Posted in Sharing

16 relapse symptoms to watch out for

For any time, any place, anywhere!

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

— Akron Intergroup News, December 1998

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You’re just a drinking dream…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gordon R.

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10th Step Thoroughness Review

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

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

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.

Posted in Sharing

Could This Be The Bottom?

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

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 heart 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 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?
No.

  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 will power.

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

This maxim needs to be remembered constantly.
We often tend to take 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.
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 everyday, 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 in 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.

Posted in Sharing

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

Posted in Sharing

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.