more_about_alcoholism.pdf)

The 12 Traditions of AA

THE TWELVE TRADITIONS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
(SHORT FORM)

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon
A.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as
He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but
trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups
or A.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the
alcoholic who still suffers.

6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any
related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and
prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside
contributions.

8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our
service centers may employ special workers.

9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards
or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A.
name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we
need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and
films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us
to place principles before personalities.

Copyright © 1952, 1953, 1981 by A.A. Grapevine, Inc. and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing
(now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)
All rights reserved.
Rev. 10/14 SM F-122

adobe_pdf_file_icon_32x32  The Twelve Traditions of AA in PDF format (aa_12_traditions.pdf)