Posted in Sharing


Bottle in my left hand,
shovel in my right…
I’m digging perilous pit.
I’ve dug in so deep,
I don’t see the light…
Maybe it’s time that I quit?

Alone I sit in this piteous pit,
a decision I was to make…
Do I climb out from under,
or be buried in it?
How much more of this can I take?

A pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization…
There’s only but a few paths to follow.
I’ve been given the gift of desperation…
Admitting defeat’s hard to swallow.

I asked for His care and protection, soon a ladder appeared…
12 simple steps to make my connection,
it was time I faced all I feared.

I climbed the steps from this now propitious pit,
bottle and shovel I dropped…
You’ll know when it’s time when your bottom is hit,
the moment the digging has stopped.

Gordon R.

Posted in Sharing

My AA Balance Sheet

In business it’s important that you know just where you stand
Your P & L will show you if you’ve chosen the right plan
Another tool you’ll need to use is called the balance sheet
It shows you what you have or owe, to add or to retreat

Step Ten is like a balance sheet; it makes us take a look
At what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost, as stated in the Book
It helps us to consider when another day’s complete
On what we’ve done, both good and bad, an AA balance sheet

Another way to think concerns what we have lost or gained
The asset is serenity, liability was pain
They’re both part of this gift we got by coming through that door
To learn to live a better way, that’s what AA‘s there for

Unlike the business balance sheet that’s known to all of us
Where one side has a minus sign, the other has a plus
My AA balance sheet has many plusses on one side
And not too many minuses since the Steps have been applied

When I was forced to finally look at both sides of my ledger
I saw that I had lost control, consumed with seeking pleasure
I tried my best to justify the things that I had done
I’m hurting no one but myself, I’m only having fun

Then came the time the fun ran out, was forced to face the fact
That alcohol controlled my life, a slave to its impact
I did not want to drink again, but knew not how to stop
My doctor said to try AA, “do it before you drop”

I did not really want to go; my ego had been bruised
But go I did, for after all, what did I have to lose
It took a while to get onboard, but when I finally tried
I saw a change within myself that could not be denied

Now when I work Step number Ten, my ledger’s been revised
The good stuff far outweighs the bad, it’s made me realize
That things that were a negative, today have been replaced
Like how I felt when I awoke, no longer in disgrace

Most nights as I recount my day, I’m pleased with what I find
It’s not because of some great deed that enters in my mind
My balance sheet is positive because I work these Steps
To smile and greet my fellow man and treat them with respect

And should I fail in this attempt, I need to recognize
Where I’d been wrong, in word or deed, been quick to criticize
I owe amends to those I’ve harmed, make it without delay
Then work to make sure this mistake does not get a replay

So, when I tally up my score by practicing Step Ten
I’m mindful how my life has changed as I consider when
My balance sheet looked awful at the end of every day
Today the norm is positive since I have found AA

Larry R.

Posted in Sharing

Prayer, Meditation & Self Examination

When first he came into the rooms, unsure of what he’d find
He heard the people say some things that never crossed his mind
Slogans written on the walls and lists that did suggest
Steps he’d need to follow for his need to drink divest

Prayer and meditation combined with self-examination
A member said were critical for building a foundation
A foundation that will help to fight against the urge to drink
The new man could not understand the way these people think

A lot of us were just the same, confused by all this talk
Hearing what they said to do caused some of us to balk
We had not prayed in many years, did not know how to start
Or even if we did believe that God should play a part

As for meditation, how could that help us abstain
This was a thing for Buddhist monks, repeating some refrain
And self-examination, well, there was no need for this
Why bring up all our defects, they were better left dismissed

But slowly some of these things did begin to take affect
The first was prayer to someone’s God, and hoped that we’d connect
We were unsure if this would work, but still gave it a go
It could not hurt and maybe something good would start to grow

We’d never tried to meditate; this concept was brand new
Yet said we’d give this thing a try, but knew not what to do
Close our eyes, sit very still and try to keep from thinking
But thoughts arose, we wondered what this had to do with drinking
This self-examination thing was not at all what we expected
A wallow in self-loathing was the thing we had suspected
But we were told, a balance sheet, was what we had to make
To view the good that we had done along with our mistakes

To start to pray a simple please and thank you is one way
So, thoughts of using alcohol, you pray, will stay away
And thank you in the evening for the spiritual assistance
That helped you do the next right thing, an aid to your resistance

Meditation may be difficult when you first give it a try
To free your mind from all those constant thoughts that wonder by
Begin with a few minutes, close your eyes and start to drift
Into a space of solitude as all tension start to lift

Bedtime is the perfect time for self-examination
For looking back upon your day for any indication
Of incidents that had occurred that led you to react
In such a way that made you wish that you could take it back

Step Eleven states that when these three things are united
A spiritual experience will soon start to be ignited
Each part alone will help you navigate through nasty weather
But the best results are felt when they are put to use together

Larry R.

Posted in Sharing


Scratching and clawing to regain control. Sliding so deeply into that hole. The hole I’ve been trying to fill all along with people and booze and anything wrong.

So many days have passed into years, fighting to make myself normal, no fears. When finally that life had taken me down and scattered my dreams, smashed my hopes to the ground.

Then something that’s greater than me, jerked me up. Throw out the bottle, smashing the cup. Part of my soul knew that this was the way and you told me to fall to my knees and to pray.

That hole, it still beckons for ways to be filled, with people and money or my ego’s strong will. The key to a life free from fear and the self, it comes from that Power, not booze, sex, or wealth.

Daily I ask to be free from the self and pray that my day’s filled with calm, peace, and health. Turning things over again thru the day for the Power to fill.up.that hole, that, I pray…today…

Ginny A.

Posted in Sharing

10 Principles for Peace of Mind

  1. Do Not Interfere In Other’s Business Unless Asked:

Most of us create our own problems by interfering too often in others’ affairs.
We do so because somehow we have convinced ourselves that our way is the best way, our logic is the perfect logic and those who do not conform to our thinking must be criticized and steered to the right direction, our direction.
This thinking denies the existence of individuality and consequently the existence of God.
God has created each one of us in a unique way.

No two human beings can think or act in exactly the same way.
All men or women act the way they do because God within them prompts them that way.
Mind your own business and you will keep your peace.

  1. Forgive And Forget:

This is the most powerful aid to peace of mind.
We often develop ill feelings inside our hearts for the person who insults us or harms us.
We nurture grievances.
This in turn results in loss of sleep, development of stomach ulcers, and high blood pressure.
This insult or injury was done once, but the nourishing of grievance goes on forever by constantly remembering it.
Get over this bad habit.
Life is too short to waste in such trifles.
Forgive & Forget, and march on.
Love flourishes in giving and forgiving.

  1. Do Not Crave For Recognition:

This world is full of selfish people.
They seldom praise anybody without selfish motives.
They may praise you today because you are in power, but no sooner than you are powerless, they will forget your achievement and will start finding faults in you.
Why do you wish to kill yourself in striving for their recognition?
Their recognition is not worth the aggravation.
Do your duties ethically and sincerely.

  1. Do Not Be Jealous:

We all have experienced how jealousy can disturb our peace of mind.
You know that you work harder than your colleagues in the office, but sometimes they get promotions; you do not.
You started a business several years ago, but you are not as successful as your neighbor whose business is only one year old.
There are several examples like these in everyday life.
Should you be jealous?

  1. Change Yourself According To The Environment:

If you try to change the environment single-handedly, the chances are you will fail.
Instead, change yourself to suit your environment.
As you do this, even the environment, which has been unfriendly to you, will mysteriously change and seem congenial and harmonious.

  1. Endure What Cannot Be Cured:

This is the best way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
Every day we face numerous inconveniences, ailments, irritations, and accidents that are beyond our control.
If we cannot control them or change them, we must learn to put up with these things.
We must learn to endure them cheerfully.
Believe in yourself and you will gain in terms of patience, inner strength, and willpower.

  1. Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew:

This maxim needs to be remembered constantly.
We often tend to take on more responsibilities than we are capable of carrying out.
Know your limitations. . Why take on additional loads that may create more worries?
You cannot gain peace of mind by expanding your external activities.
Reduce your material engagements and spend time in prayer, introspection, and
meditation. This will reduce those thoughts in your mind that make you restless.
An uncluttered mind will produce greater peace of mind.

  1. Meditate Regularly:

Meditation calms the mind and gets rid of disturbing thoughts.
This is the highest state of peace of mind.
Try and experience it yourself.
If you meditate earnestly for half an hour every day, your mind will tend to become peaceful during the remaining twenty-three and half hours.
Your mind will not be easily disturbed as it was before.

You would benefit by gradually increasing the period of daily meditation.
You may think that this will interfere with your daily work.
On the contrary, this will increase your efficiency and you will be able to produce better results in less time.

  1. Never Leave The Mind Vacant:

An empty mind is the devil’s workshop.
All evil actions start in the vacant mind.
Keep your mind occupied with something positive, something worthwhile.
Actively follow a hobby.
Do something that holds your interest.
You must decide what you value more: money or peace of mind.
Your hobby, like social work or religious work, may not always earn you more money, but you will have a sense of fulfillment and achievement.
Even when you are resting physically, occupy yourself in healthy reading or mental chanting of God’s name.

  1. Do Not Procrastinate And Never Regret:

Do not waste time in protracted wondering ” Should I or shouldn’t I?”
Days, weeks, months, and years may be wasted in that futile mental debating.
You can never plan enough because you can never anticipate all future happenings.
Value your time and do the things that need to be done.

It does not matter if you fail the first time.
You can learn from your mistakes and succeed the next time.
Sitting back and worrying will lead to nothing.
Learn from your mistakes, but do not brood over the past.

Why cry over spilt milk?


Posted in Sharing


We’re only as sick, as the secrets we keep…
Abandon the burden you bare.
Into our spirit our secrets will seep…
Deep in the bowels of our soul they will lair.

Surrender your shame,
be purged of the pain,
of the secrets that still taunt you…
Begone of the blame,
rise to reclaim…
Freedom from the ghosts of the past, that still haunt you.

Dispose of all your dark and deepest,
your soul is where your secret lies…
It is unwise to harbor secrets,
for secrets tend to turn to lies.

Do not carry to the grave,
the secrets you hold deep…
Don’t let yourself become a slave,
to the secrets that you keep.

Do you have a secret, that you need to tell?
Is there something lurking at the bottom of your well?
Do you hold a secret, that tears you up inside?
Are you fettered by fear that festers, from secrets that you hide?

Obsessed and oppressed,
by secrets we’re hiding…
Secrets we’ve suppressed,
are emotions we’re denying.
Restless, irritable, and discontented, are the fruits our secrets reap…
We’re only as sick, as the secrets we keep.

Gordon R

Posted in Sharing

The Invisible Boat

Staying sober was all that I wanted when I came to AA. At the time, I thought that removing the alcohol from my life, as well as the other sources of amusement, would allow me to be the great guy I pretended I was and let me look down on those whose only function seemed to be to criticize and make my life hell. Without alcohol I was convinced my “enemies” would have nothing to complain about and their superficiality would be as obvious as my suffering and sacrifice. My ultimate vindication would follow forthwith.

I heard a lot about “surrender” when I came around, but until I became willing to believe a power greater than me could remove the insane ideas expressed in the opening paragraph, surrender, whether to alcohol or life itself, was inconceivable. The paradox is that until I took actions I DID NOT think would work, I had no chance of believing in anything. Only then did I begin to realize that what I thought did not have to be consistent with what I believed.

I bring all this up because lately I’ve been listening to Clancy I’s story of “The Invisible Boat”, one of the most effective allegories I’ve encountered in recovery. I’ve heard about this lesson more than I’ve actually heard it, but it’s included as part of a weekend retreat Clancy led in Toronto in the early 90’s, (a presentation he has described as his favorite recording of the zillions of his tapes available). In the version I heard Clancy used the Invisible Boat as means of distinguishing between good and bad treatment centers, but it can be presented, I suspect, as a basic primer on the first three steps or the early stages of recovery that lead to long term sobriety.

What Clancy talks about is the taking of suggestions that, to the average alcoholic, appear to be ridiculous on their face. He draws a parallel between two groups of people leaving Toronto for Cleveland, each traveling by boat. In Clancy’s tale the Treatment Centers offer a beautiful yacht with clean beds, excellent food and first class accommodations. The AA group’s mode of transportation is a boat that only they can see and which they fully expect you to board and help power. Most of us, given this choice, opt for the Treatment center’s mode of transport, but it is not until we’re halfway across the lake that we learn their boat is going only halfway towards recovery. They get us started, but it is up to us to complete the journey. In Clancy’s metaphor we’re thrown into the lake, where we meet AA groups paddling in a boat we still can’t see. And its only when we’re out of options that we agree to climb into this “boat” that should not float given our view of such matters. In spite of our cynicism we’re told to shut up and row; and if we do so, pretty soon we get our oars in the water, we begin to make progress and little by little the boat gains substance and its means of keeping us afloat becomes more apparent.

The longer we keep at it, the bigger our boat becomes. That doesn’t mean we don’t need a sponsor to tell us when we’re rowing with the oars upside down, but it does mean our eyes are gradually opened to a solution that we could not see before. In an interesting sidelight, Clancy alludes to the “old timers” who lose their compass and direction and before they know it their boat begins to take on water as they begin to take on alcohol. The problem is, when the old timer comes back to AA they not only face the problem of staying sober they faces this problem in a little row boat, not the big cabin cruiser to which they’d become accustomed. The disappointment keeps many from coming back to AA.

For this alcoholic, Prayer was my invisible boat; but I did not find my oars until I got down on my knees to look for them. The funny thing is, I still don’t think it will work, even though I believe it has for some time now. My beliefs have “bailed out” my thoughts many times since those early days. Thank God for that Invisible boat.

Posted in Uncategorized

Navigating through life with Step 10

In many respects, the Fellowship is like a reasonably happy cruise ship or, in time of trouble, like a convoy. But in the long run each of us must chart his or her own course through life. When the seas are smooth we may become careless. By neglecting Step Ten, we may get out of the habit of checking our position. If we’re mindful of Step Ten, however, then we rarely are so far wrong that we can’t make a few corrections and get back on course again. “Do I realize that regular practice of Step Ten can help me determine what other step is needed to bring me into a happier frame of mind and into serenity?”

May Step Ten be the sextant by which I read my whereabouts on the sea of life, so that I can correct my course if I am heading for dangerous territory. May I keep in mind that if it weren’t for an all-knowing Captain (that would be G-d) and the vigilance of my fellow crew members, that my life could go adrift and I get into real trouble.

Clardy S.