Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the word "blame" from our speech and thought.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 47
When I become willing to accept my own powerlessness, I begin to realize that blaming myself for all the trouble in my life can be an ego trip back into hopelessness. Asking for help and listening deeply to the messages inherent in the Steps and Traditions of the program make it possible to change those attitudes which delay my recovery. Before joining A.A., I had such a desire for approval from people in powerful positions that I was willing to sacrifice myself, and others, to gain a foothold in the world. I invariably came to grief. In the program I find true friends who love, understand, and care to help me learn the truth about myself. With the help of the Twelve Steps, I am able to build a better life, free of guilt and the need for self-justification.
Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect — unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 24
I am an alcoholic. If I drink I will die. My, what power, energy, and emotion this simple statement generates in me! But it's really all I need to know for today. Am I willing to stay alive today? Am I willing to stay sober today? Am I willing to ask for help and am I willing to be a help to another suffering alcoholic today? Have I discovered the fatal nature of my situation? What must I do, today, to stay sober?
. . . A.A. is really saying to every serious drinker, "You are an A.A. member if you say so . . . nobody can keep you out."
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 139
For years, whenever I reflected on Tradition Three ("The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking"), I thought it valuable only to newcomers. It was their guarantee that no one could bar them from A.A. Today I feel enduring gratitude for the spiritual development the Tradition has brought me. I don't seek out people obviously different from myself. Tradition Three, concentrating on the one way I am similar to others, brought me to know and help every kind of alcoholic, just as they have helped me. Charlotte, the atheist, showed me higher standards of ethics and honor; Clay, of another race, taught me patience; Winslow, who is gay, led me by example into true compassion; Young Megan says that seeing me at meetings, sober thirty years, keeps her coming back. Tradition Three insured that we would get what we need — each other.
My first sponsor told me there were two things to say about prayer and meditation: first, I had to start and second, I had to continue. When I came to A.A. myspiritual life was bankrupt; if I considered God at all, He was to be called upon only when my self-will was incapable of a task or when overwhelming fears had eroded my ego.
Today I am grateful for a new life, one in which my prayers are those of thanksgiving. My prayer time is more for listening than for talking. I know today that if I cannot change the wind, I can adjust my sail. I know the difference between superstition and spirituality. I know there is a graceful way of being right, and many ways to be wrong.
There is action and more action. "Faith without works is dead." . . . To be helpful is our only aim.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 88-89
I understand that service is a vital part of recovery but I often wonder, "What can I do?" Simply start with what I have today! I look around to see where there is a need. Are the ashtrays full? Do I have hands and feet to empty them? Suddenly I'm involved! The best speaker may make the worst coffee; the member who's best with newcomers may be unable to read; the one willing to clean up may make a mess of the bank account — yet every one of these people and jobs is essential to an active group. The miracle of service is this: when I use what I have, I find there is more available to me than I realized before.
"THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE is a feature documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Deeply entrenched social stigma and discrimination have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The vacuum created by this silence has been filled by sensational mass media depictions of people in active addiction that continue to perpetuate a lurid public fascination with the dysfunctional side of what is a preventable and treatable health condition. Just like women with breast cancer, or people with HIV/AIDS, courageous addiction recovery advocates are starting to come out of the shadows to tell their true stories. The moving story of The Anonymous People is told through the faces and voices of the leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. This passionate new public recovery movement is fueling a changing conversation that aims to transform public opinion, and finally shift problematic policy toward lasting recovery solutions."
Watch a clip of this amazing movie below. If this little taste of freedom doesn't leave you wanting more, people, maybe you oughta check your pulse.
Ulric Collete is a photographer in Quebec who has worked on capturing genetic similarities between members of the same family. I think his mother/daughter portraits are simply stunning, but they're all amazing -- including the mother/son and father/son portraits.
So why am I posting this? Simply because sometimes we wonder why family ties run so deep. And seeing this, I wish I could have done one with my father. I can't help but believe it would have brought us closer together had we seen one another from this incredible perspective. Check them all out by clicking on the picture of a grandmother and her granddaughter below:
. . . we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world's troubles on our shoulders.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 132
When my own house is in order, I find the different parts of my life are more manageable. Stripped from the guilt and remorse that cloaked my drinking years, I am free to assume my proper role in the universe, but this condition requires maintenance. I should stop and ask myself, Am I having fun yet? If I find answering that question difficult or painful, perhaps I'm taking myself too seriously — and finding it difficult to admit that I've strayed from my practice of working the program to keep my house in order. I think the pain I experience is one way my Higher Power has to get my attention, coaxing me to take stock of my performance. The slight time and effort it takes to work the program — a spot-check inventory, for example, or the making of amends, whatever is appropriate — are well worth the effort.
Microsoft has announced that current users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Phone 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 for free for one year after the operating system launches. Once users claim the upgrade, Microsoft will keep you updated for the supported lifetime of the device.
Follow the link and read the fine print, however. There's sort of a catch.
You read that rightly! Club East is giving away a flat screen tv during halftime. Even though you'd rather be watching Katy Perry (who?) and Lenny Kravitz, we'll be giving away a brand new, never-been-touched-by-human-hands Westinghouse 32" LCD HGTV. Stop by the counter and check it out.
A few hours later I took my leave of Dr. Bob. . . . The wonderful, old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, "Remember, Bill, let's not louse this thing up. Let's keep it simple!" I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE, p. 214
After years of sobriety I occasionally ask myself: "Can it be this simple?" Then, at meetings, I see former cynics and skeptics who have walked the A.A. path out of hell by packaging their lives, without alcohol, into twenty-four hour segments, during which they practice a few principles to the best of their individual abilities. And then I know again that, while it isn't always easy, if I keep it simple, it works.
The member talks to the newcomer not in a spirit of power but in a spirit of humility and weakness.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE, p. 279
As the days pass in A.A., I ask God to guide my thoughts and the words that I speak. In this labor of continuous participation in the Fellowship, I have numerous opportunities to speak. So I frequently ask God to help me watch over my thoughts and my words, that they may be the true and proper reflections of our program; to focus my aspirations once again to seek His guidance; to help me be truly kind and loving, helpful and healing, yet always filled with humility, and free from any trace of arrogance.
Today I may very well have to deal with disagreeable attitudes or utterances-the typical stock-in-trade attitude of the still-suffering alcoholic. If this should happen, I will take a moment to center myself in God, so that I will be able to respond from a perspective of composure, strength and sensibility.
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87
Today I humbly ask my Higher Power for the grace to find the space between my impulse and my action; to let flow a cooling breeze when I would respond with heat; to interrupt fierceness with gentle peace; to accept the moment which allows judgment to become discernment; to defer to silence when my tongue would rush to attack or defend.
I promise to watch for every opportunity to turn toward my Higher Power for guidance. I know where this power is: it resides within me, as clear as a mountain brook, hidden in the hills — it is the unsuspected Inner Resource.
I thank my Higher Power for this world of light and truth I see when I allow it to direct my vision. I trust it today and hope it trusts me to make all effort to find the right thought or action today.
Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 16
The essence of my spirituality, and my sobriety, rests on a round-the-clock faith in a Higher Power. I need to remember and rely on the God of my understanding as I pursue all of my daily activities. How comforting for me is the concept that God works in and through people. As I pause in my day, do I recall specific concrete examples of God's presence? Am I amazed and uplifted by the number of times this power is evident? I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my God's presence in my life of recovery. Without this omnipotent force in my every activity, I would again fall into the depths of my disease — and death.