A 12 Step Series

For the last couple of years, I have thought about publishing my own experiences through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Why would I publish the most intimate details of my life to the public? The primary goal of this blog is to give the reader, “An inside look into the world of a recovering addict”.

The goal is to publish the Twelve Steps as a series in the next year. Each month will concentrate on a particular Step. What I haven’t thought through is what I should include or what the structure should be. For instance, I would start with the Step itself, quoting the Chapter and page of the Big Book for reference. Perhaps highlights from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. My background as it applied to the Step. Then a description of what I exactly did – written, oral, prayer, meditation, etc. Lastly, the ending results. The goal is to provide a complete picture “from the eyes of a recovering addict” of my experiences when I went through the Steps.

Now that I really begin to think of this process, perhaps this will take on two parts: My Story and The 12 Steps, I’m not going to actually publish my whole story right now. However, the process may help this future endeavor.

This whole process will be beneficial (I hope) to new readers but myself too. Honestly, I’ve only gone through the Steps once. But I practice them to the best of my ability every day to “apply those principles in all out affairs”. I might even surprise myself with something new or perhaps something I’ve held on.

This may be too much for me right now.  I just started something very important in my own spiritual practice which may take a lot of my time. It’s a THOUGHT I’m taking into consideration. I hope I made my intentions clear enough.

For those who have read this far: Discussion!

I would like any comments, questions or concerns regarding this post. For instance, what were you thinking when you read this? What are any of your thoughts about doing this? We talk about honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, so GIVE IT TO ME. The honest, blunt, to the point TRUTH.

Ready . . . Set . . . Go . . . Let’s Begin . . .

 

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DR – August 6, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings for August 6, 2017:

Daily Reflection

DRIVEN

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

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

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

Big Book Quote

“Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill.” ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Working With Others, pg. 89~

Keep It Simple

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave you. . . Alcoholics Anonymous

We don’t have to fear people. They can’t wreck our spirit. We don’t have to fear money problems. We won’t have to starve to death. Our Higher Power will lead us on a safe path through life.

Our Higher power wants us to be safe, happy, and wise. Our Higher power wants us to feel loved.

We’ll learn to trust our Higher Power. And we’ll learn to trust the happiness we find in our new way of life. People may still hurt us, but there will be much more love to carry us through.

Prayer For the Day:
Higher Power, I know You protect me and care for me. Help me stop worrying.

Action for the Day:
Today, I’ll list four fears I have. I will talk with my sponsor about how to turn these over to my Higher Power.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

You are eager to explore the emotional mysteries that create fireworks in a relationship. You’re not interested in clever ideas and intricate theories; you want the juicy stuff that rattles your cage and heats up the red blood cells running through your veins. Unfortunately, there are no maps that point the way to the secrets of interpersonal chemistry. You must look for it on your own and be able to recognize it once you see it. Novelist Nora Roberts wrote, “Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart, and they both take practice.”

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DR – July 30, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings for July 30, 2017:

Daily Reflection

GIVING BACK

. . . he has struck something better than gold. . . .He may not see at once that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends only if he mines it for the rest of his life and insists on giving away the entire product. — ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 129

My part of the Seventh Tradition means so much more than just giving money to pay for the coffee. It means being accepted for myself by belonging to a group. For the first time, I can be responsible, because I have a choice. I can learn the principles of working out problems in my daily life by getting involved in the “business” of A.A. By being self-supporting, I can give back to A.A. what A.A. gave to me! Giving back to A.A. not only ensures my own sobriety but allows me to buy insurance that A.A. will be here for my grandchildren.

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

Big Book Quote

“As each member of a resentful family begins to see his shortcomings and admits them to the others, he lays a basis for helpful discussion. These family talks will be constructive if they can be carried on without heated argument, self-pity, self-justification or resentful criticism.” ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 127~

Keep It Simple

Beauty may be said to be God’s trademark in creation.—Henry Ward Beecher

Our addiction was like a veil over our heads. We saw the world as an ugly place.

We saw people as trouble. We thought our drinks and drugs were beautiful. But even they became ugly over time. Life became ugly because we had put distance between our Higher Power and ourselves.

Now we are blessed because the veil is lifted, and we are part of the healing process. We help others step into the beauty of recovery.

Our spirits are again free to seek a relationship with God and others. Through these relationships, we get our hope back. This hope helps us focus on the beauty of the world. Hope is the rain that helps our souls grow.

Prayer for the Day:
Higher Power, the world is both beautiful and ugly. For too long I only saw the ugly. Help me focus on the beauty.

Action for the Day:
Today, I’ll keep an eye out for the beauty recovery holds for me. Throughout the day, I’ll pray for this.

Daily Horoscope – Cancer

Your desires are sending signals in several directions, attracting people and circumstances outside of your normal lifestyle. However, you’re uncomfortable sharing your personal business too quickly because you’re naturally overprotective when disclosure triggers your emotions. Nevertheless, don’t allow your feelings to go dormant now; keep your passions alive by feeding your dreams with your awareness. Poet Mark Strand wrote, “Old ways won’t open new doors.”

Someone is Talking to You

Last week a co-worker confided in me he got a DUI.  He took an opportunity to pull me aside, knowing I am open with my recovery, stating, “Mike, I don’t believe in the 12-Step program but I can’t continue to live like this . . .” We had a good conversation of where he is now and, if he chooses to, what can be done to stop the insanity currently controlling his life. A couple days later, he contacted me asking if we could go to a meeting. Last night, I took him to a meeting where he lives (about an hour drive from me). The experience showed him how the program works.

We arrived at a small church in this small town proceeding downstairs to the basement. Immediately, as in AA fashion, people greeted us knowing we were “out of towners”.  Before the meeting, we chatted with others for a bit and between ourselves about the program. My intuition (my HP) was telling me this was going to be a good meeting.

After the typical Preamble, 12 Steps, 12 Traditions and Promises readings, a topic was decided – the importance of meetings. It couldn’t have been a better topic for the both of us! My friend didn’t know it at the time but I hadn’t been to a meeting myself in a couple of months.

At the tail end of the meeting, the chairperson asked, “Would the person from Binghamton like to speak?” I obliged by recounting how people who already spoke brought a message to me. Several people spoke about how they missed meetings and relapsed. They all had their own excuses, as I recounted mine saying, “I’m too busy and don’t have time.” I explained how a person with 10 years of sobriety, lost it in a minute due to lack of meetings. Another had seven days of sobriety after a recent relapse, again because of a lack of meetings. I too could be both those people – all because I didn’t go to meetings. “Someone is talking to me, my HP and I need to listen and do the right thing!”

Afterward, my friend and I went to Denny’s for dinner. I answered several questions but felt I was bombarding him with program information perhaps he wasn’t ready for right now. Instead, he was thankful for me driving all the way, taking him to a meeting and showing him how the program really works. I guess WE gave him a first good impression.

We have already talked about going to another meeting here in the next couple of days. We both have to find out what our schedules are at work and try to coordinate a good date and time. Meanwhile, he got a recent meeting list and I “suggested” he try to get to at least a meeting a day. However, if he couldn’t, for whatever reason, to call me or pull me aside at work. I would be more than willing to talk to him about events going on in his life.

So the ball is in his court. I have done my part. It is my hope he continues his journey.

 

 

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.