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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.

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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.

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The Ten Practical Points Of Recovery found in Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th. Edition, Pages 58-60

1)”…thoroughly followed our path.” p.58 line 2

2)”…completely give themselves…” p.58 line 3

3)”…developing…rigorous honesty.” p.58 line 9

4)”…willing to go to any length…” p.58 line 18

5)”…fearless and thorough…” p.58 line 23

6)”…let go absolutely.” p.58 line 25

7)”…asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” p.59 line 5

8)”…the steps we took…” p.59 line 7

9)”…Do not be discouraged.” p.60 line 7

10)”…willing to grow along spiritual lines.” p.60 line 10

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Ebby T. (Bill W.’s Sponsor)

Ebby had been enabled to bring me the gift of grace because he could reach me at depth through the language of the heart. He had pushed ajar that great gate through which all in AA have since passed to find their freedom under God.”–Bill W., AA Grapevine

While attending the annual Bill W. dinner in New York in October 1963, I noticed a man with a sad expression seated at the table that Bill and Lois shared with close friends. Since the general atmosphere in the large banquet room was festive, his sadness seemed out of place. Someone told me he was Ebby T., the friend who had called on Bill in late 1934 to bring him the Oxford Group’s spiritual message that helped Bill get sober and helped form AA.

Several months later, during one of the last discussions I ever had with Bill, he told me that he had been able to place Ebby in a country rest home in upstate New York. Ebby died two years later from emphysema, the same affliction that would claim Bill’s life in 1971.

Ebby’s physical problems had been compounded by his frequent bouts with alcohol during the years since he had carried the message to Bill. His was the kind of story that causes continuing anguish in AA: a wonderful burst of initial sobriety followed by a devastating slip and then a pattern of repeated binges despite his best efforts and those of his friends. He had a tortured life, and yet there were times when he struggled valiantly to put his demons to rest.

I never actually met Ebby, but I kept learning more about him as the years passed. While serving as a contributing writer to Pass It On in 1980 and 1981, I had access to the correspondence that flowed between him and Bill. There was also an opportunity to spend a day with Margaret, the kindly nurse who cared for Ebby during his last two years of life.

In Albany, New York’s capital city, there is archival information in the state library about Ebby’s distinguished family members and their achievements in politics and business. Three members of the T. family were Albany mayors, and one lost a gubernatorial nomination by a very narrow margin. Ebby’s parents were also prominent in social and church affairs. An assistant to the mayor at that time told me “you couldn’t find a better family than the T.s” and put me in touch with Ebby’s nephew, Ken T., Jr. When I returned to Albany some years later, Ken took me to visit Ebby’s grave in the Albany Rural Cemetery, just north of the city.

There’s no denying that Ebby was the “lost sheep” of the family, but it never completely rejected him or lost hope that he might someday recover. His last surviving brother, Ken T., Sr., stayed loyal to him right up to the time of his own death, just a few months before Ebby’s passing.

But if Ebby had a friend who was unfailingly loyal and devoted, it was Bill W., who always called Ebby his sponsor and seemingly moved heaven and earth in trying to help Ebby regain sobriety. Indeed, it almost seemed that Bill threw his own good judgement out the window and became an “enabler” when Ebby was involved. The late Yev G., a member of the Manhattan Group since 1941, told me in 1980 that Bill seemed to lose all perspective when Ebby went off on another drunk. Yev recalled it this way:

“Bill was so definitely concerned about Ebby and so fond of him and felt so grateful and indebted to him that he would do anything rather than have anything happen to Ebby. Some of us were Bill’s selected emissaries to find Ebby when he went out on one of his episodes. We knew his watering holes, the rooming houses, and the places where he went. So we’d get him and bring him back in the group, and he’d go along very well. But we had to observe, really, that Bill did not treat Ebby with the same kind of approach that he realistically would with the average kind of alcoholic member we had in those days in New York.”

But even Bill became exasperated with Ebby at times, and this is revealed in some of his correspondence with and about Ebby. But he never lost hope that Ebby would recover, and years after his own recovery he would tell Ebby of his gratitude. It was an astonishing friendship, and one early AA told me that Bill and Ebby were almost like brothers.

A brief outline of Ebby’s life goes this way: he was born in Albany in 1896, the youngest of five brothers. His father headed a family-owned foundry that manufactured railroad-car wheels, and Ebby entered life with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Like his brothers, he attended Albany Academy, a prestigious private school that is highly regarded and whose graduates usually go on to college. But though his brothers excelled at the academy, Ebby was a lackluster student and did not graduate.

The family spent their summers in the resort town of Manchester, Vermont, seven miles south of Bill’s hometown, East Dorset. Ebby’s father was a golfing partner of Robert Todd Lincoln, a wealthy industrialist and the only son of Abraham Lincoln to reach adulthood. Lois’s family was also a member of this social group, the “summer people” who awed Bill as he was growing up. Although Bill felt inferior in status to Ebby’s family and Lois’s family, he was something of a hero to other boys in Manchester because of his skill as a baseball pitcher. Ebby remembered meeting him in 1910 or ’11 and perhaps watched him play.

Ebby may have sipped a little wine on family occasions, but he didn’t have his real first drink until 1915, at age nineteen, when he walked into Albany’s Hotel Ten Eyck and ordered a glass of beer. At about the same time, he went to work in the family business. By the time the firm closed in 1922, Ebby was getting drunk frequently. Later on in the nineteen-twenties he worked in the Albany office of a brokerage firm, but there’s reason to believe he was never a real producer. In the meantime, Bill W. had become a New York stockbroker and was soaring with the surging market on Wall Street.

In January 1929, Bill stopped in Albany on his way to visit friends in Vermont, and he gave Ebby a call. He and Ebby spent the evening drinking and then agreed on a daring way to arrive in Manchester: by air, a risky action in those early days of aviation. They hired a barnstorming pilot to fly them to Manchester, which had just built an airfield, and they arrived, very drunk, the next day. Bill recalled (as quoted in Pass It On): “We somehow slid out of the cockpit, fell on the ground, and there we lay, immobile. Such was the history-making episode of the first airplane ever to light at Manchester, Vermont.” Their drunken venture may have created an odd bond between Ebby and Bill that would be among the reasons Ebby would call on him in 1934.

Ebby’s drinking worsened, and by late 1932 he had become such an embarrassment to his family that he slunk off to Manchester, and moved back into his family’s summer home. He had periods of sobriety, but by mid-1934 his drinking had led to troubles and arrests in Manchester. While his brothers were still actively employed or in business, the family money supporting Ebby had largely run out. According to some tales circulated later, he sold some of the family furniture to buy booze.

About this time, several Oxford Group members in the area chose Ebby as a likely prospect for their spiritual message. They were Rowland H., Shep C., and Cebra G. He resisted their approach, but became more receptive when another drunken incident brought him before a judge in Bennington. He expected to be jailed for the weekend, but was permitted to go home on the promise that he would return–sober–on Monday.

And it was at this point, I think, that Ebby won a battle that became important for all of us. Waiting for him in the cellar at home were several bottles of his favorite ale, which he planned to drink immediately after the local constable let him off at the house. He was in agony when he raced down the stairs to get them. But then his promise to the judge stopped him cold, and he began to wrestle with his conscience. After a fierce struggle he took the bottles over to a neighbor. The action gave him peace. That was his last attempt to drink for two years and seven months.

I like to think of this moment as Ebby’s Magnificent Victory. I’ve wondered whether, if he’d lost this struggle, he might not have stayed sober and been able to carry the message to Bill. In any case, he returned to court sober and was released to the custody of Rowland H., who then became what we AAs would call a sponsor. Along with giving Ebby a grounding in Oxford Group principles, Rowland took him to New York City. After staying with Shep for a short time, Ebby moved to Calvary Mission, run by Dr. Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Church on Gramercy Park.

One November night in 1934, Ebby came to see Bill, who was then living in Brooklyn with his wife, Lois. Ebby told Bill, “I’ve got religion,” and while Bill drank gin and pineapple juice, Ebby recounted his friendship with Rowland, described the principles of the Oxford Group (like the importance of absolute honesty when dealing with defects), and talked about his growing belief in God and the efficacy of prayer. Ebby’s words, and his sober demeanor, stayed with Bill, who later recalled, “The good of what he said stuck so well that in no waking moment thereafter could I get that man and his message out of my head.” Bill kept drinking, but he decided to pay a visit to the mission, which he did after stopping at a number of bars on the way and hooking up with a drunk Finnish fisherman. When he arrived at the mission, he ended up giving a kind of drunken monologue at the evening meeting where the derelict men gave testimonials about not drinking. On December 11, Bill checked himself back into Towns Hospital, where he’d previously been treated. Ebby visited him there, and a few days later, Bill had his “white light” experience and never took another drink.

Ebby stayed on in New York, continued to work with Bill, and moved in with Bill and Lois after Calvary Mission closed in 1936. But by 1937 he was back in Albany, working in a Ford factory. While he still worked with alcoholics and apparently kept up his Oxford Group connections, tensions were building up in his personal life. Finally, on a trip to New York City, he drank again, after two years and seven months of sobriety.

His life then became a nightmarish succession of binges followed by short periods of sobriety. He held jobs briefly and sometimes performed well for short periods of time. During World War II, for example, he worked as a Navy civilian employee and was well-liked by his superiors. He was given opportunities by other AA members, and both Bill W. and his older brother Jack sought ways to help him back to continuous sobriety and well-being. In the following years, he often lived with Bill and Lois for months at a time–something Lois tolerated for Bill’s sake.
It also became a sort of a game by AA members to become the person who helped Ebby recover. In 1953, a New York member named Charlie M. collaborated with AA members in Dallas, Texas, to take Ebby to the Lone Star state for treatment at a clinic run by Searcy W., an early member who still recalls his years with Ebby. After initial troubles, Ebby found sobriety in Texas and stayed there for eight years. He also found steady employment for several years.

It’s clear that Ebby’s Texas interlude was the best period of his adult life. He was lionized by grateful Texas people who went out of their way to meet him or hear him speak. In 1954, Ralph J. and his wife Mary Lee even invited Ebby for a two-month stay at their sheep ranch near Ozona, Texas, and loved every minute of his visit. Two members, Olie L. and Icky S., virtually adopted him, and Searcy became Ebby’s Texas sponsor.

But one of Ebby’s obsessions had been the belief that “finding the right woman” would be his salvation. He did find a woman in Texas who seemed to be the love of his life, but when she died suddenly, he began taking mood-changing pills and soon was drinking again. He returned to the New York area in late 1961 and stayed for a time with his brother Ken.

Bill W. had continued to help Ebby with occasional checks, and now he came forward again to manage Ebby’s life more closely, partly because of Ebby’s declining physical condition. With help from others, Bill had created a fund for Ebby to cover his expenses at a treatment-type facility. Health problems were closing in on Ebby, however, and it was clear that he could no longer live independently. And that’s probably why Ebby appeared so sad when I saw him at Bill’s banquet in 1963. He was in very poor health, to say nothing of the other demons that plagued him.

But there was a miracle of sorts waiting for Ebby. In the final two years of his life, he would find peace, sobriety, and tender loving care given by Margaret M. and her husband Mickey at their rest farm in Galway, near Saratoga Springs, New York. Symbolically enough, the farm was on a road named Peaceable Street!
Bill had met the M.s and when he learned that Margaret was in New York attending a nurse’s convention, he asked her to come over to talk with him at GSO. She agreed to give Ebby care at the farm for seventy-five dollars a week–a cost Bill could easily manage with the fund and Ebby’s Social Security payments.
Bill drove Ebby up to the rest farm in May 1964, and turned him over to Margaret and Mickey. Ebby was angry and defensive at first, but soon responded to their attempts to help him. Usually a likable person, Ebby even became popular with the other residents and awed them by his ability to work The New York Times crossword puzzles. The farm was only twenty-five miles from Albany, so he also had visits from his brother Ken and other friends and relatives. There couldn’t have been a better place for Ebby’s last years. Bill, writing to Ebby’s old friends in Texas, would comment on the fine care Margaret was giving Ebby, and would also note that she had a good doctor on call.

When Ebby’s brother Ken died in January 1966, Ebby was too weak to travel the twenty-five miles to Albany for the funeral. He seemed to lose the will to live after that, and one morning in March the housekeeper told Margaret that Ebby couldn’t come down for breakfast. He was rushed to the nearby Ballston Spa hospital, where he died early in the morning on March 21.

Bill and Lois were on a trip to Mexico, but returned quickly for the funeral in Albany. It was a small funeral, and one woman who attended thought it symbolic that twelve persons were there to see him off. A brief notice in the local newspaper mentioned that Ebby was the brother of a former prominent mayor.
In death, Ebby rejoined his prominent family at the Albany Rural Cemetery, where he lies next to his brother Ken. The large plot is defined by the monument of his grandfather, who launched the family business and also served as Albany’s mayor during the Civil War. (Ken, Jr., who was so generous in supplying information about Ebby and the family, passed away two months after showing me Ebby’s grave. He is also buried nearby.)

I felt some of that gratitude myself when I visited the old farmhouse with Margaret in 1980. She had operated it after Mickey’s death but finally closed it in 1979.
When AA members learn that I’ve become a student of Ebby’s life, their first question is usually, “Did he die sober?” I believe, as did Ebby’s Texas sponsor, Searcy W., that Ebby was sober two-and-a-half years when he died. This may have taken lots of supervision by Bill and Margaret, but he did put this much together in his final years. We should give him credit for that, because he gave us so much–particularly when he won the battle with ale that weekend in 1934. Without that magnificent victory, the outcome could have been much different for all of us.

Mel B.
Toledo, Ohio
Grapevine September 1999

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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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My 1st Year of Sobriety

My first year of Sobriety was the hardest yet best year of my life. I started the year in a mentally defeated position. I hated you, I hated everything around me and most of all I hated myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror and not think about what a piece of trash I was. I thought I wasn’t worthy of anything I had accomplished. I got advanced in the military; there must have been a clerical mistake. I got a degree; but it took me 14 years and at the end of the day, felt no smarter. The only time I could bear to look at myself and not think terrible thoughts was when I was drunk.

Towards the end I was getting out of hand. I was blacking out every night with vodka or whiskey. My wife would make promise I would “only have 2-3 glasses” tonight. So I would find the biggest mug and fill it to the brim with vodka and add a few splashes of Mountain Dew for flavor. I mean, I did what she said, I only had 2-3 drinks (until she would go to bed before because I wasn’t done and would make one or two more), but I still continued to black out nightly. I thought to myself “ You should just switch to beer so you don’t keep blacking out and have terrible hangovers”.

So beer had now became my drink of choice and for a few weeks that was fine. I started with some domestic brews but I had to drink so damn much to get that buzz and that feeling where I could tolerate who I was. I thought of a new solution, “I will start drinking IPAs” because you can only drink a six pack and still get that amazing buzz I had been missing. Before long, I was headed to the liquor store and shopping up and down each aisle, only looking for the strongest of beers. I found an IPA that was 13%. “That will do the trick”, so I thought. Before long I would drink that in 2-3 hours and ask the wife to take me to a gas station so could have a few tallboys to finish off the night. I was waking up with splitting headaches and would be sick and grumpy all day. Each time I would swear, “Im never dinking again”, only to do the exact same thing a few hours later that same day.

Eventually the booze were not enough to keep me from looking in the mirror and hating what I saw. I had gotten to the point where I didn’t expect or even care if I lived but maybe a few more years. I thought it would better for my family. Life would be better and easier for them.

I woke up on April 28, 2020 and new it had to stop. I had tried quitting so many times and couldn’t make it past 3 days. But, I knew if I didn’t quit, I would die. My kids and wife deserved to have a Dad around. Not only physically, but emotionally.

I reached out to an old shipmate of mine who I knew had gotten sober and he pointed me in the direction of AA. I didn’t care what it was, but I was willing to do whatever it took to get my life together. I went to an AA meeting later that day. Then I went again the next day. This was at the beginning of global pandemic and the brick and mortar rooms were still open. It was great. I went to a meeting, and continued to make it through the next day for my next meeting. The people in the rooms were so full of joy. So kind and caring. I couldn’t understand how they were so happy. I made it to 30 days sober for the first time in 15 years. However, I was miserable. I was looking at myself for the first time without that crutch of alcohol and it was not a pretty sight. The rooms were shut down due to COVID

I knew I had to get into meetings or I wouldn’t make it any further. I was looking online and stumbled across a local room called Early Sobriety Group. I knew this was the perfect meeting for me. It was an amazing meeting and I learned so much. The host of the meeting was a man named Christopher G.. He was someone I could tell right away was by the Big Book. I went to other online meetings all week and was excited to go back to the Early Sobriety Group the following week. Chris G. was speaking again and I stayed after the meeting to talk. I liked the way he hosted and he had a lot of Sobriety so I knew he would probably be a good fit as a sponsor. I asked him to be my sponsor and after a few questions, he said yes.

I spent the next 90 days reading from the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve for a couple hours a day, with my sponsor. We started to work the steps together. I was finally starting to get that relief that I so desperately wanted. I started my fourth step. It was the first time I had ever taken a true look at my life. It was my first moral inventory. I had 2 weeks to complete the assignment as thoroughly and brutally honest as possible. I did. Then my fifth step came. I had to share my fourth step with another person.

I left my wife and kids at home and drove to his house. I was so nervous and couldn’t believe I was about to tell someone the darkest parts of my life. I had started feeling the relief and joy that the Big Book promises so I knew I had to do it. I told him everything. I cried more than I have ever cried. As I said those things out loud, they lost power over my life. In fact, some of them sounded silly say them out loud. It was hard to imagine I held all that hate and resentment in for so long. I left his house after about 5 hours and headed home. I had a headache and was emotionally exhausted. My wife and kids saw me and said I looked ten pounds lighter. Like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. The lines and stress on my face had lessened. I felt elated.

We continued to work the steps. I thought it couldn’t be any better after I worked my 5th step. I was wrong and the promises continued to come true as I worked the steps and the program. Steps 6 and 7 had me looking at all my character defects. I took a drop the rock workshop and realized that yes, I had many defects; I also had many great qualities. My life had begun to have real value again.

Now it was time for another list. I had to list anyone I had harmed. That list was long but the most awesome thing was that I would get to start making amends for those wrongs. The feeling of freedom after an amend is something I could never have expected. I still have some amends to make but I am well on the way of shortening that list. I am actively practicing steps 10, 11, and 12 everyday. I am able to do so much more with my life now. I know my life has value. I know I can deal with life as life happens. I don’t have to do it on my own anymore, because I literally can’t. I’ve already proven that. However with the rooms, my sponsor and God (My Higher Power), I can do anything.

I sit here, one year later in my hammock rocking back and forth from the motion of the seas. My daughter turned 14 years old today and I couldn’t be there to celebrate. I wish I was there but there is nothing I can do about that. I could be sad and upset, but instead I sit here grateful. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful my family never gave up on me and I am grateful to my sponsor and God. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for all of them and the rooms. I end my first year of Sobriety happier than I have ever been. The promises of the Big Book absolutely come true if you are willing to put in the work. I will be gone a lot for the year with deployment looming but I can truly say I look forward to this next year of life, in Sobriety.

Dustin S. April 27, 2020.

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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.

Posted in Sharing

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.

Posted in Sharing

What’s Inside MUST Come Out

What comes out when you squeeze an Orange? Orange juice of course, and why’s that? Because that’s what’s inside the Orange.

When we act out in anger and rage and frustration during the course of the day – the reason we behave that way is because that’s what’s inside us.

If we meet a person who is at peace and calm accepting things as they are regardless of what happens it’s because that’s what’s inside them.

So the question becomes how do we get good stuff inside? The answer is we put it there.

And how do we put it there? We read spiritual material, pray, meditate, go to meetings, meet with our sponsor or sponsees, and put good data in our minds so that when something happens we respond in a positive way.

We do not listen to negative things, be around overly negative people, read or watch violence, good data in, good data out. bad data in, bad data out.

Clardy S.