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Another Day

Thank you God for another day
Please lead me as I go on my way…
On my own I am lost
On my own I know the cost…
If there are storms that darken my path
I know trust in you will weaken their wrath…
I ask for love and tolerance for all
In this endeavor let me not stall…
When I take back the reins as I know I will
Help me to pause and be still…
And once again may Your hand guide me along
As my faith in You keeps me strong…

Bill D

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Compound Interest

Financial people tell us that to have your savings grow
Letting interest compound is the better way to go
By keeping funds invested will increase total return
And add to your investment by the money that you earn

Recovery from booze and drugs is not an easy task
But neither was the life we lived in our addicted past
Mired in our misery from alcohol or dope
We found a room with folks like us to finally give us hope

They told us of their struggles, stories where we could relate
Of how they reached their bottom, feeling lost and desolate
But somehow, they had managed to recover from despair
And learned just how to live again, an answer to their prayer

To reach their goal, sobriety, required certain steps
A list of things they’d need to do to regain self-respect
Admit defeat, commit to do whatever it would take
And join the AA fellowship, its practices partake

When we arrived, we were confused, unsure of what to do
But as we kept on coming back, we started to accrue
The answers to the task at hand, a proper way to live
Not just release from alcohol, to get we had to give

This lesson was not one we alcoholics understood
Our lives been lived, consumed with self, not for a common good
Yet, we were told we had to change, assist our fellow man
Through service work and sponsorship, that’s how AA began

For some of us it took a while to fully comprehend
The effort we would have to make to help ourselves to mend
We thought a meeting twice a week should surely keep us straight
Then wondered why it did not work, old ways reactivate

We’d heard the words but did not act, results had been the same
Back at the bottle once again, with just ourselves to blame
We’d try again, but this time we would do what they suggest
And change our lives by all the time and effort we’d invest

We’d make a meeting every day and call some AA friend
Do service work, be ready with a helping hand to lend
And as we did, we realize we had found the best solution
To battle our addiction and remove our destitution

To work the program properly we needed to invest
By doing what’s suggested, be a member, not a guest
The more we are committed to our AA way of living
We add another chapter to the gift that we’ve been given

We put away some money, get the interest, let it grow
Sobriety’s the same, more we invest the more we sew
We compound our investment every day that we commit
To do the next right thing, day by day and bit by bit

Larry R.

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What Humility Means To Me

In the opening paragraphs of the chapter devoted to step seven in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Bill Wilson emphatically states, “the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AA’s twelve steps.” The legendary alcoholic goes on to claim that, “…without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all.”  This can be a daunting task in modern day culture, where humility is often associated with weakness, or an almost passive mode of existence.  Society puts so much emphasis on external accomplishments, appearance, and arrogance that even a small display of humility can make one feel like a drowning man coming up for air.  Like many alcoholics, I struggled to define this quiet virtue.  How can I begin to live by these principles if I can’t interpret them myself?  At the suggestion of Bill W. and my sponsor, I set out to find my own meaning.

All too often, alcoholics set out to seek humility by thinking less about themselves when in reality they should be thinking about themselves less.  By following these guidelines, I have determined that humility means that you are secure enough not to need to be reassured by others.  It means that you don’t feel you have to prove yourself by showing that you are more cleaver, smarter, more gifted or more successful than others.  You are secure because you live in God’s love. For he has faith in you even if you do not.  You do not need to compare yourself to others.  You have your task, they have theirs, and that leads you to co-operate, not compete.

This means you can see other people and value them for what they are.  They are not just a series of mirrors at which you look only to see your own reflection.  Secure in yourself, you can see value in others.  Confident in your identity, you can value the people not like you.  Humility is the self turned outward. It is the understanding that it is not about you.

If you set yourself on human approval, you’re controlled by the people you want to please.  I was a walking example of this and this is why I drank.  You become overly concerned with what people think of you and begin to shape your behavior around gaining their approval.  The result is that you lose your sense of who you really are and you start compromising your principles.

So I challenge you, free yourself of the stronghold of society and find your own definition of humility.  Let’s walk this road together!

Stephan B.

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12 Steps In Reverse – Road to Relapse

12= Having detached ourselves spiritually as a result of ignoring these Steps, we let our fellow alcoholics fend for themselves and practiced these principles sporadically.
11= Let our conscious contact with G-d as we understood Him lapse by praying only in emergencies for our will to be carried out.
10= Slacked off on personal inventory and when we were wrong, denied or hid it.
9= Reasoned that no one had been hurt by us more than we had been hurt by them and called it even.
8= Made a game of rationalizing the harm we had done others.
7= Sang “I’ve Gotta Be Me”.
6= Decided that our defects of character were too much fun to give up.
5= Denied to ourselves, to G-d and to everybody else that we had ever done anything harmful.
4= Quickly cast a weak flashlight over our moral inventory and decided it was more fun to take yours.
3= Made a decision to keep our will and our lives totally in our own control.
2= Came to believe that since our troubles were of our own making, we would have to solve them without outside help.
1= We decided that we could control alcohol, that our lives were manageable after all.


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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Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship

  1. I will not help you to stay and wallow in limbo.
  2. I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definition.
  3. I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more excited, less sensitive, more free to become the authority for your own living.
  4. I can not give you dreams or “fix you up” simply because I can not.
  5. I can not give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow for yourself by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.
  6. I can not take away your loneliness or your pain.
  7. I can not sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, tell you what is best for your world; because you have your own world in which you must live.
  8. I can not convince you of the necessity to make the vital decision of choosing the frightening uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of remaining static.
  9. I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend; yet I can not get close to you when you choose not to grow.
  10. When I begin to care for you out of pity or when I begin to lose faith in you, then I am inhibiting both for you and for me.
  11. You must know and understand my help is conditional. I will be with you and “hang in there” with you so long as I continue to get even the slightest hint that you are still trying to grow.
  12. If you can accept this, then perhaps we can help each other to become what G-d meant us to be, mature adults, leaving childishness forever to the little children of the world.
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Twelve Warnings

The book Alcoholics Anonymous contains a series of propositions and proposals, the successful outcome of these depends upon the actions of the reader.

The book directs us as to what we must start doing, what we must stop doing, what happens when we fulfill the propositions and proposals and what will happen if we fail to fulfill them.

These are the Twelve Warnings as to what will happen if we fail to heed the directions.

  1. For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. (p14)
  2. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. (p17)
  3. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness, we must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. (p62)
  4. Though our decision (Step 3) was a vital and crucial Step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and be rid of, the things in our lives which had been blocking us. (p64)
  5. It is plain that a life, which includes deep resentment, leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and with us to drink is to die. (p66)
  6. Concerning sex. Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk? Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned a lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts about our experience. (p70)
  7. If we skip this vital Step (5), we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. (p.72)
  8. We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them. (p78)
  9. We feel that a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. (p.82)
  10. It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (p.85)
  11. Our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting Providence , but it isn’t. You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself on each occasion, “Have I a good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?” If you have answered these questions satisfactorily, you need have no apprehension. Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead! (p.101)
  12. The head of the house ought to remember that he is mainly to blame for what befell his home. He can scarcely square the account in his lifetime. But he must see the danger of over-concentration on financial success. Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress, it never preceded. (p127)