From the BlogMeet Ron

My Dailies from Chuck D.

For all the people who “WORK” the steps. In case you missed this with your sponsor or if you read the BOOK.

Daily Reflections THE UPWARD PATH

Here are the steps we took. . . .
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59
These are the words that lead into the Twelve Steps. In their direct simplicity they sweep aside all psychological and philosophical considerations about the rightness of the Steps. They describe what I did: I took the Steps and sobriety was the result. These words do not imply that I should walk the well-trodden path of those who went before, but rather that there is a way for me to become sober and that it is a way I shall have to find. It is a new path, one that leads to infinite light at the top of the mountain. The Steps advise me about the footholds that are safe and about chasms to avoid. They provide me with the tools I need during the many parts of the solitary journey of my soul. When I speak of this journey, I share my experience, strength and hope with others.
From the book Daily Reflections 
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

 

“You are accepted!” … accepted by that which is greater than you and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask the name now, perhaps you will know it later. Do not try to do anything, perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact you are accepted.
–Paul Tillich
New possibilities opened up when we accepted our powerlessness. These possibilities came to us from beyond ourselves. We can open ourselves to acceptance by being responsible for ourselves and practicing the Twelve Steps. We can’t improve upon the message that we are accepted, nor can we nail it down. In fact, the very moment we try to impose our control over it, it begins to evaporate.
We can receive this message of acceptance only when we are humble and open to it. After learning to surrender in the First Step of this program, we are ready to yield to messages of acceptance.
I am grateful for the acceptance which has come my way.

Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility—a word often misunderstood. . . . it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.  TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 58


Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear not absence of fear.
–Mark Twain
It is not unusual to feel afraid. It is unusual, however, to hear anyone admit to feeling afraid. Sometimes we think there are some people who are so cool and calm that they never feel afraid. This may make us think we’re not as good because we know how often we feel afraid. This is why it is important to think about what courage really is. It is not the absence of fear. Courage is not letting fear stop us from doing what we need to do.
We might have to get up in front of a group to give a speech. We could give in to our fear and not give the speech, or we could admit our fear to those who love us, and then go ahead and do the best we can. To go ahead in the face of fear is courage.
What am I afraid of?

 

Editorial On the 12th Step
“Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Very few of us know the exact hour and date we had our spiritual experience, and some of us are not conscious of ever having had one at all. However, our changed personalities and perspectives are definite proof that “something” happened to us somewhere along the line as those who knew us “when” will attest.

A.A.s refer to the 12th Step as “working with others,” and this means we try to help the other person work out his or her problem. From our vast fund of knowledge on the subject, gained from our own actual experiences and often under similar conditions, we are peculiarly qualified to exercise that sympathetic understanding that only another alcoholic can have and which is so important in talking to a person who, like ourselves, is allergic to alcohol. This is the crux of the success obtained by groups throughout the country. This A.A. program, which is responsible for our own sobriety, and for giving us a new lease on life, was handed to us on a silver platter and without monetary cost. It is our bounden duty, therefore, to pass it on in the same manner to those who want it. It was not intended for us to keep to ourselves.

We are admonished to, “Go ye and spread the gospel,” and Webster defines gospel as: “Any doctrine concerning human welfare that is agitated as of great importance.” Surely, to us alcoholics it is of the utmost importance. We carry out the 12th Step when we share our gift by telling others of the help we have found, by lending encouragement to those who find the way difficult, by making calls when requested to, and by attending meetings to show to the sensitive newcomer that he or she is not alone.

Sobriety, however, is not enough and length of sobriety is not so important as quality of sobriety. The A.A. program is a design for living normal, happy lives, and it is necessary that we practice the principles of tolerance, patience, unselfishness, humility, and that we curb our all too human desire to criticize and bear resentment.

It is sometimes discouraging to talk to a person who does not immediately respond to our “pearls of wisdom,” but right there is where we exercise patience and realize that once the seed has been sown, John Barleycorn is our best salesman. Two years ago O.L. was called upon in New York City and after three or four meetings considered himself “cured,” and in no further need of association with the A.A. group. Last week I was called to a hospital here in Atlanta, to interview a patient who turned out to be my old friend O.L. who had sense enough to scream for A.A. and was now “ready” for the entire program. None of us can let our defenses down, for unless we keep everlastingly at it we are doomed.

Persons thank us for showing them the way, and relatives are inclined to credit one or another of us with the recovery of their loved one. It is then that we realize that “Of myself I am nothing” –and we thank the Power greater than ourselves for making us an instrument of His ways.
T. B.Atlanta, Georgia

 

At meetings I struggle with this one. Getting a LITTLE better, but I saw a sign in a Alano Club in Fla. ” If it’s almost right, it’s wrong.” I have kept that in mind for years especially when it comes to our TRADITIONS.
Chuck

Accepting Change
The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places – time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.
But change is inevitable, and desirable.
Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we’re not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we’ll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind, hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we’re being prepared for a new normal?
Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where were going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don’t know where the changes are leading.
We can trust that the change-taking place is good. The wind will take us where we need to go.
Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I’ll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don’t understand.

 

Change
We thought “conditions” drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct these conditions and found that we couldn’t to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.
– Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, p. 47
Thought to Ponder
If you want to change who you are, change what you do.

 

What Do I Do Next to Stay Sober?
AA Grapevine September 1968

Stay cheerful; stick with the winners; get busy; take the Twelve Steps

ALL RIGHT; tonight I’m (hopefully) assuming there’s one person in this room who for good reason has been exploring AA lately; someone who has been having trouble with his drinking and to whom the AA message has been carried; who is over the worst of the withdrawal whimwhams and has begun to look around him and wonder what he’s getting into. And who has begun to ask questions, like “What is an alcoholic, anyway?” and “What is this thing called AA?”

As he thinks about the answers he has received, with his mind made up that there’s a pretty good chance he belongs here, naturally at this point he wants to know what he does next in order to put this thing to work for him all the way.
The customary initial suggestions have been made to him, and again I’m assuming that he is following them: meetings, meetings, and more meetings; staying away from one drink one day at a time; using the AA tools–the 24-hour plan, the Slogans, the telephone therapy, the Serenity Prayer.

What our beginner does now is more of the same. These are the things he has done and the tools he has used to keep him sober today, thus far, and with us it’s always today. I’d like to add one heartfelt recommendation of my own, and that’s to do a little realistic thinking along about now, and adopt and latch on to a healthy set of attitudes in relation to the entire situation.

I often quote the politician who with equal facility could either “anticipate with delight” or “view with alarm.” Which approach is the beginner bringing to his new life in AA? His choice will make all the difference in how much or how little he gets out of AA above and beyond physical sobriety. The positive attitude in any endeavor is the one that gets results. The negative attitude never gets off the ground–nor, sometimes, does the alcoholic who persists in “viewing with alarm.”
The negative approach says, “Poor me. Why me? So I’m sober, but I don’t have to like it.” The negative type, to be sure, does look around him, but not at the living good examples in an AA meeting, He looks back over his shoulder, out yonder, and thinks: “Joe Bloke can drink and! can’t. I’m as good a man as Joe Bloke ever was. It’s a damned shame I can’t drink like Joe Bloke can. . . . Who says I can’t? I’ll show them!” And he sure does.

The positive approach to AA might go something like this. . . .

Admitted: I have a problem with drinking.

There is a place where I can get help for my problem. That place is AA. I’m a lucky guy (or gal) that there is an AA.

AA teaches me that I cannot safely drink, since I am an alcoholic. There are lots of things worse than being an alcoholic. There are many diseases I definitely would not exchange my alcoholism for. Not all of them can be arrested; mine can. I’m lucky I’m only an alcoholic. For me there is hope. I accept.

I realize I’m giving up nothing that’s doing me any good; I’m getting rid of something I can no longer live with, and these people tell me I can very well live without. They will even tell me how to do it.

I have a lot to learn, so I’d better listen good.

I see around me in AA people who are apparently very well adjusted to getting along without drinking. Most of them even seem to prefer it this way. They look fine; they’re cheerful, lively, busy, happy. I want some of that, too, along with just merely keeping out of trouble.

I’ll stand on my head at high noon every day, if they tell me that’s what they did to get this thing. . . .

What else can our beginner do now to help along the quality as well as the quantity of his sobriety?

You can “stick with the winners,” whose sobriety is the kind you want. Stay away as much as possible–perhaps altogether, for a while, until you’re on more solid ground–from old drinking pals who can’t be expected to take your present effort as seriously as you do, and whose drinking can set up a resentment in you against your “lot.” Resentments can set anyone off again. They’re one luxury alcoholics absolutely cannot afford.

Don’t push your luck. Meals can be found in coffee shops, telephones in drugstores. There’s no valid need to go on patronizing your neighborhood bar for commodities such as these. And don’t be afraid you’ll miss seeing the “kindred souls” in that bar. They may be our beginners of tomorrow! We who are here tonight are the alumni of many bars; we’re your kindred spirits, too. You may even get to like us better this way than as the kind of barroom companions we used to be.

Do you like to read? We have a magazine, the Grapevine, that’s delightful. We have books you’ll get to love. There is also the “little black book,” 24 Hours a Day; spend five minutes with it every morning–it will start your day out right.

Get busy around the group of your choice. First, of course, join a group. Put down roots, so that you’ll become known and will be around and available where the activity is. It’s true there are no formal “musts” in AA, but you’ll find there are any number of “You’ll be better off if you do’s,” and this is one of them.

Count your blessings often. There arc more of them than you perhaps realize, already, and they’ll increase with every twenty-four hours of sobriety. Count them especially if you should feel a little self-pity or depression creeping in; force yourself to; see how long your self-pity lasts under that treatment. Counting your blessings will help you stay grateful, and gratitude will help you stay sober.

Never say “Never” to anything that comes along in AA. Say “Not today,” if you must, but don’t set up blocks in your mind that can later become roadblocks in the path to the kind of sobriety you want. At the same time, keep your expectations simple, and watch your natural impatience. Not all of your problems will clear up overnight; they didn’t accumulate overnight. Nor is AA going to solve all your problems. It can and will take care of your Number One problem, drinking. And indirectly, through your own sobriety, it will help you solve the others. But this will take a little time; just remember that, in adding one day’s sobriety to another, you’re gaining on your other objectives.

As for the horrible past and the remorse that sometimes threatens to swamp you–don’t be too hard on yourself. You have been a very sick person; you’re just beginning to recover. The Twelve Steps will enable you, when you’re ready to tackle them, to do all that needs to be done about that past, so that “you can finally let it go; until you are strong enough and ready to deal with it, it will keep. Meantime, this is today, and this is the time in your life that counts–right now.
Bob N. Scarsdale, New York


The Rewards of Honesty
Honesty
Sometimes we think that honesty is simply too painful and demanding—- all sacrifice with no gain. If we are completely honest with ourselves, however, the results can only be positive.
What are the advantages of being entirely honest about our motives and feelings? One benefit is that we never will have to face the disillusionment and humiliation that come from self-deception. Surely we had enough of that while drinking.
Honesty also speaks for itself. People know intuitively when a person is completely honest, and they are drawn to that person because of it. An honest AA member-one who has truly faced personal faults—- also becomes an example to others.
The honest person has self-respect and a clear conscious. In real honesty, there is no inner struggle to keep up appearances or to pretend we are anybody except ourselves.
Honesty makes us comfortable rather than pained, relaxed rather than anxious, and decisive rather than confused. These are rich rewards for people who once lived in the false world of alcoholism.
I’ll try to be honest in all things today. In any case, I will at least be honest with my self about my true motives and feelings.

There is so much truth in this reading.
Chuck D.
“Every sponsor is necessarily a leader. The stakes are huge. A human life, and usually the happiness of a whole family, hangs in the balance. What the sponsor does and says, how well he estimates the reactions of his prospects, how well he times and makes his presentation, how well he handles criticisms and how well he leads his prospect on by personal spiritual example — well, these attributes of leadership can make all the difference, often the difference between life and death.”
–Bill Wilson

 

None AA yet all AA. Chuck D.

The miracle of Life
“The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on water, but to walk on earth.” (Chinese Proverb)
To be born, to grow, to walk among the wonders of nature, to live a life of dignity, humor, and grace—this is the miracle of existence.
The complexity and possibility of our lives can fill us with awe. We should never take the miracle of life for granted.
Today I will remember how extraordinary even my ordinary life is.

 

12 Ways To Accept

1. ACCEPT, that I am a sick person, and need help and that help can be found by attending meetings, reading literature and by practicing the program at all times.
2. ACCEPT, that I am powerless over anyone, but that I do have the power to change myself.
3. ACCEPT, that I am not responsible for everyone’s actions, but I am responsible to myself.
4. ACCEPT, God or a Higher Power back into my life. To LET GO AND LET GOD, and to learn to have patience by not taking things back too quickly and trying to manage or play God myself.
5. ACCEPT, that I am a good person and it is OK to be good to myself. Don’t be afraid to be happy and enjoy what is beautiful. Always remember, I’m OK, GOD DOESN’T MAKE JUNK.
6. ACCEPT, tolerance with others and especially myself, having faith that I can grow in our program and become a whole person again.
7. ACCEPT, things I do not like, realizing that all things do not have good to be acceptable. By having to let someone we love suffer for their own mistakes, or actions, by detaching with love.
8. ACCEPT, that I do not have to be right all the time and that it is OK to be wrong or make mistake, our mistakes can be a learning experience.
9. ACCEPT, that it is OK to say I’m wrong and ask forgiveness when I hurt or wrong someone.
10. ACCEPT, that I must be open-minded enough to listen thoughtfully to the opinions of others.
11. ACCEPT, that each day is a new beginning and that it is within my power to make that day as good and happy as I want it to be.
12. ACCEPT, that I have no control over the PAST. That TOMORROW is beyond our immediate control for it is yet unborn. This leaves only TODAY. Let us therefore live but ONE DAY AT A TIME!

Almost anything you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
–Mohandas Gandhi

Looking back at yesterday, looking at today, what sense do we have of progress in our growth? Probably nothing very significant. Sometimes it is amazing how little a person can accomplish in a day’s efforts. Yet, what alternative do we have? Only that we could do nothing. Or worse, we could return to our old ways.
Gandhi, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the twentieth century, said he felt that almost anything one can do will be insignificant. Yet to do something is very important. Each day, each chance is small but takes us in a direction. When we look back over the last month or last year, we may see that only remaining faithful to our program, one day at a time, has carried us a very long way. The kind of person we each become is just as important as what we accomplish in the world around us.
May I learn to have patience with the insignificant moments in the present. They are very important indeed.

 

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