Posted in Sharing

The Winning Side

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

Drunks

We died of pneumonia in furnished rooms where they found us three days later when somebody complained about the smell.

We died against bridge abutments and nobody knew if it was suicide and we probably didn’t know either except in the sense that it was always suicide.

We died in hospitals, our stomachs huge, distended and there was nothing they could do.

We died in cells, never knowing whether we were guilty or not.

We went to priests, they gave us pledges, they told us to pray, they told us to go and sin no more, but go. We tried and we died.

We died of overdoses, we died in bed (but usually not the Big Bed)

We died in straitjackets, in the DT’s seeing God knows what, creeping skittering slithering shuffling things.

And you know what the worst thing was? The worst thing was that nobody ever believed how hard we tried.

We went to doctors and they gave us stuff to take that would make us sick when we drank on the principle of so crazy, it just might work, I guess, or maybe they just shook their heads and sent us to places like Dropkick Murphy’s.

And when we got out we were hooked on paraldehyde or maybe we lied to the doctors and they told us not to drink so much, just drink like me. And we tried, and we died.

We drowned in our own vomit or choked on it, our broken jaws wired shut. We died playing Russian roulette and people thought we’d lost, but we knew better.

We died under the hoofs of horses, under the wheels of vehicles, under the knives and boot heels of our brother drunks.

We died in shame.

And you know what was even worse, was that we couldn’t believe it ourselves, that we had tried.

We figured we just thought we tried and we died believing that we hadn’t tried, believing that we didn’t know what it meant to try.

When we were desperate enough or hopeful or deluded or embattled enough to go for help we went to people with letters after their names and prayed that they might have read the right books that had the right words in them, never suspecting the terrifying truth, that the right words, as simple as they were, had not been written yet.

We died falling off girders on high buildings, because of course ironworkers drink, of course they do.

We died with a shotgun in our mouth, or jumping off a bridge, and everybody knew it was suicide.

We died under the Southeast Expressway, with our hands tied behind us and a bullet in the back of our head, because this time the people that we disappointed were the wrong people.

We died in convulsions, or of “insult to the brain”, we died incontinent, and in disgrace, abandoned .

If we were women, we died degraded, because women have so much more to live up to.

We tried and we died and nobody cried. And the very worst thing was that for every one of us that died, there were another hundred of us, or another thousand, who wished that we could die, who went to sleep praying we would not have to wake up because what we were enduring was intolerable and we knew in our hearts it wasn’t ever gonna change.

One day in a hospital room in New York City, one of us had what the books call a transforming spiritual experience, and he said to himself “I’ve got it .” (no, you haven’t you’ve only got part of it) ” and I have to share it.” (now you’ve ALMOST got it) and he kept trying to give it away, but we couldn’t hear it. We tried and we died.

We died of one last cigarette, the comfort of its glowing in the dark. We passed out and the bed caught fire. They said we suffocated before our body burned, they said we never felt a thing , that was the best way maybe that we died, except sometimes we took our family with us.

And the man in New York was so sure he had it, he tried to love us into sobriety, but that didn’t work either, love confuses drunks and he tried and we still died.

One after another we got his hopes up and we broke his heart,
Because that’s what we do.

And the worst thing was that every time we thought we knew what the worst thing was something happened that was worse.

Until a day came in a hotel lobby and it wasn’t in Rome, or Jerusalem, Or Mecca or even Dublin, or South Boston, it was in Akron, Ohio, for Christ’s sake.

A day came when the man said I have to find a drunk because I need him As much as he needs me (NOW you’ve got it).

And the transmission line, after all those years, was open, the transmission line was open. And now we don’t go to priests, and we don’t go to doctors and people with letters after their names.

We come to people who have been there, we come to each other. We come to try and we don’t have to die………

Jack M.

Posted in Sharing

12 Steps in 30 Minutes

AAs are always asking: “Where did the Twelve Steps come from?” In the last analysis, perhaps nobody knows. Yet some of the events which led to their formulation are as clear to me as though they took place yesterday.

So far as people were concerned, the main channels of inspiration for our Steps were three in number–the Oxford Groups, Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital and the famed psychologist, William James, called by some the father of modern psychology. The story of how these streams of influence were brought together and how they led to the writing of our Twelve Steps is exciting and in spots downright incredible.

Many of us will remember the Oxford Groups as a modern evangelical movement which flourished in the 1920’s and early 30’s, led by a one-time Lutheran minister, Dr. Frank Buchman. The Oxford Groups of that day threw heavy emphasis on personal work, one member with another. AA’s Twelfth Step had its origin in that vital practice. The moral backbone of the “O.G.” was absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. They also practiced a type of confession, which they called “sharing”; the making of amends for harms done they called “restitution.” They believed deeply in their “quiet time,” a meditation practiced by groups and individuals alike, in which the guidance of God was sought for every detail of living, great or small.

These basic ideas were not new; they could have been found elsewhere. But the saving thing for us first alcoholics who contacted the Oxford Groupers was that they laid great stress on these particular principles. And fortunate for us was the fact that the Groupers took special pains not to interfere with one’s personal religious views. Their society, like ours later on, saw the need to be strictly non-denominational.

In the late summer of 1934, my well-loved alcoholic friend and schoolmate “Ebbie” had fallen in with these good folks and had promptly sobered up. Being an alcoholic, and rather on the obstinate side, he hadn’t been able to “buy” all the Oxford Group ideas and attitudes. Nevertheless, he was moved by their deep sincerity and felt mighty grateful for the fact that their ministrations had, for the time being, lifted his obsession to drink.

When he arrived in New York in the late fall of 1934, Ebbie thought at once of me. On a bleak November day he rang up. Soon he was looking at me across our kitchen table at 182 Clinton Street, Brooklyn, New York. As I remember that conversation, he constantly used phrases like these: “I found I couldn’t run my own life;” “I had to get honest with myself and somebody else;” “I had to make restitution for the damage I had done;” “I had to pray to God for guidance and strength, even though I wasn’t sure there was any God;” “And after I’d tried hard to do these things I found that my craving for alcohol left.” Then over and over Ebbie would say something like this: “Bill, it isn’t a bit like being on the water-wagon. You don’t fight the desire to drink–you get released from it. I never had such a feeling before.”

Such was the sum of what Ebbie had extracted from his Oxford Group friends and had transmitted to me that day. While these simple ideas were not new, they certainly hit me like tons of brick. Today we understand just why that was. . .one alcoholic was talking to another as no one else can.

Two or three weeks later, December 11th to be exact, I staggered into the Charles B. Towns Hospital, that famous drying-out emporium on Central Park West, New York City. I’d been there before, so I knew and already loved the doctor in charge–Dr. Silkworth. It was he who was soon to contribute a very great idea without which AA could never have succeeded. For years he had been proclaiming alcoholism an illness, an obsession of the mind coupled with an allergy of the body. By now I knew this meant me. I also understood what a fatal combination these twin ogres could be. Of course, I’d once hoped to be among the small percentage of victims who now and then escape their vengeance. But this outside hope was now gone. I was about to hit bottom. That verdict of science–the obsession that condemned me to drink and the allergy that condemned me to die–was about to do the trick. That’s where medical science, personified by this benign little doctor, began to fit in. Held in the hands of one alcoholic talking to the next, this double-edged truth was a sledgehammer which could shatter the tough alcoholic’s ego at depth and lay him wide open to the grace of God.

In my case it was of course Dr. Silkworth who swung the sledge while my friend Ebbie carried to me the spiritual principles and the grace which brought on my sudden spiritual awakening at the hospital three days later. I immediately knew that I was a free man. And with this astonishing experience came a feeling of wonderful certainty that great numbers of alcoholics might one day enjoy the priceless gift which had been bestowed upon me.

THIRD INFLUENCE
At this point a third stream of influence entered my life through the pages of William James’ book, “Varieties of Religious Experience.” Somebody had brought it to my hospital room. Following my sudden experience, Dr. Silkworth had taken great pains to convince me that I was not hallucinated. But William James did even more. Not only, he said, could spiritual experiences make people saner, they could transform men and women so that they could do, feel and believe what had hitherto been impossible to them. It mattered little whether these awakenings were sudden or gradual, their variety could be almost infinite. But the biggest payoff of that noted book was this: in most of the cases described, those who had been transformed were hopeless people. In some controlling area of their lives they bad met absolute defeat. Well, that was me all right. In complete defeat, with no hope or faith whatever, I had made an appeal to a higher Power. I had taken Step One of today’s AA program–“admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable,” I’d also taken Step Three–“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood him.” Thus was I set free. It was just as simple, yet just is mysterious, as that.

These realizations were so exciting that I instantly joined up with the Oxford Groups. But to their consternation I insisted on devoting myself exclusively to drunks. This was disturbing to the O.G.’s on two counts. Firstly, they wanted to help save the whole world. Secondly, their luck with drunks had been poor. Just as I joined they had been working over a batch of alcoholics who had proved disappointing indeed. One of them, it was rumored, had flippantly cast his shoe through a valuable stained glass window of an Episcopal church across the alley from O.G. headquarters. Neither did they take kindly to my repeated declaration that it shouldn’t; take long to sober up all the drunks in the world. They rightly declared that my conceit was still immense.

SOMETHING MISSING
After some six months of violent exertion with scores of alcoholics which I found at a nearby mission and Towns Hospital, it began to look like the Groupers were right. I hadn’t sobered up anybody. In Brooklyn we always had a houseful of drinkers living with us, sometimes as many as five. My valiant wife, Lois, once arrived home from work to find three of them fairly tight. The remaining two were worse. They were whaling each other with two-by-fours. Though events like these slowed me down somewhat, the persistent conviction that a way to sobriety could be found never seemed to leave me. There was, though, one bright spot. My sponsor, Ebbie, still clung precariously to his new-found sobriety.

What was the reason for all these fiascoes? If Ebbie and I could achieve sobriety, why couldn’t all the rest find it too? Some of those we’d worked on certainly wanted to get well. We speculated day and night why nothing much had happened to them. Maybe they couldn’t stand the spiritual pace of the Oxford Group’s four absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. In fact some of the alcoholics declared that this was the trouble. The aggressive pressure upon them to get good overnight would make them fly high as geese for a, few weeks and then flop dismally. They complained, too, about another form of coercion–something the Oxford Groupers called “guidance for others.” A “team” composed of non-alcoholic Groupers would sit down with an alcoholic and after a “quiet time” would come up with precise instructions as to how the alcoholic should run his own life. As grateful as we were to our O.G. friends, this was sometimes tough to take. It obviously had something to do with the wholesale skidding that went on.

But this wasn’t the entire reason for failure. After months I saw the trouble was mainly in me. I had become very aggressive, very cocksure. I talked a lot about my sudden spiritual experience, as though it was something very special. I had been playing the double role of teacher and preacher. In my exhortations I’d forgotten all about the medical side of our malady, and that need for deflation at depth so emphasized by William James had been neglected. We weren’t using that medical sledgehammer that Dr. Silkworth had so providentially given us.

Finally, one day, Dr. Silkworth took me back down to my right size. Said he, “Bill, why don’t you quit talking so much about that bright light experience of yours, it sounds too crazy. Though I’m convinced that nothing but better morals will make alcoholics really well, I do think you have got the cart before the horse. The point is that alcoholics won’t buy all this moral exhortation until they convince themselves that they must. If I were you I’d go after them on the medical basis first. While it has never done any good for me to tell them how fatal their malady is, it might be a very different story if you, a formerly hopeless alcoholic, gave them the bad news. Because of the identification you naturally have with alcoholics, you might be able to penetrate where I can’t. Give them the medical business first, and give it to them hard. This might soften them up so they will accept the principles that will really get them well.”

THEN CAME AKRON
Shortly after this history-making conversation, I found myself in Akron, Ohio, on a business venture which promptly collapsed. Alone in the town, I was scared to death of getting drunk. I was no longer a teacher or a preacher, I was an alcoholic who knew that he needed another alcoholic, as much as that one could possibly need me. Driven by that urge, I was soon face to face with Dr. Bob. It was at once evident that Dr. Bob knew more of spiritual things than I did. He also had been in touch with the Oxford Groupers at Akron, But somehow he simply couldn’t get sober. Following Dr. Silkworth’s advice, I used the medical sledgehammer. I told him what alcoholism was and just how fatal it could be. Apparently this did something to Dr. Bob, On June 10, 1935, he sobered up, never to drink again. When, in 1939, Dr. Bob’s story first appeared in the book, Alcoholic Anonymous, he put one paragraph of it in italics. Speaking of me, he said: “Of far more importance was the fact that he was the first living human with whom I had ever talked, who knew what be was talking about in regard to alcoholism from actual experience”.

THE MISSING LINK
Dr. Silkworth had indeed supplied us the missing link without which the chain of principles now forged into our Twelve Steps could never have been complete. Then and there, the spark that was to become Alcoholics Anonymous had been struck.

During the next three years after Dr. Bob’s recovery our growing groups at Akron, New York and Cleveland evolved the so-called word-of-mouth program of our pioneering time. As we commenced to form a society separate from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles something like this:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol
  2. We got honest with ourselves
  3. We got honest with another person, in confidence
  4. We made amends for harms done others
  5. We worked with other alcoholics without demand for prestige or money
  6. We prayed to God to help us to do these things as best we could

Though these principles were advocated according to the whim or liking of each of us, and though in Akron and Cleveland they still stuck by the O.G. absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, this was the gist of our message to incoming alcoholics up to 1939, when our present Twelve Steps were put to paper.

I well remember the evening on which the Twelve Steps were written. I was lying in bed quite dejected and suffering from one of my imaginary ulcer attacks. Four chapters of the book. Alcoholics Anonymous, had been roughed out and read in meetings at Akron and New York. We quickly found that everybody wanted to be an author. The hassles as to what should go into our new book were terrific. For example, some wanted a purely psychological book which would draw in alcoholics without scaring them. We could tell them about the “God business” afterwards. A few, led by our wonderful southern friend, Fitz M., wanted a fairly religious book infused with some of the dogma we had picked up from the churches and missions which had tried to help us. The louder these arguments, the more I felt in the middle. It appeared that I wasn’t going to be the author at all. I was only going to be an umpire who would decide the contents of the book. This didn’t mean, though, that there wasn’t terrific enthusiasm for the undertaking. Every one of us was wildly excited at the possibility of getting our message before all those countless alcoholics who still didn’t know.

Having arrived at Chapter Five, it seemed high time to state what our program really was I remember running over in my mind the word-of-mouth phrases then in current use. Jotting these down, they added up to the six named above. Then came the idea that our program ought to be more accurately and clearly stated. Distant readers would have to have a precise set of principles. Knowing the alcoholic’s ability to rationalize, something airtight would have to be written. We couldn’t let the reader wiggle our anywhere. Besides, a more complete statement would help in the chapters to come where we would need to show exactly how the recovery program ought to be worked.

12 STEPS IN 30 MINUTES
At length I began to write on a cheap yellow tablet. I split the word-of-mouth program up into smaller pieces, meanwhile enlarging its scope considerably. Uninspired as I felt, I was surprised that in a short time, perhaps half an hour, I had set down certain principles which, on being counted, turned out to be twelve in number. And for some unaccountable reason, I had moved the idea of God into the Second Step, right up front. Besides, I had named God very liberally throughout the other steps. In one of the steps I had even suggested that the newcomer get down on his knees

When this document was shown to our New York meeting the protests were many and loud. Our agnostic friends didn’t go at all for the idea of kneeling. Others said we were talking altogether too much about God. And anyhow, why should there be twelve steps when we had done fine on six? Let’s keep it simple, they said.

This sort of heated discussion went on for days and nights. But out of it all there came a ten-strike for Alcoholics Anonymous. Our agnostic contingent, speared by Hank P. and Jim B., finally convinced us that we must make it easier for people like themselves by using such terms as “a Higher Power” or “God as we understand Him!” Those expressions, as we so well know today, have proved lifesavers for many an alcoholic. They have enabled thousands of us to make a beginning where none could have been made had we left the steps just as I originally wrote them. Happily for us there were no other changes in the original draft and the number of steps still stood at twelve. Little did we then guess that our Twelve Steps would soon be widely approved by clergymen of all denominations and even by our latter-day friends, the psychiatrists.

This little fragment of history ought to convince the most skeptical that nobody invented Alcoholics Anonymous.

It just grew. . .by the grace of God.

Bill W.
The Grapevine July 1953
Vol. 10 No. 2

Posted in Sharing

Cleaning My Hard Drive: An Excercise In Working The Steps

I was talking to a friend one evening and she shared how she dealt with her resentments. I remember going home happy because I didn’t think I had a resentment problem. I was wrong.

That night my computer wasn’t working properly, I quickly realized that my hard drive was full. To free up space, I used the computer’s uninstall wizard to get rid of unwanted programs. My computer ran much better.

Then it hit me: my brain was full of resentments, and it wasn’t working properly. Years of resentments had clogged my brain and affected my serenity and happiness.

Computer programs have branches that reach into the deepest part of the computer. It’s easy to find and delete a single computer program, but it is almost impossible to find and delete all of the interconnecting programs.

Resentments are very similar to unwanted computer programs. I had accumulated more than 45 years of resentments. My brain has billions of interconnections to my resentments, and I cannot begin to understand how to delete all of them.

My computer’s uninstall wizard uses four steps that simplify finding and deleting unwanted programs and their connections. In the first steps, I search the hard drive to identify any unwanted programs. I then discuss with a systems administrator the exact nature of the unwanted program to determine if it should be removed. The wizard then asks if I am entirely ready to delete the program. By selecting the finish button, I ask my computer to remove the unwanted program and the process of seeking out and eliminating the unwanted program and all of its connections begins.

I needed an uninstall wizard for my resentments. I found one with Steps Four, Five, Six, and Seven. These Steps, used with other program tools, help eliminate and prevent resentments.

With Step Four, I take a fearless and searching moral inventory. I can identify and list resentments that were not previously visible. It allows me to see my part in my resentments.

I take the Fifth Step to verify, validate, and sort out the exact nature of my resentments by sharing with myself or another person. In the Sixth Step I realize what character defects are not good for me. Once I realize that resentments make me angry, obsessive, and only hurt me, I am entirely ready to remove them.

The Seventh Step is the finish button that allows my Higher Power to do His job. I humbly ask Him to remove my resentments. This request starts a process where my Higher Power finds and eliminates the remainders of my resentments. After taking the Seventh Step, I need to be patient. My computer works in near real time, but the Seventh Step works on God’s time. Computers are attacked daily by viruses and spy ware. Antivirus programs protect the computer by constantly taking inventories. When a malicious program is found, the software promptly deletes it.

I am attacked by everyday life events. I have trigger points that can instantly reinstate my resentments. The Tenth Step maintains and protects my serenity. I use it to prevent new and old resentments from developing by continuing to take my inventory and promptly admitting when I am wrong.

Firewalls protect computers from destructive viruses and unauthorized users. How can I prevent resentments? I’ve learned that by setting boundaries and detaching with love, most of my resentments can be avoided.

Anonymous

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12 Steps in Reverse

Everyone is always talking about the 12 Steps in A. A. Another way of thinking about it are the 12 Mis-Steps of A. A. Here they are:

  1. Start missing meetings for any reason, real or imaginary.
  2. Become critical of the methods used by other members who may not agree with you in everything.
  3. Nurse the idea that someday, somehow, you can drink again and become a controlled drinker.
  4. Let the other fellow do the 12th Step work in your group. You are too busy.
  5. Become conscious of your A. A. seniority and view every new member with a skeptical, jaundiced eye.
  6. Become so pleased with your own views of the program that you consider yourself an “elder statesman.”
  7. Start a small clique within your own group, composed only of a few members who see eye-to-eye with you.
  8. Tell the new member in confidence that you yourself do not take certain of the 12 Steps seriously.
  9. Let your mind dwell more and more on how much you are helping others rather than on how much the A. A. program is helping you.
  10. If an unfortunate member has a slip, drop him at once.
  11. Cultivate the habit of borrowing money from other members; then stay away from meetings to avoid embarrassment.
  12. Look upon the 24-hour plan as vital to new members, but not for yourself. YOU have outgrown the need of that long, long ago.

C. L.
Chicago, Illinois
The Grapevine March 1947
Vol. 3 No. 10

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Fruits or Roots

When most folks see an orange tree, the fruit is what they see
They notice the nice colors, Mother Nature’s apogee
What started as a tiny seed that most folks had not seen
Has now become Earth’s bounty with its glossy leaves of green

But what will go un-noticed are the roots that help it grow
Providing needed nourishment that let its branches flow
And help the fruit develop with its juices held with in
Ready to be taken, then the process starts again

When someone comes into the rooms, amazed at what they see
A group of folks who demonstrate a real serenity
With laughter and good fellowship, prepared to lend a hand
To those who come in all alone, adrift without a plan

When members share about the way their old life’s been replaced
From one of fear and misery, their self-worth been debased
To one of peace and gratitude, for waking each new day
A clean and sober member, free from self-loathing and dismay

But what they may not see is how they worked to gain respect
The hours spent at meetings, time with sponsors on the Steps
Importance of the fellowship, a whole new group of friends
The time to look inside themselves, the need to make amends

The meetings are a seedling, they’re the way to get you started
On a journey to a better life, a path that others charted
But for these seeds to flourish and to grow the way they ought
They’ll need roots to support them or their planting comes to naught

The same holds true for people when they come into AA
The only see the benefits, the fruit is on display
What’s missing is the things it took to get the fruit to bloom
It’s all the work that went on every day outside the rooms

Starting a routine that you adhere to every day
Prayer and meditation help to fortify the way
A breakfast after meetings with a group of AA friends
Create a strong foundation that will soon pay dividends

All these things are needed to insure we stay on track
The freedom that we gained assures we keep on coming back
The work we’ve done has made us grow, we relish in the fruit
But all of this possible because we have strong roots

The Orange is a pretty sight, in there among the leaves
It’s easy to forget about the help it has received
The seed begin the process which develops into fruit
But it could have come undone without reliance on the roots

Larry R.

Posted in Sharing

H.A.L.T.

The “rule” of H.A.L.T. is a reminder that can help us all along the road to recovery – The Essence of AA

AS ADJUNCTS to AA’s spiritual program and meetings, there are clichés, systems, gimmicks, and a myriad of other tricks that have been used by AA members down through the years to maintain sobriety. I, for one, strongly uphold the application of the foremost of these, the “Rule of HALT,” not only for the new member, but for the old-timer as well. Further, I sincerely feel this simple rule to be too often ignored or passed over lightly.

In the beginning, new members, as we all know, are usually confused and completely without direction. Some are sincere to the very bottom of their souls, while others arc only lukewarm in their desire to “put the plug in the jug.” Both sorts look to us for answers explaining how, and all too often they are disappointed. (This is understandable, for how many of us know how AA works?)

We have precious little to give our “babies” save encouragement, fellowship, and living proof that the program works–at least for us. Why not, then, pass on whatever practical information and instruction we can to each newcomer, to make his beginning more palatable and to enhance his chances of success should he choose to follow these instructions?

We are certain that most members of AA are aware of the “Rule of HALT,” but to what degree we cannot be certain. To scrutinize the rule briefly may be helpful to the reader and will certainly be so to the writer, who has proved in reality that violation of it in part or in toto can, and often does, lead to relapse. Here, then, is the meat of the rule:

H

Don’t get too Hungry. For a reason we cannot explain, there seems to be in the alcoholic, a peculiar psychophysiological relationship between hunger and the urge to drink.

On some occasions, we would eat a big dinner and then find that it had literally destroyed our desire to drink afterwards. Conversely, and eventually more often, we avoided eating because we knew it would interfere with our drinking.
Years ago, my sponsor told me that if I had a physical urge to take a drink, I should go out of my way to drink a milk shake. If this didn’t work, he said. I should drink another. And another. I can testify that if you can drink liquor on top of two or three milk shakes, you aren’t an alcoholic. You’re nuts!

And so, when you are hungry, eat. Simple and important. (This writer eats little at one time, but may eat something as many as five times daily.)

A

Don’t get too Angry. Wow! Of all things to tell an alcoholic! But we don’t have to be on the program very long to realize that anger, righteous or not, is better left to those who can handle it.

Borrowing from Father John Doe: “Let the other guy get mad! If somebody calls me an SOB, either I am or I ain’t. If I am, so what? And if I ain’t, why should I make myself one by getting mad about it?”

We can’t afford to get angry–especially at people. Kick the wall or the TV if you will, but “Let the other guy get mad!” We know too well where anger leads: to resentment. And brother, do we know what resentment brings!

Rule of thumb? Well, as the young folks say in this age, “Cool it, baby. Cool it.”

L

Don’t get too Lonely. Nonalcoholic members of the psychiatric profession tend to equate loneliness with boredom, and we are inclined to agree. If there is any one thing that must be included in the alcoholic’s life before he can once again become a whole man, it is worthwhile activity. This may be Twelfth Step work, his vocation, his avocation, or anything else. But we feel such activity must be present in order to fulfill his existence and eliminate loneliness.

We must also consider the loneliness brought about because the newcomer lives alone. But this is easily rectified. It takes only a phone call or a visit to an AA-oriented social club. Or, for the AA Loner, far from other members, the Big Book or a letter to an AA pen pal may suffice.

Under any conditions, loneliness is the mother of self-pity, and the ultimate end is resentment and drinking.

The rule of thumb? Do something!

T

Don’t get too Tired. In its effect, the last ingredient or direction in our rule is not too different from the first. Physical fatigue will affect both our bodies and our minds adversely and will thereby lower our defenses against the urge to drink if there is any possibility at all of such a desire being present, consciously or subconsciously.

And here the rule of thumb is: “When you get tired, put the body down!” (How many times have we read and said Easy Does It?)

So there it is: HALT–Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. This rule, when coupled with meetings and living our day-by-day lives according to AA principles, will make things much easier, not only for the newcomer, but for the old-timer as well. Once we recognize that these four conditions are dangerous if succumbed to, we should avoid them as carefully as we would that first drink, for any one of them could be the first step to a drunk.

Dr. John
San Diego, California

Posted in Sharing

Important information pertaining to the use of AA:

Important information pertaining to the use of AA:

AA is an allergy relief program commonly used to treat and inhibit the use of alcohol and the common defects caused by alcoholism.

AA is designed to reduce the symptoms commonly associated with alcoholism.

When taken as directed AA is known to substantially reduce the negative side effects associated with alcoholism such as :
• Misery
• Depression
• Despair
• Remorse
• Guilt
• Shame
• Physical
• Mental and Spiritual maladies
• Mental obsession
• Physical allergy commonly known as alcoholism

We do not recommend that you use AA unless you are capable of being honest and completely willing to give yourself to this simple program. AA is available for use by those who have a sincere desire to stop drinking.

CAUTION: AA will impair your ability to consume alcohol. If you are using any other substance such as alcohol or any other mind-altering substance we suggest that you discontinue use immediately, as this will cause a substantial reduction in the effect caused by AA.

Some of the most common side effects associated with AA are:
• Honesty
• Hope
• Faith
• Courage
• Integrity
• Willingness
• Humility
• Brotherly love
• Justice
• Perseverance
• Spirituality
• Service

A spiritual awakening and a psychic change have been reported in most cases.

If you are experiencing a resurrection lasting more than four hours, you needn’t seek medical attention, as you may be experiencing the initial effects of AA.

AA has no negative side effects on pregnant women or women who are nursing.

To reduce your risk of chronic relapse, a lifestyle change may be recommended. In 9 out of 10 cases practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.

An increased risk of recovery and long-term spiritual effects have been associated with AA. Consult your Sponsor immediately when changes do occur.

AA should be taken with plenty of open-mindedness and willingness. Do not take AA alone. Independent studies have shown that AA is most effective when working with others.

Always remember it is important that you use AA only as prescribed:

  1. Trust in God
  2. Clean House
  3. Help others

WARNING: Do not skip doses or discontinue use as severe reoccurrence of fatal allergy symptoms may occur.

AA is recommended for long-term daily use. Prodigious results have been found in those who continue long-term use of AA. As with all allergy relief medications, some results may vary, sometimes quickly sometimes slowly.

For more information and to learn more about the AA 12-step program of recovery and alcoholism we suggest you contact your local AA community directly, retain a sponsor, and read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Gordon R.

Posted in Sharing

Inner Peace

The feeling that cannot come from any person, place or thing. It is not in the world or of the world. It cannot be purchased, given or taken away.

I can’t get this from approval of another person, gratification of anyone or anything. It must come from within.

I must acquire this gift from within myself before I can truly love myself; love life and truly love other people.

I cannot be dependent on attachments or demands of others to feel Peace; True Love; Love of myself; for who I am, and what I am.

Emotional Peace that is dependent on anyone or anything is a false or worldly expectation. These feelings are not true Peace, but barriers to real Peace.

I must divorce myself from selfish, self-centered and self-seeking motives and actions before I can acquire Inner Peace.

Anonymous

Posted in Sharing

Remember The Good

We hear it all the time about the ways to stop a slip
Call your sponsor, go to meetings, don’t take that first sip
Bring to mind your last adventure, how it ended up
They all help you stop from picking up that fatal cup

But remembering how bad things were is not the only way
To strengthen your resolve to make it through another day
There is another path you can consider, and you should
It helps you face temptation by remembering the good

The good we’ve gained through AA living comes in many forms
The first is when we wake without a headache every morn
And not having to apologize for what you did last night
Or not worry that you didn’t keep your bottles out of sight

Those things are fine reminders, how you’ve freed yourself of pains
But even better are the thoughts, reminders what you’ve gained
You’ve mended your relations with you family and your friends
Forgiven for wrongs you’ve done from making your amends

You’re driving in your car and then a cop pulls in behind
But you’ve no need to worry, does not even cross your mind
Respect you’ve gained from colleagues and from members of AA
And most of all the self-respect you’d lost along the way

These benefits seemed out of reach as you approached your bottom
Yet they had all come true, be ever grateful that you got’em
Hold on to them, keep doing all those things you know you should
And when temptation comes begin remembering the good

Larry R.