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It’s Not About Me

All of the years I’ve suffered from fears and said what in the hell did I do?

The train in my brain spins circles, insane and wonders Hey what’s wrong with you?

Numbing the real, not wanting to feel, the emotions that seeth in my gut

Then alcohol came, turned into my game and helped me get out of my rut.

The demon brew, well, it turned on me too and wanted to take me away.

Tried putting it down, the whirlwind I’d found but no matter how wrong it would stay.

Then came the day when battered and frayed the misery had taken its toll.

The demon had won and it was no longer fun and I found I was losing my soul.

It was time to get real, no matter the feel and surrender to that which I knew.

Too admit to myself it had always been me, all those years that I believed it was you.

Self seeking fears, drowning in tears of selfish and ego, I know.

The will, I thought mine had grown selfish with time and I knew that I had to let go.

Surrendering myself, to get something else to comfort and lead me along.

The peace that I get, at times, I don’t fret and try to stay honest and strong.

Rigorous honesty I’m told, that it takes and sadly sometimes only few.

Listening to truth that it’s not about me, that I need make it all about you.

Ginny A.

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The Twelve Steps to a Slip/Relapse

PERSONS who attain sobriety through the A.A. principles, do so only after a thoughtful application of the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery. They happily find themselves on a level plateau of sanity after ascending these steps, one after another, and they maintain their sobriety by a continuing application of these same steps.

Those unfortunates who lose their sobriety are said to be having a “slip”. I believe this is a misnomer, for it suggests only a momentary adversity that unexpectedly pounces on its unwary victim. A more apt term would be a “glissade,” for a slip is the result of a gradual process, beginning long before its logical termination, and progressing through a series of wrong steps, to a drink, and for us, a drunk.

A slip cannot be said to occur only when it culminates in a drink, for many of us, in our failure to apply the 12 Steps to our living, frequently have slips, which are none the less slips merely because we do not slip as far as a drink.

As one must ascend the 12 Steps gradually, I feel the “slip” is the result of unconsciously descending these Steps. And as descending steps is always accompanied with less effort than ascending them, the steps soon assume the behavior of an escalator.

As the “bottom” is reached it invariably results in taking that “one drink,” which leads, for us, only to all the remorse, terror and unhappiness that follows a binge.

These, then, are in my opinion the “12 Steps to a slip,” and are the direct result of failure to consciously apply to our lives the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery:

  1. We neglect 12th Step work.
  2. We omit contact with the Higher Power.
  3. We forget personal inventory.
  4. We assume grudges against others.
  5. We miss A.A. meetings, and avoid A.A. friends.
  6. We gradually lose humility.
  7. We fall into self pity.
  8. We worry about unalterables.
  9. Our thinkin’ really starts stinkin’.
  10. We become “cocky” and overconfident.
  11. We neglect to ask help from the Higher Power, and take “just one.”
  12. We become a “social drinker.” (Temporarily.)
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The Gorilla In The Room

Most of us tried to just pretend that there was nothing wrong
We tried our best to hide what had been building for so long
That drinking had a hold on us, we found we could not quit
We had to drink, we’d lost control, this we would not admit

Then comes the day when we’re exposed, ignoring time is through
The big gorilla in the room that everybody knew
Had finally been acknowledged and revealed for all to see
An alcoholic needing help, a harsh reality

I heard a member say he felt relief when that day came
The lie that he’d been living took its toll in grief and shame
But I had not experienced that feeling as he had
I tried to make the best of it but really, I was sad

I’d know the grip that alcohol had on me was insane
But how to live without it was a thought filled with disdain
John Barleycorn had been my friend for nearly fifty years
And though I sometimes hated him, to lose him fueled my fears

When my turn came to face the truth, I knew not to debate
The jig was up, it was no use, it would not resonate
So, I agreed to get some help although I’d rather flee
The problem was I acquiesced for them instead of me

The center they had chosen made me feel so out of place
Most of the people there were young and drugs were their embrace
I only stayed in there five nights, convinced that I’d been wronged
My problem’s drink, I don’t use drugs, it’s time I said so long

As a condition for release, I had to join AA
They gave me a small book that listed meetings, times, and days
I said that I would do the deal and started to attend
And in about a month or two, my fences start to mend

But I was not convinced that my past problem was that bad
The stories I heard others tell made me an undergrad
These people had a Ph.D. in drinking 101
So maybe I could grab a drink, one cocktail and be done

It did not work out like I thought, the one turned into six
And like before, I’d sneak around, was back to my old tricks
I hid it well for quite a while but as I always did
I lost control, got very drunk and I began to skid

Away again to get some help, this time for 30 days
And for a while I did not drink, was in the pink cloud phase
But it wore off and sure enough, I heard the Siren’s call
She told me it would be ok, you’ve mastered alcohol

I still attended meetings, most times in but sometimes out
My sponsor told me I could make it, but I still had my doubts
He said if we were to persist, a change had to occur
Stay as you are or do the deal, which one would I prefer

The deal, he said, consisted of a meeting every day
A phone call to a friend or two and kneel and start to pray
And find a Higher Power, one you need not understand
Then join with other members as you carry out this plan

That last thing was the turning point, the piece I had neglected
I’d always tried to right myself, and ended up dejected
I started to do outside things to help avoid a slip
By joining with some new-found friends, this AA Fellowship

When I picked up my last white chip, I did not know for sure
That it would be my final one, I knew there was no cure
But being with this group of men has shown me there’s a way
To live life free of alcohol, stay sober one more day

As years have passed, I seldom think about how it had been
To have to hide and sneak around, alone with my chagrin
Back then I would have never thought or consciously assume
The benefit of facing the gorilla in the room

Larry R.

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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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Reasons We Come

We all have reasons why we come to AA
The results that we get are the reason we stay
We know we need help so we started to think
Those folks may show us ways to control how we drink

But most of come for a specific reason
We do it because the law needed pleasing
Or maybe to just get our spouse off our back
Or on doctor’s advice cause our liver was wacked

Our reason may differ but deep down we knew
We needed to change as our problems accrue
The job was in danger, the boss told us so
“You either get help or you will have to go”

But my reason for coming was not due to health
Not due to a judge or for fear for my wealth
I came so that I could my old self refind
The man that I was before booze took my mind

A sense of self loathing was my ticket in
Caring only for time with my vodka or gin
Let the world pass me by, I had just given up
When a thought filled my head, I had just had enough

The family was fearful, afraid I might drown
A daughter stopped letting her kids come around
My wife was still with me, but was at her wits end
As she watched her me continue to slowly descend

I thought back to the time when I had their respect
A husband, a father, there to always protect
The children were proud of me, so was my wife
That was before alcohol took over my life

I wanted to reclaim that man I had been
He still was there somewhere, though buried within
I knew by myself I had no way to cope
The rooms of AA had become my last hope

Some years have gone by and my life sure has changed
The grandkids come over we’re no longer estranged
My own kids are once again proud of their Dad
The wife’s pleased to see the man that she once had

Whenever the thought of drink enters my head
I quickly recount all my blessings instead
Removed are those days I spent lonely and glum
I refound myself, that’s the reason I come

Larry R.

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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.

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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