From the BlogMeet Ron

Chuck D.

HE STILL HAD TIME BY Larry R.
 
On looking back he had to think, how could he be so dumb
He never had to pause or fear, he’s only having fun
He told himself he’s like the rest, they drink just like I do
So why was he the only one can’t stop with just a few
 
He still had time, he told himself, it’s just what young folks do
For sure some day he’d slow it down, but was that really true
Why stop or even slow it down, he has mountains yet to climb
One drink can’t hurt, might even help, he knew he still had time
 
And then one day he had to face how bad he really felt
His head did ache, his stomach sick, a friend said that he smelt
Yet this was just a passing thing, he still was in his prime
Tomorrow would be good enough, he knew he still had time
 
But time crept on and so did he, new thoughts began to grow
Perhaps this thing had gone too far and he began to know
That those old friends he partied with had moved on and had grown
And that was when he realized that he was now alone
 
So what to do, he had a choice, to live the same old way
Or face the truth, his life’s a wreck, seek help and start to pray
To any higher power, if one really did exist
Relieve him of his misery, the urge to drink dismissed
 
What happened next, to his surprise, he could not have believed
A friend appeared to tell a tale of what he had achieved
This friend had also been way down, along this dead end street
He had all but given up, when new folks he did meet
 
These folks he met had found a way, no more to have to drink
Join us they said, a better life that saved us from the brink
We know of others just like you and how their lives had changed
A bunch of drunks, all sober now, rearranged
 
He heard the works, but in his state, he could not comprehend
How meeting up with other drunks could help his soul to mend
But if there really was a chance, a way for him to climb
Out of this dark and lonely place, dear God he hoped there’s time
 
 
This friend said he would lead the way to where he had gone straight
A place where many folks had gone before it was too late
He went along but was confused, strange sayings on the walls
Twelve steps where only number one had mentioned alcohol
 
He heard his story told outloud, and he began to muse
These others had been just as bad, yet they had found the clues
To stop and turn their life around, and live a better way
By joining in a fellowship, a thing they called AA.
 
Some time has passed and he reflectes on how it could have been
A lonely life of misery, where death was sure to win
But sober now for quite a while, out of the dirt and grime
His AA friends to show the way and that he DID HAVE TIME
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  Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist but also in the ability to start over.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sitting in a stalled car on the railroad tracks with a train approaching, one needs to let go and start over. A person who persists in that situation will die. Many situations require fierce persistence, but in others we need to start over. Early in recovery, most of us haven’t had a good way of knowing the difference. Perhaps with every challenge we tried harder and held on tighter. Our codependent relationships and our addictions had been our escapes.
Often we long for some clear directions from God to tell us, “Now is the time to let go,” or “Now is the time to persist.” That is not how we hear from our Higher Power. We can practice being less automatic in rising to every challenge. We can learn to see the wisdom and vitality in starting over. Certainly our recovery is a good example. Gradually we develop our contact with our Higher Power to help discern the difference. As we do, we develop more options for leading healthier lives.
Today, I will not automatically persist with a challenge.
I will notice when I have an opportunity to let go.
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Freedom means the right to be different, the right to be oneself. 
–Ira Eisenstein
Each of us is a unique creature and has special gifts to contribute to the world. We were not free in the past because we were slaves to addictions and codependency. We know that freedom is precious. Compulsions and pressures for conformity stifle our creativity and erode our dignity. As we grow in our relationship to our Higher Power, we get stronger and more balanced in our unique qualities. Some of us have a talent for empathizing with others, some for writing and art, others for sports and physical activities.
There is no recipe that prescribes exactly what kind of person we should be. Because we’re free, it is our creative task to discover what it means to be honest,  contributing folks within our particular circumstances. We don’t get a list of directions for each day, only guidelines for progress. Through groups and friendships, we develop in our own ways and learn to respect each other’s freedom.
I am grateful for the freedom to be uniquely and fully myself.

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The Coffee Cup 
I observed many standing around the coffee pot, the hallmark of the Fellowship. I was too nauseated to even consider a cup of coffee, let alone smell it. I came back the next day and was still holding onto my chair to stop my shaking. The coffee drinkers said “keep coming back” and “It gets better.” God I hope so cause I feel like I’m coming out of my skin. Day by day I returned to the smell of brewing coffee and sober people that seemed happy. I wanted to keep coming back because I had never seen this type of happiness. There must be something in the coffee.
  One day a lady handed me a half cup of this magic hot brew and I took it. For a brief moment the partially full cup puzzled me. As I embraced it with trembling hands, I realized the love and incredible understanding behind this silent gesture. I felt the warmth of it between my palms and held onto it instead of the chair that day. I waited until the meeting was well underway until I dare navigate the cup with both hands to my lips. I took a sip of this now medium-warm brown liquid and somehow felt a part of. That day I learned to drink coffee black and like it. As you can imagine, there came a day when I could pour myself a full cup of coffee and not spill a drop. I heard an old-timer remark “It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup.”
   This has proven to be an analogy of my life. So many times I had been given the opportunities of a full cup. But, because of my drinking, I spilled it every time and many times broke the cup it came in. I entered the rooms of AA and was given an appropriate amount in my cup at just the right time. I became steady enough to hold a full cup. I worked the steps and learned how to clean up the coffee I had spilled in my previous life. I was given tools to repair the broken cups, some even better than new. I learned how to keep my cup full and to keep the pot I poured from clean. But the most important thing, the most joyous thing, the most incredible thing has been to hand a newcomer a half cup of coffee at the appropriate time with the same gentle love and understanding I received.

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Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us. 
–Eric Hoffer
As adults, we accept responsibility for our feelings and our circumstances. We haven’t chosen our own troubles, but we have the job of dealing with them. If a person falls and breaks a leg, they might say to someone, “It’s your fault, and I’ll make you pay for this!” But that won’t fix their leg. The healing still has to come from within.
Our impulse to blame others is an attempt to escape our responsibilities. We become overcritical. We want someone else to take the rap for our pain and our misdeeds, but this only delays our wholeness as humans. There is no point in blaming ourselves either. When we first confront our discomfort directly and accept responsibility for dealing with it, we feel an inner urge to escape again. If we stay with the discomfort a while, a new stage begins – the healing and acceptance stage. A feeling of wholeness comes, a feeling of being a real person, of having reached our full size.
May I not indulge in blame today – toward myself or anyone else. Instead, may I be a strong, responsible person.
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