Posted in Sharing

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.

Posted in Sharing

Dr. Bob’s Last Message

Presented at The First International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous
July 28 – 30, 1950 at Cleveland, Ohio

In Memoriam Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith August 8, 1879 – November 16, 1950 Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

“My good friends in AA and of AA. I feel I would be very remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to welcome you here to Cleveland not only to this meeting but those that have already transpired. I hope very much that the presence of so many people and the words that you have heard will prove an inspiration to you – not only to you, but may you be able to impart that inspiration to the boys and girls back home who were not fortunate enough to be able to come. In other words, we hope that your visit here has been both enjoyable and profitable.”

“I get a big thrill out of looking over a vast sea of faces like this with a feeling that possibly some small thing that I did a number of years ago, played an infinitely small part in making this meeting possible. I also get quite a thrill when I think that we all had the same problem. We all did the same things. We all get the same results in proportion to our zeal and enthusiasm and stick-to-itiveness. If you will pardon the injection of a personal note at this time, let me say that I have been in bed five of the last seven months and my strength hasn’t returned as I would like, so my remarks of necessity will be very brief.

“But there are two or three things that flashed into my mind on which it would be fitting to lay a little emphasis; one is the simplicity of our Program. Let’s not louse it all up with Freudian complexes and things that are interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual AA work. Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let’s bear those two things in mind.

“Let us also remember to guard that erring member – the tongue, and if we must use it, let’s use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.”

“And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn’t taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we’re not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers. Thank you very much.”

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

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

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.

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.