Sep 20: Gratitude is a Gift Too

September has a special meaning for me. It is the month of both my birthday and my AA anniversary. Today my gift is gratitude itself. It is inside me, and I want to keep feeling it. I never used to know gratitude. It is a gift that shouldn’t get dusty on a shelf. It needs to be integrated right into my attitude where it belongs. It seems to take a weight off my shoulders.

Gratitude can seem elusive, but the serenity I feel is gratitude in my life. It is one of those gifts that I might overlook. So I chart it daily.

Early in AA I felt grateful for an odd gift: the gift of desperation. Without it I would not have come to AA. My Higher Power is the best gift-giver ever! As a newcomer, I didn’t always feel good and sometimes wondered why I made the decision to get sober. I wasn’t so sure I was grateful–until I paused, or was told by my sponsor, to reflect on it. Sure enough-there it was.

The Promises are my cheat sheet in starting my gratitude list. But they are very limited. My gratitude is vast. It covers the sun, the moon, the stars, a wonderful breeze, a fragrant flower, loved ones, pets. Sobriety. You. Serenity. A higher power I call God. Just some of my favorite things. Drinking and stumbling through my life I barely noticed those things. The list grows in sobriety.

I never dreamed I would find a support system. I never dreamed I could be worthy of love and kindness. Calm was not within my reach. There are in fact other emotions on the chart besides anger! Laughter came into my life. My prayers turned to requests for blessings to others. I say prayers of thanks. I ask for direction and the will of my Higher Power. Not until I set aside my own apparent control was I open to a Higher Power. It seemed prayers were answered when I didn’t even pray! I am so grateful.

Each of us experiences gratitude in her own personal way. As unique as we are, that is how unique our gratitude list is. But when we shout out in unison at the end of a meeting, Keep coming back, it works when you work it! we express a joy and gratitude we share alike.

My gratitude in recovery seems to burst out of nowhere and float all over me like fairy dust. Sometimes I giggle at what I’m grateful for. I love the sneaky little surprises from my Higher Power too, although sometimes I don’t see them right away. My gratitude is as precious as the gifts themselves. The world looks so much better with Gratitude in My Attitude. I invite you to continue to join me in celebrating gratitude. I am able to invite each of you because, of course, your name is on my Gratitude List! hgz, b. dos 9/21/83; dob 9/01/43

Please feel free to share on this topic or any other of your choice.

Sep 13: Honesty

Before coming into the rooms of AA I was very dishonest. I lied to my boss, blaming other people for any mistakes I made like a toddler “I didn’t do it”. I lied to coworkers, once hiding important keys left on my desk because they belonged to a woman I disliked and knew she would get into trouble. I lied constantly to my spouse about my drinking and lied to my children that my drinking was normal. I lied to friends that my life was great, lied to family about my drinking, lied to get ahead, lied to get my way, lied to win …… I could take another hour and write about so many more instances that I was dishonest during my drinking career. Dishonesty was so much a part of me it became automatic. I could come up with a lie so fast while looking you in the eye it was scary.

When I finally dragged myself to the rooms of AA I was at a very low bottom. I learned very slowly because I thought it was all about drinking and how to stop. But as I was told at the tables I slowly started to change, inside and out. It was not easy and my HP was doing all the heavy lifting but I started to see a different person. Someone with a sense of honesty, both with myself and others. When I finally realized that even though no one else would see me sneak a drink (or six) I myself would know and I would care. This honesty with myself was a pivotal moment where the conscious change started and the changes stayed. I know it only happened because “I couldn’t, He could so I let Him”.

Today honesty is very important to me. I still find myself slipping sometimes but I try to use my tools and repair, start back on my program. How has dishonesty/honesty changed during your AA journey?

Aug 16: The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety

“If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand. Let us, with God’s help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety.” The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety by Bill Wilson, Copyright © AA Grapevine, Inc, January 1958

Thank you all again for my celebration last week. I picked this topic because just when I had thought I had got it all ‘figured out’ I got a lovely reminder in humility 😊.. My nephew on the same day as my anniversary got accepted into a prestigious university. He’s never seen his aunt drunk, out of control or fighting. I was delighted and of course, I made it clear I would be ready to help him at any point… and then something started bugging me. A sadness… ‘but, but, I am 12 years sober, where’s my big prize… a coin, lot of well wishes… But I want fireworks! I want more!’

2 hours later and I’m thinking ‘why am I envious?’ There it was: ‘I demand more than what I have already received. I went to a prestigious university too, but congratulate me again… I am smart, I am I am I am…’ […sigh]. You can see where this is headed… underneath it was just attention-seeking behaviour. A bit of king-baby syndrome.

Thank you, AA and all those 12 steps that help me, look within, find that self-centred fear and turn it over to my Higher Power. Bill W’s essay on Emotional Sobriety is still one of the best pieces of AA literature that right-sizes me. Within minutes I felt that freedom. I felt that the sunlight of the spirit. And I was back to enjoying those 24 hours.

Aug 09: Leaving Space for Your Higher Power

Hello Dear Women of GROW,

I am celebrating 7 years on the 9th and I am still here, working my program, daily. But lately my meditation practice has been spotty, and I’ve felt too distracted to pray.

I actually wondered if the program had stopped working. The program is still working.

What’s changed is the context I’m practicing in. There is a lot of space in my days. And what rushes into that space are uncomfortable feelings–and the scary stories I attach to them.

I’m an alcoholic. When discomfort hits I want to get busy and distract myself with whatever I can find–-because I’m triggered.

Today someone told me that space is where you meet God.

So I’m committing to making space available. I’ll start by acknowledging my feelings. When I do, they ease (my 4th and 5th steps taught me that). Then the space returns.

I can say a prayer or meditate into that space. I can express gratitude. All of this makes me feel a lot better than looking for shoes to buy online.

Where do you meet your Higher Power? How do you make space for this relationship? What gets in the way?

Thank you for being here.
x

Kirsten

Aug 02: Step 8

Topic for the week: Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all

I am and will always be so grateful for sponsorship and having women to help me with step work. I wanted to breeze through step 8 and find out how I was supposed to make amends, a step I had dreaded from the beginning.

But my sponsor explained that I could make a list using my inventory. Everyone in the first column of the inventory should be on my 8th step list and she and I would talk about each one and what amends were owed.

Step 8 really slowed me down. I was told to pray and thoughtfully consider the harm done to each person on the inventory. Then, I was to make 3 lists. The 1st was the amends that would be easy, I understood my harm and was willing to approach these people. The 2nd was a list of people I felt I owed an amends to, but I had reservations about making them. The 3rd list I either didn’t see the harm or was terrified of ever making a direct amend.

We started with the 1st list and she had me pray, then write a SHORT amend stating the harm I thought I caused. I started each one with the fact that I was alcoholic and trying to set right wrongs I had done. Then the facts, i.e. I was unkind, I lied, I was afraid, whatever had shown up on the inventory. Leaving out lengthy details and explanations, just the actions I took that were harmful. I had a lot of amends to make for gossiping and some of those were tricky. Do I make amends to the person I gossiped about or just to the person I gossiped to/with? We looked at each one, trying not to cause more harm.

It was such a helpful process to get prepared for each amend I owed with facts and what I was going to say. It took away some of the fear about direct aments. To this day, I run amends by someone first, often I’m wrong about the harm caused or what I am willing to change. It is so helpful to talk it out first and feel really prepared before I approach the person I resented.

As I worked through the first list, I experienced some of the freedom that comes and eventually I was willing to look at lists 2 and 3 and finish the whole process.

I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences with this step.

Jul 26: The 1-2-3 Waltz

When I was new to sobriety, everything was overwhelming. I looked at the Steps on the wall, and it seemed impossible to me. Not so much Step 1. I knew I was an alcoholic, and my life had definitely become unmanageable. It was the next two steps that threw me. Step 2 told me that I would come to believe that a Power greater than me could restore me to sanity. I didn’t believe it. First, I didn’t think I was insane. Second, the God of my understanding at the time did not get involved in individual lives. He’d created us with Free Will and depended on us to solve our own problems. Step 3 said I would give my life and my Will over to this Higher Power. The more I listened to what people said about it, the more skeptical I became. They kept talking about surrender! That was not my style.

But I was in trouble. I needed help. I couldn’t get or stay sober on my own. I’d tried AA before and failed at it. This time, I was truly desperate to quit, and I was finally willing to do what was suggested. So, I swallowed my pride and tried to do those first three steps with my sponsor. It was a long battle. The same thing played out at least once a month – over and over again.

Something would happen that upset me. I’d stew about it and try to figure out how to “fix” it. I’d try this and then that. Nothing solved the problem. I stayed upset. Talking to my sponsor about it every day, she’d finally ask what I was getting out of being upset. She was speaking Greek. She suggested I try the steps. How would that fix anything? So, on my own, I’d keep fighting for my way. I’d be angry at everyone. No one understood me or how unique I was. They couldn’t understand how complex my problem was. I knew I could figure it out.

I didn’t figure it out. I just kept being upset. I starting thinking maybe I was insane after all. The people at AA weren’t upset all the time. They had a way to solve their problems. They let go of them. They gave them to their Higher Power and went about their business. They didn’t stay upset. They were content and happy.

So, after about two weeks of trying to swim upstream, I’d finally get on my knees and give the problem to a God I didn’t really trust. I’d try hard to stop thinking about it. I tried to go about my business. At first, giving my problem to God would last a few minutes at best. In no time, I was obsessing about it again and getting upset. But I’d gotten some relief, so I got down on my knees and let go of it again. Maybe a few more minutes of relief. Every time I gave my Higher Power my problem, the relief lasted longer. I could focus on being sober rather than being upset.

It took months for me to begin to trust that letting go of my problem would solve it. For all those months, I was doing the 1-2-3 Waltz. I was going through the first three steps over and over again. (I can’t. He can. I’ll let Him.) Over time, it got easier. Over an even longer time, it started getting automatic. I’d learned that letting go of my problem, giving it to God, actually worked. Over time, I went from suffering for a couple of weeks before I’d let go to suffering for minutes and letting go.

I’d finally learned that my way isn’t the best way. It’s certainly not the easiest. What is easy is trusting my Higher Power to lead me where I need to be. When I surrender, things turn out so much better than they ever have. I can stop worrying and obsessing. I can just live my life, knowing that there is a better way – knowing that if I just trust and go on with my day, the problem will cease to be a problem. I don’t have to fix anything. I don’t have to have my way. In fact, getting my way is usually the worst thing for me in the long run.

So, this week, I’d like to hear your experience with the first three steps. Did you or do you do the 1-2-3 Waltz like I did? What did you or are you learning about living sober? Of course, please share on anything you need to this week.

Jul 19: The two faces of alcoholism/coin

“When I try to reconstruct what my life was like “before”, I see a coin with two faces.

One, the side I turned to myself and the world, was respectable – even, in some ways, distinguished. I was father, husband, tax payer, home owner. I was club-man, athlete, artist, musician, author, editor, aircraft pilot, and world traveller. I was listed in Who’s Who in America as an American who, by distinguished achievement has arrived.

The other side of the coin was sinister, baffling. I was inwardly unhappy most of the time. There would be times when the life of respectability and achievement seemed insufferably dull – I had to break out. This I would do by going completely “bohemian” for a night, getting drunk, and rolling home with the dawn. Next day, remorse would be on me like a tiger.

I’d claw my way back to respectability and stay there – untill the inevitable next time”.

Extract from BB page 382

When I started drinking it was all low key and modest, I was in control. Then I found I loved the taste of alcohol, it made me into friendly bubbly person who could converse with anyone, compared to the shy awkward introvert I am, I was always “in the background”.

My love of alcohol was almost like a love affair, I did not need anyone or anything, as long as I went to work every day and proved what an exceptional (in my mind) worker I was, then how could I be an alcoholic?

Many times in my drinking career when at a pub and obviously had to much to drink, and not steady on my feet would knock a glass over or some inappropriate comment made, I always joked ” I would pick up my name later”‘, that never happened, and thinking on it today I would be permanently on my knees “picking up my name”.

In the beginning it was easy to have a ready made excuse, especially as did not always go with same friends out, at work I was hard working and went the extra mile (even today I go the extra mile- just not with drinking anymore), then come knock off time I would plan most nights to party.

Eventually I was drinking more and became a solitary drinker, it was easier than having to make excuses to anyone, and my love affair with the bottle “got intense”‘.

It would be nice to hear “your two sides of the coin”

Rene

Jul 12: Keys to the Kingdom: Relationships in AA

“I have a wealth of friends and, with my A.A. friends, an unusual quality of fellowship. For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and newfound faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding, and love—without strings, without obligation—we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless.”

There is no more aloneness, with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing, before, could ever reach it. That ache is gone and never need return again.

Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom.” From “Keys to the Kingdom” page 276 of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous 4th Edition

I’ve recently been reflecting on my time in and out of AA. I’ve shared before that I was off booze for eight years give or take before making it to AA. Once I was here I was desperate and also really firmly believed you had the solution to actually living without drinking. Prior to AA I wasn’t drinking, but what I was doing wasn’t exactly living either, more of an isolated survival.

Since joining the AA Fellowship and slowly but surely growing my network of sober sisters, I do feel as if I’ve been granted the Keys of the Kingdom. I’ve found a place where I actually feel as if I belong. I have found a tribe of women that I can really be honest with, really grow alongside, and a spiritual way of life and community unlike anywhere on Earth.

Please share on anything this passage brings to mind for you or anything else you need to share on! Thank you for the honor of chairing this meeting and for being here with me living in the solution.

Love,
Emily M.
9/1/2010

Jul 05: Step 7

Good morning Ladies of Grow, thank you for allowing me to lead this weeks meeting and be of service. Today’s share is on step 7.

“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”

At the beginning of my recovery I didn’t understand step 7 at all. Being humble wasnt something that came naturally to me at all. I was an ego driven maniac for most of my life, so when this step spoke of being humble it was a strange concept to me.

I had never heard of the word humility which is what this step is all about. The great fact is that unless I was able to gain some sense of humility I wouldn’t stay sober. Humility for me is knowing my place and staying in. It means I have to remain humble enough to know who is in charge, and that is God.

“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which is standing in the way of my usefulness to you and to my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding. Amen”

I am in the world to fulfil a roll that God assigned to me. I have to keep my channel clear to enable God to work through me. At first ai struggled with giving the good away, I only wanted to be free of the bad. I didn’t realize and understand that God needs all of me, so he can honor his end of the deal that was made in Step 3. God knows me better than i know myself. In giving him all of me, good and bad, he has been able to work his magic into my life and change it beyond my wildest dreams.

Through the step 7 prayer I have been able to make Love, tolerance and honesty a daily part of my life. I have been able to be rid of gut wrenching fear that stops me being able to do anything. I have been able to be patient in very testing times. I have been given qualities I never knew I had. I have found that I am not just a walking defect, I posses many good qualities. I am able to live in this world that used to be such an alien place for me. I am given strength and courage on a daily basis to tackle things head on.

Asking for God to remove my shortcomings is a very humbling process indeed.

Thank you for letting me chair and share today.

Claire H

Jun 28: Maladjustment’s Management

Hi everyone. I am an incredibly grateful alcoholic, and my name is Taylor D.
The first thing I’d like to do is thank the group for allowing me the opportunity to serve as this week’s chair, and i thank you once again for the opportunity to be of service, by allowing me to offer my willingness to sponsor the in need members here. It is both a blessing and an honor to get to work with others as they (we) go through the Steps.

Service is also a huge part of my recovery: helping to keep me sober and involved, as well as giving back ~ making payments on a debt I’ll never be able to fully repay. I am so blessed and grateful to this Program.

For the newcomers and the come-backers: I hope you hear something that makes you want to stay, and if not, I hope you’ll keep coming back until you do.

The topic I have chosen for sharing my experience, strength and hope for this week is what I like to call my Maladjustment’s Management.

In both the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and in the 12×12, these maladjustment’s are mentioned. Bill W. sometimes called them character defects, sometimes he referred to them as shortcomings, and several times he pointed them out as chronic maladjustments.

I prefer this terminology better most of the time, I suppose because it was something I glommed right onto in the beginning ~ it made it all make a little more sense to my very askew brain.

As I’m sure you are wondering by now, ” what the hockey sticks is she talking about!?!”
When I speak of the managment of my maladjustment’s, I am speaking of how I am dealing with my current character defects. As you all are aware, some of our character defects don’t go away ~ so (my) our responsibility becomes dutiful management of them so they don’t go to extremes again, and so we don’t hurt ourselves or others with them.

Every year, right prior to my AA birthday, (usually 2-3 months) I hit a reflection period. I find that old memories come up, mostly good: childhood memories, relationships of all different types, a lot of good times and of course those good ole growth opportunities! Because of working this Program to the best of my ability, what began as morbid reflection the first year I did the reflection/review, is now an opportunity to measure my progress; from last year, as well as the progress I’ve made since the beginnng of my sobriety, which was September 28, 2004.

And therefore the questions: have i learned from them? have i changed my behaviors for the better? have i become kinder? am i closer to being the woman I’ve always wanted to be?

What I am seeing this year is pretty good in my maladjustment’s management, I’m not finding any that make me say gees louise, not that again!! (like the whack-a-mole it used to be). My intolerance of others is almost not existent, because of God and the Program, today I am truly able to accept others just exactly where they are! Yay!! I see in reviewing my interactions with others that my compassiion and empathy have grown by leaps and bounds. I also see that my impatience and judgmentalism have improved, though there is definitely a lot of room for improvement on those fronts! These 5 items are my list of maladjustments that i deal with in my life right now and continue to strive daily to make them better. I do this by doing Step 6 and 7 over and over again, studying the books, by working with my sponsor, meetings, sponsorship, service and of course a very strong faith in God; but the thing I find that helps the most is the willingness to acknowledge, admit, remain teachable and change.

And please: don’t take this as me inferring that I’m just so wonderful and such a spiritual guru, as I surely am not. I act like an ass and make mistakes now and again, just like every other human being.

How I’d like you to take it is with your eyes on the awesome power of the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. As it has taken a hopeless, helpless, terrified and desperate drunk like me and with a lot of work and willingness for patient progress, has turned me into a hopeful, positive, grateful, helpful and considerate adult, who’s almost completely free of fear and the bondage of self: a woman truly full of happiness and joy.

Thanks again for letting me share.
Faith n Hope
Taylor

Jun 21: Out of the dark

Topic for the week: Out of the dark

As Bill sees it (page 10)

Self searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help.

Yes it is only a step we will want to go further

We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow. But first of all we shall want sunlight, nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step into the sun.

It has been said that each person has the capacity “to be evil”, not many act upon that impulse.

As an alcoholic I could say I did “evil things”, the lives of friends and family destroyed through my drinking, as nothing was more important than the next drink. As I did not do well in relationships, I avoided been with anyone and could be selfish and only think of myself. Yet also the yearning to be accepted was what I wanted and I thought alcohol would do that.

I would look in the mirror after a “heavy night” out and hate myself, I would vow to stop but after work would again go to nearest bottle store.

Alcohol produces “the evil”, and as humans we want to also do good, be “normal”.

As “Bill said”, nothing can grow in the dark.
Think of flowers when they grow, they grow in sunlight “and turn towards the sun”.
Are we reaching towards the sun?

Would love to hear what everyone thinks of the dark and the light.

Rene

Jun 14: Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it

“Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.”
from the long version of the serenity prayer

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the [people and] things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
Amen”

When I first came into the rooms of AA I learned the long version of the serenity prayer. I clung to it every day as I focused on not taking a drink. This one prayer got me through the roughest moments of the first year, and 5+ years down the road of recovery it still helps to soothe my weary soul far beyond any temptation to drink alcohol.

I have been extremely challenged this year to stay positive in spite of all the negative people and events that I cannot control. If I fail to remain positive most of the time, I suffer the consequences physically, emotionally and spiritually. This bleeds outward and can easily damage the relationships with those that I love. A couple of months ago I was reciting my morning prayers, struggling to make sense of events in our country. I noticed and digested this one line of the prayer that I had barely noticed previously: “Taking, as he did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it”. It’s funny how you can see the same words every day for literally years but not spend any time pondering what it means to you. Well, on that day and every day since I focus on it, as it truly helps me understand that a portion of what I must accept just might be what I inherently deem completely, utterly unacceptable. The ‘learning opportunities’ just keep on coming…

With all of the times I have wrestled with acceptance, these past few months have me stretching farther than ever to do just that. This one sentence gives me the strength and courage I need. I am able to react differently to that which bothers me as I literally speak it out loud (fortunately my husband humors me as I do!). I feel the stress caged up in my body relax as I take this pause to ‘check in’ with God. It breaks the tension, I find something to laugh about and move on.

Maybe I haven’t been here long enough, but I’ve not heard others talk about this specific part of the serenity prayer. I am curious to know if or how this sentence has meaning for you. Please feel free to share on this or any other topic.

Grateful to be of service this week,
Susan P.

Jun 07: Step 6

Hello all ladies of GROW.

My name Rene and am an alcoholic.

Step 6 (Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character).

Step 6 is necessary for spiritual growth. The beginning of a lifetime job. Being ready is all important and delay is dangerous. The point at which we abandon limited objectives and move towards God’s will for us (paraphrased from 12×12 pages 65-67).

I still have many character defects, impatience a big one for me, and I find sitting at home (due to the pandemic) that my mind wanders a lot more to things that have happened in the past and I build up a resentment again (note that all in my mind-how fickle I am)’

Guilt is another character defect, I remember when doing step 4 the all consuming guilt I felt “like I was something unpleasant stuck under a shoe, I felt like I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. That been said having a measure of guilt is good to remind me of what I was to help me develop into a better person.

I was a happy drunk most of the time, would go with anyone to the next watering hole.

Fear another character defect (fear of what I done and what will happen to me, fear can be replaced with courage, the courage to change within myself (still at times fight against it), not an overnight process and takes time. That why I like what been said many times, this is not a programme we graduate from, I am still a work in progress.

Once when I was in my early 30’s I went club hopping with a friend (that time friends were a dime a dozen), we ended up at a club early hours in the morning and I went to get us drinks, I even accused the owner of not giving me the correct change, whereby she told us that the last drink (much grumbling from me)’

When we left the owner came around the corner with bouncers to question me about the change, luckily it only ended up in a shouting match and the cops were called and we were hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace, to me then it was like a badge of honour, now sober am still horrified at what I did, and the irrational fear of going to jail again still creeps up, even though I have done nothing wrong.

At the moment time is all I got, it just a matter of how well I use it. My job is to practice the principles to the best of my ability, in my case it slow plodding along.

To me step 6&3 are similar (my distorted thinking), step 3 we made the decision to turn our lives and will over to the care of God (as we understood him), with continuous effort on our parts to progress to step 6 asking for the defects of character to be removed.

I like the June 6 daily reflections (can he now take them a-every one?

(Paraphrasing – All that step six asks of me is to become willing to name my defects, claim them as my own, and be willing to discard the ones I can, just for today.

Thank you for letting me share.
Rene

May 31: Powerlessness/Unmanageability

When I volunteered to chair a May meeting, I was looking forward to celebrating my 20-year AA birthday. However, around the first week in May, I abruptly stopped going to my home group’s Zoom meetings. Since then I’ve been struggling with finding a topic that sounds like “good AA,” one that won’t sound like I have a problem with AA at 20 years of sobriety. I don’t want to scare any newcomers, for one thing. But then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be honest if I don’t tell you, my trusted friends, what is going on with me.

What has been bothering me most is that all I’ve been able to hear in meetings and see in the literature is negativity. I see only the should’s and ought-to’s and commands, as if the literature itself is yelling at me. My old “pal” shame has come back, telling me as it always does that I’m not a real alcoholic, my drinking didn’t take me to places it would have if I were a real alcoholic like you, my story isn’t bad enough for you to relate to. I feel like I’m rebelling against what has been the single most positive thing in my life. What is that about??

Perhaps this is alcoholism — my dis-ease poisoning my thought process, pushing me towards differences and negativity and isolation…and, probably at some point, a drink. Pair that with my other dis-ease, codependence, and you have a recipe for self-destruction that for me is just as cunning, baffling and powerful.

I suspect my mother’s death and the year I spent caring for her have something to do with this. I’m just beginning to recognize how I turned myself inside out trying to please her and keep her happy and how impossible that was (powerlessness and unmanageability, anyone?). Years ago when my dad died, I realized that his voice had become my own voice of negativity; I now see that it also has come from my mom, whose criticism was much more subtle. Both of those voices are gone, and what is left? The voice, my voice, in my head that has always told me I’m not enough, I don’t do enough — the voice I tried to silence with alcohol (and that came roaring back at me when I stopped drinking but had not yet found AA). But it’s not my parents or the literature or the program that’s yelling at me, it’s my own inner voice. It’s the one that always resurfaces when I want to escape the truth: I spent over a year trying to fix, manage and control my mom (thinking I was doing the “right thing”) and when I couldn’t, I turned on myself. Apparently, when I forget that I’m powerless, my life becomes unmanageable — imagine that! I suspect, too, that my complete exhaustion after my experience with my mom contributed to my inability to remember the basic principles of the program.

I want you all to know that, in spite of my distaste for AA Zoom meetings, at no time have I lost my connection with my higher power. I just kind of forgot to turn everything over. I have not lost the knowledge that I am an alcoholic, and I have not lost all the gratitude I hold for how much AA and everyone I’ve met along the way have done to change my life for better and better. Best of all, I have not stopped coming to GROW every day, and I think you all are what has kept me from going off the deep end.

I’m coming to see that this is another opportunity to love and be gentle with myself as never before. I don’t need to punish myself with AA. It’s time for me to let go of that negative, imaginary voice and be open to hearing only the loving voices of my higher power and my fellow AAs. Though it has taken 20 years for me to arrive at this point, that 20 years could only have started because of putting down the drink and coming to AA.

Thank you for letting me chair, and share (at length!).

May 24: Hi, my name is….

Hi GROW!
I’m Sophie, alcoholic.

“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.”
BB Chapter 5 How It Works

I love hearing examples of how the program, the tools, the literature, Higher Power/God work for others.
I also love getting to know other alcoholics, hearing their stories – what it was like and what it’s like now. That’s why I pulled out those few sentences from Chapter 5.

We’ve had so many women join us recently, we always have a steady flow of joiners usually but there’s lots more since we’re in the current global pandemic situation. I’m glad our newest members have found us.

I wondered this week if our topic could be an opportunity to get to know each other a little more, using the frame of “what it was like, and what it’s like now….”
I had a favourite game show growing up and the contestants had to answer “what’s your name and where do you come from?”
So it’s a bit like that.
A chance for some fellowship and maybe to share some hope at the changes that are possible with AA….

So here’s mine;

Hi, my name is Sophie.
I’m an alcoholic.
GROW is my AA home group, and has been for over 3 years. I have my AA sponsor online and I do most of my AA service online.
I just celebrated my sober-verserary.
A day at a time I’m celebrating my Twenty Years.
I live in the U.K. I lived overseas in New Zealand for a few years but I’m back home now.
I got sober going to AA meetings in London.

My life had totally fallen apart, then miraculously had been repaired on the outside.
But I was left still broken and shattered on the inside, not knowing what my problem was or what to do about it.

I was 23. Life was over. I had lost the power to choose when and if or how much I drank. I was 6 months out of University.
In those 6 months I’d lived at 5 different addresses, was on my 3rd job and was a victim of every life event. Everything I turned into a dramatic event, a story to be told for sympathy or for entertainment.

Then came AA. May 24th 2000. A moment of clarity. A window of opportunity that I fell through. A friend introduced me. I could hear her saying, if you’ve got a problem stopping AA can help.

I came (to meetings), I came to (woke up from my alcohol induced stumbling) and came to believe that if AA could work for all these guys and girls of all ages, all backgrounds, all nationalities, then it could work for me too.
I learned through listening and identifying with others that my drinking was alcoholic, that I was powerless over alcohol. Once I took that first drink the off switch was gone. What a relief to know what I was and that in AA I could begin doing something about it.

And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past twenty years. Finding my way through my past and learning to live well and sober today using the steps, the meetings, amazing sponsors, and beautiful sober friends and acquaintances.

Sometimes, oftentimes, it’s been one step forwards and a few back. Sometimes I’ve howled in emotional pain. But more often I’ve learned I have what it takes to cope, to survive, to thrive, and to be of use to others.

I have a god in my life today, a god I work at having a relationship with, a god who’s there for better and worse times.
And I’ve learned to laugh and enjoy life. Even in these strange and uncertain times I look for joy and laughter. I still have so much to be grateful for. And I have the program of AA as a guide each day.

Today I’m a Mum, I became a parent in sobriety. I’m with my long term partner, we live and parent together. I met him at 10 years sober after I had finally surrendered to the suggestion to be friends with someone first, get to know them. He is in every way my equal, I don’t fear him or want to change him. I’m learning healthier ways of communicating my needs and applying the program. And I try to take my own inventory and not his.

I look forward to getting to know more about more of you as I open the meeting for shares on this week’s topic “Hi, my name is…”.
As always, anyone needing to is welcome to share “off topic” too.

I always welcome one to one correspondence, and I know many others here do too. I’ve made lovely friends & recovery acquaintances here in GROW by doing that. I’m never alone – and as I shared recently “if in doubt, reach out”.

Thank you for having me be of service. The meeting is open.

Sophie

May 17: Spirituality, Love and Tolerance

Topic for the week: Spirituality, love and tolerance from pg. 83-84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the big book and these two sentences jumped out at me for a topic this week.

“The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.”

“Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

The pandemic has brought with it a lot of ups and downs. Some of you may be looking at your community starting to open up. That may be accompanied with positive or negative emotions. Here in Indonesia, we just found out that it seems we will be closed for a lot longer. As an owner of two brand new small businesses, I’m experiencing a lot of fear and intolerance.

So, my questions are:
How do you live your spirituality and how has it changed during the pandemic? What do you do to build tolerance so that you can move towards serenity in the midst of difficult situations?

  • For me, I am doing my best with my spiritual practice. It’s not pretty sometimes. I’m conversing with my higher power. Sometimes I talk, sometimes I listen, sometimes I write, sometimes I cry, sometimes I yell. One of my character defects is to turn my back and ignore my higher power (take control) so I’m paying attention to that.
  • I’ve been loving AA zoom meetings and the amazing amount of free meditations and podcasts that are out right now
  • I remind myself that I’m not the only small business owner who is suffering.
  • I remind myself that feeling grief right now is natural and just because others around me are not showing grief, I’m not alone
  • I am studying the Indonesian language even as I grapple with not wanting to live here
  • I am being of service to other alcoholics in and out of the rooms

I look forward to hearing your experience, strength and hope.

May 10: 11th Step Prayer – Prayer and Meditation

‘Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us. We no longer live in a completely hostile world. We are no longer lost and frightened and purposeless. The moment we catch even a glimpse of God’s will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice, and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs. We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter.’ From AA World Services Inc. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 105)

Hi, Grow Ladies, Heidi Alcoholic here. Thanks for letting me be of service and lead this week’s meeting. I had re-read Step 11 in the 12&12 this week and this step really resonated with me. I am powerless over people, places, and things and I’m also powerless of this current pandemic. I have no clue in life what is going to happen next week, next month or next year. What has been helping me this week is prayer and meditation. I will admit that I’m not perfect at doing prayer and meditation every single day however this week I have been making an effort to do more and it has helped. Mostly I talk to my HP (God) when I’m out in nature while walking my dog. I find when I’m in nature I feel closest to God and I’m reminded of the good things that I have at this very moment – like my dog, beautiful place to walk (I’ve been staying in Bristol since early March at my friend’s house), my health and a warm home that I’m welcome in and where I feel safe. Reading this step reminded me that when I do a bit more prayer and meditation, I do get an extra sense of belonging to AA, this fellowship, and people around me. The 11th step prayer (prayer of St Francis) is one of my favourite prayers as I have always loved the story of St Francis – his humility, willingness, and especially his love of animals and nature.

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is hatred, I may bring love—that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness—that where there is discord, I may bring harmony—that where there is error, I may bring truth—that where there is doubt, I may bring faith—that where there is despair, I may bring hope—that where there are shadows, I may bring light—that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted—to understand, than to be understood—to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.” From AA World Services Inc. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 99)

I would like to hear about your experience with step 11 or just what you consider as your prayer and/or meditation that helps you today.

May 03: Step 5

Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

For more on Step Five, see: The AA Big Book, beginning with Chapter 6, Into Action (p. 72); The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (pp. 55-62).

“This feeling of being at one with God and man, this emerging from isolation through the open and honest sharing of our terrible burden of guilt, brings us to a resting place where we may prepare ourselves for the following Steps towards a full and meaningful Sobriety.” 12 and 12, p. 62

Hello GROW, welcome newcomers, and congratulations to all celebrating a sobriety milestone!

When I first came to AA I had the gift of desperation. I was done. And so, for the first time in my life, I followed directions. I worked the Steps in order of appearance, as my sponsor suggested, and I have no memory of ever looking ahead to Step 5.

And when I got to Step Five, I was ready to share all the secrets and shame that I hid and drank over.

Each time I complete a Step 5, I gain more compassion for myself, and other people. This Step, shared with a safe person, reminds me I’m no better and no worse than anyone else.

“Even AA oldtimers, sober for years, often pay dearly for skimping this Step. They will tell how they tried to carry the load alone; how much they suffered of irritability, anxiety, remorse and depression; and how, unconsciously seeking relief, they would sometimes accuse even their best friends of the very character defects they were trying to conceal.” 12 and 12, p. 56

The shame that had me pointing my finger at other people is being lifted. I no longer have to make someone worse than me in order to feel good about myself. Step Five is where I began to trade the shame I felt about who I am, for humility.

The Twelve and Twelve defines humility as “… a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.” p. 58

I really love that. I have assets and liabilities, and I can work towards filling in any gaps with these in mind–instead of dusting off the fantasy that I will one day be elected princess of the universe!

I’m looking forward to reading your shares on Step Five or whatever is current in your program this week.

Thank you for being here!
X
Kirsten

Apr 26: Coping with Change

I’m Louise and I’m an alcoholic and very, very grateful to be sober and to have a spiritual toolkit to apply in my living each day.

Change is something I don’t particularly like! If things are ticking along nicely, well, I’d rather they stayed like that.

But change has come, hasn’t it, big time, on a global scale, one that affects all of us, no matter what part of the globe we’re in.

It’s a bit like the disease of alcoholism, and a bit like recovery from the disease. We have meetings all over the world too. But only those of us who have suffered from alcoholism know what it is like. Like having been shipwrecked together and now so joyous to be free from the grip of alcoholism and to have discovered a new way of living that allows us to be happy, joyous and free.

Today, all the world is suffering, and, if we’re fortunate enough to have escaped so far, or survived, the clutches of this particular disease, we’re all beginning the slow recovery from it.

I was reading today from a writer on 20th century disasters. I’m including some of her insights. Saying that we have reached a crossroads, she says that our main task now is to understand this moment and what it might require of us:

“A disaster changes the world and our view of it. Our focus shifts, and what matters shifts. What is weak breaks under new pressure, what is strong holds, and what was hidden emerges. Change is not only possible, we are swept away by it. We ourselves change as our priorities shift, as intensified awareness of mortality makes us wake up to our own lives and the preciousness of life. Even our definition of “we” might change as we are separated from schoolmates or co-workers, sharing this new reality with strangers. Our sense of self generally comes from the world around us, and right now, we are finding another version of who we are”.

Right now we are finding another version of who we are. I’d love for you to share your experiences on any of the words above. I know I’m changing when I wake up one day feeling nervous, anxious and panicky, and another waking with a depth of peace. I’m feeling a little fragmented at times. Now, I know from past experience that that is a good sign for it means I haven’t got the answers, that I’m teachable. And I need to always remain teachable.

I start each day with my 3rd Step Prayer, followed by the 7th Step one. I ask what I can do for others. I ask my Higher Power to shape me into what He would have me be. I ask for freedom from fear when I’m scared and I at once commence to outgrow fear, as our book tells me.

I’m not sure yet about another version of who I am …Perhaps for me that simply means deepening what I have already found within myself, working this program. I do think we in this Fellowship have a head start on others as we/I have been forced to look at myself through the Steps! For that I am grateful.

I’ve discovered that I’m more of an organizer than I gave myself credit for. I’d bought masks in January when it became clear that what was happening in China was going to travel outside China! I began then to sort out freezer supplies etc. I began to think ahead and try to envisage what obstacles might come up for me in my daily routine, and plan as best I could for it. (I live alone so had to do this.)

I’ve concerns for my family, particularly a son who has been locked down on an island off Venezuela (he’d gone on what should have been a short business strip). There are now food shortages where he is, no veg or fruit, bread, meat, and power is likely to go off. I ask God as I understand him to take my powerlessness to do anything here and translate it away from catastrophising (what I very easily do) and into faith, hope and love.

What I find difficult too is that I can’t be out there helping more. I’d like to think that if I was younger and healthier that I would be but, even then, I might have been too scared. I don’t really know.

My sense of self is a little shaky at times. And I have a strong sense of self, one that’s developed over years of living sober, of being on this journey, of being a work in progress. But the ground has shifted under my feet. It’s more important than ever that I maintain contact with other alcoholics. I was at a Big Book Study meeting this morning on Zoom, and thank heavens for these meetings. A newer more enlarged self will emerge, if past sober experience is anything to go by, but the process can be scary.

Being grounded for me amounts to having faith that I am being looked after, and trusting in that. All is well when I get there.

I’m home alone, older, a bit more vulnerable healthwise today. Some of you might be out there on the front line– what’s it like for you? A nurse, doctor, cleaner, care assistant, paramedic, shop worker… how are you coping with change these days?

Welcome to all our newcomers of late! We’d love to hear you share, whatever it is on 🙂

Hugs and love
Louise

Apr 19: The Big Book

Topic for the week: THE “BIG BOOK” OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

The Big Book is my personal book of instructions on how to live the spiritual life and how to take life as it is presented to me on a daily basis, without stress!  This Book and all its’ wisdom has saved my life!

I particularly enjoy the part which says:  “We cast off the burdens of the past and the anxieties of the future, as we begin to live in the present, one day at a time.”

Even though I know how precious is the present, I sometimes weave the threads of unhealthy thinking into my life by the insistent habit of spending more time living in the past and future than in the present.

I know the futility of anxiety about the future or regret for the unchanging past – – – -and when I work this Program, with vigilance, as suggested, I am more and more able to stay right where I am!!!  Right here! Right now!  Unfortunately I must make plans, but I must remember not to plan the outcome!  Just do my very best – – – -and only I know when I am doing my best!  I  MUST be honest with myself!

I used to whine a lot about the “wants” that no one was providing me!  In this program I have learned that simplicity leads me to serenity —and thereby eliminating most of these unnecessary, temporary wants.  I have everything I need and want today —-and that is sometimes too much!!!

Enjoy this day, today . . .and tomorrow, tomorrow.
=========================

Another favorite of mine in the Big Book is on page 58, first sentence, where it states:  Rarely have we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY followed our path…”  (capitalization mine for emphasis)!   It took me a few years to get this, because I was just great at those “half measures” (which, incidentally, didn’t work)!   That is why today, I often am heard saying:  IT WORKS WHEN I WORK IT, and it doesn’t when I don’t!!!  Today my life is SENSATIONAL (irregardless of what is going on around me in this new weird world of ours) —-and it’s all due to this way  of living that I have learned in our program with the suggestions (instructions) in the Big Book!

Annnnnnnnnd,  a *very special* paragraph for me, is on page 164, and basically sums up the entire program for me:

“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us.  We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.  May God bless you and keep you – –until then.”
===================

I invite you to share your favorite parts in the Big Book that have helped you in your lives.
Thank you for living this day with me!!!

Susanne L.
Murphys, CA
8.17.91

0420 – Business Meeting Summary

April 2020– Business Meeting Summary

For the April 2020 meeting, 30 members signed up to attend. There were 7 proposals and they are all posted on the Grow web site with the discussion and outcome. Here is a summary of the proposals and results. For more details visit the web site at:

http://g-r-o-w.com, member page (password sobertodayhow2484) and the Business Meeting drop down.

The business meeting began on April 1, 2020 and ended on April 16, 2020. There were 7 proposals. One was withdrawn and one was undecided and will be held over for the October 2020 meeting.

Proposal 1: Maintenance of “Backup” Leaders
Do away with the weekly leader list keeper having to call for and maintain a list of “backup” leaders in case of the weekly leader scheduled has not posting a meeting.

Proposal 1 failed by a 2/3 majority vote with no minority opinion.

Proposal 2: Eliminate OIAA TS Position
OIAA rep position should be done away with…. We have discussed this at lengths for several meetings back and forth, to keep or dissolve. Since we have not had any actual representative for the last year, it should be dissolved, We can still maintain a visible presence on the internet without a Rep.

Proposal 2 failed by a 2/3 majority vote with no minority opinion.

Proposal 3: Eliminate Grapevine TS Position
Grapevine Rep should also be done away with. Secretary has posted a service position now weekly for the last two months. It’s clear the meeting membership is not interested in the additional topic.

Proposal 3 failed by a 2/3 majority vote with no minority opinion

Proposal 4: Edit Monthly Listkeeper Message and Greeter Letter #2
Edit Monthly Listkeeper Message and Greeter Letter #2 to address the problem of shares that bounce to the listkeepers because they are addressed to more recipients than GROW. Further edit Greeter Letter #2 for clarity and brevity.

Proposal 4 passed with a 2/3 majority vote and there was no minority opinion offered. The listkeeper message and greeter letter #2 will be updated to reflect the language agreed on.

Below is the reasoning and revised message and letter for Proposal 4.

Edit Monthly Listkeeper Message and Greeter Letter #2 to address the problem of shares that bounce to the listkeepers because they are addressed to more recipients than GROW. Further edit Greeter Letter #2 for clarity and brevity.

Rationale:

  1. “Too many recipients” bounces require listkeepers to take several actions
  2. Shares that bounce are delayed from reaching GROW. Some members do not resend, even after being notified by the listkeeper.

Monthly Listkeeper’s Message (this is not the entire letter, just the first paragraphs that show the suggested addition.)

Important Addresses

Listkeeper’s Address: grow-owner@oso-aa.org

(Use this address to change your subscription, or to unsubscribe, resubscribe or ask questions about GROW-related email problems).

Send shares to the List use this address: grow@oso-aa.org
(Use this address for all your shares or posts of any sort to the regular list. Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce). The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.

NOTE: Please do not post subscription change requests to GROW because they are too easily overlooked.

Revised Greeter Letter #2

Welcome to GROW! This is one of two emails you will receive from me with the information you need to start participating in our meeting right away. You might want to save these for future reference.

Sharing with the Group

Address your email to grow@oso-aa.organd your post will be sent to all members.

  • Do not add any other addresses to the email or it will bounce. This includes addresses in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc address fields.

Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce). The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.

  • Add grow@oso-aa.orgto your Address Book to ensure GROW emails don’t go to your SPAM folder.

Replying to a Post

  • Do not use the “Reply to All” option when you respond privately to another member’s post to GROW, as your personal message will also be directed to the GROW list and it will bounce to the Listkeepers.
  • For those using phones and tablets, be aware that the default reply option is often “Reply to All.” Please double-check.

Email Volume
The volume of mail through the GROW list can be overwhelming. If you experience this, you might find it very helpful to choose one or more of the following:

  • Create a separate email address to reduce the confusion of mixing GROW mail with your other email. Email the Listkeepers at grow-owner@oso-aa.orgwith your new address. As an FYI, AOL and Yahoo addresses have been problematic for some members with the GROW list.
  • If you use an existing email for GROW, you might create folders for your GROW email; filters can also be set up to direct GROW mail into the GROW folder.
  • Request the Digest Version (a file containing the day’s posts in a single email) by contacting the Listkeepers at grow-owner@oso-aa.org.

Topics
A new meeting topic is sent to everyone on the list each Sunday and we share throughout the week. On topic and Off topic shares are welcome.

  • Off topic posts should be appropriate for an AA meeting. Please note in your subject line if your share is Off topic (Off Topic: … )
  • On topic posts are your shares on the weekly meeting topic. Please note in your subject line if your share is On topic (On Topic: … )
  • Please do not type in all CAPS; this is considered to be yelling.

Web Site and Password
Visit the GROW web site for more information. The URL for GROW is: http://www.g-r-o-w.com. For the members only section you’ll need the password: sobertodayhow2484

Other
If you have questions not answered by our website information, please write to me and I’ll be sure to answer them or send your questions to someone who can.

I hope Grateful Recovering Online Women is helpful to you in your journey and growth in sobriety.

Again, welcome
[ Greeter Name ]
Grateful Recovering Online Women

Existing Greeter Letter #2

Welcome to GROW! Now that you’re subscribed, this is one of two emails you will receive to help you start participating in our meeting right away. You might want to print these out for future reference.

Email Volume
We have found that sometimes the volume of mail through the GROW list can be overwhelming. If you experience this, you might find it very helpful to choose one of the following:

  • create and use a separate email address to reduce the confusion of mixing GROW mail with your primary email address. Please be sure to remember to let the Listkeepers know of your new address.
  • create folders for your GROW email; filters can also be set up to direct GROW mail into the GROW folder.
  • request the Digest Version (a file containing the day’s posts in a single email). If you would prefer to receive the Digest version, please contact our Listkeeper at grow-owner@oso-aa.organd she will make the change for you.

Topics
A new meeting topic is sent to everyone on the list each Sunday and we share throughout the week. On topic and Off topic shares are welcome. We ask that Off topic posts be appropriate for an AA meeting. Please note in your subject line if your share is Off topic (we usually type Off Topic: … )

Sharing
To share with the group, just address your email to grow@oso-aa.org and your post will be forwarded to all members. To ensure GROW emails do not get placed in your SPAM folder, please add this address to your Address Book.

Reply
Please do not use the “Reply to All’ option when you respond privately to another member’s post to GROW, as your personal message will also be directed to the GROW list and it will bounce to the Listkeepers.

For those using phones and tablets, be aware that the default reply option is often “Reply to All”, and double-check that you are not using “Reply to All”.

Please do not type in all CAPS, as this is considered to be yelling.

The secretary posts information about the Trusted Servants and guidelines for our email participation once a month. The Listkeeper (the person who makes sure the technical side of our email list works smoothly) also posts information monthly.

Web Site and Password
You’ll find lots more information on our GROW web site. The URL for GROW is: http://www.g-r-o-w.com.

Some of the information is for members only, so you’ll need the following:
password: sobertodayhow2484

Other
If you have questions not answered by our website information, please write to me and I’ll be sure to answer them or send your questions to someone who can.

I hope Grateful Recovering Online Women is helpful to you in your journey and growth in sobriety.

Again, welcome
[ Greeter Name ]
Grateful Recovering Online Women

Proposal 5: Eliminate “Alternative” from one TS position
I propose to delete the word alternate from the list keeping job description. There are no “ alternates” in the true sense of this word or this work

The dates of term are enough

This proposal was withdrawn and no vote was taken.

Proposal 6: Trusted Servants
GROW adopts the following policy for addressing non-performance in a Trusted Servant position.

Proposed Language (new #9 under Business Meeting Guidelines).

Proposal 6 passed with a 2/3 majority and no minority opinion was offered. The language for the policy is posted on the web site as #9 under Business Meeting Guidelines.

GROW adopts the following policy for addressing non-performance in a Trusted Servant position.

Proposed Language (new #9 under Business Meeting Guidelines):

When a Trusted Servant (TS-A) feels that another Trusted Servant (TS-B) is not meeting the requirements of her position description, TS-A will take her issues to the small Steering Committee (made up of the Business Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers) for consideration. She should not engage with or confront TS-B. The small Steering Committee can choose to bring the issue to the full Steering Committee.

The review of TS-B’s performance should be based only on the duties outlined in the position description. If it is found that the complaint is based on different personal working styles, preferences, or infrequent mistakes – and TS-B is otherwise meeting the requirements of her job description, the complaint will be dismissed without informing or involving TS-B. If it is established that one or more of the duties assigned to TS-B is not being met, the small Steering Committee will:

  1. Assure that TS-B is aware of and allowed to respond to the complaints and, if appropriate, to propose remedial actions to correct problems.
  2. If TS-B does not propose remedial actions, the small Steering Committee will establish appropriate remedial actions that TS-B can take to correct the problems;
  3. Establish a timeframe and deadline for remedial actions to be taken and documented;
  4. If the small Steering Committee has not already elevated the issue to the full Steering Committee, they will inform the larger Steering Committee of the findings, remedial actions, and timeframe;
  5. The full Steering Committee will decide whether TS-B can remain in the position or should be removed;
  6. If the Steering Committee decides that TS-B should be removed from the position, they will inform her in writing of their decision. The Secretary will deliver the documented decision to TS-B and call for volunteers to fill the position to the end of the current term.

Rationale: There have been several instances in the past where a Trusted Servant did not fulfill all the duties outlined in her position description. While this may have created problems, Trusted Servants who were aware of the problem did not have a formal process for bringing the problem to the attention of the Steering Committee, and their complaint was never raised. Therefore, no action was taken to correct the problem. In one instance, the issue was raised with some Trusted Servants, but there was no process for allowing the Trusted Servant to improve her performance or for making a decision on whether the Trusted Servant should be removed. This proposal provides a formal process that will make it easier to raise such problems to the Steering Committee, to allow the Trusted Servant to correct performance, and to remove the Trusted Servant if performance does not improve.

Proposal 7: Add wording to job description for the greeter trusted servant position.
Add “several times a day” to the greeter job description bullet about checking email.

We will have 3 days to discuss this proposal.

the third bullet currently says

  • Reads GROW mail daily.

the proposed language would say

  • Reads GROW mail several times a day, checking in on a regular basis.

We ran out of time before deciding on this proposal. It has been tabled and will be discussed at the October 2020 Business Meetings.

0420 – Third 3-Day Period Summary

Proposal 7.3

Add “several times a day” to the greeter job description bullet about checking email.
We will have 3 days to discuss this proposal.

the third bullet currently says

  • Reads GROW mail daily.

the proposed language would say

  • Reads GROW mail several times a day, checking in on a regular basis.

Justification – this more accurately reflects the job.

Discussion included concern that members of grow would be reluctant to volunteer for this job based on the time commitment required. Others felt that the proposal reflects the time required and anyone who does step into the job should know what will be needed.

It appeared we were nowhere near consensus and members have strong feeling about the language on both sides. It was decided we would not have adequate time for discussion before the 17th, which is the date that proposals need to be resolved.

This proposal was tabled to be discussed again in the October business meeting.

0420 – Second 3-Day Period Summary

April 2020 Business Meeting – Second 3-day period

Proposal 4.2:
Edit Monthly Listkeeper Message and Greeter Letter #2 to address the problem of shares that bounce to the listkeepers because they are addressed to more recipients than GROW. Further edit Greeter Letter #2 for clarity and brevity.

Rationale:

  1. “Too many recipients” bounces require listkeepers to take several actions
  2. Shares that bounce are delayed from reaching GROW. Some members do not resend, even after being notified by the listkeeper.

Monthly Listkeeper’s Message (this is not the entire letter, just the first paragraphs that show the suggested addition.)

Important Addresses
Listkeeper’s Address: grow-owner@oso-aa.org
(Use this address to change your subscription, or to unsubscribe, resubscribe or ask questions about GROW-related email problems).

Send shares to the List use this address: grow@oso-aa.org
(Use this address for all your shares or posts of any sort to the regular list. Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce). The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.

NOTE: Please do not post subscription change requests to GROW because they are too easily overlooked.
Revised Greeter Letter #2

Welcome to GROW! This is one of two emails you will receive from me with the information you need to start participating in our meeting right away. You might want to save these for future reference.

Sharing with the Group

  • Address your email to grow@oso-aa.org and your post will be sent to all members.
  • Do not add any other addresses to the email or it will bounce. This includes addresses in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc address fields.  Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce). The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.
  • Add grow@oso-aa.org to your Address Book to ensure GROW emails don’t go to your SPAM folder.

Replying to a Post

  • Do not use the “Reply to All” option when you respond privately to another member’s post to GROW, as your personal message will also be directed to the GROW list and it will bounce to the Listkeepers.
  • For those using phones and tablets, be aware that the default reply option is often “Reply to All.” Please double-check.

Email Volume
The volume of mail through the GROW list can be overwhelming. If you experience this, you might find it very helpful to choose one or more of the following:

  • Create a separate email address to reduce the confusion of mixing GROW mail with your other email. Email the Listkeepers at grow-owner@oso-aa.org with your new address. As an FYI, AOL and Yahoo addresses have been problematic for some members with the GROW list.
  • If you use an existing email for GROW, you might create folders for your GROW email; filters can also be set up to direct GROW mail into the GROW folder.
  • Request the Digest Version (a file containing the day’s posts in a single email) by contacting the Listkeepers at grow-owner@oso-aa.org.

Topics
A new meeting topic is sent to everyone on the list each Sunday and we share throughout the week. On topic and Off topic shares are welcome.

  • Off topic posts should be appropriate for an AA meeting. Please note in your subject line if your share is Off topic (Off Topic: … )
  • On topic posts are your shares on the weekly meeting topic. Please note in your subject line if your share is On topic (On Topic: … )
  • Please do not type in all CAPS; this is considered to be yelling.

Web Site and Password
Visit the GROW web site for more information. The URL for GROW is: http://www.g-r-o-w.com. For the members only section you’ll need the password: sobertodayhow2484

Other
If you have questions not answered by our website information, please write to me and I’ll be sure to answer them or send your questions to someone who can.

I hope Grateful Recovering Online Women is helpful to you in your journey and growth in sobriety.
Again, welcome
[ Greeter Name ]
Grateful Recovering Online Women

Existing Greeter Letter #2
Welcome to GROW! Now that you’re subscribed, this is one of two emails you will receive to help you start participating in our meeting right away. You might want to print these out for future reference.

Email Volume
We have found that sometimes the volume of mail through the GROW list can be overwhelming. If you experience this, you might find it very helpful to choose one of the following:

  • create and use a separate email address to reduce the confusion of mixing GROW mail with your primary email address. Please be sure to remember to let the Listkeepers know of your new address.
  • create folders for your GROW email; filters can also be set up to direct GROW mail into the GROW folder.
  • request the Digest Version (a file containing the day’s posts in a single email). If you would prefer to receive the Digest version, please contact our Listkeeper at grow-owner@oso-aa.org and she will make the change for you.

Topics
A new meeting topic is sent to everyone on the list each Sunday and we share throughout the week. On topic and Off topic shares are welcome. We ask that Off topic posts be appropriate for an AA meeting. Please note in your subject line if your share is Off topic (we usually type Off Topic: … )

Sharing
To share with the group, just address your email to grow@oso-aa.org and your post will be forwarded to all members. To ensure GROW emails do not get placed in your SPAM folder, please add this address to your Address Book.

Reply
Please do not use the “Reply to All’ option when you respond privately to another member’s post to GROW, as your personal message will also be directed to the GROW list and it will bounce to the Listkeepers.
For those using phones and tablets, be aware that the default reply option is often “Reply to All”, and double-check that you are not using “Reply to All”.

Please do not type in all CAPS, as this is considered to be yelling.

The secretary posts information about the Trusted Servants and guidelines for our email participation once a month. The Listkeeper (the person who makes sure the technical side of our email list works smoothly) also posts information monthly.

Web Site and Password
You’ll find lots more information on our GROW web site. The URL for GROW is: http://www.g-r-o-w.com.
Some of the information is for members only, so you’ll need the following:
password: sobertodayhow2484

Other
If you have questions not answered by our website information, please write to me and I’ll be sure to answer them or send your questions to someone who can.
I hope Grateful Recovering Online Women is helpful to you in your journey and growth in sobriety.

Again, welcome
[ Greeter Name ]
Grateful Recovering Online Women

Discussion was in support of this proposal. One member suggested clarification about what “bounce” means. Her verbiage was added to the suggested letters and messages.
The proposal was unanimously approved.

Proposal 5.2
I propose to delete the word alternate from the list keeping job description.
There are no “ alternates” in the true sense of this word or this work

The dates of term are enough

RATIONAL It simply a housekeeping thing from the secretary viewpoint. When the terms change each 6 months the secretary won’t have to move one person into another position.

There were several objections to this proposal, primarily because it looked incomplete in terms of all the effects that would result. It was suggested that it needed more thought to include all those effects.

Proposal withdraw at the request of the grow member who submitted it. There was no further discussion and there was no vote taken.

Proposal 6.2
Proposal: GROW adopts the following policy for addressing non-performance in a Trusted Servant position.
Proposed Language (new #9 under Business Meeting Guidelines):

When a Trusted Servant (TS-A) feels that another Trusted Servant (TS-B) is not meeting the requirements of her position description, TS-A will take her issues to the small Steering Committee (made up of the Business Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers) for consideration. She should not engage with or confront TS-B. The small Steering Committee can choose to bring the issue to the full Steering Committee.

The review of TS-B’s performance should be based only on the duties outlined in the position description. If it is found that the complaint is based on different personal working styles, preferences, or infrequent mistakes – and TS-B is otherwise meeting the requirements of her job description, the complaint will be dismissed without informing or involving TS-B. If it is established that one or more of the duties assigned to TS-B is not being met, the small Steering Committee will:

  1. Assure that TS-B is aware of and allowed to respond to the complaints and, if appropriate, to propose remedial actions to correct problems.
  2. If TS-B does not propose remedial actions, the small Steering Committee will establish appropriate remedial actions that TS-B can take to correct the problems;
  3. Establish a timeframe and deadline for remedial actions to be taken and documented;
  4. If the small Steering Committee has not already elevated the issue to the full Steering Committee, they will inform the larger Steering Committee of the findings, remedial actions, and timeframe;
  5. The full Steering Committee will decide whether TS-B can remain in the position or should be removed;
  6. If the Steering Committee decides that TS-B should be removed from the position, they will inform her in writing of their decision. The Secretary will deliver the documented decision to TS-B and call for volunteers to fill the position to the end of the current term.

Rationale: There have been several instances in the past where a Trusted Servant did not fulfill all the duties outlined in her position description. While this may have created problems, Trusted Servants who were aware of the problem did not have a formal process for bringing the problem to the attention of the Steering Committee, and their complaint was never raised. Therefore, no action was taken to correct the problem. In one instance, the issue was raised with some Trusted Servants, but there was no process for allowing the Trusted Servant to improve her performance or for making a decision on whether the Trusted Servant should be removed. This proposal provides a formal process that will make it easier to raise such problems to the Steering Committee, to allow the Trusted Servant to correct performance, and to remove the Trusted Servant if performance does not improve.

Proposal: GROW adopts the following policy for addressing non-performance in a Trusted Servant position.
Proposed Language (new #9 under Business Meeting Guidelines):
When a Trusted Servant (TS-A) feels that another Trusted Servant (TS-B) is not meeting the requirements of her position description, TS-A will take her issues to the small Steering Committee (made up of the Business Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers) for consideration. She should not engage with or confront TS-B. The small Steering Committee can choose to bring the issue to the full Steering Committee.

The review of TS-B’s performance should be based only on the duties outlined in the position description. If it is found that the complaint is based on different personal working styles, preferences, or infrequent mistakes – and TS-B is otherwise meeting the requirements of her job description, the complaint will be dismissed without informing or involving TS-B. If it is established that one or more of the duties assigned to TS-B is not being met, the small Steering Committee will:

  1. Assure that TS-B is aware of and allowed to respond to the complaints and, if appropriate, to propose remedial actions to correct problems.
  2. If TS-B does not propose remedial actions, the small Steering Committee will establish appropriate remedial actions that TS-B can take to correct the problems;
  3. Establish a timeframe and deadline for remedial actions to be taken and documented;
  4. If the small Steering Committee has not already elevated the issue to the full Steering Committee, they will inform the larger Steering Committee of the findings, remedial actions, and timeframe;
  5. The full Steering Committee will decide whether TS-B can remain in the position or should be removed;
  6. If the Steering Committee decides that TS-B should be removed from the position, they will inform her in writing of their decision. The Secretary will deliver the documented decision to TS-B and call for volunteers to fill the position to the end of the current term.

Rationale: There have been several instances in the past where a Trusted Servant did not fulfill all the duties outlined in her position description. While this may have created problems, Trusted Servants who were aware of the problem did not have a formal process for bringing the problem to the attention of the Steering Committee, and their complaint was never raised. Therefore, no action was taken to correct the problem. In one instance, the issue was raised with some Trusted Servants, but there was no process for allowing the Trusted Servant to improve her performance or for making a decision on whether the Trusted Servant should be removed. This proposal provides a formal process that will make it easier to raise such problems to the Steering Committee, to allow the Trusted Servant to correct performance, and to remove the Trusted Servant if performance does not improve.

The discussion questions included concern about the mistakes trusted servants make, and that anyone not doing their job should be informed. These concerns were addressed – the proposal does not address mistakes, but a trusted servant not fulfilling duties and that the trusted servant in question would be informed. The proposal is for a process to bring the transgression to the steering committee for resolution.

The proposal passed with a 2/3 majority voting yes and no minority opinion.

0420 – First 3-Day Period Summary

2020 Business Meeting – First 3-day period

Proposal 1: Do away with the weekly leader list keeper having to call for and maintain a list of “ backup” leaders in case of the weekly leader scheduled has not posting a meeting.

In the event the meeting isn’t posted AND members start asking if the topic has been posted. The weekly leader listkeeper has the authority to go to grows website and post a meeting from the list of past topics.

RATIONAL. This simplifies the process eliminating any lag time or stress resulting from waiting for one of the backups to respond.

The discussion on this proposal was primarily that what is currently working should not be changed.
There was the needed 2/3 majority voting no on this proposal with no minority opinion to defeat the proposal.

Proposal 2: OIAA rep position should be done away with…. We have discussed this at lengths for several meetings back and forth, to keep or dissolve. Since we have not had any actual representative for the last year, it should be dissolved. We can still maintain a visible presence on the internet without a Rep.

Much of the discussion revolved around how quickly online meetings are evolving and that OIAA is needed now more than ever.
There was agreement that the position has been debated often. Some input was offered that indicated OIAA has improved and some past issues resolved.
One member stepped up to take the position.

There was the needed 2/3 majority voting no on this proposal with no minority opinion to defeat the proposal.

Proposal 3: Grapevine Rep should also be done away with. I have posted a service position now weekly for the last two months. It’s clear the meeting membership is not interested in the additional topic.

There was strong support to keep the position and continue to seek someone to step in as the trusted servant.

There was the needed 2/3 majority voting no on this proposal with no minority opinion to defeat the proposal.

0420 – Proposal 7: Greeter Job Description

Proposal 7: Add ‘several times a day’ to the greeter job description

Add “several times a day” to the  greeter job description bullet about checking email.

We will have 3 days to discuss this proposal.

the third bullet currently says

Reads GROW mail daily.
the proposed language would say

Reads GROW mail several times a day, checking in on a regular basis.
Rationale

This more accurately reflects the job.

Summary of Comments on Proposal 7

I am resistant to changing this wording.  My thoughts are making such a distinction would discourage women who work or lead very busy lives from attempting this service position.  It is my opinion that each TS does the job to the best of their ability and within the boundaries of it being service work.  These positions are not meant to become jobs.  We are all adults and I personally don’t see the need to spell things out in small print.   In my humble opinion

*********
Some online TS positions require much more extensive time than others. Many volunteer for positions, not realizing/understanding the time requirements needed can be time consuming.

Our members come from various backgrounds and ages. I am an older widow, living alone and have lots of time available so I volunteer for positions where my time can be utilized.

We have young working mothers who wish to serve as a TS but have limited time available and there are positions available for them.

But if there are not proper guidelines given in the TS Descriptions, it becomes confusing to those volunteering.

********
I’d back up what Nancy says here. It’s more realistic to let new greeters know that the position requirements ask that you check in ‘several times a day’ rather than a ‘daily’. That way, members wanting to serve know what they’re committing to. Some other ts positions don’t require the same time commitment.  They might, or might not, require a more intense period of commitment over a few days at a time, for example, but not an ongoing daily one.

This added phrase makes sense in light of what the greeting commitment entails.

*****

I agree that adding this clarifies what the Greeter position entails. The greeter is working on a daily basis with a team of three others; in my experience as part of this team(both as a greeter and as a listkeeper) things work smoothly when all four are communicating on a regular basis. It also helps ensure that new ladies hear from us promptly, particularly since there will be different time zones among the greeters/listkeepers. I’ve never found it overly burdensome and I work full time and have a family. Others on the team are always willing to step in if someone needs to be away from Internet for a while, or even days. “Daily” isn’t an accurate reflection of what’s required for this position.

Thanks,

******

I agree Nancy. We should have all the information listed so informed decisions can be made.

*********

Thank you for the ESH shared.

I feel they’ve given me an insight into how the proposal will help GROW grow and be effective in greeting our new members and ensuring they’re responded to efficiently by all those involved.

I’m glad to be guided in this way.

In love and fellowship

*********

When I first saw the proposed new wording for Proposal 7.3, I thought it was kind of…. obnoxious. Like “duh, doesn’t everyone check their email several times a day?” Followed by, hmmm… maybe others don’t!?!

However, after reading others sharing about the level of commitment and time required, this new wording not only makes sense ~ it’s necessary!

As a newer member, and one who’s actively looking for a service position ~ I (we) definitely need a heads up.

Faith n Hope

**********

I agree with changing to the new wording for Proposal 7.3. It explains the position a little better and reminds the TS of what their duties entail.

********

While I understand that checking e-mail more than once a day will help Greeters process requests more quickly, I question whether “more quickly” is really necessary.
What do we expect of our Trusted Servants? Is it reasonable?

Making “several times a day” a requirement automatically limits the number of people that will qualify … or be willing … to do the job. We are an online e-mail AA meeting, not first responders. Yes, I check my mail more than once a day, but I am retired and have that luxury. Is it fair or reasonable to ask this of working mothers? Will the proposal make Grow a more effective messenger?

My personal feeling is that this proposal asks too much of Grow members who want to serve our group as Greeters.

Thank you,

**********

I’d like to address Danna’s statement that carrying out greeter duties ‘more quickly’ shouldn’t be a necessary requirement. I’d argue that it is, and this is based on many years serving on and off as both greeter and listkeeper.

As said before, both the listkeepers and greeters work very much as a team. This doesn’t happen to the same degree with the other TS positions, except perhaps these days with the temporary mentor liaising with the sponsor listkeeper. But even then the element of teamwork is not happening on a daily basis.

Neither is either position dependent in the same way or to the same extent on the cooperation of the other. On the other hand, this is a necessary element in the running smoothly of getting new women subscribed when the listkeepers/greeters work together.

A woman can’t be subscribed unless the listkeeper sends to the greeter who then sends out information to that new woman. When the latter sends back her intro, the greeter then sends it on for subbing to the listkeeper, after which she can then welcome the new woman into Grow. Each depends on the other totally working together as a team.

If this happens in a timely manner (just as, for example, the temporary mentor would want to reach out quickly to a new and distressed member, and not hang about for more than the few days stipulated in that job description), then the new member can be welcomed into GROW. Many of our new members speak of their desperation and need for help. Many of us who’ve held these positions feel that ‘when anyone anywhere reaches out for help’ we want ‘the hand of AA to be there’ and for that we are responsible.

And, yes, it will limit the number of people who can take on the position (but not to the degree that some of you seem to think). But isn’t that how service positions work in face to face meetings all across the globe? I’ve often heard it said ‘horses for courses’. Many members dont take up commitments of one type because the demands of it do not fit with their own lifestyle. Instead, they volunteer for another type. I myself have been in this position many times throughout sobriety. I’ve learnt to say no when something is not for me.

So, it is not about excluding women from the position of greeter. It’s about laying out that an element of it is checking mail a few times a day. A few of our greeters over the last years work fulltime and have younger children. When I first greeted, years back, I was a fulltime working mum, with a teenage boy who was starting to go off the rails. I still managed to check in a few times daily.

I think as you go on in this service role you realise how vital it is to work as a team and that involves being cognizant of time differences, the others’ work commitments to a degree where you know their patterns and would expect them to either be there or not at certain times.We’re a friendly bunch, who fill in at the drop of a hat for the other if they have something else they want to do, are on holiday etc.

Look, it depends on what GROW wants: a swift enough response to the suffering alcoholic (as it stands now), or a response that could take days from start to finish to complete. I certainly wouldn’t want it to take days. Sometimes, it can take a day or even two, but for the most part we try to get a woman subscribed within a 12-hour period from initial enquiry to being welcomed by the group. This isn’t always possible, given we have lives and do other things and may clash timewise with a listkeeper’s routine that day, but it’s an aim (not sure it’s part of the job description but I know it’s what our  dearly loved Jean taught me years back).

There’s a danger if a greeter only checks in once a day that mails can be missed, and that the process could go on for longer than a couple of days. I’d hate for that to happen. Part of the role is building a rapport with your team mates which in turn allows you to work together better. And that entails keeping an eye on your mail.

In service,

********

Dear Ladies,

In Tradition 9  ( the long form page 191 in the 12 x12)  It starts with  Each group needs the least possible organization.  and ends with All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service.  for true leaders in AA are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole.  They derive no real authority from their titles, they do not govern.  Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.

I know for myself that service was the way to sobriety.  When I came into the rooms I was beat down and found many excuses to beat myself up.  By changing to words from “Reads Grow Mail Daily”  to “ Several times a day”  is almost an automatic fail for me.  If life gets busy, and I cannot complete my commitment as mandated.  It breeds fear.  Fear of not living up to the goal,  fear of being turned in for not being on task.  Fear of being called infront of the steering committee for not doing the job. ( which we just passed I might remind you )

I wish we could find a win win,  maybe reword things a bit to ..  Read Grow mail at least once a day…?   I could live with that,  If I can’t check in many times,  I am still doing my job,  If I can check in more, then I am going above and beyond and building my self esteem.   Sobriety is a tricky thing,  service work can be as well.  I hope service work builds character,  helps a new comer to grow themselves up,  builds sobriety.  I would be very disappointed if we placed such restrictions on members.

Yours as a member trudging along.

********

I think you have to give people a realistic view of what this important position entails. I don’t believe it expects too much from a person to check email several times a day (many do with their personal email accounts and social media these days, myself included). The position is about being of service to others and putting the program on the front burner. Women who are waiting for an answer to their email may be desperate and every minute seems like an hour or a day. Just my two cents,

*******

Hi ladies

I can hear a clear division in the discussions here on 7.3

We know our Traditions allow for all view points to be shared as we work towards a Group Conscience and I appreciate the views I’m hearing but struggle to know what’s actually going to best.

Our Biz Chair has also pointed out we are due to run out of time to resolve this by April 17th.

I’m just wondering if this might be better to be tabled as a Proposal for the next Biz Meeting?

It is entirely possible that there could be a shared common ground, a compromise in the language proposed that whilst highlighting that this role may involve responding to emails more than once a day, but is also working well with the language that exists?

My feeling is that this sounds, from my experience of discussions similar to these where we seem to have two camps poles apart, that we are some way from us reaching a shared view?

Perhaps the timing where our Biz Meeting Guidelines are that we close business by 17th is Tradition Two at work right now?

I propose we follow the guidelines and finish as per the guidelines on Day 17.

In love and fellowship

********

I think Sophie makes an excellent point.  There does not seem to be a middle ground on this proposal and based on how strongly members feel, it deserves a process that is not rushed.

Proposal 7.3 will be tabled because we cannot finish the process by the 17th.  It will be revisited in the October meeting.

*********

I’ve been seeing the emails go back and forth on this and since I am a new greeter with only the JD of the position to guide me, I volunteered for the service position knowing I’d be able to check my email at least once a day.  However, it does take more than that, as I see now and although I think I’m getting in a groove and adjusting, as a mom who still works full-time, it can be tricky wanting to be of service but not having a lot of time to give.  If it is a MUST that emails must be checked multiple times, please put it in the JD.  However, I think it’s possible without the MUST and an understanding of women waiting by their phone or PC waiting for a response from us and how much of a life line that can be.  I don’t forget it but it’s still requiring some juggling.  I appreciate everyones patience as I go through my training and I thank you for letting me be of service.

*********

Thanks for your input, everyone. Especially you, Lisa!  It’s valuable coming from someone just starting in the TS position.

I just want to point out that the word Nancy and I used is ‘several’ times a time. Not ‘multiple’ or ‘many’. That’s all. No big deal. But it makes a heck of a difference just going to several.

*******

Since it seems that tabling the idea is where this is going,  I would like to propose some ideas to think about.

The problem seems to be the time lag between when a list keeper gets a request at the Grow Owner account  and sending the request on to the greeter.  The greeter then sends info to the person requesting information to the group and then back to the listkeeper to be subbed.

SO  My question then becomes  Why does Grow do this in this fashion?

Can we Add the Greeters to the Grow Owner Mail account, and let them handle the “Greeting” directly, and once membership is qualified, then they can ask the Listkeeper to subscribe  the new member into the group?

Or another solution I have been a part of is the Greeters and Listkeepers  were a team, where all members of the team had ownership privileges of being able to subscribe and unsubscribe members.
The team consisted of between 4 and 6 women, who rotated weeks.  For example,  if there were 4 women  the person ON DUTY would work one week out of four,  and in that time frame all the members of the team would be CC’d all communications so everyone was caught up with conversations.

There are many different ways to skin the cat,  These are just two examples that I can think of,  I am sure there can be other ways of making life here simple.

Thanks for letting me share.

******

Thanks Laurie – this is a really good suggestion.  I was greeter for a year and this was never an issue.  Maybe the volume of the women looking to sub is Overwhelming for some? I’m not sure but the lag has never been more than 12 hrs and considering we are on different time zones all over the world and have different schedules, sleep work etc – that seems pretty reasonable.  Anyway yes I think this is something best tabled till next meeting.  A greeter position is a starting position in any meeting – face to face and in here – I think a bit of patience is needed.  Everyone is getting responded to and it’s really splitting hairs on this “timeliness” matter- especially when it’s very non specific.

Proposal 7 was tabled because the process could not be finished before the business meeting closed.  It will be revisited during the October meeting.

Apr 12: Gifts of Sobriety aka The Promises

Topic for the week: Gifts of Sobriety aka The Promises

Next week by the Grace of God I will celebrate 10 years of sobriety one day at a time!  Where has the time gone?  
Today is the one year anniversary of the death of my Dad.  I remember when I told him I was going to AA, he broke down and cried.  When I did my amends with him, we both cried.  I was blessed to have had a wonderful father.  Because I was sober, I was able to show up and care for him in his final years/hours of life. As God would have it, my sponsor was with me when my father took his last breathe…and we both cried.  Thank you God!
Today I am a sober mother, daughter, sister, friend and my granddaughter never has to see me drunk!
I could not have done this without God and the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous!
I am truly grateful to know a new freedom and a new happiness!
Please feel free to share on this topic or anything that may pertain to alcohol.
Love to you all,
Statia 4/15/10
Upstate NY

Apr 05: Step 4

STEP FOUR: Made a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves.

The AA literature on the fourth step can be found in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions pages 42-54 as well as in The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous 4th edition, starting on the bottom of page 63 with “Next we launched…” and ending on page 71. I encourage everyone to read at least one of these sections in our Literature for a monthly refresher on this step.

I have chosen the following excerpt from the Big Book:

     “If we have been thorough about our personal inventory, we have written down a lot. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness. We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people. We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can.

     In this book you read again and again that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.”

From “The Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, from the chapter How It Works pages 70-71.

Hi sisters, my name is Emily M. and this is the monthly step meeting, April being the 4th month, we are on step 4.

Personally, this whole business of taking a searching, fearless, moral inventory, of putting to paper my resentments, fears, sex conduct, and harms done to other people — especially knowing what followed (telling another human, admitting I was fatally flawed, saying sorry)  is what made me freaking terrified of being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a big reason I stayed out of the rooms as long as I did.

And by the time I got here, holy mother of God did it show. I was 8 years dry, stark raving sober. I was so filled with fear, guilt and shame my life was more unmanagable than it was when I was drinking and using hard drugs. I was mean to my kids, I was addicted to chaos, anger, sadness, depression, desperation, I was so full to the brim of self pity. I was so so so freaking lost and broken. I was the textbook definition of extreme self will run riot, though she usually did not think so.

Somehow I was divinely guided here to AA, somehow God connected me with the exact sponsor I needed who happened to live across the country. I tried to fight her in the beginning but then I completely surrendered to the program of AA and Higher Power of my understanding.

And before long there I was, face to face with the dreaded step four. My sponsor had sent me the worksheets, the four column inventory BB fourth step worksheets. I printed off the worksheets. I started writing with a fury and then would crumple it up and throw it in the trash. Again and again I would do this. Finally, I could see I was being ridiculous and overcomplicating the dang thing. I did a quick prayer and I wrote. It all came out. From young childhood to where I was that day it came out on paper. And as I did it, oh boy, wow, could I see as I have never seen before.

Suddenly, there I was, staring back at myself. In ways I had never, ever seen myself. I had always thought myself victim, but once they were all sitting there next to each other — wow did I sure have a “my part”. I had never thought I was controlling or egocentric — until I completed my fears and resentment inventory. And the “harms done”, wow I was so naieve I thought there were going to be just one or two people on that list and then it turned out I just kept writing and writing. I also found myself on that list over and over again.

Even before sharing my first fourth step with my sponsor, it was really like the Big Book says: I had swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about myself. And for the first time in my life, within the program of AA, I wasn’t terrified, it actually felt good and hopeful. What had I been waiting for? As much as I had previously dread it, I could not wait till have this “long talk” with my sponsor that followed this step…which is a story for a different day.

What was your fourth step experience like? If you haven’t taken it yet, what’s holding you back? If you’re feeling a little off…how can you share using this step to get back on the beam?

Thank you for the honor of chairing this meeting. The floor is now open for sharing.

Love,

Emily M.

9/1/2010

0420 – Proposal 6: TS Performance

Proposal 6: Trusted Servants

GROW adopts the following policy for addressing non-performance in a Trusted Servant position.

Proposed Language (new #9 under Business Meeting Guidelines):
When a Trusted Servant (TS-A) feels that another Trusted Servant (TS-B) is not meeting the requirements of her position description, TS-A will take her issues to the small Steering Committee (made up of the Business Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers) for consideration. She should not engage with or confront TS-B. The small Steering Committee can choose to bring the issue to the full Steering Committee.

The review of TS-B’s performance should be based only on the duties outlined in the position description. If it is found that the complaint is based on different personal working styles, preferences, or infrequent mistakes – and TS-B is otherwise meeting the requirements of her job description, the complaint will be dismissed without informing or involving TS-B. If it is established that one or more of the duties assigned to TS-B is not being met, the small Steering Committee will:

  1. Assure that TS-B is aware of and allowed to respond to the complaints and, if appropriate, to propose remedial actions to correct problems.
  2. If TS-B does not propose remedial actions, the small Steering Committee will establish appropriate remedial actions that TS-B can take to correct the problems;
  3. Establish a timeframe and deadline for remedial actions to be taken and documented;
  4. If the small Steering Committee has not already elevated the issue to the full Steering Committee, they will inform the larger Steering Committee of the findings, remedial actions, and timeframe;
  5. The full Steering Committee will decide whether TS-B can remain in the position or should be removed;
  6. If the Steering Committee decides that TS-B should be removed from the position, they will inform her in writing of their decision. The Secretary will deliver the documented decision to TS-B and call for volunteers to fill the position to the end of the current term.

Rationale

There have been several instances in the past where a Trusted Servant did not fulfill all the duties outlined in her position description.

While this may have created problems, Trusted Servants who were aware of the problem did not have a formal process for bringing the problem to the attention of the Steering Committee, and their complaint was never raised. Therefore, no action was taken to correct the problem. In one instance, the issue was raised with some Trusted Servants, but there was no process for allowing the Trusted Servant to improve her performance or for making a decision on whether the Trusted Servant should be removed. This proposal provides a formal process that will make it easier to raise such problems to the Steering Committee, to allow the Trusted Servant to correct performance, and to remove the Trusted Servant if performance does not improve.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 6

I think TS-B should be informed of any complaints, whether valid or dismissed as invalid. I know I would want to know. Otherwise, the proposal looks good.

********
As secretary I have witnessed  a few events where TS-A went directly to TS-B.  And there were hurt feeling and personality issues that came up instead of principals.   The intent is to follow the tradition of principles before personalities.  If the complaint is valid the steering committee will certainly gently handle the situation.

If the complaint isn’t valid – which I have seen – it was very disruptive to the group and to myself  and it wasn’t necessary or kind.

I would hope this group would  trust the officers that have volunteered to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.   By TS-A going directly

To TS-B she is short circuiting the role of secretary and as a result I have been left to put out fires .

Thank you for letting me share

********
I agree, this procedure is needed.

I have filled a few TS jobs in the years I have been part of Grow and I have made mistakes in EVERY position.  It has always been pointed out in a discreet way and I’ve appreciated the help.

I don’t think we need a procedure for the learning curve we all go through in taking these positions and I never want anyone discouraged from taking a position.

Thanks

********
I’d be interested to hear more from other members of the Steering Committee regarding this proposal.

Thank you for the experiences shared so far.

********
I have also made a mistake and was pointed out to me in a discreet manner (harsh but kind).

I will not make same mistake again.

My thinking is above approach works well.

********
Having been with Grow quite a while now, I have seen several instances where a Trusted Servant was not doing her job, but because there was no process to address it, nothing was done. Therefore, the job was not executed as per our group conscience decisions for the entire term. I strongly believe that we need a process to allow these issues to be addressed.

The proposal does not address “mistakes.” We all make them, and the proposal does not intend for simple mistakes, especially during a TS’s initial training period, to be sufficient for a performance review. But what if we continue to make the same mistake over and over again? Then it becomes a performance problem, and our group needs a way to raise the issue to the Steering Committee for review and decision-making.

When failure to perform a duty in the job description does happen (which is not often, but it does happen), one Trusted Servant should not be put in a position of pointing out the problem to the person she believes is making it. If she (TS-A) perceives the problem to be serious enough to bring a complaint, more than a handful of TSs should be involved, and TS-A should not contact TS-B directly.

The goal is to handle performance issues in a way that places principles above personalities when performance issues are repeated, not to play “gotcha” because a TS made a simple and honest mistake.

I have been in the posiition where another Trusted Servant was not doing the job as outlined in her job description. I was not comfortable with confronting her personally, and there was no process for me to raise the issue to other TSs. I remained silent, and the problem continued. While I raised it with a couple of Trusted Servants at the time, no one knew what to do about it. This process would give us a way to assure that performance issues are addressed. Because the whole Steering Committee would discuss the issues and then be the decision-maker, it also avoids over-reactions to what might be a simple issue of style or personality.

********
I’d like to hear more as well. In principle having a procedure in place sounds like a good idea. But there seem to be a number of folks who think this is unnecessary.

********
On reading the more recent shares on 6.2 I can hear there is a need to put a process in place.

I have always been of the view that principles before personalities works best and that the Trusted Servants Steering Committee will benefit from a framework to go through in the event there are issues with duties or responsibilities being missed or done incorrectly.

I have made plenty of mistakes in GROW doing service, and I welcome a process to take the personalities out of the way we support TS to rectify errors. A one to one message from another member is just that, and this way it would a Steering Committee conscience.

In my mind there are similarities here with the process we in GROW have if a member is disruptive or inappropriate.

Having a process is important, and so is having a Steering Committee well informed and able to carry out the process.

The proposal in 6.2 seems necessary to me.

In love and fellowship

********
I like that this process goes first to the small steering committee, the same as the process outlined in our Common Welfare Guidelines when there is disruptive behavior in the group. In the occasional situations I’ve been involved in, both as a member of the Steering Committee and the small Steering Committee the hardest thing for me has been the different chains of information. I can think of one situation where there were at least three different email threads going on with different people participating in each. By the time it got to the small Steering Committee it was really difficult to know if we had all the information and there was some confusion as to who said what, when. I think this proposal could help by giving guidance as to when something goes to the small Steering Committee and then the Steering Committee as a whole.

I do think Danna’s differentiating between mistakes and failure to perform a job description duty is important. I’ve made several mistakes as a TS, mostly because I just didn’t know something or didn’t realize I had done something. I’ve had a few pointed out to me. Although I  felt criticized at first (that’s just me being thin-skinned), I chose to take it as a learning opportunity just as it was intended. Important things for me to know so the group could function smoothly. Principles before personalities. None of these mistakes would have warranted review by the small Steering Committee. I would think we all get the difference and wouldn’t want to put a process in place that’s so rigid we can’t help each other out as we learn how to do our service positions.

Thank you,


Results of Voting on Proposal 6

Voting: 16 participants voted: 14 in favor, and 2 against.  There were no minority opinions submitted, therefore the proposal passes with a 2/3 majority.


Group Conscience Decision:

The statement will be added as #9 to the Business Meeting Guidelines.

When a Trusted Servant (TS-A) feels that another Trusted Servant (TS-B) is not meeting the requirements of her position description, TS-A will take her issues to the small Steering Committee (made up of the Business Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers) for consideration. She should not engage with or confront TS-B. The small Steering Committee can choose to bring the issue to the full Steering Committee.

The review of TS-B’s performance should be based only on the duties outlined in the position description. If it is found that the complaint is based on different personal working styles, preferences, or infrequent mistakes – and TS-B is otherwise meeting the requirements of her job description, the complaint will be dismissed without informing or involving TS-B. If it is established that one or more of the duties assigned to TS-B is not being met, the small Steering Committee will:

  1. Assure that TS-B is aware of and allowed to respond to the complaints and, if appropriate, to propose remedial actions to correct problems.
  2. If TS-B does not propose remedial actions, the small Steering Committee will establish appropriate remedial actions that TS-B can take to correct the problems;
  3. Establish a timeframe and deadline for remedial actions to be taken and documented;
  4. If the small Steering Committee has not already elevated the issue to the full Steering Committee, they will inform the larger Steering Committee of the findings, remedial actions, and timeframe;
  5. The full Steering Committee will decide whether TS-B can remain in the position or should be removed;
  6. If the Steering Committee decides that TS-B should be removed from the position, they will inform her in writing of their decision. The Secretary will deliver the documented decision to TS-B and call for volunteers to fill the position to the end of the current term.

0420 – Proposal 5: Eliminate “alternative”

Proposal 5: Eliminate “Alternative” from one TS position

I propose to delete the word alternate from the list keeping job description.  There are no “ alternates” in the true sense of this word or this work

The dates of term are enough.


Rationale

It simply a housekeeping thing from the secretary viewpoint.  When the terms change each 6 months the secretary won’t have to move one person into another position.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 5

Looks good to me.

********
I don’t agree with the proposal as submitted.  The Listkeeper and Alternate Listkeeper are currently in a 2-year term; one as primary (Listkeeper) and one as Alternate.  You mention a term change every 6 months, which doesn’t match the position description that is on our website.

********
Yes, you’re right. It’s 2 years.

********
Cheryl raises a good point. The duties of the two positions may be the same, but their terms of office are different. The “Alternate” becomes the Listkeeper after she serves her one-year term as alternate. I think we should make that clear by retaining the existing position title of “Listkeeper Alternate.

********
So does the proposal need to be rewritten?

********
So, looking at the responses made me re-think a bit.

If you remove the word “alternate”, how do you know who is the primary list keeper? Description states 1yr backup and 1yr primary. That would need to be changed also.

And, why would you need to move people from one position to another after 6months? Maybe that should have said 1yr?

Maybe the proposal needs to be re-written?

********
No objection to withdrawal of proposal 5.2, eliminate “alternate” from listkeeper.

(Proposal withdraw at the request of the grow member who submitted it.  There was no further discussion and there was no vote taken.)


Results of Voting on Proposal 5

Proposal withdraw at the request of the grow member who submitted it.  There was no further discussion and there was no vote taken.

0420 – Proposal 4: Listkeeper and Greeter

Proposal 4: Edit Monthly Listkeeper Message and Greeter Letter #2

Edit Monthly Listkeeper Message and Greeter Letter #2 to address the problem of shares that bounce to the listkeepers because they are addressed to more recipients than GROW.  Further edit Greeter Letter #2 for clarity and brevity.


Rationale

  1. “Too many recipients” bounces require listkeepers to take several actions
  2. Shares that bounce are delayed from reaching GROW. Some members do not resend, even after being notified by the listkeeper.

Summary of Comments on Proposal 4

Thank you for this proposal and the suggested edits.

They seem to offer clarity and hopefully could improve the problem of bounced emails as described.

Thank you for whom ever has worked on this.

*********
Changes look good. They clarify the information better.

*********
I agree with this change.

*********
Thanks to Karen for this!

Yes, it makes sense.

*********
I agree with the proposal overall, but I do have one concern. That’s the use of the word “bounce” with no explanation. Why is bouncing bad?
Many members of Grow do not have an in-depth understanding of the terms we use. Like, when an e-mail bounces, it doesn’t get posted to the list, right? That means no one would see their share. I’m assuming this. I do not know that for sure, which is why I’d like to see clarification on the consequences of an e-mail bouncing.

*********
Danna, I am attempting to answer your question as someone who has been a listkeeper for different groups for many years.
The “Too Many Recipients” bounces are very frustrating and time consuming to deal with. If members would read how to send email there would be very few such bounces.

A “Too Many Recipients” bounce happens when a member puts another address in the To or CC field instead of just the GROW address. Anonymity is the reason this restriction was setup. The message does not go to GROW but goes to whatever other address was there.

Many times members have written beautiful shares that never get read because the member does not resend. This is very upsetting
When new members do this, it is understandable but we have so many who feel they need to put their own address as well as the GROW address.

This is the email the listkeeper sends:
Your recent message was addressed to the Grow list and to at least one other person. The list is set up to only accept messages addressed to Grow, in order to help protect anonymity.

If you sent the message from a cell phone or tablet, you may not be aware that many are set up with “reply to all” as the default.

The individual or individuals you sent the message to probably received the message; it is just the Grow list that didn’t.

If you wish for GROW to receive your post please resend just to the GROW address: grow@oso-aa.org

We receive numerous “Too Many Recipients” bounces that take up time that could be used doing other duties.

Hope my explanation helps. Karen, our outgoing Listkeeper, is much more articulate than I am and she presented the proposal.

In service

*********
Clarity and brevity work for me!

*********
Thank you, Nancy. That is very helpful information. I wonder if it might make sense to include all or part of the language from the letter the listkeeper sends (when there have been multiple addressees) in the Listkeeper Letter and Greeter Letter #2. I’m thinking of women who come to Grow with little knowledge or experience with e-mail.

I’m suggesting adding the following to the Recommended Language as shown:

Send shares to the List use this address: grow@oso-aa.org

(Use this address for all your shares or posts of any sort to the regular list. Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce). The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.

Thank you,


Results of Voting on Proposal 4

Voting: 16 participants voted: 16 in favor, and 0 against.  The proposal passed unanimously.


Group Conscience Decision:

The Monthly Listkeeper Message and the Greeter Letter #2 will be modified:

Monthly Listkeeper’s Message
(this is not the entire letter, just the first paragraphs that are modified.)

Important Addresses
Listkeeper’s Address: grow-owner@oso-aa.org
(Use this address to change your subscription, or to unsubscribe, resubscribe or ask questions about GROW-related email problems).

Send shares to the List use this address: grow@oso-aa.org
(Use this address for all your shares or posts of any sort to the regular list. Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce).  The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.

NOTE: Please do not post subscription change requests to GROW because they are too easily overlooked.

Revised Greeter Letter #2
Welcome to GROW! This is one of two emails you will receive from me with the information you need to start participating in our meeting right away. You might want to save these for future reference.

Sharing with the Group
Address your email to grow@oso-aa.organd your post will be sent to all members.

  • Do not add any other addresses to the email or it will bounce. This includes addresses in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc address fields.
    Address your share to ONLY the grow@oso-aa.org address. If another address is included (even if in the ‘Cc or ‘Bcc field) the email will bounce).  The list is set up to accept messages that are addressed to Grow only. The individual(s) you send messages in addition to GROW will probably receive the message; however, the Grow list will not.
  • Add grow@oso-aa.orgto your Address Book to ensure GROW emails don’t go to your SPAM folder.

Replying to a Post

  • Do not use the “Reply to All” option when you respond privately to another member’s post to GROW, as your personal message will also be directed to the GROW list and it will bounce to the Listkeepers.
  • For those using phones and tablets, be aware that the default reply option is often “Reply to All.” Please double-check.

Email Volume
The volume of mail through the GROW list can be overwhelming. If you experience this, you might find it very helpful to choose one or more of the following:

  • Create a separate email address to reduce the confusion of mixing GROW mail with your other email. Email the Listkeepers at grow-owner@oso-aa.orgwith your new address. As an FYI, AOL and Yahoo addresses have been problematic for some members with the GROW list.
  • If you use an existing email for GROW, you might create folders for your GROW email; filters can also be set up to direct GROW mail into the GROW folder.
  • Request the Digest Version (a file containing the day’s posts in a single email) by contacting the Listkeepers at grow-owner@oso-aa.org.
    Topics

Meeting Topic
A new meeting topic is sent to everyone on the list each Sunday and we share throughout the week. On topic and Off topic shares are welcome.

  • Off topic posts should be appropriate for an AA meeting. Please note in your subject line if your share is Off topic (Off Topic: … )
  • On topic posts are your shares on the weekly meeting topic. Please note in your subject line if your share is On topic (On Topic: … )
  • Please do not type in all CAPS; this is considered to be yelling.

Web Site and Password
Visit the GROW web site for more information. The URL for GROW is: http://www.g-r-o-w.com. For the members only section you’ll need the password: sobertodayhow2484

Other
If you have questions not answered by our website information, please write to me and I’ll be sure to answer them or send your questions to someone who can.

I hope Grateful Recovering Online Women is helpful to you in your journey and growth in sobriety.

Again, welcome
[ Greeter Name ]
Grateful Recovering Online Women

0420 – OIAA Report

Apr 2020 OIAA Report

Dear GROW

As your Online Intergroup of AA Rep (OIAA) I’m updating you with some pending changes to the OIAA website.

Some of you may be aware of AA’s Online Intergroup and may have come through there in your search for an online AA group. Indeed you may have found us, GROW listed there!

A working party at OIAA have been creating a new improved OIAA website. Included below are their rationale and links to the original website and the new “beta” site.

If it interests you to take a look please do. The “beta” new site is live but still in the improvement stage so the committee are welcoming any feedback or suggestions.

There will in time be a Member’s Area as there is on the original site but this will be done later.

The OIAA Assembly will be voting in the next few days whether to make the beta site the live one and run with it, and whether to cover the costs which they are financially able to do whilst leaving their usual Prudent Reserve.

If you have any comments or questions please let me know.

Thank you for having me be of service.
Sophie F
OIAA Rep for GROW

Rationale from OIAA Web Committee
We had a plan to move forward at a ‘prudent’ pace. Due to the increase traffic during this COVID outbreak, we are working in an accelerated manner and learning through the process.

We created this new beta site out of the necessity to:

1) Be Mobile (Smartphone) Friendly
2) Increase usability/search ability and
3) Make it run fast and efficiently.

Original website
https://www.aa-intergroup.org/downloads/index.php

Improved Beta Website

History of OIAA

0420 – Treasurer’s Report

Apr 2020 – Treasurer’s Report

Deposits

$ 382.69 starting balance from Sue W
$ 242.66 PayPal deposits
$ 245.00 Ally E checks
$     0.23 Ally interest
________________________
$ 870.58 Total deposits

Payments

$   49.99 WordPress update – 1year/ T Quinn
$   45.00 Esosoft – 3 year/ T Quinn
$ 432.00 Dean Collins – server maint for 2018, 2019 and 2020
___________________________
$ 526.99 Total Payments

$  870.58 (Deposits)
$-526.99 (Payments)
____________________
$ 343.59. Balance

Distributions

$ 122.00 Prudent Reserve
$  221.59 GSO
______________________
$  343.59

Respectfully submitted,
Cheryl Baughman

0420 – Listkeeper’s Report

Apr 2020 – Listkeeper’s Report

Listkeepers’ Report – April 2020

Our membership as of March 31, 2020 is 166 list members and 12 of those are digest members. (This number is always a little larger than our actual count because some members have two subscriptions).

This time last year we had 366 members. We carried out a roll call in March 2020 and unsubscribed all members that did not respond. Some have resubscribed; the roll call accounts for the big decrease in members. We continue to receive a lot of new members each month.

Nancy and Karen both want to thank Louise and Sarah for their great service to GROW as Greeters. We all enjoyed working together!

Karen has completed her term as Listkeeper–thank you Karen! Nancy will continue until October and Sarah has volunteered to serve as Listkeeper.

Respectfully submitted, Karen H and Nancy C | GROW Listkeepers

Trusted Servants 04/2020

Trusted Servants:

12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper (04/20-10/20): Danna M. email
Birthday Listkeeper (04/20-10/20): Susan J. email
Sponsor Listkeeper (04/20-10/20): Alison B. email

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee:

Business Meeting Chair (10/18-10/20): Joan B. email
GSR (10/18-10/20): Kate M. email
GVR (10/19-10/20): Bobby T. email
Greeter (4/20-10/20): Louise H. email
Greeter (4/20-4/21): Lisa M. email
Listkeeper (4/20-10/20): Nancy C. email
Listkeeper Alternate (4/20-4/21): Sarah K. email
OIAA Rep (4/20-4/21):  Sophie R. email
Secretary (10/19-10/20): Laurie C. email
Temporary Mentor (4/20-4/21): Sarah M. email
Treasurer (10/19-10/21): Cheryl B.  email
Website Administrator (4/20-10/20): Tanya C. email
Webkeeper (4/20-4/21): Cheryl D. email
Webkeeper Backup (4/20-4/21): OPEN.
Weekly Leader Listkeeper (4/20-4/21): Rene G email

Immediate Past Business Meeting Chair: Danna M. email
Immediate Past GSR: Joan B. email
Immediate Past OIAA: Lynn H.  email and Kirsten V. email
Immediate Past Secretary: Ruth F. email

Jan 12: Trusting the Process

Trusting the Process

Hello again, I’m Mari Ann and I am an alcoholic who celebrated 32 years of continuous sobriety on January 9, 2020. I relish the chance to chair the meeting immediately following my anniversary. It reminds me that only by taking action, grateful action, will I continue to remain sober. No laurel-resting is safe for me.

This past year has been stuffed full of interpersonal exchanges with people I didn’t know, or don’t get to see in years; but all of whom are important to friends who are important to me. It was an unusual year involving my being able to help in capacities I couldn’t have guessed in advance but was grateful to be sober and able to provide.

For much of it, I realized I no longer worried about how any of my help might be received – as I worried myself sick in early recovery. I didn’t worry about “looking stupid” as I did in early recovery. For once, none of what was happening was “about” me. “I” didn’t come to mind, only what could I do or offer to do came to mind.

The other sensation was recognizing I was in the midst of some process much bigger than me. I was being guided to be present, to witness and/or assist in things beyond my comfort zone. It’s what people assured me about in early recovery, that as long as I was willing to work a program of recovery, the process would keep me sober as it has kept millions of others sober before me.

In early recovery, it felt as though there were times I was somehow flowing along with the current down the middle of the river like you do in a dream. Lights turned green, doors opened, and my next indicated task got accomplished. Other times it felt like I was rowing as hard as I could, slamming into the shore or banging into boulders in mid-stream and all I could do was return to focusing solely on my own spiritual growth in this program and trust my course would straighten out again.

It always has. Learning to “trust the process” is a continuing lesson for me. I am still in a little bit of awe when I sense I’m in the middle of some process-bigger-than-me because I was never part of such a process all the years I drank. Then, I was in a whirlwind of my own making and completely closed off to wanting to be part of anything bigger.

I have no idea what the universe is preparing me for, but I sense She is preparing me. And today, I am grateful to be sober and able to participate to the best of my ability.

Thank you, dear GROWing sisters, for being part of my sobriety since GROW began in 1998. One of my f2f groups has a prayer I like. “God, my Higher Power, look after the members of my 12 step group. Keep them safe and sober for they have helped keep me safe and sober.”

As always, please feel free to share whatever impacts your sobriety or recovery with us. It always helps someone who needs to hear it.

 

Jan 05: Step 1

Step 1

Step 1 has several topics for me as a result of being a member of AA and attending meetings for years. It seemed really simple at first, I admitted I could not stop drinking and that was enough of a start.

In meetings I started to learn about the disease of alcoholism. One drink is too many and 100 is not enough. I am mentally and bodily different and I had to learn to stay sober one day at a time.

What was missing for quite a while was that the first word in the step is “We”. In my head when I heard the step I was thinking ”I’m powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable”. That is true, but the solution has been to be powerless with all of the alcoholics I share recovery with. Staying sober without all of you is not possible.

I relate to other alcoholics at a level I have not experienced anywhere else. I learned honesty from you and I learned principals from you and I learned how to not pick up a drink from you. The “We” of AA has allowed me to rejoin the human race and become a part of rather than the solo warrior ready to fight everything to calm the fears. I now take the fears to God and trust.

Please share on Step 1, however you relate to it today.

 

Dec 29: Control/Taking Care of Ourselves

Control/Taking Care of Ourselves

Good evening ! Wow, I am always a little bit relieved when the “holidays” are over. As an alcoholic from an emotionally crippled family holidays in early sobriety were difficult. I had to set boundaries and realize that I could let go of any guilt I had ingrained in me and do what was healthy for everyone involved. A long time ago a friend told me “it’s just another day” lol that always rings in my head when a special day comes around where I might feel pressure to be or do something I’m not 100% comfortable with.

ANYWAY- this year and these days I have my own family and holidays are my own style which I love – I try to teach my kids to be grateful and we go to church (I am not religious) for the ritual of it and it’s nice and sparkly and beautiful and I love the music and to be present with others and god (whatever god they and I want).

I chose the topic of control and taking care of myself because this is a typical issue that comes up for me when I am pushed past my limit. I am going to try to share in a general way but we have had some family issues come up that are textbook alanon and I’ve really had a hard time with it. When my kids are involved, control for me has been extremely tricky. I also can identify when (usually AFTER telling people exactly what I think and acting like a jerk) things are not my business. I have zero control over anything except me and my attitude- again HARD TO SWALLOW. My alcoholism today has me reach and grasp and claw for control (not a drink today) when I haven’t taken care of myself and I feel angry/sad/etc etc.

I realized tonight that as we enter into a beautiful new year I am free – I don’t need to control, I can drop the rocks that weigh me down (control) and walk forward with the help of this program (and mind my own damn business). I can take care of myself and demand time for me to feel free and alive. This disease is truly cunning baffling and powerful- how it sucks in others and makes them so sick without them ever taking a drink is proof to me of how alcoholism is alive and well in the world and makes me so grateful that I have this program and tribe of recovery. I love you ladies and I hope that made some type of sense !! I look forward to walking into a new year with all of you and love every one of you!

Sarah K

Dec 22: Balance

Balance

bal·ance /ˈbaləns/noun
an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

Life sure is a balancing act. Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling five things while riding a unicycle and one more thing in the mix and I’m on the ground saying ‘what went wrong’? Lol

I still am an alcoholic, thinking I can do everything and please everyone in the universe…news flash..I’M NOT GOD!

The key to keeping balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. I’m grateful through this program to be aware of not being in balance and using the tools of the program to get back to a healthy balance. Last week I ended up with shingles…this surely is a sign that something is not right. So my life came to a screeching halt…I forgot to take care of ME, imagine that!!! I wrote and prayed and have let go of a lot of things this week…How do you stay balanced? What techniques/tools do you use? Please share on anything that may be troubling you.

Thank you for letting me be of service,

Statia H.
DOS 04/15/2010 one day at a time only by the grace of God!

1018 Group Conscience Decisions

October 2018 Group Conscience Decisions

Below is a summary of the Group Conscience Decisions from the October 2018 Business Meeting

Proposal 2: Delete item d. (Web Page Information) in the GROW FYI Contents section of the FYI Letter sent out by the Secretary each month.
For more information on this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 2 from the October 2018 business meeting.
Proposal 3:  Add a reminder to the Weekly Meeting Format Letter (between the Preamble and “How It Works”) to emphasize the principle of anonymity in our meetings: “Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”
Recommended Language:
Insert the following sentences as a separate stand-alone paragraph between the Preamble and “How It Works” in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter:
“Who you see here, what you read here, when you leave here, let it stay here.  (Anonymity refers to personal information and personal issues – not the message of recovery.)”
For more information on this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 3 from the October 2018 business meeting.
Proposal 4:  Increase the monthly contribution to Dean Collins (oso-aa.org) to reimburse him for any time and effort to support GROW’s website, particularly the new website WordPress configuration. Double the current contribution from $12 per month ($72 for six months) to $24 ($144 for six months).
Recommended Language:
Edit the sub-bullet in the Treasurer’s job description under the 11th bullet (“Pay all group expenses…”) to reflect the change in contributions to oso-aa
$24.00 monthly to OSO-AA (PayPal: dean.collins@insightplanners.com) (6 months expenses)
For more information on this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 4 from the October 2018 business meeting.
Proposal 5:  Expand on the Temporary Mentor by establishing a Newcomer Committee, as the Sponsorship pamphlet suggests some groups do.
Recommended Language:
Establish and lead a Newcomer Committee (that may include members who are new to recovery from alcoholism) who will assist in supporting newcomers to GROW and AA.
For more information on this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 5 from the October 2018 business meeting.

Dec 15: Having Sober Holidays

Having Sober Holidays

A few Christmases ago, my family gathered at my sister’s house for the traditional dinner. It was very nice. Her husband played bartender and made sure all the adults had what they wanted. They all know I’m in recovery, so no one offered me a drink. Things were going well until Ron pulled out a beautiful little Waterford glass and began to pour an equally beautiful bright red liquid into it. It was the prettiest drink I’d ever seen. My eyes and my mind became transfixed. I wondered what it would taste like. I thought of myself holding that pretty drink. My mind played with the idea until I finally got up and left the room. There’s no doubt that I am an alcoholic!

No matter how long I’ve been sober, my alcoholic mind still focuses on alcohol when it is present. When I was newly sober, my attention could not escape it. The beer and wine section at the grocery store was like a huge scary trap, waiting for me to come browse. In a restaurant, I was well aware of who was drinking at the tables surrounding me, and I was watching how each person drank. When I was with people who were drinking, I kept count of how much they’d had. Unfinished drinks still bother me. I’m still especially vulnerable to the next drink during the holiday season.

During the Christmas and New Year holidays, alcohol presents a special fascination and a dangerous threat. How does a newly sober alcoholic avoid the temptation?

This week, I invite you to share your experiences with alcohol during the holiday season and your strategies for staying sober at a time of year when it seems almost everyone else is drinking. Of course, please share on anything you need to talk about.

 

Dec 08: Boundaries and Expectations

Boundaries and Expectations

The holiday season is upon us. And for me this brings up resounding gratitude for my sobriety and the choices I am making to take care of myself.

Obligations I used to feel at this time of year would trigger automatic behaviors (going home for the holidays, buying presents). Today, I examine my motives and make choices.

One choice I make is to celebrate the season with my partner, instead of visiting my family of origin.

My aim is to practice the principles of the steps in all my affairs. If I can’t show up and be the person my HP wants me to be, I need to take a step back and/or disengage. I need to set a boundary.

When I go to holiday events and find myself waiting to be paid back somehow—I have an expectation. My motive, in other words, is not to show up and be of service. In these situations, I back up until I find something I can give with an easy heart. Sometimes, I can’t find anything. And that’s okay. It’s my boundary, so I can change it!

In the past year I was surprised to discover that I can be in contact with my dad. I have found the parameters (boundaries) that allow me to give to him without feeling I have sold myself out in the hopes of winning his approval. I can engage without expectation and allow him to be who he is.

That is a Christmas miracle, folks!

Please feel free to share on the topic or whatever is going on in your Program. I’m looking forward to your shares.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.

X Kirsten

January Tradition Meeting – Tradition 1

January: Tradition 1

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 1.  The Traditions are what guide most AA groups. The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 1 ***

“Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

February Tradition Meeting – Tradition 2

February: Tradition 2

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 2. The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 2 ***

“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

March Tradition Meeting – Tradition 3

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 3. The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 3 ***

“The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provide that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

April Tradition Meeting – Tradition 4

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 2. The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 4 ***

“Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

May Tradition Meeting – Tradition 5

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 5. The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 5 ***

“Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose – that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

June Tradition Meeting – June 6

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 6. The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 6 ***

“An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A. — and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

July Tradition Meeting – Tradition 7

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 7.  The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 7 ***

“Every AA Group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds with no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

August Tradition Meeting – Tradition 8

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 8.  The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 8 ***

“Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fees or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we might otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual A.A. ’12 Step’ work is never to be paid for.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

September Tradition Meeting – Tradition 9

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 9.  The Traditions certainly inform our

*** Tradition 9 ***

“AA., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the large group its rotating committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principle newspaper, the A.A. Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

October Tradition Meeting – Tradition 10

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 10.  The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 10 ***

“Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues–particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

November Tradition Meeting – Tradition 11

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 11.  The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 11 ***

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

December Tradition Meeting – Tradition 12

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Tradition 12.  The Traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Tradition 12 ***

“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

This Tradition is listed in one of the appendices in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 562). There is a little more in The Long Form, which starts on p. 563, which has more about some of the Traditions, and lists them all together:

“And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This is to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.”

There is more about it in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

These books may be found at many f2f AA meetings, ordered online from many places, and available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

 

January Step Meeting – Step 1

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 1

We are all invited to share on Step 1. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 1 ***
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more – the Big Book opens with Bill’s Story (which details how one of the A.A. founders found that he was powerless over alcohol and that his life was unmanageable) and I think Chapter 3, “More About Alcoholism” talks about this in detail. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

 

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

February Step Meeting – Step 2

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 2

We are all invited to share on Step 2. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 2 ***
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 4 (We Agnostics), starting about page 44. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

March Step Meeting – Step 3

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 3

We are all invited to share on Step 3. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives

*** Step 3 ***
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 5, starting on p. 60. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

April Step Meeting – Step 4

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 4

We are all invited to share on Step 4. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives

*** Step 4 ***
“Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.”
This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s a lot more in Chapter 5, starting on p. 64. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

May Step Meeting – Step 5

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 5

We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Step 5 and Tradition 5. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives. The traditions are what guide most AA groups. The traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

*** Step 5 ***
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6, starting on p. 72. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

June Step Meeting – Step 6

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 6

We are all invited to share on Step 6. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 6 ***
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting about page 75. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

July Step Meeting – Step 7

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 7

We are all invited to share on Step 7. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 7 ***
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting at the top of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

August Step Meeting – Step 8

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 8

We are all invited to share on Step 8. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 8 ***
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

September Step Meeting – Step 9

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 9

We are all invited to share on Step 9. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 9 ***
“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s much more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

October Step Meeting – Step 10

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 10

We are all invited to share on Step 10. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 10 ***
“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 84. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

November Step Meeting – Step 11

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 11

We are all invited to share on Step 11. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 11 ***
“Sought through prayer and meditation to increase our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting at the bottom of p. 85. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

December Step Meeting – Step 12

Welcome to the Sunday meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women. My name is **** and I am an alcoholic.

Let’s start the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer, for the alcoholic who still suffers both in and out of these rooms.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Our preamble is as follows:

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution: does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

“How It Works” from Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol–cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power–that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

****************************************************************

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

*****************************************************************

And our 12 Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

*****************************************************************

Topic for the week: Step 12

We are all invited to share on Step 12. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

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

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 60). There’s more in Chapter 7 (Working with Others), starting on p. 89, which is all about the 12th step. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/

****************************************************************

An excerpt from the Big Book on pages 83-84.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.

Thanks for attending this meeting.

“The Preamble is Reprinted with permission of the A.A Grapevine, Inc.”

“The Steps and Traditions are Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.”

1019 – Business Meeting Summary

Oct 2019 – Business Meeting Summary

For the October 2019 meeting, 22 members signed up to attend.

The business meeting began on October 1, 2019. Proposal 1.1 was submitted by Tanya Q. to document the job descriptions for WEB Admin, WEB Keeper and WEB Keeper Backup.
There was discussion about the requirements as a grow member, the term of service and the progression of a trusted servant through all 3 positions. We were able to come to agreement and the proposal was approved unanimously on the first vote.

Proposals 2.1 through 2.4 defined the responsibilities of the Sponsor Listkeeper and the Temporary Mentor and the form letters associated with both positions.
There was support for the proposals with the exception of whether or not to email names and email addresses for women willing to sponsor to every new member and the placement of some wording. The proposals were approved with the moving of one paragraph in a letter and the change that online sponsors would be sent to any member who requested the information. The votes on the proposed letters was unanimous. The vote on the job descriptions was not unanimous but did pass by the required 2/3 majority.

Proposal 2.5 was unanimously approved for the elimination of the Newcomer Committee.

Proposal 2.6 changed the language concerning online sponsors to match the proposed job description/ form letters. There was discussion concerning having the GROW member password in the information. Once that was removed, the proposal was unanimously approved.

1019 – Proposal 2.6.a: Online Sponsors Page

Proposal 2.6.a: Change the GROW Webpage to Align with the Changes Suggested Concerning Online Sponsors

Rationale: After removing the available online sponsors webpage, GROW should address using online sponsors to help our members, especially our new members, navigate the process of finding an online sponsor.


Minority Opinion Discussion on Proposal 2.6.a

I disagree because the member is in the members only section, the password is no longer necessary,
We could change the language to something like ….
You can find the current trusted servants email in the list of Grow’s current Trusted Servants.

I agree with Laurie, in that I think we should delete the last sentence of the last paragraph that addresses the password. It’s not needed because the member would already be in the members’ section.
Therefore, I change my vote to “No.”

I also feel the password should be deleted/is unnecessary

Thank you members. Here is why I voted No on Proposal 2.6 for the Sponsor pages.
I agree with Laurie’s comment and I would like to add that I want our new web site to be accurate. It would be nice to keep it simple and not filled with errors and redundancies.
The web site password on this page is redundant and should be excluded. Not only that, but it could confuse a new member, since the website will not call for the password again.
To me this could be seen as a housekeeping item and taken care of by webkeepers, but since it came up in the Proposal, we need to straighten it out in the business meeting.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.6.a

Proposal 2.6.a received 14 yes and 0 no votes. The motion passes.


Group Conscience Decision

Add the introductory paragraphs to the online sponsor webpage at g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/online-sponsors/ that addresses online sponsorship.

Many of us have found there is nothing like a live voice at the end of the phone, or a warm hug in face-to-face contact when we are overwhelmed with a problem in our lives. On-line sponsorship can add another dimension to your recovery as do on-line meetings. Each month, GROW provides a list of available online sponsors who have volunteered for this service. Please be aware that you can also ask anyone in GROW to be your sponsor. Online sponsors are not limited to this list. Know that it may take a few trials to find the right fit for you in a Sponsor.

GROW’s Sponsor Listkeeper sends out the list of available online sponsors at the beginning of each month. If you want to contact our Sponsor Listkeeper, you can find the e-mail address of the current Trusted Servant by going to the Members section on our website at http://g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/. At the bottom of the page will be a link to the current roster. Look for the Sponsor Listkeeper on that list.

1019 – Proposal 2.4.a: Temp Mentor Letter #1

Proposal 2.4.a: Replace the existing Temporary Mentor Letter #1 with the following.

Hi [ New Member Name ],

I am [ Mentor Name ], Temporary Mentor for GROW. I see that you joined GROW recently and I’d like to welcome you! In the past, some members have found our information overwhelming at first, so we created this position (Temporary Mentor) as a helpful resource should you have questions and/or concerns about how our group and/or AA works.

Each month, our Sponsor Listkeeper sends out a list of women in GROW who have volunteered to sponsor our members. For your convenience, I include the current list at the bottom of this note. You can watch for shares from these women on the mailing list. When you read a share that touches you personally or that reflects what you want in sobriety, I recommend that you write to them. After you know them better, you can ask them to sponsor you. The Sponsor Listkeeper can send you a list of available sponsors in GROW.  Please be aware that you can ask anyone in GROW to sponsor you. You do not have to limit your choices to the List of Available Online Sponsors. In case you would like to contact our Sponsor Listkeeper, you can write to her at [SLK e-mail].

Just a reminder that you can learn more about AA by visiting one of these links:

  • The Alcoholics Anonymous general services office and information such as the AA Big Book (titled “Alcoholics Anonymous”) or the “12 Steps and 12 Traditions,” along with many pamphlets as well as links to local resources for AA.
  • AA’s Online Intergroup (OIAA) where you can find meeting lists as well as real-time phone numbers and other Internet types of meetings.
  • AA’s Grapevine magazine with stories and audio stories and Grapevine subscription options.

It would be my pleasure to correspond with you by email (or phone) so if you’d like some help, just let me know. Thanks.

Temporary Mentor Name ]
GROW Temporary Mentor

[List of Available Sponsors]

Rationale:  The letter on the test website is outdated and does not reflect changes that were approved in the October 2018 and April 2019 business meetings. The second paragraph in the proposed letter reflects those decisions and a change that is necessary given our Group Conscience decision to eliminate the Available Online Sponsors webpage from GROW’s website. It also reminds newcomers that they can ask anyone in GROW to be their sponsor.


Minority Opinion Discussion on Proposal 2.4.a

I disagree because – the list for sponsors should be available by request. Not simply sent to all the new members .

I like all in red, except the sentence beginning *for your convenience* which I think should be omitted. This is because the woman has already been informed (in same letter) to look out for a twice monthly list shared to the group. I too believe she needs to ask for this herself.

Also, we’re living in a techno age where info is shared too easily by some. We have lots of new members who are young and so are switched on to tech/phone. I don’t think this info should be prone to being put out there any more than it already is.

I disagree with including the sponsor list in the letter. I think it could easily be shared out.

I agree with Louise and Laurie. Remove the struck out sentences and I am good to go.s Laurie.

 


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.4.a

Proposal 2.4.a has passed, 12 yes and 1 no, so we achieved 2/3 majority.


Group Conscience Decision

Proposal 2.4.a has passed, 12 yes and 1 no, so we achieved 2/3 majority.

Recommended language for the Temporary Mentor Letter is now as follows.

Hi [ New Member Name ],

I am [ Mentor Name ], Temporary Mentor for GROW. I see that you joined GROW recently and I’d like to welcome you! In the past, some members have found our information overwhelming at first, so we created this position (Temporary Mentor) as a helpful resource should you have questions and/or concerns about how our group and/or AA works.

Just a reminder that you can learn more about AA by visiting one of these links:

  • The Alcoholics Anonymous general services office and information such as the AA Big Book (titled “Alcoholics Anonymous”) or the “12 Steps and 12 Traditions,” along with many pamphlets as well as links to local resources for AA.
  • AA’s Online Intergroup (OIAA) where you can find meeting lists as well as real-time phone numbers and other Internet types of meetings.
  • AA’s Grapevine magazine with stories and audio stories and Grapevine subscription options.
  • Each month, our Sponsor Listkeeper sends out a list of women in GROW who have volunteered to sponsor our members. When you read a share that touches you personally or that reflects what you want in sobriety, I recommend that you write to them. After you know them better, you can ask them to sponsor you. The Sponsor Listkeeper can send you a list of available sponsors in GROW.  Please be aware that you can ask anyone in GROW to sponsor you. You do not have to limit your choices to the List of Available Online Sponsors. In case you would like to contact our Sponsor Listkeeper, you can write to her at [SLK e-mail].

It would be my pleasure to correspond with you by email (or phone) so if you’d like some help, just let me know. Thanks.

Temporary Mentor Name ]
GROW Temporary Mentor

1019 – Proposal 2.3.a: Temp Mentor Job Desc

Proposal 2.3.a:  Revise the Temporary Mentor job description to add a bullet for coordinating with the Sponsor Listkeeper to assure new members have the current GROW Sponsor List.


Minority Opinion Discussion on Proposal 2.3.a

I disagree with providing all new members the list. I believe the list itself needs to be a request There for the job description needs not state this as a requirement for this position .

I voted ‘no’ for the very same reason stated by Laurie below (above).

I d like the list to be a request, not included in the email, and also voted no.

Nicely done. However – Work with the Sponsor Listkeeper to assign a Temporary Sponsor when requested, —is fine. But –
provide new members the email address for Sponsor Listkeeper, and include a link to the web page with the password for members with instructions to select the ONLINE SPONSOR page for more information.
– should be removed –
All of this information is in the FYI PAGE. Sent out by the greeters. And in temp mentor letter one. So it is not a separate task- and redundant info .
I would suggest using bullet points for separate tasks , And I would remove this last sentence.

My exact reasons for voting no.  Leave the list off and I am good with the rest of it. As below.
Work with the Sponsor Listkeeper to assign a Temporary Sponsor when requested, provide new members a link to the Sponsor Listkeeper, and include the current list of GROW Sponsors at the bottom of Temporary Mentor #1 form letter.

Agree with Laurie that the Sponsor list should not be sent to all members by our Temporary Mentor. Only those who want the list should be sent it. They can find it by contacting our Sponsor List Keeper with links that we give them.  This is an simple way to show someone how to begin to take responsibility for themselves and to learn how to ask for help, two basic precepts of early recovery. Having lost confidence in ourselves, when we find the things we do working for us, it restores our confidence and self-worth. Let’s encourage that!

I agree with Gigi.  I think bullet points should definitely be used as that makes easy to read and follow.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.3.a

Proposal 2.3.a received 19 yes and 0 no votes.


Group Conscience Decision

The Temporary Mentor job description now reads as follows.

Temporary Mentor Job Description

  • 1 year term
  • 1 year of continuous sobriety
  • 1 year membership in GROW
  • Must be a member of the Business List.
  • Will be a member of the Steering Committee.
  • Read GROW mail daily to note when the Greeter introduces new members in order to contact the new member privately to offer additional support in making solid connection with the Group and/or AA.
  • About 2-3 days after she joins, contact each new member to explain your position as Temporary Mentor (TM), offering to answer questions or provide guidance until the member feels comfortable in the GROW group (see Temporary Mentor #1 form letter).
  • Work with the Sponsor Listkeeper to assign a Temporary Sponsor when requested and provide new members a link to the Sponsor Listkeeper.
  • Refer the newcomer to other online AA resources, as well as ways to find face-to-face AA resources.
  • Maintain working relationship with, and assist new member as needed with learning, GROW email etiquette guidelines.
  • Each month, the Temporary Mentor will send a short letter reminding GROW members of AA resources available to them.
  • Common duties and requirements to all Trusted Servant positions is described here.

1019 – Proposal 2.6: Online Sponsors page

Proposal 2.6: This proposal suggests changes to the GROW webpage to align with the changes suggested concerning online sponsors


Discussion on Proposal 2.6

Joan, I think maybe the committee overlooked the paragraph starting with “many of us have found….
I don’t see the need to include it twice. It appears in the Sponsor List Announcement and in the introductory paragraph about online sponsorship. My opinion.

Thank you for forwarding the comment, Joan. However, I disagree. The reason for duplicating the language is to be consistent from one GROW source to another. Proposal 2.2 is for the Sponsor List Announcement form letter that the Sponsor Liskeeper sends out each month, while Proposal 2.6 adds the same language to our website page on sponsors will will remain the same over time. To me, the issue isn’t how many times it’s said but whether we are consistent in GROW’s different ‘publications.’

My one concern about this is that our password is printed in this. I’d like to see our password remain in emails. I would prefer not to see it printed on Members pages. I know, someone has to have already used it to have gotten to the Members pages. Then they don’t need it again, do they?

Thanks for the clarification Danna & Gigi. I agree this is about having consistency across our “publications”.

I had not thought of that, thank you Gigi! I agree

This sounds great— I agree with the proposed changes.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.6

Proposal 2.6 received 14 yes and 4 no votes. The minority opinion will present.


 

1019 – Proposal 2.5: Newcomer Committee

Proposal 2.5: This proposal is made to eliminate the Newcomer Committee

Rationale: The Newcomers Committee was created in the October 2018 business meeting to provide support to the Temporary Mentor. As proposed, the committee would have been made up of women who are new to sobriety – to whom new members to GROW and sobriety could better relate. When the Temporary Mentor called for volunteers, no newcomers volunteered; however, several women with long-term sobriety did volunteer.

The committee began with 11 members, but two of them have withdrawn. Of the nine remaining members, two are willing at this time to be temporary sponsors for new GROW members. The current Temporary Mentor has not experienced workload conflicts and has not had to call on the committee for help except to find a temporary sponsor for the one new member who have asked about it.

While established to help both the Temporary Mentor and new GROW members who are also new to sobriety, the Newcomer Committee did not achieve the goal of having members within their first year of sobriety. Rather, the members have long-term sobriety. Further, only two of the nine members are, at this time, available to be Temporary Sponsors for new members. The current Temporary Mentor has been able to handle the workload without recourse to the Committee. Therefore, the Newcomers Committee has been inactive and is not needed.


Discussion on Proposal 2.5

Sadly this was a flat-out bust. F2f practice did not translate well into the online world.

Is this something that has worked in the past? Maybe we could try for another round of the committee? I know I would’ve liked that when I first signed up. I personally try to reach out to the new women because I have heard that it’s hard for them to relate to the shares. Then again, maybe it hasn’t worked because the need hasn’t been strong enough. I don’t know the demographic of the people signing up. The group definitely does seem to be made up of people who find online support once they’re already established in their sobriety.

It is interesting that a lot of women coming to GROW now have some sobriety under their belts and may not need the Newcomer help – and I do believe that many of us reach out to the newcomers – maybe it isn’t necessary. The orientation to the site and the shares are important and the digest is always there. Just my thoughts.

By way of explanation, we had an incident in which a newcomer asked someone on the sponsor list to sponsor her, and did not get a reply for over a week. Or maybe she never got one. I was Immediate Past TM and the one who was doing the job at the time consulted with me. We came up with this idea, and in GROW once we have a group conscience in place, it must stand for a minimum of one year.
This is the end of that year. The idea was mine and I felt it was risky. This is something that does not translate well from the f2f world to online. In early sobriety I had a f2f sponsor and she directed me in a meeting to go talk to a newcomer. I would never have thought I had anything to offer. I learned that day that sometimes a newcomer can relate better to someone with a month than 15 years. But without that encouragement to go do it, online newcomers will not step forth, we have found. There have been no shortage of newcomers this year, yet you are the only one who has stepped up. So I don’t think this will work.
GROW has Greeters, Sponsor listkeeper and sponsors, Temporary Mentor, and 12th Step Volunteers with a listkeeper for that group. IMHO we do lots to support newcomers. We encourage new members to go to f2f meetings and functions and to find f2f sponsors. At some point it is up to each new member to put together her own spiritual tool kit. The fact is, sometimes people have to go out again to realize that they need this. We are here to plant seeds as well as to nurture new recovery and support on-going recovery. I hesitate to share this because it is long. Thank you for bearing with me.

I think the ad hoc committee has done a great job of ensuring that new women in particular have access to a temporary sponsor. Many thanks, guys, for the work put in here.
The newcomer committee didn’t work out, Sarah. I was TM after Gigi (and just before Danna) and, due to approx eight women all at once calling out for help, I was spending a lot of time writing back and forth. Gigi suggested a NC so we tried it out. However, that brief period of the eight needing help wasn’t repeated (not in my time left as TM and I don’t think in the present TM’s experience).
I think establishing a close-working link (as has been suggested by the committee) between the sponsor listkeeper and the TM will serve the same purpose as the NC was originally intended to serve. This way, though, the women willing to be sponsors will be able to indicate whether they will be available as temporary sponsors too. I like it. It’s simple and straightforward. Less convoluted as we were in danger of having too many pathways for the newcomers and none closely enough aligned as to ensure effective communication.

Thank you Gigi and Louise for clarifying this. I thought that the NC was a great idea but if you both say there is no need, I’m all for simplicity.

I also appreciate the clarification and feel that we have the positions in place to adequately address the needs of newcomers if and when they are willing.

 


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.5

Voting: Seventeen (17) participants in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 2.5. Therefore, Proposal 2.5 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

  • The Newcomer Committee has been eliminated.

1019 – Proposal 2.4: Temp Mentor Form

Proposal 2.4: This proposal suggests changes to the Temporary Mentor Form Letters


Discussion on Proposal 2.4

Hi Ladies, I thought the flow of the letter would be better with the new addition closer to the list of sponsors. So I changed it up so you could see how you like it with the different placement. Laurie

Responses

I like it Laurie, thank you.

Again in this proposal as in 2.3, I am reluctant to post the names of our potential sponsors to every new member. This letter states: For your convenience, I include the current list at the bottom of this note. Our committee did not have time to iron this out, so I am bringing it to the business meeting.
The SLK (Sponsor List Keeper) letters say nothing about the potential sponsors having their names sent to every new member. There is no way for a potential sponsor to know this will happen. I just don’t think that’s a good idea. Maybe no one else minds but I would so I have to say something. And if the group decides to go with the list being sent to every new member, I will accept it.

I agree, I like this way too.

I like this way too

Thank you Laurie. I like it.

I also like this appreciate your efforts Laurie.

 


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.4

Proposal 2.4 received 16 yes and 3 no votes. The minority opinion will present.


1019 – Proposal 2.3: Temp Mentor Job Desc

Proposal 2.3: This proposal suggests changes to the Temporary Mentor Job Description


Discussion on Proposal 2.3

Again, my one hesitation with this is that the women who offer to be on the Sponsor list may not realize that their names are going to every new member. I would much rather see new members have to do a little bit of work by reaching out to our Sponsor Listkeeper to obtain that list of names.

Here is my thinking: We have over 400 members now, yet we hear from a small percentage of them. Yet all 400 have received the list of sponsors. I would not put my name out there for that level of exposure. Women who continue to operate on the level of thinking that it’s easy to stop drinking, I’ll just join a group, may not be responsible enough to keep that list close. They may return to drinking and become too careless. They could have saved the list to their contacts and be hacked. It’s just not safe enough for me.

This is a good point. I don’t think it’s a huge barrier to have women take the extra step and request the sponsor list.

Love it. Great work ladies


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.3

Proposal 2.3 received 14 yes and 3 no votes. The minority opinion will present.


 

1019 – Proposal 2.2: Sponsor Listkeeper Form

Proposal 2.2: This proposal suggests changes to the Sponsor Listkeeper form letters

Proposal: Revise the current form letters for the Sponsor Listkeeper so that they are easier to read and focus on only one idea. Separate the content into: (1) monthly mailing to GROW membership announcing the available online sponsees, (2) monthly invitation for GROW members to volunteer to be included on the Sponsor List, and (3) monthly confirmation that people on the sponsor list wish to remain there.


Discussion on Proposal 2.2

Joan, I think maybe the committee overlooked the paragraph starting with “many of us have found….
I don’t see the need to include it twice. It appears in the Sponsor List Announcement and in the introductory paragraph about online sponsorship. My opinion.

Thank you for forwarding the comment, Joan. However, I disagree. The reason for duplicating the language is to be consistent from one GROW source to another. Proposal 2.2 is for the Sponsor List Announcement form letter that the Sponsor Liskeeper sends out each month, while Proposal 2.6 adds the same language to our website page on sponsors will will remain the same over time.
To me, the issue isn’t how many times it’s said but whether we are consistent in GROW’s different ‘publications.’

So…. do we need to include something on the letter to confirm that they still want to be on the sponsor list that they are still a member of GROW and wish to be of service to the membership.

I like the new form letters. I like the system for the SLK.

Thanks for the clarification Danna & Gigi. I agree this is about having consistency across our “publications”.

Following up on Laurie’s point about clarifying that one is a sponsor in GROW, we could simply add “in this group” to the letter where it is now placed in red (below). Letter #3 already mentions that this sponsorship is in GROW.

Alternatively, we could add something to the effect of One must be a member of GROW to be on this list, or something like that at the end of the first paragraph.

Thank you for the amendment. However, I feel the check between the SLK by the Listkeeper to confirm someone is still a current member should remain. I’m not sure why it would be a good idea to take this out. I have done two roles – 12th Step Listkeeper & Sponsor Listkeeper and found it was essential for me to check in with the Listkeeper as members do unsubscribe and it takes the Listkeeper a minute to run the check.

I am suggesting this as an addition to having the SLK confirm with the listkeepers. The persons signing up to be sponsors should know that they are supposed to remain members of our group to stay on the list.

I must say I never thought of it before this meeting but having email addresses that could be shared is a concern. I would be comfortable with keeping the list of available sponsors just on the website. I do feel it should still be required to check monthly with the women to see if they still want to be a sponsor on the list and are still a part of GROW. This is potentially the first contact a new person will make and therefore its important we try to make sure it is correct.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.2

Voting: Seventeen (17) participants in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 2.2. Therefore, Proposal 2.2 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Updated Sponsor Listkeeper form letters are as follows:

# 1 – Sponsor List Announcement:
Dear Women of GROW,
Grateful Recovering Online Women supports sponsorship. We offer this list to you of women who are willing to sponsor on-line. Many of us have found there is nothing like a live voice at the end of the phone, or a warm hug in a f2f contact when we are overwhelmed with a problem in our lives. On-line sponsorship can add another dimension to your recovery as on-line meetings. Please be aware that you can also ask anyone in GROW to be your sponsor. Online sponsors are not limited to this list. Know that it may take a few trials to find the right fit for you in a Sponsor.

For more information about sponsorship, please visit our web page on sponsorship (g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/online-sponsors/) in GROW’s members only section (password: sobertodayhow2484). You can also find AA’s “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship” at www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf.

List of Available Sponsors:
[list sponsor names and information]
Phone numbers of many on the above list are available upon request.

[Name]
Sponsor Listkeeper

#2 – Sponsor List Invitation [New Form Letter]
Dear Women of GROW,

You can enhance your sobriety by offering to sponsor other alcoholics and share what has been given to you with others. If you would like to offer your name as a potential online sponsor in this group, please review the GROW web page on Sponsorship at g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/online-sponsors/ (Password: sobertodayhow2484). You might also refer to AA’s pamphlet “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship” at aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf.

If after reviewing this information, you want to add your name to our list, please send me the following information:

· name
· geographic location
· sobriety date
· telephone number (if you wish)
· current e-mail address
· whether you are interested in being a temporary sponsor for a new member to GROW

You will then be added to our Available Online Sponsors list which is sent to the group each month and to those who ask about sponsorship (whether on a temporary or permanent basis). Know the list is updated every month, and you must affirm your desire to stay on the list from month to month. Please know that you may be asked to sponsor newcomers and be alert to a suggested response time of 48 hours.

Thank you,
[Name]
Sponsor Listkeeper

#3 – Sponsor List Confirmation [New Form Letter]
Dear Volunteer:

Thank you for your service this past month by putting your name and contact information forward for being a sponsor in GROW. If you wish to continue next month, please Reply to [Sponsor Listkeeper Name].

If you do not reply by the end of the month, I will remove your name from the list unless and until you contact me again.

If you want to continue to be on the list, please send me any corrections or changes in your sponsor information.

Thank you,
[Name]
Sponsor Listkeeper
[e-mail address]

1019 – Proposal 2: Sponsor Listkeeper TS

Proposal 2: Sponsor Listkeeper job description

This proposal suggests changes to the Sponsor Listkeeper job description.


Rationale: During our discussions on the Temporary Mentor (newcomer committee and providing links to AA resources), it became clear that there are issues related to the Online Available Sponsors list/webpage because the people on that list do not always respond timely (or at all) to newcomers’ requests for help. Further, Available Online Sponsors do not rotate, and the only members that rotate on both the 12th Step List and the Sponsor List are the listkeepers. The Available Online Sponsor webpage creates the impression that only people on the sponsor list can sponsor, which in reality is not the case.


Discussion on Proposal 2.1

My one hesitation about this Proposal is that a person could theoretically no longer be a member of GROW and still remain on the Sponsor list, if the Sponsor Listkeeper does not check in with the listkeepers monthly or so.  Someone could unsub (either by themself through our admin pages or through the listkeepers) and still be receiving letters from the SLK, responding to them, and remaining on the Sponsor list.  It's a really small detail so I hesitate to even bring it up, but something keeps telling me to mention it.

I am in agreement about keeping in the checks to ensure those on the sponsor list are actually still subscribed members of GROW. This is a requirement of others eg 12th Step Listkeeper- to check monthly. Thanks Gigi for the clarification as to why this is important.

I’m not sure we made clear enough our total proposal for the Sponsor Listkeeper (SLK). There are three form letters proposed, instead of the one that exists today. They break up the things the SLK is doing into three discrete actions each month:

  1. Presenting the list of available sponsors to the group
  2. Asking for volunteers to be sponsors in GROW
  3. Confirming that women on the sponsor list want to stay on the sponsor list

We did drop the requirement for the SLK to check with the listkeepers to see if women are still members of GROW. There is a time limit on the ladies' response to the SLK. If they do not respond timely, they will be dropped from the list automatically. While there was not unanimous agreement on this point, most of the participants in the Ad Hoc Committee felt that would be sufficient. The women currently in those positions did not think it necessary.

I must say I never thought of it before this meeting but having email addresses that could be shared is a concern. I would be comfortable with keeping the list of available sponsors just on the website. I do feel it should still be required to check monthly with the women to see if they still want to be a sponsor on the list and are still a part of GROW. This is potentially the first contact a new person will make and therefore its important we try to make sure it is correct.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.1

Voting: Seventeen (17) participants in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 2.1. Therefore, Proposal 2.1 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

The Sponsor Listkeeper job description is revised as shown, deleting bullets that have been struck out and adding the bullets shown in red.

Sponsor Listkeeper Job Description
  • 6 month term
  • 1 year sobriety
  • Must be member of Business List.
  • Maintains a list of group members who are willing to sponsor online, including: first name, last initial, DOS, email address, location of residence.
  • At the term’s beginning and midterm, confirms sponsor volunteers are still GROW members.
  • Twice each month sends reminders to the group that the list is available upon request.
  • Forwards sponsor list to members when requested.
  • At least once each month, mails sponsor list to the group (see Sponsor List Announcement form letter). May want to resend if someone on the list drops out mid-month.
  • Each month, invites GROW members to volunteer to be online sponsors (see Sponsor List Invitation form letter).
  • Each month, verifies that each woman on the list of available online sponsors want to continue to serve as a temporary or permanent sponsor (see Sponsor List Confirmation form letter).
  • The Listkeeper and Sponsor Listkeeper will coordinate to ensure that when someone unsubs, if that person is listed on the Sponsor List, her name will be deleted from the list of available sponsors as well.
  • The Sponsor Listkeeper will work with the Temporary Mentor to assure that newcomers who want a sponsor are assigned a temporary sponsor.
  • Common duties and requirements to all Trusted Servant positions is described here.
  • Wording for letter commonly used is provided in the link below:
  • Sponsor List Announcement
  • Sponsor List Invitation
  • Sponsor List Confirmation

1019 – Proposal 1: Website Trusted Servants

Proposal 1: Website TS Job Descriptions

Updated Web Admin, Web-keeper and Backup Web-keeper Job Descriptions.


Discussion on Proposal 1

Joan. This email didn’t come thru properly.  I’m not sure about three proposals.

However it is not physically possible to have served as webkeeper (non-rotating).  And have a minimum two years sobriety / two years membershipShe would have to have been in grow at least four years to fill those requirements. The web-keeper has the same minimums.

It makes more sense to me to ask for a one year membership – with holding a service position to become familiar with how grow works.  And a minimum 5 years sobriety for such technical positions.

Response: I agree to increase the sobriety and GROW membership requirements for the Web Admin position.

However, I think it is reasonable to have 4 years sobriety and 4 years of GROW membership for the Web Admin.
I am opposed to “5” because the Web-keeper upon completing their term would have 4 years of sobriety and 4 years of GROW membership … if we increase the sobriety and GROW membership in this position … we could possibly eliminate potential Trusted Servants for these positions. Just something to consider.

Are we going to state anywhere that to be the Web Admin, one should have experience with one of the other 2 web-keeper positions?

I am confused because I was on the website committee and I do not remember discussing these job descriptions at all.

For Web Admin: May we please have a description of what the “GROW server PLESK account” is, in Web Admin job description?

I support the Web Admin position description as far as I understand it.

For Web-keeper: Eliminate the highlighted bullet point about Archives.  We let those go a long time ago.
Agree with the change to voting status.

Not sure why the proposal includes the part about membership dispute.  This could go into the record but I don’t think it needs to be in the job description.

For Backup Web-keeper: Same remark regarding the membership dispute.  Otherwise I agree with the description.
Thank you to those working on this project.

Could we have some idea from the committee how much time the Backup Webkeeper position takes each week?  And how much training is involved?  Since it remains open…

Response: PLESK is a web hosting platform with a control panel that allows the server administrator to perform tasks necessary for site maintenance ie. Backups, etc.

As the Web Admin I use this control panel to monitor site backups (which are on auto) set up an auto and any updates needed to the site ie. Plugins, Theme, WordPress. If need be if there are hosting issues I would work with our hosting service within this area to resolve.  Sounds complicated however not so much.

I hope this explains it.

As part of the progression in these trusted servant positions … I would work with Allison in the second year to understand my position and as I rotate off, I would be available as on-going support much like we do with the Business Chair and Secretary positions.

Response: This proposal was submitted by me and is work in progress.

Unfortunately, life on life terms has played a big role in this hurried proposal … please accept my amends.
Allison and I had hoped only to refine the job descriptions that are currently posted on the site from the duties performed this past term and I, alone, inadvertently left the requirement of serving in the prior position … this was discussed in the website committee.  Please accept my apologies.

I would like to amend my proposal to (1) add another line be added to the web-keeper job description that includes a requirement of serving a full term as backup web-keeper.

[Note that Allison was placed in the position of web-keeper at our last business meeting by group conscience and I moved to position of web-admin (a new position).  Going forward I feel this requirement (full-term as backup web-keeper) would be important.]

Likewise, (2) add another line be added to the web-admin job description that includes a requirement of serving a full term as web-keeper.

For the same reasons as the web-keeper position.

There is an additional amendment to (3) move the line “Is second holder of the Treasurer’s passwords.” from the Backup Web-Keeper to Web-Keeper because of the sensitive nature and because the Backup Web-Keeper is the newbie position in this service-line opportunity.

As for discussions on the sobriety and membership requirements … I will comment separately.

I’m still a newbie in sobriety and to grow but I just thought I’d share on this one since I am a web designer and seo consultant.

I don’t know the background of our 400+ members but I would guess that most of them don’t have web keeping background. It’s not difficult work but you definitely need training because it’s possible to take down the website entirely with a simple update done incorrectly. The basics could easily be taught in a few sessions with whoever is running the site now so as long as the volunteers are computer savvy, I would say they could learn what they need to know without being a full blown web designer. WordPress is great for that.

I think it’s a nice idea to have two year terms for these positions. If the website has been built properly, there shouldn’t be a huge time commitment for these roles and this way, they have time to learn the skills, do the job and then pass on the skills to the next volunteer.

As for requirements for these positions, if it has been difficult to fill them (which it seems it has been?) maybe put in the description that full training would be given to the volunteer if they don’t have much web experience? Again, I don’t know who has been running the web so I don’t know if that’s available but it’s an idea since I’m sure the majority of people see that job title and automatically think ‘not for me’
I would lower the requirements for the web back up role. Maybe 1 year for both sobriety and grow membership just to be able to get newer people in who would maybe step up to web-keeper or admin after their back up term is complete.

Also, I’ve noticed that seo (search engine optimization) is not properly set up for the web so it’s not super easy to find it via a Google search. Maybe add that to the tasks for the positions?
Hopefully that was helpful, thank you ladies for all that you do!!!

Kathy, alcoholic. Sarah, I appreciate your expertise and willingness to share it.  You will intuitively know when a big commitment is right for you.  Very good that you are recognizing your limitations regarding when and how you use your gifts.

I too am eager to jump into service (not only to AA, but with support for STEM students,  at my church, and with respect to climate change action, which was the technical focus of my career).  I overcommitted throughout my career, but now in retirement and after a relapse, I am finally learning that too many commitments bring on anxiety, which is a trigger for me and so many of us.  I now am taking a slower approach to why and how I commit to service.  The challenge of altering and reprogramming my fundamental and life-long inclination to “save the world” by doing too much has been among the most difficult I have encountered, sober or actively in my addiction.  I am grateful to the God of my understanding and to the wonderful program people in my life for the support I have had making these changes. These changes also are one day at a time.

The situation where a membership dispute created a problem in website management is extremely rare (only once to my knowledge). Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to add this to the Web Admin position, as other unique situations might arise that call for a different action or response. The job descriptions can’t possibly address everything that might come up.If you feel the bullet is necessary, I would make it more general, for example …
“Where the Steering Committee takes an action that impacts how the GROW website is managed, the Web Administrator will work closely with the Business Meeting Chair to assure the action is implemented consistent with the Committee’s intent and the smooth operation of the site.”

I agree, it should be left out. We cannot possibly cover all situations that may arise. If something must be added I agree with Danna’s revised bullet below:

I just want to be sure I understand how the web positions are being structured. It appears that there is a “chain” here similar to the listkeeper job where the “back-up” (or alternate) is committing to more than one year of service. That is, the backup is signing up with the expectation that she will become webkeeper for two years and then web administrator for another two years. This means the back-up web-keeper would be making a six-year commitment to GROW.I don’t think that’s reasonable.

First, how many of us could make a commitment that extended over the next six years of our unpredictable lives? Second, it basically means that our members could only volunteer for the back-up job – that the web-keeper and web administrator jobs would be closed to volunteers. While I recognize that technical skills are limited, we can’t assume that new members will not have both the required sober time and the necessary skills to fill any one of those positions.

Am I misunderstanding the way the position descriptions are intertwined? If so, please explain how you envision this progression working. I just think a six-year commitment would discourage any of our members from volunteering as webkeeper backup. There must be a better way – maybe just one-year commitments for each position. I don’t have the answer, but I need to ask the question.

“Work closely with Steering Committee to ensure that pertinent group history is preserved and that archives are accessible to GROW members in keeping with the GROW Archives Guidelines.” Gigi suggests eliminating this bullet from the webkeeper job description.

Rather than eliminate it, I would reword it with something that reflects the fact that our website IS now our archives. Personally, I think it’s very important that the webkeeper is aware of and fulfills that important function. If we remove the bullet from the position description, we may be more likely to lose important documentation, especially for our business meetings and group conscience decisions.

I would, however, amend the reference to the Steering Committee to emphasize the Business Meeting Chair’s role in assuring meeting notes, group conscience decisions, etc. are recorded correctly on the website.
Also, I don’t see an “Archives Guidelines” on the website. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. I just couldn’t find it. If the Guidelines have been eliminated from the website, the reference to them should be removed. If they are still in effect, never mind.

I suggest the following changes to the bullet rather than eliminating it:
“Work closely with the Business Meeting Chair and the Steering Committee to ensure that pertinent group history is preserved in the members’ section of the GROW website and that archivesd materials are accessible to GROW members in keeping with the GROW Archives Guidelines” [remove only if the Archives Guidelines are no longer on the website]

Response:  Thank you for your comments.

The structure is similar to that of the listkeeper due to the nature of the position just as is the listkeeper’s position is.

The Backup Web-keeper with be giving small routine tasks (ie the weekly meeting posts) that would allow that trusted servant to understand the function of the website.

Then the transition to Web-keeper which would include other routine tasks (ie business meetings posts) within the same vain except would also get some exposure to administrative duties.

Then the transition to Web Admin which would have other routine tasks (updates and user / server functions) to perform and be available to help the Web-keeper and Backup Web-keeper because they were one.  This way as Web Admin, the trusted servant would have the needed skills to help the Backup Web-keeper and Web-keeper.

The past Web Admin would roll off and be available to assist the current Web Admin as we do with the Business Chair, Secretary and Listkeeper positions.

6 years is a long commitment and I am all for changing each position to a year … making it a 3-year commitment ie Backup Web-keeper 1-year term, Web-keeper 1-year term and Web Admin 1-year term. The big key is rotation of service.

Each position as with all trusted servant positions can be a part of our recovery journey and working as a team can enhance that effort as we share our ESH with each other.

Danna you and I have and Allison and I have too.  I treasure those opportunities while serving my group.
I disagree with the statement that “it basically means that our members could only volunteer for the back-up job – that the webkeeper and web administrator jobs would be closed to volunteers” … every position is open to the grow membership … these particular positions are progressive because it involves a learning curve using WordPress for particular functions.  And by doing the progressive steps, the trusted servant would have the tools needed to be successful.

Hope that helps.

I like Tanya’s suggestion to require just one year in each position to require just a three year commitment. It seems less daunting to the volunteer.

After a number of terms, and in several years there won’t need to be a “ commitment for three years”  We should have had some people who took the positions and retired and then can step back into them – once they have done the job.  It’s only for the start up that we need the progression.

Thank you all for your thoughts here.  Making these service posts 1 year commitments seems very wise.

Thank you all for this clarifying discussion. I think that in the long run having shorter terms of service will generate more, not fewer, volunteers.

Again, apologies for the lateness of my response.  Looking into our Archives group conscience decisions on the old web site, there have been none since 2006. The “archives” mentioned were on Binhost, which has not been our server for quite a long time.  It is correct that most of this information (see requirements below) is posted on our website, and of course we want our Web Admin and Steering Committee to work closely on keeping up with these.  The suggested wording offered by Danna is accurate and up-to-date.  It reflects our mandate to maintain certain records of our group on our website in a password-protected area.  I for one would love to keep somewhere a listing of past TSs but that is probably not practical.

Archives maintained by the Archivist and posted in the password protected members’ only section of g-r-o-w.com will include:

  • A history written by the founders of GROW.
  • A listing of trusted servant job guidelines, and current trusted servants and terms.
    Quarterly reports for the most recent 2 years from Treasurer, Listkeeper, Secretary, OIAA, GSR and Steering Committee Secretary.
  • All Group Conscience decisions
  • Current letter and format templates used by or for Greeter-Welcomer, Listkeeper, email list provider, meeting format, 12 Step Chair, Topic Leader Chair, Sponsor Listkeeper, FYI, E-Mail Etiquette, etc.
  • usiness meeting agendas and minutes for the most recent 2 years.

Results of Voting on Proposal 1

Voting: Twelve (12) participants in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 1.1. Therefore, Proposal 1 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

The updated job descriptions are as follows:

Web Admin
  • 1-year term
  • 4 years of sobriety
  • 4 years in GROW membership
  • Served a full term as Web-keeper of the GROW website
  • Member of Business List
  • Voting member of the Steering Committee
  • Maintain GROW Server PLESK account 
  • Maintain a periodic backup of the GROW database
  • Maintain GROW website updates (WordPress, theme and plugins)
  • Inform Steering Committee when updates are made to the website
  • Consult with Steering Committee before making substantial design or content changes to GROW website
  • Support Web-keeper and Backup Web-keeper on WordPress site issues
  • Provide Web-keeper and Backup Web-keeper with all necessary information and passwords to access all web accounts and web server
  • Provide the Web-keeper’s email address to the web hosting service and designate her as co-owner
  • As owner of the g-r-o-w web account, help ensure that the annual service fee is paid. If necessary, provide copies of invoice/receipt to GROW Treasurer for reimbursement
  • Upon retirement, transfer website account to successor, provide successor with all necessary information, including job guidelines, and serve as a mentor for a period of time to ensure continuity of service.
  • Common duties and requirements to all Trusted Servant positions is described here.
Web-keeper
  • 1-year term
  • 2 years of sobriety
  • 2 years in GROW membership
  • Served a full-term as Backup Web-keeper
  • Must be member of Business List
  • Voting member of the Steering Committee 
  • Is second holder of the Treasurer’s passwords.
  • Maintains public website (g-r-o-w.com) for GROW to provide information about Alcoholics Anonymous and for the purpose of attracting new members. Information should include:
    • Info about Alcoholics Anonymous
    • Info about GROW
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Our Guiding Philosophy
    • Guide for Email Etiquette
    • Traditions in Cyberspace
    • How to become a member
  • Maintain a password protected private section on g-r-o-w.com to provide GROW members with information about GROW, including:
    • List of trusted servants and job descriptions
    • Info about how we conduct business
    • Group conscience decisions
    • Common Welfare Guidelines
    • Important addresses
    • Work closely with the Business Meeting Chair and the Steering Committee to ensure that pertinent group history is preserved in the members’ section of the GROW website and that archived materialsare accessible to GROW
  • Inform Steering Committee when updates are made to the website
  • Consult with Steering Committee before making substantial design or content changes to GROW website
  • Post all business meetings and keep updated throughout the business meeting
  • Ensure that any material posted on g-r-o-w.com appropriately protects the anonymity of anyone mentioned
  • Upon retirement, transfer website account to successor, provide successor with all necessary information, including job guidelines, and serve as a mentor for a period of time to ensure continuity of service
  • Common duties and requirements to all Trusted Servant positions is described here.
Backup Web-keeper
  • 1-year term
  • 1 year of sobriety
  • 1 year in GROW membership
  • Member of Business List
  • Voting member of the Steering Committee.
  • Maintains the Weekly Meeting Topics in the private section of g-r-o-w.com.
  • Support Web-keeper in maintaining public website (g-r-o-w.com) for GROW to provide information about Alcoholics Anonymous and to for the purpose of attracting new members:
    • Info about AA
    • Info about GROW
    • FAQs
    • Guideline for Email Etiquette
    • Traditions in Cyberspace
    • How to become a member
  • Support the Web-keeper in maintaining a password-protected private section on g-r-o-w.comto provide GROW members with information about GROW, including:
    • List of trusted servants and job descriptions
    • Info about how we conduct business
    • Group conscience decisions
    • Common welfare guidelines
    • Important addresses
  • Common duties and requirements to all Trusted Servant positions is described here.

Oct 06: Step 10

Step 10:  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

Asking ourselves these question each night, writing about it, discussing things with our sponsor to get a different perspective…ect…we have daily tools to grow that have been laid at our feet…
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.
Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?
Do we owe an apology?
Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
Were we kind and loving toward all?
What could we have done better?
Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time?
Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?
“But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.”

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead.
We consider our plans for the day.
Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
“Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.”

“In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.”

“We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.”
We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only.
We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped.
We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.
“Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.”
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.
We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”
We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works – it really does.

“We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.”

My personal Step 10 consists of a daily written inventory. I of course spot check throughout the day, but I find it’s harder to lie to myself when I have the truth written out in front of me in black and white. My mind will justify and rationalize everything in my favor. It likes to tell me that I am a victim and blameless. The Spirit knows otherwise. I spent years and years in my head justifying my reactions, decisions and behaviors, pretty much always based in a victim mentality. I blamed others (still have to watch that everyday) instead of admitting that I participated in my own self destruction.

Now, because of God and the Steps of AA, my brain is being continually being rewired to match my soul-where before my mind running the show. Since it doesn’t come automatically to admit my faults, I find this daily 10th Step keeps my accounts with God and others short, so that my next 4th Step won’t be as dramatic.

Simply by asking myself honestly the questions mentioned above, keeps me in check. It’s hard for me to be honest if I am so full of anger, self pity, resentment or blame, so I pray for the willingness to be honest and for God to revel to me the truth in all things. I also ask for the courage to face myself and take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. I would have NEVER known how to do this if not for AA and spiritually fit people God put in my life.

Please share on your experience with Step 10, your personal daily process or whatever experience, strength and hope your sober walk can bless us with!

Hilarie
4/8/14

Trusted Servants 10/2019

Trusted Servants

  • 12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper (10/19-4/20): Karrie C. email
  • Birthday Listkeeper (10/19-4/20): Lynn H.  email
  • Sponsor Listkeeper (10/19-4/20): Rene G.  email

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee:

  • Business Meeting Chair (10/18-10/20): Joan B. email
  • GSR (10/18-10/20): Kate M. email
  • GVR (10/19-10/20): OPEN
  • Greeter (4/19-4/20): Sarah K.  email
  • Greeter (4/19-4/20): Louise H. email
  • Listkeeper (4/19-4/20): Karen H. email
  • Listkeeper Alternate (4/19-4/20): Nancy C. email
  • OIAA Rep (4/20-4/21): OPEN
  • Secretary (10/19-10/20): Laurie C. email
  • Temporary Mentor (4/19-4/20): Danna M. email
  • Treasurer (10/19-10/21): Cheryl B.  email
  • Website Admininstrator (4/19-4/20): Tanya C. email
  • Webkeeper (4/19-4/20): Allison M. email
  • Webkeeper Backup (10/19-10/20): Cheryl D. email
  • Weekly Leader Listkeeper (10/19-4/20): Bobby T. email
  • Immediate Past Business Meeting Chair: Danna M. email
  • Immediate Past GSR: Joan B. email
  • Immediate Past OIAA: Lynn H.  email and Kirsten V. email
  • Immediate Past Secretary: Ruth F.  email

1019 – Ad Hoc Committee Report

Oct 2019 – Ad Hoc Committee Report

Report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Sponsor Listkeeper & Temporary Mentor Coordination

The Ad Hoc Committee met from May through September to discuss several issues related to the way GROW handles sponsors, particularly the jobs of the Sponsor Listkeeper and Temporary Mentor. While we considered including the 12th Step Listkeeper in our discussions, we decided that the position is not really involved in questions about GROW sponsors and dropped it from our deliberations.

Our decisions were informed by a survey of GROW members about their experiences in finding online sponsors. We learned that, while there have been some issues with potential sponsors not responding timely, most of the members who responded were happy with their experiences in finding and working with GROW sponsors.

For the Sponsor Listkeeper and Temporary Mentor positions, the Ad Hoc Committee discussed several issues. The outcome of our discussions is presented in a set of proposals that include:

Sponsor Listkeeper Job Description
Sponsor Listkeeper Form Letters
Temporary Mentor Job Description
Temporary Mentor Form Letter #1
Newcomer Committee
Addition of introductory paragraph on Sponsor Webpage

Generally, after discussion, we concluded that the Sponsor Listkeeper and Temporary Mentor should coordinate, particularly in helping newcomers find temporary sponsors.

Sponsor Listkeeper
We are proposing several changes to the Sponsor Listkeeper Job Description that reflect major changes to the existing Sponsor List Announcement form letter and the addition of two new form letters: Sponsor List Invitation and Sponsor List Confirmation. The three form letters are more focused for specific purposes: distributing the list of available sponsors to our membership, soliciting volunteers for the sponsor list, and confirming each month that the women on the list want to continue on the list. The new Sponsor List Invitation form letter also asks volunteers to indicate if they will be a temporary sponsor for newcomers to GROW. Other deletions to the job description reference duties that are no longer necessary given the other changes described.

Temporary Mentor
We are proposing changes to the Temporary Mentor Job Description that reflect elimination of the Newcomer Committee and working with the Sponsor Listkeeper to provide new members with the list of available GROW sponsors and assign Temporary Sponsors when requested. Changes to the Temporary Mentor Letter #1 that reflect the elimination of the Available Online Sponsors webpage in April 2019 and offer guidance on how to identify potential sponsors in GROW.

Newcomer Commitee
Related to the Temporary Mentor position, we discussed the Newcomer Committee that was created in October 2018. When the committee was formed, we expected that the Newcomer Committee would be composed of GROW members in early sobriety. However, no one in early sobriety volunteered. Several members with long-term sobriety did volunteer; however, because the workload was manageable, they were inactive. When polled on whether they would be willing to be temporary sponsors, few were able to make that commitment. Therefore, we are proposing to eliminate the Newcomer Committee as a good idea that unfortunately didn’t work as expected.

Introductory Paragraphs for GROW’s Online Sponsors Webpage
The webpage currently contains information from the AA pamphlet “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.” We are proposing introductory language (g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/online-sponsors/) to discuss online sponsorship in GROW specifically. The recommended language duplicates language proposed in the Sponsor Listkeeper and Temporary Mentor form letters and assures that members are aware of the sponsor list, how to contact the Sponsor Listkeeper, and that members can ask anyone in GROW to sponsor them.

1019 – OIAA Report

Oct 2019 – OIAA Report

Hello GROW, I’m an alcoholic named Kirsten and our OIAA Representative, alternate.
The June OIAA Chair’s Report included the following:

  • The Ad-Hoc Committee tasked with looking into participating in the AAWS AA meeting guide app license decided to participate.
  • The Web Committee is now assessing the feasibility of participating. A little bit about the meeting guide app below (taken from the April Business Meeting report –thank you Lynn)”Meeting Guide app will be part of the new AAWS AA app launched in 2019. The people that run it now will be handing over the reins to AAWS so there should be no traditions issues moving forward.
    • Meeting Guide is a free mobile A.A. f2f meeting finder app. It gets its data by syncing with area, district, Intergroup/Central Office and International G.S.O. websites.
    • Sites that use their own custom database only need to create a JSON feed to make their data accessible.
    • The app is now used by more than 100,000 users every month, using it on an average of 5.75 times per month.”
  • OIAA is still working toward reinstating non-profit status—a reduction in fees owed has been negotiated and an anonymous donor has stepped forward to donate some of the back fees.
    • The secretary has put out a call for any OIAA-related financial records (2012-2018) that former or current members may have archived in order to help with the reinstatement filing process.
  • The Web Committee is building a trial WordPress site to see whether OIAA can switch platforms. Their decision will be based on functionality of the trial site.

The Treasurer’s Report for July:

  • Expenses: 2 full years of name domain protection @$89.95
  • Total contributions for June: $266.68
  • Balance (July 1, 2019): $1430.01
  • Issues affecting finances include pending vote on whether to attend the AA World Convention in 2020 in Detroit. The treasurer recommends a vote that includes all of OIAA, including IGRs, to decide whether to participate. Ultimately, the decision may rest on the financial outcome of payments made to reinstate non-profit status.

When I began as OIAA alternate there was an overwhelming (for me) volume of mail going back and forth, much of it unproductive. When I went back through my OIAA folder to prepare this report, I noticed that the volume of mail had dropped off in 2019 Most of the current discussions are related to the above-mentioned items.

It seems as though things are cooling down and people are beginning to work together more productively. This may be a moment of positive change for OIAA. OIAA is looking for folks to serve on the convention committee and the steppers committee (which requires some training). There are opportunities to get involved and have a closer look and the functionality of the organization. That said, I did not volunteer for a committee and chose to limit my participation to reading emails and filing our GROW report.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service,
X
Kirsten

1019 – Listkeeper’s Report

Oct 2019 – Listkeeper’s Report

Our membership as of September 30, 2019 is 417. Regular list members 374 and 43 Digest members (this number is always a little larger than our actual count because some members have two subscriptions – one for regular posts and one for digests and some members have two regular list addresses.)

This time last year we had 364 members. We are GROWING!

In August, Nancy C. very graciously stepped into the vacant alternative job and agreed to be the alternate listkeeper until October 2019.

Our Greeters, Sarah K. and Louise H. are doing an excellent job and we all enjoy working together!

Respectfully submitted,
Karen H and Nancy C |
GROW Listkeepers

1019 – Treasurer’s Report

Oct 2019 – Treasurer’s Report

Joan, this is the final report. Distributions will be paid after final approval by the Committee. Sue

Donations:

$155.00 PayPal
$227.12 echecks to Ally Bank
————
$ 382.12
$ 122.00 Bal from April
————
$ 504.12

Distributions:

$ 122.00 prudent reserve to GROW
$ 144.00 Dean Collins
——————
Bal: 238.12  GSO

1019 – Secretary’s Report

Oct 2019 – Secretary’s Report

The following is the list of incoming/outgoing trusted servants and the current list of trusted servants and openings.

12 Step Listkeeper (4/19-10/19): 
OUTGOING: Sophie sophieflook@gmail.com
INCOMING: Karrie C. chaneykarrie@gmail.com

Birthday Listkeeper (4/19-10/19): 
OUTGOING: Ruth F. serenity9918@gmail.com (temporary until 10/19)
INCOMING: Lynn H. lilitaliangal@gmail.com

Sponsor Listkeeper (4/19-10/19) 
OUTGOING: Sherrie W. thesherrie@earthlink.net
INCOMING: rene.goldsworthy@yahoo.com

Listkeeper Alternate (4/19-4/21): 
OUTGOING: Nancy C cybergram@eastlink.ca (Temporary until Oct 2019) 
INCOMING: NOT YET FILLED

OIAA Rep (10/18-10/19):
OUTGOING: Lynn H. lilitaliangal@gmail.com and 
                       Kirsten V. lesserseattle@gmail.com
INCOMING: NOT YET FILLED

Secretary (10/18-10/19): 
OUTGOING: Ruth F. serenity9918@gmail.com
INCOMING: NOT YET FILLED

Treasurer (10/17-10/19): 
OUTGOING: Sue W. scwills502@gmail.com
INCOMING: Cheryl B. cab7thtradition@gmail.com

GVR (10/18-10/19): 
OUTGOING: Barbara M. barbaramanolache@aol.com
INCOMING: Ruth F. serenity9918@gmail.com

Webkeeper Backup (4/19-4/21):
INCOMING: NOT YET FILLED

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee
Business Meeting Chair (10/18-10/20): Joan B. joangrowbus@gmail.com
GSR (10/18-10/20): Kate M. ammakate@yahoo.com
GVR (10/19-10/20): Ruth F. serenity9918@gmail.com
Greeter (4/19-4/20): Sarah K smkeester@gmail.com
Greeter (4/19-4/20): Louise H wemerrilymeet@gmail.com
Listkeeper(4/19-4/20): Karen H fromie10@gmail.com
Listkeeper Alternate (4/19-4/21):  NOT YET FILLED
OIAA Rep (10/19-10/20): NOT YET FILLED
Secretary (10/18-10/19):  NOT YET FILLED
Temporary Mentor (4/19-4/20):  Danna M. dmcd.grow@gmail.com (Use this address for business meeting)
Treasurer (10/17-10/19): Cheryl B. cab7thtradition@gmail.com
Website Administrator(4/19-4/20): Tanya C.  Tanyaq42@gmail.com
Webkeeper (10/18-10/20): Allison M. paonia.allison@gmail.com
Webkeeper Backup (4/19-4/21): NOT YET FILLED
Weekly Leader Listkeeper (4/19-4/20): Gigi telperion.1214@gmail.com

1019 – Business Meeting Welcome

Oct 2019 – Business Meeting Welcome

Greetings, and welcome to the October 2019 Business Meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women (GROW).

I am Joan, an alcoholic, and your Business Chair for this meeting. Thank you for participating!

This is a closed meeting, open only to members of GROW, for the discussion of business as it relates to our group. Our business meetings run in four-day segments and last no more than 29 days.

I will post each Agenda item, one by one, in separate emails and **ask that you respond to each accordingly.** This makes it easier to “tally” the responses and suggestions to each item. We will have a three-day period of open discussion on each Agenda item. This, hopefully, will allow all members regardless of work schedules, time zones, etc. to participate and comment. At the beginning of the fourth day, I will post the results/consensus of our discussions.

Before we begin, let’s have a moment of silence to reflect on why we are here, followed by the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

In this Business Meeting, let us be guided by The Twelve Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Let us all keep in mind our Unity of Service statement from the Grapevine of September 1998:

“Unity seldom means that we all agree on everything. Nor is unity served by setting aside our concerns and conforming to the majority opinion (or the vocal minority) . . . Unity is best achieved by a full hearing of all points of view . . . time for all of those involved to step back from emotional responses . . . as well as careful consideration and prayer for that which will best serve the group or AA as a whole.”

Thank you for being here and for your dedication to GROW.

Respectfully submitted,
Joan B.
GROW Business Chair
joangrowbus@gmail.com

Sep 29: Enough – Things My Sponsor Taught Me

Enough – Things My Sponsor Taught Me

I hope you didn’t click on this share thinking I might tell you how much recovery is enough. Maybe my 36 years in the Program fooled you. There is never enough recovery. And I never want to leave before the miracle. Seen many–but which one is it? Anniversaries make me reminisce. I’m going to focus on enough. There are 2 enough’s: I have had enough. OR I don’t have enough. AA is a simple program for complicated people. ‘I’ve had it!’ Enough! I came to AA when my life was unmanageable. Alcohol was destroying me. One drink was not enough. It was the first drink that got me drunk. I was in deep pain: emotional, physical, and spiritual. But when is enough for me? How long can I keep this up? Willpower isn’t enough. I can’t do this alone. I need AA, a Higher Power and you.

Enough already! I say to my sponsor. I am a grownup. You don’t have to tell me what to do. But development stops when we pick up a drink, she says. For most of us, that isn’t enough growing up. Sigh. Enough of this. I can’t write any more on my 4th step. I’m calling you enough. I already go to enough meetings. Not enough, my sponsor echoes. I’m not sober enough to share with all those oldtimers! Don’t judge your insides by another’s outsides, says my sponsor. My HP doesn’t answer my prayers quickly enough! Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Time takes time. So what is enough in recovery? One of my favorites lists of enough is the Promises. (However, expect life on life’s terms: freckles, dysfunctional family members, toothaches, bills, etc. Not the worst things compared to the Promises.)

The real enough’s of AA include the obsession to drink being lifted. A connection to a Higher Power. Living one day at a time. Never being alone again. Beloved relationships. Mending bridges to those I’ve harmed. Being comfortable with my place in life. You loving me enough until I love myself. Helping others. Serenity. Sanity. Joy. Love. GROW! My past no longer haunts me. Spirituality. You know how it is. My Higher Power allowed me to drink just enough not to kill myself. And now, I really do have enough. The list goes on. We all have our personal lists that are the enough’s for us. But there’s not enough space here. Too many ‘enough’s’ to list in sobriety. You are enough. Make your own list. Savor your life of abundance.

hgz, b.
dos 9/21/83

Sep 22: Overcoming Character Defects

Overcoming Character Defects

Hi my name is Ruth F and I’m an alcoholic.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead this meeting and am glad to know you are here with me. It’s nice to not be alone as we trudge this road of happy destiny.

I have been going through the steps again with my sponsor. We are spending some time on Steps 6 and 7. I realized that I’ve struggled with these steps, which is partly true. Mainly, I think I have glossed over them, said the 7th step prayer, and moved on to Step 8 pretty quickly.

A realization came to me. My discomfort with myself and others is a manifestation of my character defects affecting my behaviors, attitudes, and even my thinking. Normally, I would look out and decide I had a resentment, or fear or something else that would require another 4th step. So, I’d confirm my character defects again but not feel any better.

I have realized through praying to my Higher Power, reading literature, attending meetings, and talking to my sponsor that what’s really happening is that I haven’t taken action on changing/improving my character defects. I’m not working towards the principles of the program as well as I could.

There’s so little information to go by in the Big Book. I tend to do best with specific instructions or guidelines on how to take whatever action is necessary to help me be a better person.

So, my sponsor and I went looking for another resource that worked with AA. We both knew of the book, “Drop the Rock” but neither one of us had ever read it through or studied it. The book addresses Steps 6 and 7.

We are reading it now, which has helped as another tool in my recovery process.

I am learning that there are specific actions I can take. That turning my character defects over and asking that they be removed requires surrendering. It’s been harder for me than in Step 3.

I realize that the bigger character defects are easier to recognize and “work at” removing. It’s the moderate defects, the ones that bubble just below the surface that are harder. Maybe it’s because I’m hanging on to them or it’s easier to brush them aside thinking that they’re not that bad. The problem for me is that they build up. I can only apologize so many times. It becomes empty and meaningless as long as my behaviors don’t change. I either read or heard in a meeting that I judged myself by my thinking while others judged me by my actions. That really affected me.

A higher level of awareness of my character defects is so important if I’m going to grow and change. I can’t keep my blinders on. One thing I’ve learned from studying “Drop the Rock” along with AA, is that I can act “as if” I’m the person I’ve always wanted to be. I can act with generosity instead of selfishness. I can think of others instead of being so self involved. The opportunities to grow keep popping up and I’m amazed when I can actually adjust my attitude, my reaction, or my behavior. That acting “as if” becomes the new me more than the character defects.

It’s not perfection I’m after, just progress. Progress, for me, takes a lot of practice.

I’ve also realized that I am more than my character defects. We all are. Because as I practice being a better person there’s a shift within me. I still can regress but that doesn’t make me bad, it makes me human. I know what I can do about it and not feel trapped.

My character defects may always be with me. I realize now that I do not have to be ruled by them. Their power can lessen rather than dominate my life. I can move forward using all of the tools available to me and with the guidance of my Higher Power become a better person.

I would love to hear how you’ve been using the tools of the program and your Higher Power on character defects. How are you becoming someone more in line with the principles of the program? I look forward to reading your ESH.

Thank you for being there and giving me this opportunity to be of service.

Sincerely,
Ruth F.

Sep 15: Taking the program and fellowship of AA wherever we go

Taking the program and fellowship of AA wherever we go

I am currently on a much-needed holiday in Greece. I come here every year and every year before I depart for my hols I check online to see if there is an AA meeting or a loner on the island (where two or more are gathered it’s a meeting!) Last year when I visited there was a woman I met with and we had a meeting. Unfortunately, there is no meeting or loners presently on this island. I don’t know if they moved away or didn’t stay sober but I have put in the action to maintain a lifeline to my program and the fellowship. Thank God for technology today as I can keep in touch with people via apps on my phone as well as email and Skype on my computer. Where there is Wi-Fi there is a way to AA.

I have been sober since ‘87 and I have traveled or lived abroad most of my sober life. I was only 3 years sober when I moved to a small town in the South of France to study at university for a year. I remember writing NY central office 6 months before I departed and requesting an international guide for meetings in Europe. [Back then they used to publish this international meeting guide about every 2 years, of course, this is way before the internet]

When I arrived in this small town in France I looked up the address listed in the book as the only English AA meeting. I found the address and knocked on the door and in my broken French asked for the man listed in the book. They told me he moved back to the US a year ago. I thought what do I do now??

I did find the one AA French meeting in this small town and showed up. It was a small meeting of about 4-5 people and I must have really wanted to stay sober as I stayed throughout the entire meeting which lasted about 2+ hours (bless them but they were truly French – they loved to talk, smoke, talk and drink coffee and talk J). I was 21 years old and I sat in this very smoky room in the back of a church with these older French people who were complete strangers to me. I ended up enduring (that’s what I felt at the time) incredibly fast-talking French who all smoked about 4 packs of Gauloise (unfiltered cigarettes) in one meeting alone.

Thankfully a few months later I did eventually find some English AA meetings in the Cote d’Azur and would take a 3-hour bus ride to Nice to get to some English AA once in a while. I met some really amazing people who took in this young, naïve college student (that was me back in the late 80s) who kindly offered me the hand of AA. I remember going to one meeting in Monaco and the secretary gave me a brown paper bag full of English AA speaker cassette tapes to take back with me.

I can look back now and see that by taking small actions I kept my AA lifeline which helped keep me sober one day at a time. Towards the end of my year studying abroad in France, I managed to speak fluent french because of those french AA meetings I attended. It now seems like a (very) long time ago but I remember as clear as a bell feeling so sad saying goodbye to those lovely French AA folks who were so patient and kind with me and my broken French months before. I learned a lot from that early living abroad experience – mostly that I needed to put in some footwork and try my best to reach out to stay connected to other AA’ers.

I love GROW because it’s another tool in my recovery toolbox to stay connected to the program– if I’m working a lot or traveling (like I am this week) I can stay connected by reading shares, emailing or phoning people.

Over the years I have accumulated so many stories and ‘coincidences’ when traveling through remote places in my search to find an AA loner or a meeting. I would always end up meeting the most amazing people!

If I can’t get to meetings because they don’t exist or are not there anymore I know I can listen to AA speakers online or participate in a Skype meeting or read literature online. Yes, it’s not the same as f2f meetings but better than nothing if I have nothing. I also keep the Big Book, 12 & 12 and other AA literature on my Kindle app for my phone and computer.

I love AA and I am truly blessed to have met so many wonderful AA’ers around the world through meetings and AA encounters. London has been my home for the last 19 years. I am grateful we are all connected through this amazing fellowship with our primary purpose to stay sober and help other alcoholics. No matter where you are in the world today thank you for helping me stay sober ODAT J

Would love to hear your experience about traveling, living remotely, or living abroad and how you stay connected to AA and the fellowship.

Thank you for letting me be of service today

Heidi

Sep 08: Obsession

Obsession

My name is Karen and I’m an alcoholic.

In the Big Book chapter “More About Alcoholism” there is a line “The idea that somehow; someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30) That fit me to a T. Later in the chapter it talks about some of the methods we try; for example, Drinking beer only…Never drinking in the morning…Switching from scotch to brandy…Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath, and so on ad infinitum. I was handed my first Big Book while in detox in rehab and read this chapter, including the list. I felt I had just taken a quiz to see if I was an alcoholic and checked all the boxes. It was a relief to know that other people had tried all these crazy methods to quit drinking that had consumed my life for so long.

When I was drinking my mind was like a hamster wheel, constantly thinking about drinking or not drinking, whichever version I was trying out at the moment. Nighttime offered little relief; I woke at 2 a.m. on the dot every morning worried I was going to die from alcohol poisoning or trying to remember what I had said or done the night before. I would start to plan how the next day would be different. In the last year of my drinking I pretty much gave up trying to string together sober days because they weren’t that much better than the days I drank. I may not have had a hangover, but I was never free from the obsession of thinking about drinking.

At the treatment center I went to we learned that alcohol is not only an allergy of the body but also an obsession of the mind. That made so much sense to me. The physical cravings left first, and it wasn’t many days before I started to feel physically better and occasionally slept through the night. The mental obsession was much harder. I have heard people in AA say they had a spiritual awakening and the obsession was lifted. It didn’t happen that way for me. It was very gradual. There was a day, probably about six months sober, when I realized I hadn’t thought about alcohol for several hours. That started to happen more often and those chunks of time, when I felt like I had my brain back, kept me going. For me, losing the obsession that had zapped my energy and my ability to be present for so many years was the key to finding the freedom and happiness talked about in the promises. Occasionally, I’ll go on a trip down memory lane and start to feel nostalgic about having a nice glass of wine. The best way for me to get out of that “stinking thinking” is to remind myself that I am no longer thinking about drinking every minute and that once I pick up that glass that freedom is gone.

I invite you all to share on obsession: how it was lifted or if it’s still a struggle. Of course, please share on any other topic you need to.

Thanks for letting me chair,

Karen H.
9/11/2015

Sep 01: Step 9

Step 9

Topic for the week: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s much more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

In Step Eight I revisited the concepts of willingness and ego-deflation! I had to acknowledge the painful adventures of the past in which my character defects manifested themselves.

Once again, I had to own up to the wreckage my self-will had caused me. It was then time to admit my faults, mistakes
and character defects not only to God, to myself, to another human being, but also to the very individuals whom I had harmed! I had to make amends for what I had done.

In the process I accepted both responsibility for, and the consequences of, my past behavior. Only in that way could I find freedom. There was no other way to put the guilt and shame of the past behind me and ensure that I would not behave that way again!

Step Nine is a painful, humbling Step…..but rewarding. The A.A.’s Twelve Promises are said to come true with the Ninth Step. The Big Book is clear on the necessity of this commitment. And I have found that the power of
this Step lies in facing the person I had wronged as well as in confronting the wrongs themselves, and in trying to correct them. The pain of this Step and the ego-deflation it brings come directly from this confrontation.

I have also found that there is no “easier, softer way” that works!

I put off making an amends to my “favorite” ex-husband for over 20 years. When I finally returned to Hawaii and made my amends, he said: “Huh?” He had long forgotten me and my bad behavior! The importance of this recollection is this: I carried around in my head, for over 20 years,
remembrances of this bad behavior and definitely put a thorn in my peace of mind – –hence it stayed in the “committee” in my head!

IT WORKS WHEN I WORK IT, and doesn’t when I don’t!!!

I look forward to your shares and experiences with Step Nine.

Susanne
Murphys, CA
8/17/91

Aug 25: Procrastination

Procrastination

Hi, my name Rene and alcoholic.

When it came to step four I procrastinated big time, I was petrified of what will come out.

My sponsor still asked after two weeks whether I had quit the programme and or her. It was like a power struggle, I was thinking of good versus “evil”, , here me hanging by the “scales by my fingertips”.

Not that much coercion needed, simply a case of work the programme or not. Not a lot of choice, but better than where I was.

“Fear of failure is often the reason why people procrastinate”.

Before sobriety I could list many ways of why am putting something off. When my drinking developed into a “daily habit”, I cut myself off from everyone, just functioning going to work, then home to bottle ( I could not be an alcoholic as I was everyday at work). What a joke, I put myself in my self imposed hell hole.

I would debate with myself when having to do a project, and inevitably come up with some creative excuse as to why not done on time. The bottle kept my time.

Without this programme and group, which will remain grateful for, I let life take me according to my HP.

Aug 18: Acceptance

Acceptance 

From the big book, page 418 (the story is Acceptance Was The Answer) : “But when I try to see what I can add to the meeting, rather than what I can get out of it, and when I focus my mind on what’s good about it, rather than what’s wrong with it, the meeting keeps getting better and better. When I focus on what’s good today, I have a good day, and when I focus on what’s bad, I have a bad day. If I focus on a problem, the problem increases ; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.”

This is one of my favorite stories! It applies to both meetings and everyday life. I can complain because someone in the meeting said something I didn’t agree with, maybe they have a rule I find absurd, etc. Or, I can be grateful I’m at an A.A. meeting and can be sober with others for this time. Same with life! Are we irritated because we can’t get the closest parking spot, because we had to wait extra long at the grocery store? It’s little things that add up and make me annoyed! If I stopped, took a breath, and focused my attention on God and where my feet are planted I wouldn’t have half the irritation I do.

It also applies to big things. Waiting on medical test results, fear over finances. Living in the problem and obsessing about it every free moment is not going to fix it or make us feel any better. Looking towards the solution and living in the now is all we can do.

Please share how accepting where you are today and living in the solution is helpful to your sobriety. Or, share why you struggle with this.

Aug 11: The Set Aside Prayer

The Set Aside Prayer

Hi Ladies,

My name is Nydia and I am an alcoholic. I am still humbled when I see newcomers change – they are the bright spot of my life (Big Book, p.89). I recently had one of them ask me “how do I get there?” and I thought, what’s ‘there’? And ‘there’ was basically some Utopian thought of bliss where everything works like clockwork, the family, the relationship, the money, the house, the new fad diet.

I said to her, I will get ‘there’ when I am dead. Because as long as I am alive there will always be something new to uncover, discover and sometimes discard. I am also always receiving new experiences, gifts, freedoms.

I will leave you with the Set Aside Prayer which has been such a joy to say these past few months. It reminds me, there is no graduation and to continue to let go of what I think I know…

God,

Please help me set aside everything I think I know about myself, my disease, the 12 steps, and especially You; So I may have an open mind and a new experience about myself, my disease, the 12 steps and especially You.

(Drawn from instructions in the Big Book, p.46-48)

I look forward to hearing your experience, strength and hope on setting aside what you think you know in recovery.

Nydia

 

Aug 04: Step 8

Step 8

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Hello GROW, I’m an alcoholic named Kirsten. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service this week. Welcome newcomers!

Step 8 asks us to do two things:

Make a list and cultivate the willingness to make amends.

When I found AA, I already knew how to make lists. Lists of ideas, projects, tasks—tasks from previous lists that were still undone.

And although I could think of plenty of people who had had harmed me, I was pretty sure I hadn’t harmed anyone.

So, why would I make that list?

Fortunately, we work the Steps in the order given. By the time I got to Step 8 I could think of a few things I had done that I wished I hadn’t.

I was finally ready to recall people and behaviors that I had intentionally forgotten—because I didn’t want to think of myself as unkind, or thoughtless, or cruel. Step 4 showed me that I could be all of those things. Surprise!

In order to complete Step 8 we’re asked to cultivate willingness.

Using the humility I learned in Step 7, I found the willingness to write the list.

Step 8 introduced me to a new recovery skill, making amends, which I would practice imperfectly. Thereby creating one more opportunity to practice humility.

Step 8 taught me that I could admit to the hurt I caused others and prepare for the work of Step 9—admitting to other human beings that I was far from perfect.

I’m looking forward to hearing about your relationship with Step 8, the Program concepts involved, or anything you would like to get current on this week.

 

Jul 28: Surrender

Surrender

“I am learning to let go and let God, to have a mind that is open and a heart that is willing to receive God’s grace in all my affairs; in this way I can experience the peace and freedom that come as a result of surrender. It has been proven that an act of surrender, originating in desperation and defeat, can grow into an ongoing act of faith, and that faith means freedom and victory”. (Daily reflections July 21)

Growing up there were lots of aunts and uncles in our family. The uncles would love to tease us kids and tickle us. We called it tickle torture. And we would have to cry “uncle” for them to stop.  Crying “uncle” was an act of surrender.  Surrendering is defeat but what relief to yell out “uncle”. Too bad I didn’t carry that lesson to adulthood. Lol.

As I grew up I became very self reliant.  Mostly as a defense mechanism.  I had to.  Then I became haughty and arrogant and decided to show my family that I could do life on my own. I decided as a young girl that I would never be like my mother – dependent on a man.  I closed my heart to people and to God. I put myself through college and graduate school.  In a short time I was making more money then my parents did together. Whatever I wanted I got—I earned — by myself.

The problem came much later with alcohol.  I believe that I have always had an alcoholic mind. But my drinking didn’t really get into full swing until my late 20’s. It brought such relief to my anxiety and anger and angst. It was magic. I was hooked. Then it became poison. Then it didn’t work. And then I could NOT stop.  I tried to stop over and over ON MY OWN.  Surely I was not an alcoholic—I did not live under a bridge. I had a good job, marriage, house, cars.  I was a community leader. I DID NOT want to surrender to the idea (or truth) that I was an alcoholic.  My counselor said “if you drink again maybe you should try AA”.  NOPE!! So I stopped. Two and a half long months of sheer hell for me and everyone around me.  I needed a drink sooooo bad. I was irritable, discontented, depressed, anxious, angry and a #@&%!

Out of desperation, I went to AA online for help and they suggested I go to a meeting. NO WAY!  I’ll never forgot what the guy emailed me. He said it was my choice to drink but if I drank again I would loose those 2.5 months and I would have to start over. That got my goat!  He pointed me to an online women’s meeting similar to Grow. There I got a sponsor and started going to face to face meetings and started working the steps.  As I started to surrender to the fact that I couldn’t get sober or stay sober on my own I began to slowly feel some relief.

Today it’s easier for me to surrender. Sometimes it still takes my sponsor to say “now Karrie…..”

I love how it says in the reading….”It has been proven that an act of surrender, originating in desperation and defeat, can grow into an ongoing act of faith, and that faith means freedom and victory”. (Daily reflections July 21)

Today I have freedom from alcohol.  My life has changed. I have changed.  I AM A MIRACLE!

I’m so so grateful to have sobriety!!

Thank you for listening.

Kind regards,

Karrie

11.13.13 dos

Jul 21: Attitude

 Attitude

“Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting. How often we turn minor challenges into monumental barriers by giving them undue attention, forgetting that within any problem lies its solution! However, the center of our focus must be off the problem’s tangle if we are to find the solution’s thread. The best remedy for this dilemma is the Serenity Prayer. We cannot change our children, our husbands or partners, not even the best friends who we know love us. But with God’s help we can change the attitude that has us blocked at this time. A changed attitude, easing up on ourselves, lessening our expectations of others, will open the door to the kind of relationships we seek, the smooth flowing days we long for. We need not take life so seriously. In fact, we shouldn’t take it so seriously. We can measure our emotional health by how heartily we laugh with others and at ourselves. The 24 hours stretching before us at this time promises many choices in attitude. We can worry, be mad, depressed, or frustrated, or we can trust our higher power to see us through whatever the situation. So, we can relax. It is our decision, the one decision over which we are not powerless. I will be in control of my attitude today. I can have the kind of day I long for.”

 This paragraph hits home for me any day of the week and makes me chuckle.  For example, the past two months I’ve been quite anxious about an upcoming family vacation – 12 days with the parents/sister-in-law, which hasn’t occurred since my pre-sober days.  Before sobriety and AA helped me to change my life, alcohol was my ‘friend’ during these types of visits.  When the going got tough (i.e., things not going my way, family pushing my buttons as they are wont to do), I could ‘depend on’ my buddy booze to numb me up for a few hours each day. Of course, in reality going this route had a terribly negative impact on relationships and always made me feel worse.

 My approach of dealing with the anxiety is different today, thanks to this program and tools such as Hazelden.  While the same feelings of resentments and anger do come up, I choose to respond differently.  I am able to quickly recognize that I cannot control others, only myself.  I keep my expectations and self-centeredness in check.  My God is here to support me if I am willing to slow down long enough to pause and listen, followed by doing the next right behavior.  While the 12 days of vacation will likely have a few self-induced bumps, today I have faith that I will find my way to enjoyment, in spite of my stubborn defects!  As always, I will take it one day (or if needed one moment) at a time.

I would very much like to hear how you prepare for upcoming events that bring up anxiety well in advance, perhaps with people that tend to ‘push your buttons’. 

 Thank you for being here!

Susan P. 

DOS 02/02/2015

Jul 14: A Vision For You

A Vision For You 

“….We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what
you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you—until then.”
From Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 4th edition, from the chapter A Vision For You, page 164
This passage from the Big Book has been coming up again and again for me recently. Every time I am met with unrest, unwillingness, negative emotions, everywhere I look in my spiritual toolkit I am led back to this. Whenever I get lost and unsure of what to do, I can easily find direction from these words, purpose, clarity. A beautiful reminder to bring me back down to earth and back to AA. Keep coming back!
Being a part of Alcoholics Anonymous, being able to share openly and honestly with you, my fellow women in recovery, as well as the God of my understanding is so immeasurably healing. Continuously taking the stairway of the steps through life in both good and bad times has reached me on such a deeper level, grown me up so much as a human being and woman.
I am coming up on 9 years of sobriety September 1. For roughly eight years of that time I was in do it yourself recovery. Just me, God, the big book and my also diy recovering boyfriend. I didn’t work the steps other than maybe 1-3, and that was strictly the alcohol and drugs, everything else I was not surrendering. I stayed sober/dry solely by the grace of God but I was extremely lacking in emotional sobriety and that led to a bottom where I was depressed and suicidal and having using dreams like consistently every night. It was enough to bring me into the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, get a sponsor, work the steps and be willing to sponsor women… and for this girl, the miracle is real, beyond description and this program truly has saved my life.
How does this passage impact you when you read it? I find it just so amazingly succinct in addressing our condition and showing us always, one day at a time, how you find hope, how you make beauty from ashes.

Jul 07: Step 7

Step 7

The following comes from the last paragraph of Step 7 in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

“The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude which permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God. The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility. It is really saying to us that we now ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.”

Now I am going to share with you an excerpt on my share for Step 6 as it describes my spiritual experience that prepared me for Step 7:

“My most recent Step work was the very first time I feel like I finally understood the meaning of Defects Of Character as it applies to me spiritually.  Anything that my EGO craves or thrives on is a defect and that ties directly into the “isms”, which is connected to Stinking Thinking, Me Me Me, Poor Me, My Way or no way, I deserve this or that for what he/she/them/it/life did to me, what’s the point when no body else follows the rules…etc..

I became aware that it’s the part of me that wants to hang onto justified anger or resentment; the part of me who wants to be the Director and when my expectations aren’t met then all the other glaring defects come oozing out to the surface like an infection ready to jump start my disease into an emotional or psychological relapse, which always sends me straight to that slippery slope that I have zero desire to slide down again.  I have burn marks on my soul from the many slides down that slope…….

I immediately became willing to let go of all the defects of character that I am aware of and those that will sprout up and be revealed.  That true spiritual willingness was really a beautiful and peaceful feeling.  This is where I must go to any lengths to Live The Spiritual Life or I will lose my sobriety.”

Step 7 came directly after this realization.  Asking HP to remove my shortcomings this time around was purely spiritual and truly beautiful.  I could feel all resistance melt away.  I was able to trust my whole being to my HP to remove every defect that stands in the way of doing HP”s Will.  It was easy and peaceful.  I did feel that serenity the BB, 12×12 and Fellowship speak about.

I became more than willing to go to any lengths to do whatever HP guided me to do with every shortcoming. Most of the time, it’s choosing a spiritual action over what the ego wants to do.  I feel that because of my history with sobriety and relapse, Step 7 has to be a permanent part of my every day sober life.

I was sober 3 months before I got a sponsor and started working The Steps.  I was miserable, hopeless, despairing and darkness surrounded my soul.  Putting the plug in the jug was not enough.  My sober life is so much better than it was even at 3 months sober because I am living the AA way of life.  This only came about because I got a sponsor and worked The Steps.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

Heather B
7/27/18

Jun 30: Recovery in Your Life

Recovery in Your Life

Today is special for me because it has been exactly 23 years since I had my last (hopefully) drink. It boggles my mind, as I was a daily drinker for three decades, and I had never tried to stop because I knew I couldn’t. I went to my first AA meeting in 1987 (32 years ago). Obviously, it didn’t take. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to quit drinking. I just wanted my husband at the time to get off my back. 

I had known I was an alcoholic for a very long time, but I didn’t care. I had to find my own personal bottom to become willing to do what was suggested. My bottom wasn’t as low as some, but it was low enough for me. I could no longer be that woman. I believe my Higher Power showed me what I had become in the middle of a drunk. I was angry, even violent, and completely delusional. I was broken and hopeless by the time I got back to AA in 1996. But by then, I had the gift of desperation. It was a gift, for that’s what it took for me to take the program seriously. 

I am one of the slow types of alcoholics. I stayed broken and miserable for several years after I stopped drinking. I did the steps, and it helped. But I was still broken. It took a long time for what I was taught to get from my hard head to my heart. I had to learn everything from personal experience before I believed it. I had to do the steps again – and again. Every time I did them, I got better. My life got better. And one day, I realized that some of the 9th Step promises had come true for me. Hope found its way into my heart. 

Those first years, I worked this program like my life depended on it. And it did. Recovery was the main focus of my life. I read the Big Book, went to meetings, participated in this group, and did both formal and informal service work. I ate, slept, and breathed recovery. Not because I wanted to, but because I had no options left but this one. I either stayed in AA and recovery this time, or I died. It didn’t matter if I believed. It didn’t matter if I had hope. It was all there was left for me. Thank God there was this one thing left. It saved my life. It gave me a life I’d never had before. 

Today, recovery is not the all-consuming focus of my life, but it is still my first priority. I learned the hard way that when I don’t work the program, I become nothing but a dry drunk with all the old behaviors. Today, I can’t tolerate that misery for very long. I know what serenity feels like, so I continue to work the program every day. 

So, what I’d like to hear from you this week – no matter how long it’s been since you’ve had a drink – is what recovery means to you personally and what its role is in your life today. Of course, please share whatever you need to share with us. 

Thank you for letting me share,

danna

Jun 23: The Need to Change

The Need to Change

The need to change Laura came to me through my HP, my AA program, newcomers, and long-time AA members.

Once I experienced the relief and blessing of not having to take a drink when I was happy, sad, glad, angry, upset, etc., the ‘need’ to change became a ‘want’ instead.  As the saying goes, AA is not for this who ‘need’ it but for those who ‘want’ it and I wanted desperately what you had.  I couldn’t change everything all at once, but by learning and working through the Steps with my sponsor and listening to those who came before me, I realized that I had to change many things about myself if I were to remain sober.

Thankfully, I learned that ours is a lifetime program and that there is no graduation date because it will take more than a lifetime to change/remove some of my character defects.

What have I needed to change?  Many, many, many aspects of my character; i.e. I had to admit that I needed help from others instead of being too stubborn to ask for it or to even admit that I needed help.  I needed to forgive myself and others.  I needed to be honest in all my affairs.  I needed to accept myself for who I am and am still working on loving the person I am.  A former sponsor of mine told me that every time I looked it the mirror, I was to say, “I love you” which would help me to change my opinion of myself (this one, I’m also still working on from time to time).

The first thing I needed to do was to get help to stop drinking and my HP provided exactly what I needed.  In sobriety, I have been able to build and maintain friendships and leave my drinking buddies behind.  I needed to make time to listen and help others by giving away what was so freely given to me.  I needed to become more health-conscious about what I put into my body and how I take care of it; i.e. quit smoking.  I have had to follow instructions and advice given by healthcare professionals instead of dismissing them without even trying their suggestions (contempt prior to investigation?).  I have become aware of and grateful for the many, many blessings I have received in my life.I would not change the last 30 years of my life in sobriety for anything.  I have slowed down quite a bit due to age and health reasons but due to the Grace of God and you people, I am sober today.  The compulsion to drink was removed as soon as I became serious about getting sober.  I have regained my self-confidence and self-esteem, and have learned a lot about what makes me tick, found my Higher Power whom I call God, joined online AA groups, became a sponsor to a few, and found my niche in the AA way of life.

What changes have you been able to make so far in sobriety?  How do you feel about these changes?  Please feel free to share on this topic or on anything that may be troubling you.  I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Hugs,
Laura G.

Jun 16: Meditation and Prayer

Meditation and Prayer

Hi again I am Sarah and I am definitely alcoholic. I’m grateful to be sharing this week with a group of women that understand my issues and disease inside and out. Welcome to the new women, I hope you stay and find this group useful.

I read a few daily meditations for this Sunday and in trying to pick one I decided to share generally instead of sharing just one (not AA approved literature) I have felt a little overwhelmed lately by trying to do and be everything for everyone (not as much as I used to thank god). I stopped and thought about the meditations I did when I was going through harder times and realized I need to have this discipline again. Even a 5 min breathing exercise helps change my world so significantly so I know in the 12×12 there is a good description of how we are supposed to do this but I wanted to hear from you (busy) women what you do daily as a form of meditation and prayer 🙂 the meeting is now open 🥰🥰🥰🏝 have a wonderful week ! And thank you everyone for showing up for your sobriety !