Posted in Sharing

Dr. Bob’s Last Message

Presented at The First International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous
July 28 – 30, 1950 at Cleveland, Ohio

In Memoriam Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith August 8, 1879 – November 16, 1950 Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

“My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you – not only to you, but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable.”

“I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did a number of years ago, played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness. If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months and my strength hasn’t returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief.

“But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let’s not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let’s bear those two things in mind.

“Let us also remember to guard that erring member – the tongue, and if we must use it, let’s use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.”

“And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn’t taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we’re not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers. Thank you very much.”

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Unfold The Rose

A new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.

The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals..

The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.

It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher’s inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem…

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step of the way.
The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord knows.
I’ll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.

Anonymous

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Releasing Control

My need to control arises out of my opinions. My opinions originate as a result of my judgments. My judgments come out of my thinking. My thinking prior to recovery comes out of my self-centered fears.

In order to find Serenity, I have to make a decision to examine and let go of my self-centered fears in order to change the thinking which creates the judgments which lead to my opinions which bring about my constant and impossible need to control.

Anonymous

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16 relapse symptoms to watch out for

For any time, any place, anywhere!

  1. Exhaustion – Allowing oneself to become overly tired; usually associated with work addiction as an excuse for not facing personal frustrations.
  2. Dishonesty – Begins with pattern of little lies; escalated to self-delusion and making excuses for not doing what’s called for.
  3. Impatience – I want what I want NOW. Others aren’t doing what I think they should or living the way I know is right.
  4. Argumentative – No point is too small or insignificant not to be debated to the point of anger and submission.
  5. Depression – All unreasonable, unaccountable despair should be exposed and discussed, not repressed: what is the “exact nature” of those feelings?
  6. Frustration – Controlled anger/resentment when things don’t go according to our plans. Lack of acceptance. See #3.
  7. Self-pity – Feeling victimized, put-upon, used, unappreciated: convinced we are being singled out for bad luck.
  8. Cockiness – Got it made. Know all there is to know. Can go anywhere, including frequent visits just to hang-out at bars, boozy parties.
  9. Complacency – Like #8, no longer sees value of daily program, meetings, contact with other alcoholics, (especially sponsor!), feels healthy, on top of the world, things are going well. Heck may even be cured!
  10. Expecting too much of others – Why can’t they read my mind? I’ve changed, what’s holding them up? If they just do what I know is best for them? Leads to feeling misunderstood, unappreciated. See #6.
  11. Letting up on disciplines – Allowing established habits of recovery – meditations, prayer, spiritual reading, AA contact, daily inventory, meetings – – to slip out of our routines; allowing recovery to get boring and no longer stimulating for growth. Why bother?!
  12. Using mood-altering chemicals – May have a valid medical reason, but misused to help avoid the real problems of impending alcoholic relapse.
  13. Wanting too much – Setting unrealistic goals: not providing for short-term successes; placing too much value on material success, not enough on value of spiritual growth.
  14. Forgetting gratitude – Because of several listed above, may lose sight of the abundant blessings in our everyday lives: too focused on # 13.
  15. “It can’t happen to me.” – Feeling immune; forgetting what we know about the disease of alcoholism and its progressive nature.
  16. Omnipotence – A combination of several attitudes listed above; leads to ignoring danger signs, disregarding warnings and advice from fellow members.

— Akron Intergroup News, December 1998

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You’re just a drinking dream…

I had a dream of you last night, and when I woke I paused to think…
Something wasn’t feeling right, did I really have that drink???

It seems so real and vivid…now what am I to do???
For a moment I relived it…my love affair with you.

I swore you’d never touch my lips… but there you were my subtle foe…
You had me in your evil grips… In the sordid places we once would go.

You only stalk me while I sleep, you are not welcomed here…
As I softly slumber in you creep, but soon you’ll disappear

I’m not the man you use to know, you’re just a false illusion… The time has come when you must go, retreat from your intrusion.

Upon awakening it’s plain to see, things aren’t the way they seem…
The slip I had was not to be, thank God you’re just drinking dream.

Gordon R.

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Personal Growth and Improvement

My best action to arrive at a state of mind for continued personal growth and improvement, what that action is, and why I believe this action has worked.

The action is my daily communion with my “Universal Spirit” consisting of:

1.) reading Twenty Four Hours A Day and The Eye Opener

2.) conscious prayer

3.) serene meditation

Readings help refresh the past and help me recall the path I took to this place, the divine insights, the brutal learning experiences* and gifts of life given to me.

Conscious prayers involve recognition and gratitude for a self-limited list* of the endless blessings given to me. The prayers always include the turning over of self, health, wealth, heart and soul to God for his purpose, asking for guidance to do His will, knowing that my mission is to do my best, on a daily basis, to make heaven here on earth.

Meditation is a feeling process, not a thinking process for me. I have read “God is the oneness of all things, with communication between all things through a feeling, a feeling some refer to as Love”. During meditation I attach this feeling to the things in my life in need of improvement. As my day unfolds I often feel this power helping me to make changes, almost like magic.

This action of daily communion has served me well, bringing me to a good mental state for continuous personal growth and improvement.

Why I believe daily communion has worked so well for me, is in the daily act of turning over of self, health, wealth, heart and soul to God for his purpose. In doing this daily act I remove all things I fear losing..or not gaining. When all fear is gone, life becomes simple.

The March 5th “Meditation for the day” reads:

Fear is the curse of the world. Many are our fears. Fear is everywhere. I must fight fear as I would a plague. I must turn it out of my life. There is no room for fear in the heart in which God dwells. Fear cannot exist where true love is or where faith abides. So I must have no fear. Fear is evil, but “perfect love casteth out all fear”. Fear destroys hope and hope is necessary for all humanity.

I have often thought fear to be the bedrock, or foundation, of insanity. I have also thought ego is nothing more than an illusion of self importance. An illusion is a creation of the mind, therefore it can have unlimited mind created vulnerabilities or threats, all of which result in fear. For me the letting go of ego, the illusion, eliminated a significant portion of my fear. I also believe the feeling of fear, in a way, is like telling God you do not trust him…fear being akin to a half measure of faith.

During my meditation period, this feeling some have described as the feeling of Love, is the connection of my conscious mind to my inner “Universal Spirit” where all my unconscious wisdom resides. Sometimes I amaze myself when inner wisdom oozes out of me unexpectedly…did I really say that? “I must not have been thinking”, I chuckle to myself.

It is during this period of meditation that most progress is made by me in changing those things I can change and accepting those I cannot.

Jim C.

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10th Step Thoroughness Review

Here are some things we can ask ourselves. You can rate yourself 1 – 10 for each, 1 representing No success in that area and 10 means that you are having habitual success. How am I doing in each of the following areas?

  1. Thankfulness: It is the habit of my life to thank my higher power and others for what they have done…I can honestly say that I am a thankful person and often express my gratitude.
  2. Gentleness: My life is free from all outbursts of selfish anger or rage. I am approachable, quiet in spirit, open to criticism, and don’t get defensive when I am corrected or rebuked.
  3. Humility: I do not have an inflated self-opinion and consistently consider others as equal with myself. I have a teachable spirit and avoid all bragging, name-dropping and spiritual pride.
  4. Pure Attitudes: My lifestyle is one of the right relationships, not just outwardly but inwardly too. I have no hate, ill will, malice or bitterness toward any other person anywhere on this earth.
  5. Acceptance: I refuse to fight back when people criticize, condemn, reject or complain against me, even if they do it with wrong motives. I practice giving a soft answer to turn away their wrath.
  6. Peacemaking: It is my practice to try to bring peace between others who are at odds. I don’t just stand by and allow division to fester without trying to get involved to bring peace.
  7. Boldness: I have been able to launch out and take risks for my recovery and beliefs, keeping fear under control and taking risks when my higher power calls to me to do something. There is nothing now that My Higher Power is asking me to do which I’m resisting because of fear.
  8. Trust: I not only believe, but “act as if” my higher power is guiding my life and situations. My life is one of simple reliance on my Higher Power. I’m free from fretting, worry or anxiety about the future.
  9. Persistence: It is normal for me to hang in there, when I am acting in healthy ways, when things get difficult, stressful and unrewarding, even if I must face suffering difficulty and persecution. My persistence keeps me from giving up too easily and I just keep on keeping on.
  10. Harmony: I’m not a participant in any group evil, like quarreling, dissension, fighting or factions in my family or in my place of worship, fellowship or work.
  11. Submission/Surrender: I do not resist those placed in authority over me, even if they’re less competent or gifted. When I “turn my will and life over” to the care of my Higher Power, it means I follow my H.P.’s direction even if I question it at first.
  12. Right Relationships: Reflecting on all my relationships past and present, I’m able to say there are no broken relationships with anybody, anywhere, which I have not attempted to straighten out.
  13. Giving Living: I regularly practice generous giving to my family, place of worship, AA/NA, and homeless, helpless, widows, orphans, and other needy folk. Generosity is a normal behavior to me.
  14. Family Time: It is the routine of my life to control the amount of time I spend in work, pleasure or other activities which take too much time from my family. I obey my spiritual leading and make my Family time the top priority of my relationship life.
  15. Forgiveness: If there is an individual or group of people who have hurt me in the past, I release my resentment, bitterness or grudge against them. I have fully forgiven everyone who has ever hurt me.
  16. Restoring others: I hurt when temptation overtakes a brother or sister in the fellowship or elsewhere in my life, so I do not avoid or exclude them; rather I often get involved, humbly coming alongside to help them back to their feet spiritually.
  17. Restitution: If I’ve ever taken things which do not belong to me, or hurt people by what I said or did, I have gone back and made restitution for everything my Higher Power has prompted me about so far (knowing that my H.P. would not prompt me to do so if it would cause harm to me or another person).
  18. Resisting Materialism: I resist the grasping materialistic lifestyle of my culture, choosing rather to live a life of contentment and satisfaction with what I have. I’m not always “wanting more”.
  19. Selfish Ambition: I have laid aside all envy and selfish ambition. I have no jealousy of another’s success. I do not eagerly hunger to climb the ladder to gain personal power and position.
  20. Spiritual Intimacy: It is the routine of my life to spend time alone with my Higher Power each day to read spiritual books, meditate and pray…and beyond that I “practice the presence” of my Higher Power all day long. I’m constantly sensing my Higher Power’s surrounding presence in my life like the air I breath.
  21. Thought Life: My thought life is absolutely free from all impure thoughts. I have habitual victory over all tempting sexual fantasies, daydreams, or other selfish thoughts. I never get high on “old highs”.
  22. Living Above Reproach: I painstakingly avoid situations which could feed lustful or selfish desires or even tempt others to gossip about me. I have no dangerous emotional bonds which could lead to trouble. I carefully attend to all my relationships so that not even the hint of impropriety exists.
  23. Truthfulness: My yes is yes, my 200 is 200, my five-point buck is a five-point buck, and the fish is whatever size it is. I totally avoid half-truths, white lies, flattery or exaggeration. I practice absolute honesty both in my relationships with others and myself. I do not lie in order to allow myself or others to avoid unpleasant emotions.
  24. Tongue Stewardship: I abstain from slander, gossip, harshness, unkindness, biting criticism, caustic remarks, obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking. Instead I use my tongue to build others up, giving words of encouragement, comfort, help, inspiration, and challenge. My tongue is completely under my Higher Power’s control.
  25. Living my Recovery: I typically share my recovery with both straight and chemically dependent people every time my Higher Power prompts me to do it. Twelfth stepping is a habit of my life.
  26. Spiritual Passion: I hunger to become more spiritual and take my spiritual growth seriously. I do not ignore, dismiss or excuse areas where I fall short, even those I have listed above, since I have a spiritual passion for becoming more like my Higher Power would have me be, the I AM of Him.