From the BlogMeet Ron

October 1945 Editorial On the 12th Step 

October 1945 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
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ACCEPTANCE
“Acceptance is not a judgment or sentencing. In acceptance, we recognize and accept the larger scope of life. This means to simply be with how it feels in this moment. Set aside the mind stories, judgments, criticisms and everything else. Simply feel. And accept.
Acceptance brings a spaciousness that alleviates tension. And thus, a sense of humor and self-humility goes even further.
Acceptance doesn’t wait for the right circumstance in the future, nor does it belabor past events and traumas.
Acceptance is not self-denigrating. It is simply a quiet balance of observation and awareness, though the tasks and challenges of life still need tending to, the burden is set aside for this moment.”
–Keith Artisan 
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OUR HABITS
Our habits, whatever they may be, were greatly influenced, if not wholly formed, during childhood. We learned our behavior through imitation, imitation of our parents, our siblings, our peer group. But we need not be stuck in habits that are unhealthy. The choice to create new patterns of behavior is ours to make–every moment, every hour, every day. However, parting with the old pattern in order to make way for the new takes prayer, commitment, determination.
All of us who share these Steps have broken away from old patterns. We have chosen to leave liquor and pills alone. We may have chosen to leave unhealthy relationships. And we are daily choosing to move beyond our shortcomings. But not every day is a successful one. Our shortcomings have become ingrained. Years of pouting, or lying, or feeling fearful, or overeating, or procrastinating beckon to us; the habit invites itself.
We can find strength from the program and one another to let go of the behavior that stands in the way of today’s happiness. And we can find in one another a better, healthier behavior to imitate.
  The program is helping me to know there is a better way, every day, to move ahead. I am growing up again amidst the good habits of others, and myself.
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Avoiding emotional whirlpools
Serenity
If we were rattling down a rough river, we would try to steer away from whirlpools and rocky rapids. Living each day requires the same alertness.
We’re asking for trouble if we drift into malicious discussions about other people… even those who seem to deserve it. We’re also sliding into rocky rapids if we get into supercharged arguments about political and religious issues.
How do we avoid touchy situations that can lead to violent arguments or terrible breakdowns in personal relationships? We can begin by recognizing that we’re not on this earth to judge, manipulate, or control other people. We’ll do well today to keep our own performance up to a good standard.
We can also respond correctly to people who seem hopelessly wrong. Borrowing an idea from one Twelve Step program, we can detach from such people with love, even if circumstances require continuing contact with them. At whatever cost, we must avoid emotional whirlpools and rocky rapids in life.
Looking ahead at the things might happen today. I’ll adjust my thinking for situations that could be troublesome or destructive. I will try especially hard to avoid trouble with my fellow workers.
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