From the BlogMeet Ron

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.
================================================

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.

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

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.

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

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.


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

Speak Your Mind