Posted in Sharing

16 Relapse Symptoms To Watch Out For

  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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Emotional sobriety is when:

  1. I am free of resentments, jealousy, and envy–and free to forgive quickly.
  2. My emotions are not so violent that they cause me to go or be on a dry drunk.
  3. I am able to make normal everyday decisions without my vision being unduly influenced by my emotions.
  4. I am able to identify & live by my personal values without compromise to emotional pressure.
  5. I am able to enjoy life as spiritual principles would dictate–such as being properly revolted by ugliness, sin and suffering, and positively rewarded by happenings of love, beauty and principle.
  6. I am happy when others do things better or quicker than I have done them.
  7. My emotions are in sync with my intellect and both are in synch with God’s Will.
  8. I can live freely without being emotionally subservient to another human being.
  9. I can move freely between the emotional states of child, adult and parent.
  10. I derive genuine, healthy pleasure from helping others without thought of reward, money, prestige or station.
Posted in Sharing

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.

Posted in Sharing

You Can’t Rush Trust

His wife had been away on a four-day business trip
She’d done the same thing many times and each time he would slip
Alone the bottle called to him and he’d answer the call
Buy this time he resisted, ‘twas determined not to fall

He had not had a drink for almost 30 hard fought days
And in his mind his abstinence would surely bring him praise
He told his wife that he stayed dry the whole time she was gone
Instead of praise, she doubted him, accused him of a con

She said you’ve lied so many times, I really can’t believe
A thing you say, heard it before, the many tales you’ve weaved
No matter how he tried to say “this time it’s really true”
She shook her head, went off to bed, and left him feeling blue

He shared this at a meeting, still hurting from its sting
Deep down he knew he’d earned her wrath, results his drinking brings
He sought advise from some of us, to get her to believe
That this time he was serious, afraid that she might leave

His story’s not uncommon, we’ve all known our share of doubt
From those who care the most for us, who try to figure out
If we had reached THE bottom, were committed to AA
Not just attend the meetings, really live the AA way

Recovery from alcohol takes time and dedication
We start out beat, alone, confused, estranged from our relations
But our program is a process, not an overnight repair
The same holds true for those we love, the ones that really care

Time takes time, the saying goes, and for us that holds true
We can’t expect our families not to doubt the things we do
They’ve heard us promise many times that this will be the last
They try and wish that it is true, then get their wishes smashed

Our words cannot convince them to believe that we have changed
Only time and how we act can show we’re not the same
As what we used to be when alcohol controlled our being
Talk is cheap, to gain their trust, the proof is in the seeing

Forgiveness comes more quickly; trust is something we must earn
Skeptical relations fear they someday may get burned
It’s up to us to show we’ve changed, for some it may take years
All we can do is stay the course, alleviate those fears

Once we KNOW that we’re all in, our drinking days are through
We let the program be our guide, good actions to accrue
And as they see us living free their thinking will adjust
Be patient, it will come to pass, you just cannot rush trust.

Larry R.

Posted in Sharing

The Other 23

The chairman says we must begin, the meeting has to start
We pray for our serenity, our worries to discard
And next we hear just “How It Works”, and we believe it’s true
Good things will surely come to us if we will follow through

Then someone reads a page or two, some passage from our Book
To help us to remember what our founders said it took
To end this life of misery and live one that is free
From the horror of our past and it begins on bended knee

We go around the room and say our name and why we’re here
Some say it’s due to what they smoke while others say it’s beer
But booze or drugs, it matters not, we know we have to face
It’s time we came to realize we’re all in the right place

And one by one, we start to share and let our fellows know
The things we’ve done, both bad and good, and let our true self show
If ever we’re to change our ways and hope to make it stick
We must begin to open up and learn to drop the brick

We’ve reached the end, our time is up, the chips have been passed out
It’s time to go our separate ways, but not forget about
What we have learned, this hour past, for we cannot foresee
The things that we may have to face in the next twenty-three

We drive away and before long some jerk cuts in our lane
We want to yell and beep our horn and somehow cause him pain
Just then one of the Steps kicks in and we begin to calm
Repeat the prayer we said before and save us both from harm

We stop our drive and go to buy some items at a store
But when we pay the clerk miscounts and we end up with more
More change that we’re entitled to, we can’t believe our luck
Then realize what we’d give up if we kept those few bucks

It’s easy to feel safe and good each time we’re at a meeting
An hour spent to help us keep our old ways from repeating
But when it’s done, we can’t forget, there is no guarantee
We need to live our program in the other twenty-three.

Larry R.

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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 virtues?

  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.

Rev Barb MacL.

Posted in Sharing

Poem about Peace

Doubt is just fear cloaked in thought

How does it reappear – so unwelcome – so unsought 

Once given serenity, how can I allow peace to escape my grasp 

When I know what’s done is done, to leave the past to the past

These phantoms are not real – existing only in my mind

I’ve found a new way of treating myself and others

I am more gentle, I am more kind

Truly recovered from a hopeless condition of mind, body and soul

To help others find this peace is now the only goal

In surrender I find a strength far and wide 

In surrender I finally cross over to the winning side

Mark W

Posted in Sharing

The AA “Gift Horse”

For centuries, horses were a very important means of transportation and other uses in society and business.
Before purchasing a horse, the Buyer would make a physical inspection of the horse, including the horse’s mouth to determine the health of the horse.

If the horse was a gift, then there was no need to look in the horse’s mouth. Just accept the horse “as is”. Thus the statement was created, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”.

The Gift of AA is like the Gift Horse. No need for a trial run or interviewing every AA member to determine their success with AA and if the results are real as advertised.

I just needed to look at the AA Fellows at my first AA meeting, a Men’s Stag, and determined that the men seemed healthy, happy, very sober, and serious about the AA Program and were not a glum lot.

I had never seen anything like that in my life of 74 years. I didn’t know how they solved their drinking problem.
I accepted that the “AA Gift Horse” was there and for me to hop on, without looking in AA’s Mouth, yell “Getty Up” and gallop on the AA Path to sobriety and a better life.

Soon I learned I could not purchase the “AA Gift”, at any price. Action to work the AA Program is the only price. The “AA Gift” was and will always be given without monetary compensation. Only a verbal agreement to “go to any lengths” to achieve sobriety and then to give the opportunity to another suffering alcoholic to work for and receive the “AA Gift” is suggested.

With our Higher Power’s help, we can avoid the dangerous, deadly Bucking Alcohol Bronco.
We can hop on the AA Gift Horse holding our AA Gift and ride to our destiny of Sobriety, and be Happy, Healthy, Sober, Spiritual, Joyous and Free.

James Patrick M

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Old Timer’s Prayer

God, keep me from thinking I must share in every meeting, no matter the topic. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details and give me wings to get to the point. Remind me to guard confidences and to keep still when I feel it is necessary to speak up for someone’s own good.

Release me from the need to straighten out everybody else’s thinking and program. God, I ask for the grace to listen to newcomers. Please help me to remember the patience with which others listened to me when I was new.
Please seal my lips to giving advice, and help me to remember to share only my experience, strength, and hope.

Remind me that my purpose is to fit myself to be of maximum service to You and to the people around me. Help me to remain teachable. Teach me (again) the lesson that, occasionally, it is possible that I may be wrong; and remind me, please, of the freedom that I gain when I am able to promptly admit I am wrong and make amends where necessary.

Help me to remember the difference between making amends and just saying, I am sorry. Help me to be a worker among workers, a friend among friends. Please keep me from being a bleeding deacon, and help me to walk the path towards being an elder statesman/stateswoman. Keep me ever mindful that I cannot manage my own life through my own unaided will. I know that I am not a saint; please show me the way to seek You so that I may continue to grow along spiritual lines.

Remind me, please, of Rule 62 to not take myself so damn seriously. (It is so easy to take myself way too seriously.) Keep me free of gossip, character assassination, and judgment. Remind me that because I am not perfect, although I have humbly asked, my character defects and shortcomings still arise unexpectedly, to cause damage to others and to myself.

Help me to walk with faith and acceptance, to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people, and give me the grace to tell them so. Help me to see that You love each of Your children, and that You do not need my opinion of them or suggestions on what they might deserve.

Amen

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One Step Back

Progress, not perfection as is stated in our Book
Is what we must pursue; therefore, we need to take a look
At how we are progressing, use the 10th Step as our guide
Evaluate our actions to insure we don’t backslide

To backslide does not only mean we took another drink
More times than not it happens by the way we sometimes think
Our defects or our shortcomings we prayed to take away
Keep coming back when we relent, our old ways on display

When we attend a meeting, for that hour we’re secure
Surrounded by our fellowship, no hardships to endure
It’s when we travel out that door the challenge will begin
It may be from some stranger or perhaps our next of kin

We go to an appointment that was set to start at nine
It’s nearly 10 and we still sit, we feel we’ve been maligned
Our thoughts become unsettled; agitation now increased
We produce a verbal insult, old behavior’s been released

We’re asked to just be patient since the doctor we’re to see
Was tending to a patient with a real emergency
So, we sit down and start to think about the way we acted
And how we let the teachings from our Program get distracted

We took a small step backwards, did not think or did not care
To use a thing that we’d been taught, the first part of a prayer
To accept this thing we could not change, ‘twas out of our control
So, say the prayer and reconnect with patience as our goal

It matters not how long it’s been since last we had a drink
Impatience, aggravation still can change the way we think
It’s what we do when this occurs, a choice we have to make
One leads back to serenity, the other to mistakes

The one step back can not be change so what we need to do
To compensate for what we’ve done, we need not one but two
Two steps forward to get us back to where we need to be
Back on the journey we began towards our serenity

The first step is to recognize our part in what we did
Discard the though that we’d been wronged, stop acting like a kid
And once we’ve understood our part, our conscience to inspect
We need to take some action for this issue to correct

To promptly say that we were wrong is difficult to do
Ego tells us, “Don’t go there”, a childish point of view
Our program tells us that we must amend for our misdeeds
Acknowledge our misconduct and be willing to proceed

Apologize to those we have offended or aggrieved
Clear the air of tension that our actions had conceived
It takes both steps to rectify the prudence that we lack
Each time we let resentment let us take that one step back

Larry R.