From the BlogMeet Ron

CHUCK 4-11-19

I have learned this: it is not what one does that is wrong,
but what one becomes as a consequence of it. 
–Oscar Wilde
 
There are countless ways to take shortcuts in life or to grab for pleasures. We could cheat on our income taxes, excuse a food binge, or lie to a loved one about where we’ve been. We say, “It won’t hurt anyone!” “I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t for the other guy.” Or, “Everyone does it.” But if we are to like and respect ourselves, we need to live by the rules we believe in. Whether we get caught or not isn’t the point. We cannot hold values and then repeatedly justify breaking them.
What does it do to us if we constantly fudge on our values? It undermines our self-esteem and damages the faith we have in ourselves. We do not expect to be perfect, but we must be accountable. If we are honest with ourselves, we admit our wrongs and reestablish our self-respect.
Today, I will take care to make choices that match my values.
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Financial Goals
 
Taking responsibility for our financial affairs will improve our self-esteem and lessen anxiety.
 
Each of us, today, has a present set of financial circumstances. We have a certain amount of money in hand, and money due to us. We have a pile of bills that we owe. We have taxes to pay. Those are our present financial circumstances. No matter what the details are, acceptance, gratitude, and self-responsibility will lessen the stress.
 
Each of us, today, has a financial future. There are few future aspects of our life we can control, but one part we can play to assist our future is setting goals.
 
We don’t have to obsess about our goals. We don’t have to constantly watch and mark our progress toward them. But it is beneficial to think about our goals and write them down. What do we want to happen in our financial future? What financial problems would we like to solve? What bills would we like to be rid of? What would we like to be earning at the end of this year? The end of next year? Five years from now?
 
Are we willing to work for our goals and trust our Higher Power to guide us?
 
Pay bills on time. Contact creditors. Make arrangements. Do your best, today, to take responsibility for your finances. Set goals for the future. Then, let go of money and concentrate on loving. Taking responsibility for our financial affairs does not mean making money our focus. Taking responsibility for our finances enables us to take our focus off money. It frees us to do our work and live the life we want.
  We deserve to have the self-esteem and peace that accompanies financial responsibility.
Today, I will take the time necessary to be responsible for myself financially.
If it is time to pay bills or talk to creditors, I will do that. If it is time to set goals,
I will do that. Once I have done my part, I will let the rest go.
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Let yourself change and grow
 
There are lots of hermit crabs in the tide pools near my house. They’re interesting little creatures. A hermit crab will find a shell that fits him, put it on, and live in it. After a while, he grows and the shell no longer fits, so the crab scurries along the seafloor and finds another shell to live in. He crawls out of his first shell and into the shell that fits his new needs. This scene repeats itself again and again throughout his life.
       Learn a lesson from the hermit crabs.
 
Just because a decision was right for you yesterday, doesn’t mean it meets your needs today. People grow. People change. And sometimes we have to let our safe little places go, in order to grow and change.
 
Are you holding on to something that doesn’t work anymore, just because it’s safe and what you know? It could be a behavior pattern– such as feeling victimized in all your relationships or wearing yourself out trying to control what you can’t.
 
Thank the lessons, people, and places of the past for all they’ve taught you. Thank your survival behaviors for helping you cope. There’s nothing wrong with feeling comfortable and safe– having lifetime friends and a career that serves us well. But don’t get so comfortable that you can’t let go and move on when it’s time. If the walls are too confining and limiting and you’re feeling stuck and bored, maybe it’s time to get out and find a new shell. There’s another shell waiting that will fit you better, but you can’t move into it until you leave this one behind.
 
God, show me the behaviors, things, people, and places that I’ve outgrown. Then give me the faith to let go.
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CHUCK D. 4-7-19

The power of thoughts
 
In 1922, Egypt hailed the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by archaeologist Harold Carter. On the walls of the tomb, the magicians had scrawled that a severe punishment would befall anyone disturbing the contents of the burial site.
Over the next ten years, more than twenty people involved with the excavation died suddenly or mysteriously.
Whether you call it a curse or a hypnotic suggestion of sorts, what we’re talking about is the tremendous impact that suggestions have on us. We’re talking about the power of belief.
Many of us spend thousands of dollars in therapy and years of our lifetime disentangling our thoughts from the beliefs of our parents, beliefs that were passed on to them by their parents, and their grandparents, and even further on down the ancestral line.
Sometimes, the effects of other people’s thoughts are less blatant, and even more controlling. We can react instinctively to the silent demands of a spouse or lover, or a boss. They smile or frown– or just look at us– and we know what they mean and expect. Sometimes a casual comment by a friend can send us into a tailspin when he or she suggests, You can’t do that; it won’t work. Do it this way. Months later, when the way we’re trying to do it isn’t working out and we still keep trying and wonder why, we look back and say, “Oh. My friend told me to do it this way. Maybe he was wrong.”
An important part of living in harmony with others means we enjoy doing things that please them, and we don’t unnecessarily or maliciously hurt those with whom we interact. An important part of being true to ourselves means checking ourselves from time to time to see if the things we’re doing are really what we want, or if we’re just a puppet and someone else is pulling our strings.
 
God, help me respect the power of belief.
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Patience
 
How sick and tired we may become of people telling us to be patient or to learn patience. How frustrating it can be to want to finally have something, or to move forward, and then not have that happen. How irritating to have someone tell us to wait while our needs have not been met and were in the midst of anxiety, frustration, and inaction.
Do not confuse the suggestion to be patient with the old rule about not having feelings.
Being patient does not mean we go through the sometimes-grueling process of life and recovery without having feelings! Feel the frustration. Feel the impatience. Get as angry as you need to about not having your needs met. Feel your fear.
Controlling our feelings will not control the process!
We find patience by surrendering to our feelings. Patience cannot be forced. It is a gift, one that closely follows acceptance and gratitude. When we work through our feelings to fully accept who we are and what we have, we will be ready to be and have more
 
Today, I will let myself have my feelings while I practice patience.

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I had gone through life thinking I was better than everyone else and at the same time,
being afraid of everyone. I was afraid to be me. 
–Dennis Wholey
 
Looking back to the codependent or addictive times in our lives, we see with the perfect vision of hindsight. It is both embarrassing and humorous to see how misguided and deluded we were then. Grandiose images of ourselves isolated us from those around us and cut us off from true friendships with others. Many of us had strong feelings about ourselves that were in conflict – we felt both special and unworthy.
 
In this program we grow over time to have a more realistic self-concept. We are not exactly like everyone else, but we are more like them than different. It’s okay to be like others, and it’s comforting, too. Accepting this, we grow fully into the whole being we were meant to be, and we relish the joy of friendship.
 
May I accept the guidance of my Higher Power in developing a realistic and comfortable self-image.

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CHUCK 4/5/19

Ask for guidance
Sometimes things seem like good ideas and aren’t, really.–Piglet
 
Ask for guidance first.
Self-will is a tricky thing. So are impulse behaviors.
 
We’ve heard of impulse buying– making a purchase quickly and without thought, based on monetary impulse. It’s easy to get caught up living our lives that way, too. So often, we run off in the heat of the moment

Spontaneity is good. Saying yes to life is good, too. But impulse living can get us into trouble. We can overreact to a problem, then sit in a heap of regrets. Sometimes, the next step presents itself clearly, in a flash of inspiration. Sometimes, we’re meant to go forward and not let our fears and negative thoughts hold us back. Sometimes, we’re acting on impulse and may end up sabotaging ourselves.

 
Ask for guidance first. It takes only a second to check the map and see if the turn we’re thinking of making is where we really want go.
 
God, show me what your will is for me. Show me if the decision I’m about to make is in my best interest or if there is a better path for me to explore.
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When angry, count four; when very angry, swear. –Mark Twain

Feelings of anger are a knotty problem for many. Some of us as children were injured or so frightened by an angry adult that we have instinctively avoided anger ever since. Or we have been appalled by ourselves when we lost control of our anger. Still, we are taught that it is masculine to be aggressive. Some of us have tried so hard to squelch our anger that we don’t even know when we feel it. We treat anger like a rejected child once rejected we no longer have good discipline over it. So it comes out in hurtful jokes and sarcastic comments, or bursts out of us in scary and destructive ways.

For some of us, overly controlled anger turns inward against ourselves. We get physically ill or depressed and self-hating. Every recovering person needs an honest relationship with his anger. We must acknowledge this feeling within us when it is there. It is healthy to express anger directly, honestly, and respectfully.

Thanks to God for the richness of my emotional life. Today, I will notice my feelings of anger and accept them so I can learn to relate to them. 
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Detaching in Love

Detachment is a key to recovery from codependency. It strengthens our healthy relationships – the ones that we want to grow and flourish. It benefits our difficult relationships – the ones that are teaching us to cope. It helps us!
Detachment is not something we do once. Its a daily behavior in recovery. We learn it when were beginning our recovery from codependency and adult children issues. And we continue to practice it along the way as we grow and change, and as our relationships grow and change.
We learn to let go of people we love, people we like, and those we don’t particularly care for. We separate ourselves, and our process, from others and their process.
We relinquish our tight hold and our need to control in our relationships. We take responsibility for ourselves; we allow others to do the same. We detach with the understanding that life is unfolding exactly as it needs to, for others and ourselves. The way life unfolds is good, even when it hurts. And ultimately, we can benefit from even the most difficult situations. We do this with the understanding that a Power greater than ourselves is in charge, and all is well.
 
Today, I will apply the concept of detachment, to the best of my ability, in my relationships. If I can’t let go completely, I’ll try to hang on loose.

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Just do what you can
 
Dear God,
I am doing the best that I can.
–Children’s Letters to God
 
Sometimes all we can do is all we can do.
“Maybe my talent is being a good listener,” said John. “Maybe I’m not supposed to be rich and famous. I’m supposed to be the person who just sits and listens.”
The world needs listeners,too. If everyone were the storyteller, it would be a noisy place, and no one would ever get to hear the stories. Maybe you are a storyteller, maybe you are a listener. Maybe both. Maybe it will be your path to achieve recognition and fame; maybe yours is an anonymous path of service.
If you’ve done all you can– whether it’s to pursue your dreams, work on that relationship, help someone else, or take care of yourself– then you’ve done your part.
Maybe all we can do is all we’re meant to do, that day.
 
God, help me do what I can and not torture myself about what I can’t.

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CHUCK 3/23/19

Let go of the trappings
 
We call it keeping up with the Joneses. They buy a boat and we buy a bigger one. They get a new TV and we get a big screen. They start a business and we start planning our articles of incorporation and the first stock release. And while we’re so busy keeping up, we ignore our soul, the inner voice, that’s telling us that it really wants to teach children to read.
While it helps to identify with each other, we’re not the same. So why compare ourselves on the basis of material things?
Follow your own talent and heart. It may be that you are a talented public speaker, able to sway hundreds of people with your words. Or maybe you have the talent of friendship, and you’ve been sent to quietly, one-on-one, help those close to you walk their own path.
If you must compare yourself to something, compare your daily life to your ideals and dreams. Do they match? If those ideals and dreams bring great material wealth, that’s great. If they mean a life of quiet, anonymous service, that’s great,too. Yes, material goods can be fun. But they can also be a trap.
Are you walking a path with heart in your own life, regardless of what others have?
 
God, help me let go of the trappings. Teach me to walk my own path.
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Flack from Setting Boundaries
We need to know how far we’ll go, and how far we’ll allow others to go with us. Once we understand this, we can go anywhere.
–Beyond Codependency
When we own our power to take care of ourselves- -set a boundary, say no, and change an old pattern – we may get flack from some people. That’s okay. We don’t have to let their reactions control us, stop us, or influence our decision to take care of ourselves.
We don’t have to control their reactions to our process of self-care. That is not our responsibility. We don’t have to expect them not to react either.
People will react when we do things differently or take assertive action to nurture ourselves, particularly if our decision in some way affects them. Let them have their feelings. Let them have their reactions. But continue on your course anyway.
If people are used to us behaving in a certain way, they’ll attempt to convince us to stay that way to avoid changing the system. If people are used to us saying yes all the time, they may start mumbling and murmuring when we say no. If people are used to us taking care of their responsibilities, feelings, and problems, they may give us some flack when we stop. That’s normal. We can learn to live with a little flack in the name of healthy self-care. Not abuse, mind you, Flack.
If people are used to controlling us through guilt, bullying, and badgering, they may intensify their efforts when we change and refuse to be controlled. That’s okay. That’s flack too.
We don’t have to let flack pull us back into old ways if we’ve decided we want and need to change. We don’t have to react to flack or give it much attention. It doesn’t deserve it. It will die down.
 
Today, I will disregard any flack I receive for changing my behaviors or making other efforts to be myself.

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If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred. 
–Walt Whitman
 
A renewed relationship with our bodies is part of our spiritual renewal. Perhaps we have not known our bodies as part of our spiritual selves. We may have treated ourselves and others as objects. Too often genitals were “tools” to be used, objects of our egos, or a way of taking care of someone else. Maybe we have used sex compulsively as an escape from other emotions. Men in recovery commonly encounter problems with sexuality. Those problems often come from knowing deep within that we must change, but not knowing how.
It helps to create new images in our minds. We can imagine a totally relaxed playfulness with our partners, with no goal in mind and no judgment. We can imagine our Higher Power being with us. We can imagine talking in detail with someone – our partner or a friend – about our feelings, anxieties, or frustrations with sex. We can imagine ourselves as a whole body, alone, not with a partner, and okay Bringing sexuality into the whole of our lives is a spiritual thing to do.
 
May I find ways to include sexuality in my spiritual awakening.

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AA Grapevine 
November 2007
Who Is A Member Of Alcoholics Anonymous? 
The origins of our Third Tradition  By Bill W.
 
The first edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous makes this brief statement about membership: “The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.” This expressed our feeling as of 1939, the year our book was published.
 
Since that day all kinds of experiments with membership have been tried. The number of membership rules which have been made (and mostly broken!) are legion. Two or three years ago the Central Office asked the groups to list their membership rules and send them in. After they arrived we set them all down. They took a great many sheets of paper. A little reflection upon these many rules brought us to an astonishing conclusion. If all of these edicts had been in force everywhere at once it would have been practically impossible for any alcoholic to have ever joined Alcoholics Anonymous. About nine-tenths of our oldest and best members could never have got by!
 
Who’d Have Lasted?
In some cases we would have been too discouraged by the demands made upon us. Most of the early members of AA would have been thrown out because they slipped too much, because their morals were too bad, because they had mental as well as alcoholic difficulties. Or, believe it or not, because they did not come from the so-called better classes of society. We oldsters could have been excluded for our failure to read the book Alcoholics Anonymous or the refusal of our sponsor to vouch for us as a candidate. And so on, ad infinitum. The way our “worthy” alcoholics have sometimes tried to judge the “less worthy” is, as we look back on it, rather comical. Imagine, if you can, one alcoholic judging another!
 
At one time or another most AA groups go on rule-making benders. Naturally enough, too, as a group commences to grow rapidly it is confronted with many alarming problems. Panhandlers begin to pan-handle. Members get drunk and sometimes get others drunk with them. Those with mental difficulties throw depressions or break out into paranoid denunciations of fellow members. Gossips gossip, and righteously denounce the local Wolves and Red Riding Hoods. Newcomers argue that they aren’t alcoholics at all, but keep coming around anyway. “Slippees” trade on the fair name of AA, in order to get themselves jobs. Others refuse to accept all the Twelve Steps of the recovery program. Some go still further, saying that the “God business” is bunk and quite unnecessary. Under these conditions our conservative program-abiding members get scared. These appalling conditions must be controlled, they think. Else AA will surely go to rack and ruin. They view with alarm for the good of the movement!
 
At this point the group enters the rule and regulation phase. Charters, by-laws, and membership rules are excitedly passed and authority is granted committees to filter out undesirables and discipline the evil doers. Then the group elders, now clothed with authority, commence to get busy. Recalcitrants are cast into the outer darkness, respectable busybodies throw stones at the sinners. As for the so-called sinners, they either insist on staying around, or else they form a new group of their own. Or maybe they join a more congenial and less intolerant crowd in their neighborhood. The elders soon discover that the rules and regulations aren’t working very well. Most attempts at enforcement generate such waves of dissension and intolerance in the group that this condition is presently recognized to be worse for the group life than the very worst that the worst ever did.
 
After a time fear and intolerance subside. The group survives unscathed. Everybody has learned a great deal. So it is, that few of us are any longer afraid of what any newcomer can do to our AA reputation or effectiveness. Those who slip, those who pan-handle, those who scandalize, those with mental twists, those who rebel at the program, those who trade on the AA reputation–all such persons seldom harm an AA group for long. Some of these have become our most respected and best loved. Some have remained to try our patience, sober nevertheless. Others have drifted away. We have begun to regard these ones not as menaces, but rather as our teachers. They oblige us to cultivate patience, tolerance and humility. We finally see that they are only people sicker than the rest of us, that we who condemn them are the Pharisees whose false righteousness does our group the deeper spiritual damage.
 
Ours Not to Judge
Every older AA shudders when he remembers the names of persons he once condemned; people he confidently predicted would never sober up; persons he was sure ought to be thrown out of AA for the good of the movement. Now that some of these very persons have been sober for years, and may be numbered among his best friends, the old-timer thinks to himself “What if everybody had judged these people as I once did? What if AA had slammed its door in their faces? Where would they be now?”
 
That is why we all judge the newcomer less and less. If alcohol is an uncontrollable problem to him and he wishes to do something about it, that is enough for us. We care not whether his case is severe or light, whether his morals are good or bad, whether he has other complications or not. Our AA door stands wide open, and if he passes through it and commences to do anything at all about his problem, he is considered a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He signs nothing, agrees to nothing, promises nothing. We demand nothing. He joins us on his own say so. Nowadays, in most groups, he doesn’t even have to admit he is an alcoholic. He can join AA on the mere suspicion that he may be one, that he may already show the fatal symptoms of our malady.
 
Of course this is not the universal state of affairs throughout AA. Membership rules still exist. If a member persists in coming to meetings drunk he may be led outside; we may ask someone to take him away. But in most groups he can come back next day, if sober. Though he may be thrown out of a club, nobody thinks of throwing him out of AA. He is a member as long as he says he is. While this broad concept of AA membership is not yet unanimous, it does represent the main current of AA thought today. We do not wish to deny anyone his chance to recover from alcoholism. We wish to be just as inclusive as we can, never exclusive.
 
Perhaps this trend signifies something much deeper than a mere change of attitude on the question of membership. Perhaps it means that we are losing all fear of those violent emotional storms which sometimes cross our alcoholic world; perhaps it bespeaks our confidence that every storm will be followed by a calm; a calm which is more understanding, more compassionate, more tolerant than any we ever knew before.
 Bill W.


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CHUCK D.

This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing.
–Margaret Atwood

We have often become victims by seeing themselves as saviors. We forgot that we have needs too. We thought if we gave enough, our needs would eventually be met. In the process we became great controllers, not for the sake of power, but to make everything okay. We turn ourselves inside out to make our mates happy or to please our children or friends. But being a savior is a disrespectful role to play. When people became angry with us for it, we absorbed their anger and felt misunderstood.

No relationship is healthy for either person if one is victim. We must do our loved ones the favor of letting them see our strength–let them bump up against it–even when that means we say a loud and strong no! After we have said no, our yes is much more believable.

Today. I will take responsibility for my own life and try not to be a savior for others. I won’t undermine my relationships by being a victim.
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Trusting Ourselves
 
Trust can be one of the most confusing concepts in recovery. Who do we trust? For what?
 
The most important trust issue we face is learning to trust ourselves. The most detrimental thing that’s happened to us is that we came to believe we couldn’t trust ourselves.
 
There will be some who tell us we cannot trust ourselves, we are off base and out of whack. There are those who would benefit by our mistrusting ourselves.
 
Fear and doubt are our enemies. Panic is our enemy. Confusion is our opposition. Self-trust is a healing gift we can give ourselves. How do we acquire it? We learn it. What do we do about our mistakes, about those times we thought we could trust ourselves but were wrong? We accept them, and trust ourselves anyway.
 
We know what is best for us. We know what is right for us. If we are wrong, if we need to change our mind, we will be guided into that–but only by trusting where we are today.
 
We can look for others for support and reinforcement, but trust in ourselves is essential.
 
Do not trust fear. Do not trust panic. We can trust ourselves, stand in our own truth, stand in our own light. We have it now. Already. We have all the light we need for today. And tomorrow’s light shall be given to us then.
 
Trust ourselves, and we will know whom to trust. Trust ourselves, and we will know what to do. When we feel we absolutely cannot trust ourselves, trust that God will guide us into truth.
 
God, help me to let go of fear, doubt, and confusion–the enemies of self-trust. Help me go forward in peace and confidence. Help me grow in trust for myself and You, one day at a time, one experience at a time.

==================================Learn something new about yourself

 
Wildfires scorch large chunks of the Western United States every summer. It’s part of the natural cycle of things. After a while, nature decides that it’s time to start over and a patch of the woods goes up in smoke.
 
This year, one fire burned near Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. I read the news wires with interest, hoping that the archeological sites there wouldn’t be destroyed. The crews worked on the fires, and though there was damage in the area, the main ruins were left unharmed. While the fires had burned thousands of acres around the park, they had also done something else– they had burned away the undergrowth that had sprung up around twelve perviously undiscovered sites.
 
Sometimes life sends fires raging through our lives, too. Those fires are also part of the natural cycle of things. Life, nature, our Higher Power says it’s time to start over again.
 
Use misfortune as an opportunity. Who knows? That fire rampaging through your life just might clear away the brush of the past. Keep your heart open and stay aware. You might learn something new and previously undiscovered about yourself.

God, help me stay alert to the lessons of today.

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CHUCK D.

Victory is won not in miles but in inches.
Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more. 
–Louis L’Amour
 
How much fuller each day feels when we can be patient and accept the inches we have progressed. Yet, we are aware of large problems which require miles of progress. We may want others in our lives to change quickly, we may be impatient with a work situation, or we may feel angry about an addiction.
 
Perhaps the spiritual message to us is we need to surrender to time. We are on the road moving in the direction of recovery. The forces of progress are at work. Our growth now may come in learning patience and trusting this process. Looking back we might see a mile of progress. It was made an inch at a time.
 
Today, I will accept my progress. There are many rewards already.
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Clarity and Direction
 
In spite of our best efforts to work our programs and lean on Gods guidance, we sometimes don’t understand what’s going on in our life. We trust, wait, pray, listen to people, listen to ourselves, and the answer still does not come.
 
During those times, we need to understand that we are right where we need to be, even though that place may feel awkward and uncomfortable. Our life does have purpose and direction.
 
We are being changed, healed, and transformed at levels deeper than we can imagine. Good things, beyond our capacity to imagine, are being prepared and brought to us. We are being led and guided.
 
We can become peaceful. We do not have to act in haste or urgency just to relieve our discomfort, just to get an answer. We can wait until our mind is peaceful. We can wait for clear direction. Clarity will come.
 
The answer will come, and it will be good for us and those around us.
 
Today, God, help me know I am being guided into what’s good about life, especially when I feel confused and without direction. Help me trust enough to wait until my mind and vision are clear and consistent. Help me know that clarity will come.

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Say whatever when it’s out of your hands
 
We cannot control everything that happens to us. But we can control our response to those things. We cannot control the feelings of others– their fear, their power trips, their issues. All that we can choose is how we want to respond.
 
Maybe you have been wronged. Maybe you have had a dream taken from you due to the actions of another. What are you going to do about it? You can give up and give in, or you can make the best of the situation, move on if you can, or make a life where you are.
 
Say whatever.
 
Learn to live and let live.
 
You can start over, again and again, if necessary.
 
God, give me the strength to stand up when the actions or thoughts of others drag me down. Help me practice right thought and right action. Help me walk the path that is set before me, no matter what it may bring.
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Chuck’s Corner

Heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act. 
–Sophocles
 
Growing into wholeness is a journey into greater responsibility for our lives. We have choices to make every day. Taking responsibility means choosing between the options we have and then accepting the consequences. Sometimes both choices are undesirable, but we have to choose anyway. Do I expect to be perfect in my choices? Do I demand that someone else take responsibility for me? Do I defiantly refuse to accept the options I have?
 
This program seems like a paradox- the First Step asks us to accept our powerlessness, then we are expected to go on and stop being passive in our lives. The Serenity Prayer speaks to us about this dilemma. We ask for the serenity to accept what we cannot change and the courage to change what we can. Fully admitting our powerlessness sheds a burden and frees us to go on from there, actively doing what we can.
 
If something is awaiting my action today, may I have the courage to move forward with it. Even small movement is progress.
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Allow for differences
 
He’s rational. He wants examples of the problem and wants to focus on and find a solution.
 
She wants to talk about how she feels.
 
He wants to sit in front of the television and click the remote control.
 
She wants to cuddle on the couch and look into his eyes.
 
He deals with his stress by playing basketball with his friends, tinkering with the car or going for a hike.
 
She wants to go to a movie, preferably one that makes her cry.
 
I spent much of my life thinking that men and women– and generally all people– should just be the same. It took me a long time to realize that while we have much in common with other people, we’re each unique.
 
It took me even longer to realize that the practical application of this meant I had to learn to allow for differences between the people I loved and myself.
 
Just because we have something in common with someone, and might even think we’re in love, doesn’t mean that each person is going to respond and be the same.
 
So often in our relationships, we try to get the other person to behave the way we want. This forcing of our will on them will ultimately become a great strain. It can also block love. When we’re trying to change someone else, we overlook his or her gifts. We don’t value the parts of the person that are different from us, because we’re too busy trying to change the person into someone else.
 
Allow for differences, but don’t just allow. Appreciate the differences. Value what each person has to offer and the gifts each person can bring.
 
Learn to say whatever, with a spark of amusement and curiosity, when someone isn’t the same as you. Try getting a kick out of the unique way each person approaches life.
 
God, help me understand the rich gifts that letting go of control will bring to my life.
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Don’t take storms personally
 
Somewhere out in the Pacific, a storm brewed and swirled and thrashed and died without ever touching the land. Three days later, under a clear blue sky, the storm surge reached the California coast near Los Angeles. The sea threw rocks at my house, and the waves stacked up and crashed down against the pilings of the foundation. Farther up the street, the ocean ate the back porch of two houses. All night the shoreline trembled and shook from the power of the sea.
 
The next morning the tide pulled back, the swells calmed, and the sky stayed blue. I walked down the beach, impressed at the way the ocean had littered it with huge chunks of driftwood and rocks. Then I walked back upstairs and drank my morning coffee.
 
Sometimes, storms aren’t about us.
 
Sometimes, friends or loved ones will attack us for no apparent reason. They’ll fuss, fume, and snap at us. When we ask them why, they’ll say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I had a bad day at work.”
 
But we still feel hurt and upset.
 
Hold people accountable for their behavior. Don’t let people treat you badly. But don’t take the storms in their lives personally. These storms may have nothing to do with you.
 
Seek shelter if necessary. Get away from curt friends until they have time to calm down; then approach when it’s safe. If the storm isn’t about you, there’s nothing you need to do. Would you stop the ocean waves by standing in the surf with your arms outstretched?
 
Say whatever. Let the storms blow through.
 
God, help me not to take the storms in the lives of my friends and loved ones too personally.
================================================

Chuck D

All of my life I been like a doubled up fist… poundin’, smashin’, drivin’ – now I’m going to loosen these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them. 
–Tennessee Williams
 
Every person has many sides. Some sides are highly developed and other sides aren’t at all. We need not fear turning to a new side and exploring it. This recovery program has enabled us to pursue sides of ourselves that were closed before. When we were lost in our narrow world of codependency and addiction, we had fewer options. Now we have far greater access to our strength and our self-esteem, and we find new parts of ourselves.
Many of us have found relationships, which were never possible before, job choices we would never have had, and the pleasure of greater involvement in life. It is reassuring to see that we don’t always have to give up one side of ourselves to add new ones.
 
Thanks to God for the many options opening up to me in this renewed life.

============================================
Letting Go of Denial


We are slow to believe that which if believed would hurt our feelings.

–Ovid

Most of us in recovery have engaged in denial from time to time. Some of us relied on this tool.

We may have denied events or feelings from our past. We may have denied other people’s problems; we may have denied our own problems/ feelings, thoughts, wants, or needs. We denied the truth.
Denial means we didn’t let ourselves face reality, usually because facing that particular reality would hurt. It would be a loss of something: trust, love, family, perhaps a marriage, a friendship, or a dream. And it hurts to lose something or someone. ‘
Denial is a protective device, a shock absorber for the soul It prevents us from acknowledging reality until we feel prepared to cope with that particular reality People can shout and scream the truth at us, but we will not see or hear it until we are ready.
We are sturdy yet fragile beings. Sometimes, we need time to get prepared, time to ready ourselves to cope. We do not let go of our need to deny by beating ourselves into acceptance; we let go of our need to deny by allowing ourselves to become safe and strong enough to cope with the truth
We will do this, when the time is right. We do not need to punish ourselves for having denied reality; we need only love ourselves into safety and strength so that each day we are better equipped to face and deal with the truth. We will face and deal with reality – on our own time schedule, when we are ready, and in our Higher Power’s timing. We do not have to accept chastisement from anyone, including ourselves, for this schedule.
We will know what we need to know, when it’s time to know it.
 
Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and confident. I will let myself have my awarenesses on my own time schedule.

============================================
Experience life for yourself

 We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.
–John Holt
 
“I’m an armchair adventurer,” I’ve heard more than one person say. This means that they never actually go out and do anything. They let others take all the risk. Through books, they’ve climbed Mount Everest, sailed around the world, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, and snowshoed to the South Pole. They were even able to tell me all about how to fly a plane before my first lesson.
 
It’s one thing to spend our time reading books or listening to lectures about how to do this or that – how to have a successful relationship, how to build a business, how to live life more fully, whatever comes after how to. The trick is to finally put the books down, walk away from the lecture, and do it. Getting information, support, and encouragement is helpful. Necessary,too. But life was meant to be lived, not studied. The only way that you’ll have a successful career, relationship, or hobby is to go out and get one for yourself.
 
God, help me take the risk of actually doing something I want to learn to do.

============================================

Hereeeeeeers Chuck D.

Stop throwing that blame around
 
“There are two kinds of people in the world,” a friend explained to me one day.
“There are the ones who blame other people for everything that happens.
And there are the ones who blame themselves.”
 
Have you ever watched a movie where one of the actors used a flamethrower?
In a movie I watched one day, they called this instead a “blame thrower.”
It’s a lit torch of fiery rage that we throw at either others or ourselves when
situations don’t work out the way we planned.
 
Blaming can be a healthy stage of grieving or letting go. But staying too long
in this stage can be unproductive. It can keep us from taking constructive action.
Blaming ourselves too long can turn into self-contempt;
blaming others can keep us heavy and dark with resentments, and fuel the victim within.
 
If you’re going through a loss, or if life has twisted on you, pick up your blame thrower– in
the privacy of your own journal. Give yourself ten or twenty minutes to blame without censorship.
Get it out. Write out everything you want to say, whether you’re throwing blame at someone else or at yourself.
 
It may take longer if the loss is larger, but the point is to give yourself a limited amount
of time for a blame-throwing session, then cease fire. Stop.
Move on to the next stage in living, which is letting go, accepting,
and taking responsibility for yourself.
 
God, help me search myself to see if I’m holding on to blame for myself or someone else.
If I am, help me get it out in the open, then help me let it go.

==============================================

Solving Problems
 
I ask that You might help me work through all my problems,
to Your Glory and Honor.
–Alcoholics Anonymous
 
Many of us lived in situations where it wasn’t okay to identify,
have, or talk about problems. 
 
Denial became a way of life our way of dealing with problems.
 
In recovery, many of us still fear problems.
We may spend more time reacting to a problem than we do to solving it.
 
We miss the point; we miss the lesson;
we miss the gift Problems are a part of life. 
 
So are solutions.
 
A problem doesn’t mean life is negative or horrible.
Having a problem doesn’t mean a person is deficient.
All people have problems to work through.
 
In recovery, we learn to focus on solving our problems.
First, we make certain the problem is our problem.
If it isn’t, our problem is establishing boundaries.
Then we seek the best solution. This may mean setting a goal,
asking for help, gathering more information, taking an action, or letting go.
 
Recovery does not mean immunity or exemption from problems;
recovery means learning to face and solve problems,
knowing they will appear regularly. We can trust our ability to solve problems,
and know we’re not doing it alone.
Having problems does not mean our Higher Power is picking on us.
Some problems are part of life; others are ours to solve, and we’ll grow in necessary ways in the process.
 
Face and solve today’s problems. Don’t worry needlessly about tomorrow’s problems,
because when they appear, we’ll have the resources necessary to solve them.
 
Facing and solving problems working through problems with help from a
Higher Power means we’re living and growing and reaping benefits.
 
 
God, help me face and solve my problems today.
Help me do my part and let the rest go. I can learn to be a problem solver.

==============================================

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;
it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. 
–Seneca
 
When we reach a stressful time in our lives, our vision gets narrow.
We fail to see the options and possibilities we have.
If we give ourselves over to our worries and fears, our sight closes down even further.
Finally, we reach the point of blindness to reality and to all the support around us.
In our fearful blindness we say with conviction, “This is too difficult!
There is nothing I can do.”
The spiritual man strives to keep one eye on the horizon, even in a worrisome situation.
He breaths deeply so he does not tighten up or closes off his exchange with the world.
He returns to the relationship he has with his Higher Power, trusting the process to carry
him through, and he opens his eyes to quietly take in the possibilities before him.
 
Close to my Higher Power, I have a place of calm in the midst of difficulty
and see the possibilities and dare to act upon them.

==============================================

Some more from Chuck D.

The readiness is all.
–William Shakespeare

Our concept of control was flawed. This program leads us into a New World. Here we meet the fact that we are powerless to change some aspects of ourselves. But we can become ready to be changed. That makes all the difference. When we accept this truth, we are already changed and we are more in line with nature and the universe.
We can’t make ourselves less perfectionistic, but we can become ready to let go of our demand for perfection. We can’t force family harmony into our lives, but we can become more ready to be harmonious. We can’t make a lasting love appear for us on command – we can become ready for such a relationship when the opportunities appear. Do we yearn for some change? How might we ready ourselves to receive it?

Today, I will try to become ready for the help and change I most need in my life.
=================================
Living in the Present

The present moment is all we have. Yes, we have plans and goals, a vision for tomorrow. But now is the only time we possess. And it is enough.
We can clear our mind of the residue of yesterday. We can clear our mind of fears of tomorrow. We can be present, now. We can make ourselves available to this moment, this day. It is by being fully present now that we reach the fullness of tomorrow.
Have no fear, child, a voice whispers. Have no regrets. Relinquish your resentments. Let Me take your pain. All you have is the present moment. Be still. Be here. Trust. All you have is now. It is enough.

Today, I will affirm that all is well around me, when all is well within.
=================================
Say woohoo wherever you are

I walked into the beach house after a day of work to find my friendly tormentors, Chip and Andy, standing by the window that drops down to the beach. Actually, Chip was standing next to the window; Andy was outside, hanging by a climbing harness. The rope led into the house and was tied off around one of the support beams.
I didn’t ask what they were doing. I just grabbed the climbing harness that was lying on the floor at Chip’s feet and asked if I could try,too.
Rappelling from the house down to the beach is not my ordinary activity. But sometimes, even the smallest, most ridiculous things can be a chance for a mini-woohoo. That night, I learned to rappel in the moonlight on the beach from the living room of my house.
Be open to new experience in your life. If it isn’t life-threatening, maybe it’s okay, even if it is a little odd. Don’t be afraid to be ridiculous, look a little uncool, and even let out an aaah now and then.
Have you had a woohoo lately? Have you got one on your list? Or maybe in your garage? Put on some Rollerblades, buy a surfboard, get out your sled. Order something new off the menu. Take a different road. Find the woohoo; then carry it with you into your ordinary world and let it lighten your spirit.
Woohoos are the moments we’ll remember all our lives.

God, help me lighten my spirit by putting a little woohoo into my daily life.
=================================

Chuck D contributor

That’s what happens when you’re angry at people. You make them part of your life.
–Garrison Keillor
 
Our problems with anger and our problems in relationships go hand in hand. Some of us have held back our anger, which led to resentment of our loved ones. Some of us have indulged our anger and become abusive. Some of us have been so frightened of anger that we closed off the dialogue in our relationships when angry feelings came out.
 
Some of us have wasted our energy by focusing anger on people who weren’t really important to us. Do we truly want them to become so important? Yet, perhaps the important relationships got frozen because we weren’t open and respectful with our anger. It isn’t possible to be close to someone without being angry at times. We let our loved ones be part of our lives by feeling our anger when it is there and expressing it openly, directly, and respectfully to them – or by hearing them when they are angry. Then, with dialogue, we can let it go.
 
I will be aware of those people I am making important in my life and will grow in dealing with my anger.
————————————————————

Editorial: On the 5th Step
AA Grapevine – March 1945  
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
 
This is a tough step and takes courage to do. It is, however, a step that can be done if you make sufficient effort.
 
It is not new. The Catholic Church uses it in their confessional and the Psychiatrist uses it.
 
Drinking is caused by inner conflicts and the only way to get rid of these conflicts is to bring them out in the open and destroy them. Wrongs cause conflicts, hence the necessity of this step.
 
Take the first phrase, “Admitted to God.” How do you do this? First learn humility so that you can ask help in a humble manner. If you have difficulty in admitting the actuality of a supreme power, work on the premise that there might be one. Once you get your mind in tune with the infinite it is not difficult to realize that you have no secrets from God.
 
“Admitted to ourselves:” This can only be done when we are honest with ourselves. In this program it is folly to try to kid yourself. Be ruthless in your soul searching and come clean.
 
Great care should be taken in choosing “another human being.” It must be someone you can trust. Your lawyer, your doctor, your priest or minister, another A.A., or a friend; someone who will act as a sounding board and keep your confidence.
 
Once you take this step you will be astounded at the relief you feel. The burden of despair will be lifted from your back and you will be free.
 
It is essential for every A.A. to realize the importance of taking this 5th step. By so 
————————————————————

Setting Our Own Course
 
We are powerless over other people’s expectations of us. We cannot control what others want, what they expect, or what they want us to do and be.
We can control how we respond to other people’s expectations.
During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy, money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no. And we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life.
We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our life.
We can set boundaries, firm limits on how far we shall go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. We can place value on ourselves.
We can own our power with people.
Buy some time. Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another’s needs will affect the course of your life. We live or own life by not letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and expectations; we can allow them to have their feelings. We can own our power to choose the path that is right for us.
 
Today, God, help me own my power by detaching, and peacefully choosing the course of action that is right for me. Help me know I can detach from the expectations and wants of others. Help me stop pleasing other people and start pleasing myself.

————————————————————

Take a side road
 
Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step in an act of faith.
–Micky Hart
 
We were driving along highway 166 in central California on another road trip. The trip had been a long one, started on the spur of the moment, as they usually are, and now we were anxious to get back home. Then we– Andy, Chip, and I– all saw it: a small road leading up into the mountains behind an open gate. It wasn’t on the atlas. The road turned to dirt. Cows lounged on the path and we had to wait for them to move out of the way. The GPS (Global Positioning System) got lost. The path degraded. We hit a patch of black mud and the truck struggled for a moment. Chipster gunned the motor and we leapt ahead.
“Think we should turn around?” he asked.
“No, this road must go somewhere,” said Andy.
“Aaaah,” I said.
We came to a small lake in the middle of the path.
“You can make it,” said Andy, rolling up his window.
“Aaaah,” I said.
Chip switched into four-wheel drive and gunned the motor. Muddy water poured in through the open sunroof.
Much later– after we moved rocks out of the way, splashed through more puddles, saw stunning views from a high ridge-line, and drove far too close to the edge of the cliff– we came across an old man pushing a bicycle up the road.
We asked, “How much further is it to get out of here?”
“Well,” he replied, “how far in have you come?”
“We didn’t come in this way.”
A puzzled look crossed his face. “How did you get here then?”
“We drove over the ridge.”
He shook his head in disbelief and walked on.
Ten miles later we came to another gate. The cell phone started to work again.
The GPS decided that we were still on the planet after all.
Sometimes, we find the biggest adventures when we deviate from the map and drive through the gate into new territory just to see where it goes.

God, help me remember that I don’t have to follow the map all the time. Give me the spirit of adventure. Bring a little woohoo into my life.
————————————————————

CHUCK D.

We cannot merely pray to You, 0 God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way
That man must find his own path to peace
Within himself and with his neighbor.
–Jack Riemer
 
Our conscious contact with God can be called prayer. There are many forms of prayer for a man in this program. For some of us it may take the form of talking to God; for others it may be silent meditation, observing nature, listening to music, or writing in a journal.
   We have experienced the healing effect of this relationship. It has allowed us to move out of our willfulness. But we need to take action where we can make a difference. We cannot blame God for every bad thing that happens – or simply wait for God to provide all the good we want. Do we see the power we do have to influence our lives? Can we give up our resentments against God for bad things that have happened?
    I am grateful for what God has given me and more aware of what I can do.
============================

Owning Our Power
 
We need to make a distinction between powerlessness and owning our power.
   The first step in recovery is accepting powerlessness. There are some things we can’t do, no matter how long or hard we try. These things include changing other people, solving their problems, and controlling their behavior. Sometimes, we feel powerless over ourselves – what we feel or believe, or the effects of a particular situation or person on us.
   It’s important to surrender to powerlessness, but it’s equally important to own our power. We aren’t trapped. We aren’t helpless. Sometimes it may feel like we are, but we aren’t. We each have the God given power, and the right, to take care of ourselves in any circumstance, and with any person. The middle ground of self-care lies between the two extremes of controlling others and allowing them to control us. We can walk that ground gently or assertively, but in confidence that it is our right and responsibility.
   Let the power come to walk that path.
  Today, I will remember that I can take care of myself. I have choices, and. I can exercise the options I choose without guilt.
====================================
Replace dread by saying woohoo

Let go of dread.
Treat it like a feeling. Identify it. Accept and acknowledge it. Then release it. Do whatever you have to, to get it out of your system. Because dread is more than just a feeling– it’s really a curse.
We throw this dark gray blanket of dread over our lives for hours, sometimes days, months, and sometimes years. We convince ourselves that certain situations will be terrible. Then what we’ve predicted comes true.
Dread is not living in the present moment. It’s living the future before we get there, and living it without any joy. There’s a lot of good about the future that you don’t know. There’s your power to flow. There’s the creative power that exists in the void. There’s your abillity to intuitively handle what comes up. And there’s a lesson, a pulsing potential in the experience that you can’t see yet. There may be a delightful consequence or outcome from this experience on which you haven’t planned. Or it may simply be something you need to get through to experience growth.
If you’re feeling cursed because you’re living in dread, take the curse off yourself.

God, help me open my heart to the full potential of every moment in my life.
====================================

Bill W., 75, Dies; Jan. 27, 1971 – New York Times News Service Cofounder Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Bill W., 75, Dies; Cofounder Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Jan. 27, 1971 – New York Times News Service

NEW YORK — William Griffith Wilson died late Sunday night January 24, 1971 and, with the announcement of his death, was revealed to have been the Bill W. who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous in l935. He was 75.

The retired Wall Street securities analyst had expected to die or to go insane as a hopeless drunk 36 years ago but – after what he called a dramatic spiritual experience – sobered up and stayed sober.

He leaves a program of recovery as a legacy to 47,000 acknowledged alcoholics in 15,000 A.A. groups throughout the United States and in 18 other countries.

Wife Aided Work

Mr. Wilson, whose twangy voice and economy of words reflected his New England origin, died of pneumonia and cardiac complication a few hours after he had been flown by private plane to the Miami Heart Institute in Miami Beach from his home in Bedford Hills, NY.

At his bedside was his wife, Lois, who had remained by him during his years as a “falling down” drunk and who later had worked at his side to aid other alcoholics. She is a founder of the Al-Anon and Alateen groups, which deal with the fears and insecurity suffered by spouses and children of problem drinkers.

Mr. Wilson last spoke publicly last July 5 in a three minute talk he delivered after struggling from a wheelchair to the lectern at the closing session of A.A.’s 35th anniversary international convention in Miami, attended by 11,000 persons. He had been admitted three days earlier to the Miami Heart Institute, his emphysema complicated by pneumonia.

Last Oct. 10, he was under hospital care for acute emphysema and was unable for the first time to attend the A.A. banquet at which his “last-drink anniversary” has been celebrated annually. His greetings were delivered by his wife to the 2,200 A.A. members and guests at the New York Hilton.

Mr. Wilson gave permission to break his A.A. anonymity upon his death in a signed statement in 1966. The role of Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith as the other founder of the worldwide fellowship was disclosed publicly when the Akron Ohio, surgeon died of cancer in 1950.

As Bill W., Mr. Wilson shared what be termed his “experience, strength and hope” in hundreds of talks and writings, but in turn – mindful that he himself was “just another guy named Bill who can’t handle booze” – he heeded the counsel of fellow alcoholics, and declined a salary for his work in behalf of the fellowship.

He supported himself, and later his wife, on royalties from four A.A. books — “Alcoholics Anonymous,” “The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,” “Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age” and “The A.A. Way of Life.”

Explained Anonymity

In fathering the doctrine that members should not reveal their A.A. affiliation at the public level, Bill W. had explained that “anonymity isn’t just something to save us from alcoholic shame and stigma; its deeper purpose is to keep those fool egos of ours from running hog wild after money and fame at A.A,’s expense.”

He cited the example of a nationally known radio personality who wrote an autobiography. disclosing his A.A membership and then spent the royalties crawling the pubs on West 52nd Street.”

Frankness Impressed

In the program’s early years, Mrs. Wilson worked in a department store to augment the family income.

Over the years, the gaunt, 6-foot co-founder’s wavy brown hair turned wispy white, and his step slowed. In 1962 he retired from active administration of A.A. affairs and returned to part-time activity in Wall Street. He continued to speak in New York at dinner meeting celebrating the anniversaries of his recovery.

Mr. Wilson shunned oratory and euphemisms and impressed listeners with the simplicity and frankness of his A.A. “story”:

In his native East Dorset, VT., where he was born Nov. 26,1895, and where be attended a two-room elementary school, he recalled, “I was tall and gawky and I felt pretty bad about it because the smarter kids could push me around. I remember being very depressed for a year or more, then I developed a fierce resolve to win – to be a No. 1 man.”

Strength Limited

Bill, whose physical strength and coordination were limited, was goaded by a deep sense of inferiority, yet became captain of his high school baseball team. He learned to play the violin well enough to lead the school orchestra.

He majored in engineering at Norwich University for three years, then enrolled in officers training school when the United States entered World War I. He married Lois Burnham, a Brooklyn physician’s daughter he had met on vacation in Manchester, Vt.

At Army camp In New Bedford, Mass,, 2nd Lt. Wilson of the 66th Coast Artillery and fellow officers were entertained by patriotic hostesses, and Bill W. was handed his first drink, a Bronx cocktail. Gone, soon, was his sense of inferiority.

Wife Concerned

“In those Roaring Twenties,” he remembered, “I was drinking to dream great dreams of greater power.” His wife became increasingly concerned, but he assured her that “men of genius conceive their best projects when drunk.”

In the crash of 1929, Mr. Wilson’s funds melted away, but his self-confidence failed to drop. “When men were leaping to their deaths from the towers of high finance,” he noted, “I was disgusted and refused to jump. I went back to the bar. I said, and I believed, ‘that I can build this up once more.’ But I didn’t. My alcoholic obsession had already condemned me. I became a hanger-on in Wall Street.”

Numbing doses of bathtub gin, bootleg whisky and New Jersey applejack became Bill W.’s panacea for all his problems.

Visited by Companion

Late in 1934, he was visited by an old barroom companion, Ebby T., who disclosed that he had attained freedom from a drinking compulsion with help from the First Century Christian Fellowship (now Moral Rearmament); a movement founded in England by the late Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman and often called the Oxford Group. Bill W. was deeply impressed and was desperate, but he said he had not yet reached that level of degradation below which he was unwilling to descend. He felt he had one more prolonged drunk left in him.

Sick, depressed and clutching a bottle of beer, Bill W. staggered a month later into Towns Hospital, an upper Manhattan institution for treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. Dr William Duncan Silkworth, his friend, put him to bed.

Mr. Wilson recalled then what. Ebby T. had told him: “You admit you are licked; you get honest with yourself… you pray to whatever God you think there is, even as an experiment.” Bill W. found himself crying out:

“If there is a God, let him show himself, I am ready to do anything, anything!”

“Suddenly,” he related. “the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy which there are no words to describe. It seemed that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man.”

Recovering slowly and fired with enthusiasm, Mr. Wilson envisioned a chain reaction among drunks, one carrying the message of recovery to the next. Emphasizing at first his spiritual regeneration, and working closely with Oxford Groupers, he struggled for months to “sober up the world,” but got almost nowhere.

“Look Bill,” Dr. Silkworth cautioned, “you are preaching at those alkies. You are talking about the Oxford precepts of absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. Give them the medical business, and give it to ‘em hard, about the obsession that condemns them to drink. That – coming from one alcoholic to another – may crack those tough egos deep down.”

Mr. Wilson thereafter concentrated on the basic philosophy that alcoholism is a physical allergy coupled with a mental obsession – an incurable though arrestable – illness of body., mind and spirit. Much later, the disease concept of alcoholism was accepted by a committee of the American Medical Association and by the World Health Organization.

Still dry six months after emerging from the hospital, Mr. Wilson went to Akron to participate in a stock proxy fight. He lost, and was about to lose another bout as he paced outside a bar in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel. Panicky, he groped for inner strength and remembered that. he had thus far stayed sober trying to help other alcoholics.

Through Oxford Group channels that night, he gained an introduction to Dr. Smith, a surgeon and fellow Vermonter who had vainly sought medical cures and religious help for his compulsive drinking.

Bill W. discussed with the doctor his former drinking pattern and his eventual release from compulsion.

“Bill was the first living human with whom I had ever talked who intelligently discussed my problem from actual experience,” Dr. Bob, as he became known, said later. “He talked my language.”

Here is some more from Chuck

The perfection of innocence, indeed, is madness. –Arthur Miller
 
We’ve all said, “I didn’t do anything. Don’t blame me; I didn’t mean any harm.” Overdevelopment of innocence contradicts our spiritual growth. The painful truth is, we do have an impact on other people. Many times we have cultivated innocence as a style, and it has stood in our way of being accountable.
We cannot be in a relationship without sometimes hurting the ones we love. Spiritual growth requires us to take action and to take responsibility for what we do. It is painful to acknowledge we made a mistake and hurt someone. But giving up our innocent style is constructive pain. It opens the possibility to correct our ways, make repairs, and be forgiven. Then we are in the mainstream of a hearty spiritual life.
 
May I nave the grace to let go of my innocence by taking action and admitting my mistakes.
=================================

Good Feelings
 
When we talk about feelings in recovery, we often focus on the troublesome trio – pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available in the emotional realm – happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, and excitement.
 
It’s okay to let ourselves feel pleasurable feelings too.
 
We don’t have to worry when we experience good feelings; we don’t have to scare ourselves out of them; we don’t have to sabotage our happiness. We do that, sometimes, to get to the more familiar, less joyous terrain.
 
It’s okay to feel good. We don’t have to analyze, judge, or justify. We don’t have to bring ourselves down, or let others bring us down, by injecting negativity.
 
We can let ourselves feel good.
 
Today, I will remind myself that it is my right to feel as good as I can. I can have many moments of feeling good; I can find a balanced place of feeling content, peaceful, and good.

=================================

Take care of yourself
 
For once a person begins on this path of knowledge they will only look inward, learning how to fix themselves, instead of trying to fix other people.  –Rav Brandwein
 
Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down.
Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible– controlling that which we cannot– and instead, focus on what is possible– which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.
 
Have you tricked yourself into believing there’s someone you can control? If you have, tell yourself the truth. Stop trying to have power where you truly have none. Instead, exercise your will in a way that will bring results. The one power you always have is the ability to let go and take care of yourself.
God, help me make letting go and taking care of myself a way of life.

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CHUCK D.

“Instead of debating why so many old-timers are leaving, maybe our time would be better spent in taking more responsibility and letting the old-timers know how much AA wants and needs them … creating and maintaining environments and meetings that are attractive to their recovery.”
Vancouver, Wash., August 1992
“Rekindling the Fire”, The Home Group: Heartbeat of AA
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The New Year

Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level.

Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals – we are trying to give direction to our life.

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

What would you like to see happen inside and around you?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.

Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story.

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

Today, I will remember that there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals. I will do that now, for the year to come, and regularly as needed. I will do it not to control but to do my part in living my life.
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Trust that good will come

It was a slow, bring January day at the Blue Sky Lodge. We had just moved in. The house was a mess. Construction hadn’t begun yet. All we had was a plan, and a dream. It was too cold and rainy to skydive or even be outdoors. There wasn’t any furniture yet. We were lying around on the floor.

I don’t know who got the idea first, him or me. But we both picked up Magic Markers about the same time. Then we started drawing on the wall.

“What do you want to happen in your life?” I asked. He drew pictures of seaplanes, and mountains, and boats leaving the shore. One picture was a video-camera man, jumping out of a plane. “I want adventure,” he said.

I drew pictures of a woman tromping around the world. She went to war-torn countries, then sat on a fence and watched. She visited the mountains and the oceans and many exciting places. Then I drew a heart around the entire picture, and she sat there in the middle of all the experiences on a big stack of books.

“I want stories,” I said, “ones with a lot of heart.”

Across the entire picture, in big letters, he wrote the word “Woohoo.”

As an afterthought, I drew a woman sky diver who had just jumped out of the plane. She was frightened and grimacing. Next to her I wrote the words “Just relax.”

On the bottom of the wall I wrote, “The future is only limited by what we can see now.” He grabbed a marker, crossed out “only,” and changed it to “never.”

“There,” he said, “it’s done.”

Eventually, the house got cleaned up and the construction finished. Furniture arrived. And yellow paint covered the pictures on the wall. We didn’t think much about that wall until months later Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, and sometimes in ways we’d least expect, each of the pictures we’d drawn on that wall began to materialize and manifest.

“It’s a magic wall,” I said.

Even if you can’t imagine what’s coming next, relax. The good pictures are still there. The wall will soon become covered with the story of your life. Thank God, the future is never limited by what we can see right now.

The wall isn’t magic.

The magic is in us and what we believe.

Before we start speaking the language of letting go, we need to understand what a powerful behavior letting go and letting God really is.

God, help me do my part. Then help me let go, and let you do yours.

Activity: Meditate for a moment on the year ahead. Make a list of things you’d like to see happen, attributes you’d like to gain, things you’d like to get and do, changes you’d like to occur. You don’t have to limit the list to this year. What do you want to happen in your life? Make a list of places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to see. Leave room for the unexpected, the unintended. But make room for the possibility of what you’d like,too– your intentions, wishes, dreams, hopes, and goals. Also, list what you’re ready to let go of,too– things, people, attitudes, and behaviors you’d like to release. If anything were possible, anything at all, what are the possibilities you’d like to experience and see.=============================

 

 

Chuck D.

When we are reduced to our last extreme, there is no further evasion. The choice is a terrible one. It is made in the heart of darkness … when we who have been destroyed and seem to be in hell miraculously choose God!
–Thomas Merton

There are many ways we benefit from a life crisis. Perhaps none of us could achieve true adult maturity – or a relationship with God – without having the foundations of our lives shaken. One of our pathways to crisis was the willful pursuit of control in our codependent and addictive lives. Our lifestyles were extreme, the consequences were extreme, and our surrender had to be absolute.
Most of us are surprised by how our weaknesses can turn to strengths. When our defiant wills led us to the utter bottom of our despair, we finally turned to a Power greater than ourselves and found a new way to live. This spiritual story is told in endless variations in our meetings, and it is renewed in small ways every day in each of our lives.

God, lift my defiant willfulness from me and renew my day.
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Laying the Foundation

The groundwork has been laid.
Do you not see that?
Don’t you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose?
There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release.
You have been prepared. The same way a builder must first tear down and dig out the old to make way for the new, your Higher Power has been cleaning out the foundation in your life.

Have you ever watched a builder at construction? When he begins his work, it looks worse than before he began. What is old and decayed must be removed. What is insufficient or too weak to support the new structure must be removed, replaced, or reinforced. No builder who cares about his or her work would put a new surface over an insufficient support system. The foundation would give way. It would not last.

If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense. It may appear to be wasted time and effort, because we cannot see the final product yet.

But it is so important that the foundation be laid properly if the fun work, the finishing touches, is to be all that we want it to be.

This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.

Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.

Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.

It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Congratulations. You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. You have trusted, surrendered, and allowed your Higher Power and the Universe to heal and prepare you.
Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.
Now, you shall see the purpose.
Now, it shall all come together and make sense.

Enjoy.
Today, I will surrender to the laying of the foundation – the groundwork – in my life. If it is time to enjoy the placement of the finishing touches, I will surrender to that, and enjoy that too. I will remember to be grateful for a Higher Power that is a Master Builder and only has my best interests in mind, creating and constructing my life. I will be grateful for my Higher Power’s care and attention to details in laying the foundation – even though I become impatient at times. I will stand in awe at the beauty of God’s finished product.
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Slow down and let go

On a road trip up the California coast a while back, I tried to call home only to find that the batteries in my cell phone had died. I worried. What if someone needed to get in touch with me? What if there was a problem with the house? What if my family couldn’t find me and got worried?

I passed the exit to the beach that I had always wanted to see.

I obsessed some more.

I stopped for breakfast at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I asked if they had a pay phone. They didn’t. I barely noticed the stunning view, the smell or the sound of the surf, and I can’t remember eating my eggs and toast.

I put off seeing things until another trip; I took the freeway and got home early.

When I got home, there were no messages. No one had needed me; no one had even been aware that I was gone. But I had missed out on the treasures of the trip. I had spent so much time obsessing, I could barely remember where I’d been.

Are you missing out on the wonder of your trip because you’re in too big of a hurry? Let go. Breathe deeply. As long as you’re taking the journey, you might as well relax and enjoy the ride.

God, help me enjoy where I am right now.
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