Dec 27: Keep the Faith

Keep the Faith

I’d like to suggest as a topic for this week an excerpt from page 104 of the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

In AA we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question. They are matters of knowledge and experience. All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own. They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability. And, they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances.

This reminder is helpful to me because … sometimes God doesn’t seem to be listening to me … or “obeying.” <smile> Sometimes it seems that my prayers go “unanswered.” That can feel discouraging and cause me to “lose faith” … however, one of the wonderful things about this Program is that the more I participate, the more I receive reminders in ways big and small that prayers ARE answered! You recovering ladies tell me and show me that.

And, as I reflect back, I can see that the more I try to do the “next right thing” the more I find that “God does for me what I could not do for myself” [Big Book p 83-84]. Sometimes, God answers prayers that I didn’t even know I was praying! What is important for me is that I keep the faith and keep working my Program and doing the next right thing. God will make it all okay.

We are told that ” … those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own … and wisdom beyond their usual capability … and peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances …” For me, getting and staying sober is absolute proof that God has done amazing things for me that I could not do for myself. And there have been many, many other miracles and testaments to God’s care and guidance in my life. Participating in this Program (sharing, working the Steps) reminds me of that on a daily basis and reminds me to Keep The Faith.

I am honored to lead this meeting and encourage you to share on this topic or however you feel led to share. Thanks.

Dec 20: Thy Will Be Done

Thy Will Be Done

From page 87-88 of the big book…
“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.”

Before coming around the rooms, I believed in A God but didn’t trust my life with said God.

I foolishly burned my energy forcing my will in any and all situations. I didn’t ask for help because I assumed no one would help me. Or if they did; then I would owe them and I didn’t want to do that.

It was all about me. If you weren’t going to do for me (expecting nothing in return) then I had moved on.

I isolated. I was lonely. I was agitated and doubtful, thinking I had to do it all. And yet I couldn’t get it done because, well I lacked hope and faith. I had no idea what I was doing. Barely living. Just existing really.

Enter the program of AA and developing a belief and a relationship with the God of my understanding, I learned to trust that everything is and would continue to be ok! All I had to do was follow a few suggestions. Ask for help in the morning and thank god at night. When I’m looking for the right thought or action I ask that Gods will be done. NOT MINE.

Thanks to my God for granting me the gift of an ounce of humility. I’m a more productive and useful person when I’m living in accordance to my Gods will.

This is the easier softer way of living. It works. It really, really does.

Please share on your experience of Gods will working in your life.

Dec 13: The Promises

The Promises

This is my favorite month, because of my sobriety date, Christmas and my physical birthday. During these four years of sobriety, my God has been good to me and I feel Blessed.

When I came to AA, the week after Thanksgiving, I swore then I was never going to have a drink again. I had embarrassed my son in front of his in-laws and felt so ashamed and guilty of how I had behaved, but I am a slow learner. It took two more drunks for me to come in to the program, and the only reason I came in was because I had severe chest pains for two days and I knew if I had another drink I would die.

On my first meeting I came in desperate, scared that Christmas was fast approaching. How was I going to make it? For me it was Get sober or Die.

I had just been laid off from a Preschool Administrator position after 28 years. I did not know how I was going to do economically, and my husband had gone back to El Salvador.

In my first meeting, I heard I needed to get a sponsor, so I paid attention to see who looked like a good fit for me and I asked her at the end of the meeting. At first this person wasn’t sure about taking on someone on their first meeting, but she did and I lucked out. She told me 90/90, and I did. During this time, I started to notice that my short term memory and my mental processing were shot. They would ask me to read, and I did not comprehend what I was reading. They told me it was the sugar and that it would pass, and I have to tell you that after four years it’s gotten better.

One thing that I was able to pick up early on was that there were Promises, and I began to listen to them carefully. This part became my favorite part of the readings, since they gave me a sense of hope when I heard them being read.

The first couple of weeks in sobriety, I learned the Serenity prayer from these rooms. Every time I said it, I felt peaceful, something I had never felt before. I fell in love with the prayer, and I would say it constantly. It had become my mantra.

By the time Christmas came around the obsession had been lifted. I realized that I had experienced the Promise of God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself, and I had made it through Christmas and New Years without a drink for the first time in 30 years.

Today, The Promises are being fulfilled in my life, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. I never knew that this could happen to me. My whole attitude and outlook upon life has changed. Now, I am learning through you, how to surrender the person, places, and things to my God and let him do the work.

I was forced to retire, and now I am living in El Salvador with my husband. I am learning to stand up for my own rights and living within my means. I am not worried about economic insecurity any more. I’m learning to trust that my God has me where I need to be.

“We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.” I am peaceful most of the time, and because of this I worry less about things. A huge load has been lifted. I look back on this whole situation, and there are many times that the old me would have drank. But calling my sponsor and reading your shares on a weekly basis help me keep grounded. I also attend mass daily and pray. What a change!

I am living testimony that the Promises can come to fruition if we work the program. And I feel blessed to be part of GROW.

How are The Promises being fulfilled in your life? You are welcome to share on this or any other topic that is in your heart. Have a Merry and Sober Christmas!

Dec 06: What character defect are you working on today?

What character defect are you working on today?

Character Defects. Ugh, this is so not what I wanted to pick for a topic this week, but the topic picked me! LOL I have one glaring defect these days. I am too judgmental of others. I noticed it when chatting to my husband recently about other family members. (His family mostly, lol) Now that is certainly nice to notice, but in all fairness to myself they are the ones that live the closest that I interact with the most frequently right now. I just don’t like how I feel after taking their inventory or being critical of how they are choosing to live their lives. I suppose the Thanksgiving holiday played a part in all of it as we drove 500 miles to spend the holiday with a couple of lovely people that drink daily.

I realize now that while that may not have been the best idea, the actual holiday was wonderful. There were 10 of us for dinner, and six of those were twenty-something. It is fun to be around a bunch of kids the ages of my own children and the primary reason I chose to attend. (One of my kids is in Berkeley and the other in N.Y. and I try to see them once a year, but my son had to work and my daughter was in Utah.) At any rate, I noticed that at the end of the day while visiting our family downstate, my husband and I would lie in bed and talk about how blessed we feel not to be drinking on a daily basis. But I also noticed that I was particularly negative. So I thought perhaps it is something that needs to be addressed in myself.

I am becoming more like my Mother as I age and not in a nice way. Those very same character defects that my Mom had, I seem to have as I get older. The difference being, I have the magical tool kit that the Fellowship and my Higher Power have gifted me with. I don’t have to stay in the muck today. I can pray and ask God to remove those character defects (judgmental and negative) from me. Hold on, there is no time like the present. I will be back in a moment after I drop to my knees. What came to mind was the 7th Step Prayer.

The Seventh Step Prayer 
from page 76 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 

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 stands in the way 
of my usefulness to You and my fellows. 
Grant me strength, as I go out from here, 
to do Your bidding.

Having said a prayer in close proximity to the 7th Step prayer, I went on to ask that my Higher Power continue to keep me pliable. I would prefer to be play dough today and not fired clay rendered hard, dry, and fragile. It is as simple as that for me today.

I used to complicate things in early sobriety and try to figure out and understand exactly what motivated me. It has become easier to trust in the process that AA and the 12 Steps have laid out before me. If I am to have clarity on an issue with self, then my God will give that to me in His time. Those are those very magical and clear as a bell “Ah Hah” moments. Those moments are the golden threads in my tapestry and the pearls that adorn me. My creator gives me gifts each and every day, and for that I am grateful. So for now, I feel better. I have asked that my Higher Power remove my judginess (I made that word up.) and my negativity. Now I must do the footwork, and not gossip about it to others … or feed the stinkin’ thinkin’ from last weeks topic!

For me, character defects remind me of that “whack a mole” game or the movie “Caddy Shack.” I deal with them one by “whacking it back down or blowing it up” or giving it to God, as the case may be. And no sooner have I sat back to catch my breath when another one pops up!

I am never done growing gals. This is a process that lasts my lifetime. Still, I much prefer the sometimes painful growth to the misery I endured while still out in the world trying so desperately to control my drinking. Or as another one of my AA gals has shared with me in years past, character defects are something like the La Brea Tar Pits. The Mammoths and Sloths from the ice age continue to emerge from the primordial ooze as time passes, revealing themselves bit by bit.

So our topic this week is: What Character Defect are you working on today?

Nov 29: Stinkin’ Thinkin’ / Living in the Solution!

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ / Living in the Solution!

I got sober two weeks before Christmas, almost 33 years ago. So, it’s pre-birthday reflection time for me! I love the period coming up to my sobriety date. I never cease to wonder at being given the gift of sobriety, one day at a time from the moment I surrendered to that First Step. I had lost everything, even custody of my child. I had tried for 11 years — as a 19-yr old teenager — to get sober. And I kept relapsing — once after two and a half years.

Today, with a sober mind, I can see why I kept relapsing — I had never surrendered to both parts of our First Step. It’s as simple as that. No mystery. But boy did I complicate it then… I desperately looked for the ‘answer’ — in AA, in spiritual books and retreats, talking with priests, hypnotherapy (ended up dating the hypnotherapist LOL who failed to hypnotize me, by the way), hospitals, psychologists, changing the type of drink … ad infinitum.

Then I spent two and a half years living in white-knuckled sobriety. And finally lifted that first one. It took seven years to get truly sober. The worst stuff happened through those seven years. But it took what it took.

Two fellow alcoholics texted me this morning, each to say they had picked up again. I felt sad and downhearted for them. No one can make me want this program more than I want to drink. I have to *want* sobriety that tiny little bit more than I want to drink — this was how it was for me initially, when I finally did get sober.

I was torn at times, wanting to pick up yet knowing my time was running out. And when stinkin’ thinkin’ took a hold of me in those first years, I found it very hard. Stinkin’ thinkin’ was what the oldtimers in my group called the old ideas that are carried over into sobriety, only to be replaced little by little with new life-giving ones. I was overwhelmed with negativity at times, and creating fantasies so far removed from reality, and the old alcoholic ‘just remembering good times’ thing … so full of that stinkin’ thinkin’ … members would say to me “that’s your alcoholism trying to get you to drink.” That helped a lot — somehow thinking of an ‘enemy’ out there trying to outsmart me took the heat off me, and I wouldn’t give in because it wasn’t a part of *me* … and because if I reckoned that my thoughts weren’t sane ones, it helped not to believe them as gospel!

I’d try out the little tricks I’d been told about — like getting to a meeting, like ringing another alcoholic and sharing what was going on with me, and trusting in the Higher Power that I was now asking for help from. And very often, a strong theme running through my first days was that I’d feel folk were letting me down in one way or another. And my Power has never done that, right up to today. I get all I need, perfect strength, understanding and security from that God of my understanding … stuff that no human can give me.

If I feel I’m being let down, what follows is resentment, anger and self-pity. So, it’s vital for me to not let these things stay. Better still, if I can self-inventory when something happens and see my part in it, and then pray for the other, I’m unlikely to burn up with resentment. I try to respond and think of that other with love. Not easy, and sometimes it takes time. But most of the time if and when I feel let down, it’s an insecurity within me that is demanding too much from someone. And I have to face that and ask for it to be removed.

I practise living in the solution today. Even if I have to *drag* myself into it — like two weeks ago, I had a week of that. It’d been a while since I’d felt so bluesy.

When I lose hope and trust that all is well, it’s a sign I need to pray and meditate, to reach out to another, to get my gratitude levels up again. Get an extra meeting in.

Stinkin’ thinkin’ can pop its ugly head up still and always will. I’m human. But no way like it did before, because today there’s a big shift inside, and I know better. Life is so much easier, even when problems crop up. I can get grateful (list) and turn it around, no matter what it is. I can reach out to someone suffering. I can give it away. I can do Step 10, the spot check inventory. I can get freed up as soon as I recognize the slip in my thinking. And I want to live happy, joyous and free, so I do these things. 🙂

Maybe you’ll share what it was like for you with the baggage of ideas you came into sobriety with? How has it changed over time? What did you find particularly hard and don’t today? I have to say for me it’s the not putting my reliance on another human being but on a Power greater than me. What Bill W talked about — dependency on people as being one of the things he had still clung on to years into sobriety.

Nov 22: How the God of my Understanding has been Working in My Life

How the God of my Understanding has been Working in My Life

I asked to chair the GROW meeting closest to what I have considered my sobriety date. In coming up with a topic, however, I began to take a closer look at my own story and whether the date I chose really reflects my current understanding of how the higher power (I call God) has been working in my life.

Here’s how it went: on July 11, 1999, I had what turned out to be my last drink (of course, it wasn’t just one). I was clueless about what an alcoholic prison I was in; I had no intentions of quitting drinking. But on July 12, for some reason, I didn’t drink. And I haven’t had a drink since.

However, I didn’t come into AA until November 30, 2001. Those 16 months before that date were excruciating – no alcohol and no program. I suffered terribly as a dry drunk, and I hit a bottom lower than any I’d known before. At that particular meeting (I had actually been to a few meetings before that), I found hope, laughter, and a profound sense of belonging. For the first time in my life, I glimpsed an answer to all my suffering. Because that meeting seemed to be the beginning of a new life, I have been celebrating November 30, 2001, as my sobriety date.

For a long time, in AA, I worried that I wasn’t a “real alcoholic.” I was afraid you all would kick me out because my story wasn’t “bad enough.” Somewhere along the line, though, as I have grown in the program and have come to have a new relationship with the God of my understanding, I have accepted my “devastating weakness and all its consequences” (12 & 12, Step One, p. 21). I have been thanking the God I have come to know through AA for leading me to the fellowship in 2001. Now I want to celebrate the date when that power relieved my obsession to drink.

So here’s how I’m looking at my story now: on July 12, 1999, through a power that knew me better than I knew myself, I was reborn as a person who didn’t have to drink. Even though I crawled through the next 16 months, that same power stayed with me, then stood me on my feet and led me to AA school on November 30, 2001. I don’t have to worry about getting good grades in order to graduate – I’m allowed to be in school for the rest of my life! And as a member of GROW, I can attend class anywhere, anytime.

I’d love to hear from all of you about how the God of your understanding has been working in your life – or anything else you might relate to in my share!

Nov 15: Nightly Review Prayer

Nightly Review Prayer

As the topic for today’s meeting I have chosen the 10th step nightly review prayer which can be found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 86 paragraph 2.

God, help me to constructively review my day. Where was I resentful, dishonest, or afraid? Do I owe an apology? Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once?

Though I am sober 31 years and thought I had made progress in a relationship with my only brother, I see now that hurdles exist to keep us from contact, much less closeness.

My brother happens be very wealthy and I badly could use money to pay the bills encountered in senior care, but he is unwilling to help at least for now. As a result, 31 years or not, I am angry and hurt with the not much of an attitude of patience, tolerance and love.

In a fit of anger yesterday I sent him an unkind e-mail; last night I knew I owed an apology, but I was not able to sit down and write one until early this morning. I have since sent it to him.

It truly doesn’t matter whether he sends me money or not; I can’t live with myself if I send an email, make a phone call, or other move berating anyone. I have a powerful AA conscience.

Was I kind and loving toward all? Most days I don’t get angry at anyone; nothing is that important, and I try to look at my part in every situation, an action that allows me to see where I contributed to the problem or I may have even caused it.

What could I have done better? This is not easy to answer, and I may not have one at the moment. But if it happens again I may want to investigate ways for me to act differently.

Was I thinking of myself most of the time? Or thinking of what I could do for others, or what to pack into the stream of life? I think as human beings we think first of ourselves; it is simply survival. Then if I turn my thoughts toward others it shows I am growing up or at least having a better day.

Please forgive me for my harms today and let me know corrective measures I should take. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. I have heard it said that we are lucky to have this program and that most people could use it. What I think is we forget is that most people, normal people, often do the things we suggest in AA more naturally. But this is not true of all AA members not of all normal people of course.

Personally I feel blessed to have the 12 steps to help me live a more comfortable life.

How about you? Does this prayer play a role in your everyday actions? How has the use of such ideas been a help to you? Please review the prayer and share with us.

Nov 08: Gifts of Early Sobriety

Gifts of Early Sobriety

Aloha, Friends. I am so grateful for my sobriety today – some of you know that last week I celebrated 7 years of continuous sobriety. A miracle. I have been reflecting on my early sobriety as I do around this time of year.

I was a garden variety drunk, an everyday, rain or shine drinker. For years, I did not want to drink anymore but somehow always ended up drunk, passed out, often someplace I didn’t belong. I was totally empty inside, trying so hard but always failing at life but trying to make it look good – I could never figure out why everyone else got the instruction book and I was left out.

AA came to me through a “13th step” – an online flare up with an old acquaintance. He was sober (and also involved with another woman in a face–to–face relationship) and so, in an effort to win his heart, I walked into an AA meeting. I was hoping for the at home study program, but I kept going to meetings because that’s what you told me to do. I did many of the things you told me to do. In that first year of sobriety, I started to understand the language of AA, started to understand myself, started to live a life. I went from wanting to die every day to not entirely wanting to die and later on to wanting to live.

In those early days I received many gifts from people in the rooms of AA that continue to guide me:

  • I learned to Mind my own business.
  • I learned that not every situation needed urgent action from me.
  • I was given the gift of being able to help another alcoholic – no matter what my length of sobriety.
  • And perhaps the greatest gift: I was given a defense against the first drink.

As time has gone on, one day at a time, I have received many many more gifts: a loving HP, wonderful sponsors, great sober female friends, restored relationships, a home in AA anywhere in the world. All these things make my life rich and wonderful. It is still life, though. At this point, I don’t even feel like I can take credit for any of my sobriety – all this is a gift from my HP. I just show up and do the work.

I would like to hear from you wonderful sober women, what were the greatest gifts you received in early sobriety?

Nov 01: Gratitude


This is my anniversary month, both for sobriety and marriage so I have lots to be grateful for 🙂 It is also gratitude month. When I got sober in November 1979, I didn’t have a clue what gratitude was all about, and just about every meeting we attended was on gratitude. It was amazing to be surrounded by hope and happiness, smiles, and well wishes.

On Thanksgiving Day, the group I got sober in opened the meetings to the families and had food and desert. Then the meeting got underway, and we all drew a number. When that number was called, we got to share what we were grateful for on this special day. For a lot of us, it was that we were still alive and had another chance at living the correct way. From that day on until the celebrations started to slow down in January, I felt like a small bird who had found a nest and was being cared for and loved by a bunch of men and women who wanted nothing but the best for me and were showing me how to give it away to keep it.

That first holiday season was the beginning of a journey, now 36 years in the making, which gave me a life of love and service. As my sponsor used to say, “We came to get, we stay to give and, in the giving, we get – so is the circle of life”

Thanks for being on the journey. Please share what you wish. Something you may have picked up from my ramble or something that is on your mind.

Oct 25: Hope


Hope. It was the ray of light that shone into my darkness of despair; the light that that led me forward into a new life.

Hope was the hands that reached out to me when I was trembling and scared and embraced me in their warmth. These were the hands of my god, the source of the hope that was brought into my life because he cradled me in his hands, he picked me up when I was broken and carried me when I couldn’t carry myself.

I didn’t know if hope before I came to step two. All I knew was the crushing disappointment of yet one more attempt to control my drinking. I thought that I was destined to spend years always trying and failing to be ‘normal.’ I thought that I was a failure that I was weak-willed and lacked control.

I did lack control, but not because I was a weak-willed person but because I am an addict with the disease of addiction kicking. It kicks around in the form of alcoholism, and whilst I have a reprieve from drinking today, I still have the disease. Without my HP whom I choose to call god, it can control me. This is because my poor little brain and emotions cannot deal with the implications and manipulation by themselves; I need my higher power to take this burden from me every day.

I remember when I first had the sense of hope. It was a flicker of a ray — just a thought “Can this really be true? Can ‘god’ really be my answer? ‘Would ‘god’ really be able to fix this? I had just about given up all hope. I guess you could say that the belief in god was my last ditch approach.

I was willing to try anything, and this included believing in something or someone that I wasn’t even sure existed but was hopeful that they did. I hoped that whatever ‘it’ was out there would help me. I was willing to believe in the hope that this concept gave me.

I was extremely dubious at first because, as mentioned before, hope often led to disappointment. I would have false expectations brought on by ‘hope.’ Would this time really be any different? I knew somehow that this was different, because it felt different. It was in my heart.

That sense of hope, however miniscule it was at the time, had caught my heart on fire, and it was starting to burn. I was willing to have hope that someone/something would help me not just with the physical, but with the whole of this disease that whatever this ‘thing’ out there was, would be able to free me from the despair and hell my life had become when I was drinking. It was hope that gave birth to faith.

Having hope meant having a willingness to believe, and this meant to pray. I didn’t know who or what I was praying too, but I was willing to pray. The perception of my HP at the time was very overwhelming and scary. I really had no idea about the concept of how this power greater then myself would be able to help me, but I had to trust. That was a very scary place to be. I started off praying to an entity that felt like a stranger but who is now a friend.

My god is a friend who shows me unconditional love, who guides me as I crawl, walk, run, hop, skip, dance and stumble through recovery and who inspires me with just as much hope as when I first got down on my knees.

There is a line from a Keb Mo song that I like “hand it over, hand it over, get on your knees and pray.” That is exactly what I did. Got down on my knees and prayed; with hope in my heart and fear in my eyes but I did it.

Hope is power. Hope is a healer. It is a chance of new beginnings. Having the willingness to believe in something that could give me a new chance was a gift. It can be a scary place to be though. I liken it to standing on the edge of the cliff and you are teetering on the edge, scared to jump because the unknown of the air is scarier than the ledge that you will land on — and what if you don’t land on it? This is where the hope comes in that wind of faith will catch you as you fall and make you fly.

Having hope was taking the jump. That’s all I needed to do; the rest came as it needed to. On the times when I do start to fall down towards that edge and on the times that I’ve landed: I may be a little bruised and dusty, but I still know how to fly. Because hope taught me to jump and faith taught me to fly.

I would love to hear your experience about hope and what step two means to you.

Oct 18: Let Go and Let God

Let Go and Let God

“Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!” (Page 100 in Big Book of AA)
As I look back over the past 23 months, remarkable things have indeed happened in my life. As I have let go of me being in charge/control, my higher power, who I choose to call God, has performed true miracles in my life. I have to keep reminding myself where I have come from. Today, there is what seems a Mount Everest issue in my life. Despite having seen what my higher power has done, I am still struggling with letting God have it.

I want to control the circumstances. I want to control the outcome. I deserve it … right? You would feel this way if you were me! Feel sorry for me — I didn’t ask for this … I could go and on.

Yet I know he has done miracles and will continue to do so as I choose to let him. So today I am working on letting go of what I want, think, need etc.

Please consider sharing with the group your ESH about letting go and letting God.

Oct 11: Forgiveness


As I mentioned, yesterday was my year anniversary. I haven’t touched alcohol for 365 days, one day at a time. That is pretty amazing to me. I have been at this milestone before, about 6 years ago after being in a 15 month, faith based-inpatient treatment. After graduating that program, I was able to stay sober for another year. I white knuckled it the whole time. I wanted to drink, and struggled with the temptation everyday still. I relapsed, and it just got worse. I still wanted so badly to be sober, but just couldn’t deal with life on life’s terms.

I was a chronic relapser. I could stay sober for months and then something would happen, mostly a circumstance out of my control, and I would just lose it. I finally went back to treatment on October 14, 2014 to a different place that only focused on AA. This time, was completely different. It was technically my 5th time in treatment (I went to a 30 day one three times previous to the 15 month one). But this time, I had a revelation. After doing my 3rd step prayer with a staff member, I felt it. Free. Free of control and having to carry the load of everything. I didn’t HAVE to control things anymore!!!! It was the most exhilarating experience I have ever felt.

Since then, I battle the control demon every day still, but I am able to do it in a much more controlled manner. I have realized that circumstances of life are all about how we react to them. They don’t have to make or break someone. They certainly don’t control my sobriety. My higher power, who I call God, helps me figure out what to do, and I just do what is right in front of me, for that day.

I have had a hard year of circumstances, but I am thankful for them. I learned a lot through the good and the bad. However I had something happen yesterday that rocked my world a little. I had a friend from treatment who accused me of lying about my sobriety on my Facebook page. I was just shocked and so deeply hurt. She has not had a year of sobriety, and I know it is all from jealousy. But it really hurt. I was very angry, and fantasies of numbing and drinking the pain went through my head. How insane is that??? I quickly realized that I was letting it really get to me, and I have now started praying for her – even if it isn’t the easiest thing to do.

SO that is my topic. How do you deal with people/circumstances that really upset/anger you??? I am really looking forward to your shares, as I know I will learn something from each one.

Oct 04: Don’t Drink No Matter What

Don’t Drink No Matter What

When I first came into the program, Sept. 30, 1992 … it happen to be on a Wednesday (just like this year) and it happen to be a celebration meeting. A friend of the family was celebrating, I hadn’t even known that he finally got sober!! What an HP shot that was. He thought I was there to support him, I told him it was my first meeting, and he welcomed me, introduced me to some ladies, and was a big part of my recovery. He suggested I find a sponsor right away … a woman that had what I wanted.

I found one within a couple weeks or less, I believe. She told me this is a simple program for complicated minds so she’s gonna KISS (keep it simple silly) … don’t pick up the first drink no matter what … you call me first … go to meetings and we will start the steps.

Hmmm. Don’t pick up no matter what … well, my sisters … as some of the long-timers here know me … I’ve been through the ringer in sobriety … 23 years … I’ve been in accidents, surgeries, losses of my father and other friends, health issues galore … bed bound, house bound, able bodied to house bound again and this list could go on … but one thing I knew during it all … and despite on a few occasions of thinking, “I want a drink” … Yes, I said it, I did NOT pick up no matter what!!

I am not immune to this disease. I have 23 years of tools, sobriety, ESH, some sanity, smiles … however, I only have today. I am only guaranteed 24 hours depending on the condition of my spirituality. That means, for this alkie, I need to go to meetings, work the steps in my life daily, work them formally every few years, call my sponsor once a week or more if needed, and be of service … only then might I have a chance at not drinking today. Dependent on my spiritual conditioning … I have not always handled everything gracefully; however, I have not picked up a drink. I have had times of emotional and spiritual relapses and slips … I have not picked up a drink no matter what!

Currently, I am going through testing for more health issues, as I shared earlier, I have a service dog of 13 years that is up and down with her failing health and a few other things … however … I don’t pick up no matter what … If the thought crosses my mind (as it did when I thought I had to put Haylee down … and there is going to come a time … sooner hopefully later that this will have to happen) I call my sponsor, my network, I share about it, I pray about it, I turn it over as many times as I need to … .I just don’t act on it … I think it through and I stop the thought! I don’t pick up no matter what …

So, I hope that made sense … please share on what you might do to take care of your sobriety today and Not Pick Up No Matter What … .or anything else on your heart today …

Sep 27: Replacing Old Ideas

Replacing Old Ideas

My favorite thing to do when I am to take the lead in any meeting, general topic, is to take my Big Book off the shelf and open it to a page. Read a little bit and come up with a topic. I have to laugh … I opened to page 414 and that could be because it’s my favorite story and part of the book I read often.

The first paragraph on the page …

“I was locked up. One has to be pretty sick to do that, and perhaps one has to be even sicker to come back every day for a new list, as she did. (Today we don’t have to live that way. Max still works with me in the office, but we have turned our wills and our lives and our work over to the care of God. Each with the other as a witness, we took the Third Step out loud-just as it says in the Big Book. And life keeps getting simpler and easier as we try to reverse my old idea, by taking care of the internal environment via the Twelve steps, and letting the external environment take care of itself.)”

Yep … A great reminder for this alcoholic. Today my life seems simple and easy when I remember that I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to my higher power. The problem isn’t the outside world but from within me. Life may present its challenges, but I have a choice in how I view them. Are they problems? No. They are challenges for a moment, but thanks to this program, my mind goes from “challenge” to “opportunity for growth.” (Someone in one of online meetings mentioned “challenges” the other day and I just loved it. Kind of like a middle ground between problems and opportunities for growth.)

When I “reverse my old idea” and draw upon all that I have learned via the program, the steps, and the fellowship. When I remember to take action to deal with me and my thinking … When I don’t know what action to take and turn it ALL over, life is EASIER.

So ladies, please feel take what you want from this lead and share your ESH. Or whatever may be on your mind.

Sep 20: Have You Found What You Want?

Have You Found What You Want?

I heard this topic at a meeting recently. In How It Works it says, “If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it …” What is it that you want? Have you found what you want?

When I went to my first meeting, all I wanted was to quit drinking. I had been drinking daily for 15 years, and it was getting worse. I didn’t eat well, I was a heavy smoker, my health was deteriorating, and my spirit was very close to dead. I heard in almost every share that you drank like I did, and you had found a way to stop. I really wanted that. When people talked about how wonderful their lives were and how much they had gained, I had no idea what that meant. But when they claimed they were neutral to alcohol, I paid attention. The same thing was said all the time: “Come to 90 meetings in 90 days, read the Big Book, pray, get a sponsor, and work steps.”

I took the advice and got what I wanted: I don’t drink, and I don’t fight it. I do now understand how much the 12 steps have to offer, and I have been blessed beyond what I could have asked for. That is probably the key for me, beyond what I could have asked for. God had a much bigger and much better plan, so I continue to seek and pray for God’s direction.

Sep 13: Living Life on Life’s Terms – Sober

Living Life on Life’s Terms – Sober

It is such a pleasure to lead this week’s discussion. I will be sober 9 months on the 15th and am dealing with many of life’s “firsts”. The Christmas holidays (last year), my birthday right after Christmas, New Years, all the other holidays until now. Dealing with stress on the job or in the home without picking up a drink- it was always how I coped with life. Drinking was a good friend who was always there.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a very good friend’s mother, and this was another first- I didn’t drink after the funeral. Any other funeral always had a bottle of something that helped me to relax after. When my dad died last year, I was with him for the month prior to him passing from “the big C” as he called it. During that month, I drank like a fish every day. I can say now that even though I was there, I wasn’t really present. I was numb. I drank very heavily after he passed and continued to numb the sensation of the loss with alcohol. It’s all I knew, drinking was always my coping mechanism.

Yesterday, I was in the moment and felt the pain and compassion for the family of this dear person – and it was fine! I wasn’t overcome with grief, and I wasn’t obnoxious (drinking would do that to me). I was able to comfort the family and be there for them – 100%.

I know this program provides the strength to handle life on life’s terms. Saying the Serenity Prayer and praying for others – not just for myself – gives me the strength I need to make it through each day. Going to meetings regularly and working with my sponsor helps me to stay sober for another 24, even when life throws a curveball.

Please take a moment and share with our sisters how you are coping with the difficulties of life as they rear their ugly heads. How do you do it? What keeps you going when you’re faced with adversity and how you’re able to manage life on life’s terms.

Page 417 from the Big Book states, “Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Sep 06: The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’d like to suggest that we talk about the Big Book and how it has influenced/affected our recovery. I feel fortunate that when I first came into AA, I attended several meetings that emphasized the Big Book and the Steps (the core of the Program for me). Some of my favorite meetings have been Big Book meetings where we read and share through the entire Big Book, including the stories at the back. My favorite passage in the Big Book is “How It Works” (Ch 5). At the very first AA meeting I attended (I was there because I was trying to learn how to live with the people in my life who were drinking WAY too much!!!), I was asked to read that passage. My response as I looked at the two page document was, “The whole thing?” I read it and was deeply touched and moved and saw how MUCH I fit into the description of the alcoholic and felt hopeful as I read about what it takes to achieve and maintain sobriety. Almost immediately after I finished reading that passage, the Chairperson asked if there was anyone attending their very first AA meeting. I was able to raise my hand and say, “I’m Susan, and I’m an alcoholic.” And, that began my journey in sobriety.

Please share on how the Big Book has affected your sobriety / recovery … or whatever is on your mind/heart at this time. Thanks for participating.

Aug 30: Accepting Our Present Circumstances

Accepting Our Present Circumstances

January 12th Daily Reflection: “Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are and the people about us as they are.” When I am having a difficult time accepting people, places or events, I need to remember this reading.

When I first entered the rooms and got a sponsor I heard a few keys things … just because I have quit drinking and have started the steps, I will try to walk the AA path. The serenity prayer took some time to really sink in, but as I recited it over and over, sometimes when I was so troubled, I realized life wasn’t going to be stress free. People were not going to necessarily change. I was the one that had to change and accept people’s behavior. I had to meet life on life’s terms.

Early in sobriety my sponsor said, “Why do alcoholics think every day has to be a good day?” Accept it is not a good day, don’t stay there long and start my day over anytime.

I know the rule: pray for the person for two weeks. How has that been for you gals? I am glad to be on this journey, sober. When I see unhealthy people around me that think being that way is ok, it is not up to me to take their inventory. I am to do the next right thing and keep my side of the street clean.

I need to remember nothing happens in God’s kingdom by accident. I need to Pause and Be Still. What is God teaching me, even if I don’t see it when I think I should see it …

This was a difficult topic for me this week, but will eagerly wait your shares!

Aug 23: Amends


My God has a real sense of humor and allowed me to receive the blessing of my last of my amends to be resolved. When I was two years sober I went back to Canada with the hope of resolving some issues. The final and hardest being amends to my youngest son. I sat across the table from him in his home and tried with all my heart to clear my side of the street. It was increasingly obvious that he wanted no part of this at all. He sat there drinking and smoking dope defiantly, starting straight at me as if daring me to do or say something in anger. I managed to pause and practiced restraint and I walked out saying I love you and I always will. I came back to Florida and for many years had no idea where he was. In 1991 my mother and I went to visit with him and my grandchildren and he was so abusive to us we left. I have not seen him since then. In 1997 I got a phone call and some members on here will remember sitting in a chat room with me while I waited through the night to see if he was going to live after someone had cut his throat. Then again years with no knowledge of where he was.

About 3 years ago I got a Xmas card, then a Mothers’ day card and a birthday card and so on. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and a day or so afterwards I got a card in the mail from him with a beautiful written note and a phone number. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Of course no restraint I tried to call him that very day but there was no answer. The next day I tried again and he answered and I felt that the weight of the world had been lifted from my heart. We talked for an hour and a half and I didn’t even know it had been that long. My husband told me. We talked about everything including spirituality, which absolutely blew me away.

It was a long time coming. 33 years but I finally have my son back in my life and I am so grateful to the God of my mis-understanding for bringing him back to me.

Please let us know some of your joys and your hardships with amends or share with us whatever is on your mind.

Aug 16: Quieting Ourselves

Quieting Ourselves

As Bill Sees It:

“58 Righteous Indignation

“The positive value of righteous indignation is theoretical — especially for alcoholics. It leaves every one of us open to the rationalization that we may be as angry as we like provided we claim to be righteous about it.

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“When we harbored grudged and planned revenge for defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our very first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.”

1. Letter, 1954
2. Twelve and Twelve, pp.48-49

I picked this reading because, as much as I’d love to have picked a ‘happy joyous and free’ theme, I’m afraid I’ve come across some ugly self-rationalization and self-justification going on lately. Throw in some ‘justifiable anger,’ and you got a whole explosive dangerous emotional cocktail.

I did a mini step 4 (or more like a much needed step 10 but using the step 4 columns from the Big Book) and then shared it with another sober lady. And there it was: indignation (how dare they), distrust, control, manipulation, neediness and my old-time favorite, bearing grudges… sigh [ugly I know…].

Anyway, I could see I was setting myself towards another dry drunk bender or scary enough, a drink. I realized the only way forward is to pray and forgive. That’s when I said to the other lady: “I don’t know what to do … but I do need to be quiet right now.”

When I am disturbed, I can’t see the wood from the trees. I need that quieting. Just maybe a moment of still within. And I know then I’ll be able to see the light in the forest. Or at least have hope there’s a way out.

How do you find the quiet or the serenity, or whatever you like to call it, within the storm? How do you deal with indignation (righteous or not!)? What do you do to find the stillness?

Please feel free to share on this or anything else relating to recovery from alcoholism.

Aug 09: What does it mean to be sober?

What does it mean to be sober?

I recently heard someone who was sober in AA question whether he was really sober. He had relapsed on medication. Although he stopped the meds and still wasn’t drinking, he was smoking cigarettes. And eating when he was upset. And losing his temper. Is that sobriety, he wondered?

I left that meeting a bit rattled. Fortunately I’ve been listening to you all long enough understand that I am on a journey. There is no graduation from AA. And there is no test to qualify! I get to decide that I am an alcoholic. I also get to decide what my sobriety looks like.

As I reflect on my 24 month journey, I recognize that I have grown in my sobriety.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to see just how far this program of action has taken me. My boyfriend’s extended family was in town. I haven’t seen most of them in years because, in the past, I would have avoided them. Then, I would have sulked and complained that they didn’t like me.

Instead, I made boundaries so that I had time with family and time to myself. I accepted them as they are instead of making up stories about what they were REALLY thinking. Guess what? My resentments against my boyfriend’s family are gone. None of this would have been possible without my HP and my sobriety.

So, today I’d like to ask: What does it mean to you to be sober? How has your definition of sobriety changed over time? How can you tell if you are progressing or regressing in your sobriety?

I’m excited to hear what you have to share on this or any other topic that has your attention this week. I feel real gratitude and love for this community we have.

Aug 02: Denial


I have the disease of addiction. It makes me an alcoholic – an addict. And it means denial is second nature to me.

Today my higher power and I are celebrating 23 years of continuous recovery, walking together in sobriety through rough times and ready times, and times when change has come upon me ready or not.

The disease of addiction has meant that I have needed to navigate through many incidences of denial over the years. My recovery is contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition and for me there can be only one higher power.

Time and again I have discovered an addictive behaviour that gets in the way of my usefulness to God and to others. A behaviour that has no business being in my attempts to do God’s will.

Non prescription drugs, cigarettes, coffee, work, excessive pride, toxic relationships, prescription drugs, sugar. Some things were stopped when I got sober or before, and some later in recovery. All substances or things I had turned to with the same justifications, all with the same levels of denial. All with the same goal, to get me out of the present moment and make me feel different. Behaviours that needed to be discovered and addressed through surrender. But only once I realised they were a problem. Only when I became ready for change could I even begin the process.

The paradox of denial has meant that I genuinely couldn’t see the truth of my situation or feelings. So how could I undertake change before it hurt enough, or even make sense of what was going on without those vital facts?

If I’m lucky I might have had a vague sense that I need to pray for clarity, but as I mentioned, the paradox of denial is that I genuinely don’t know what I don’t know. This means most of the time I haven’t even realised I needed to ask for clarity. I’ve just gone along, doing what I am doing, thinking I’ve got it right and then noticing I can’t seem to get results, feeling that something seems out of balance, that there is a gap between me and God and struggling to find my footing.

Just like when I was drinking and in active denial, when I could not see my addiction, and without all the facts, I sought to understand my unhappiness and less than impressive results. I thought the reason had to be something else. I sought to blame and looked outside of myself for understanding.

With alcohol, I suspected it might be others in the household for not supporting my efforts to stop, I thought the alcohol industry had a hand in it for selling alcohol. I believed my family of origin had a hand in it for not teaching me a better way of living, I blamed my lousy will power, I even justified my excessive consumption by explaining people’s varying rates of metabolism. The list was endless. Too busy, don’t care enough, not safe, sick of failing, wrong climate, etc etc. I was so very busy “doing”, instead of “being.” I considered everything but the truth, I was an alcoholic. I couldn’t consider this truth because a major symptom in the disease of addiction is denial. My inner addict wanted me busy “doing,” so there was no time for “being.”

The stopping of other addictive behaviours have followed similar lines.

Today I hope I am truly willing to embrace self honesty as best as I can. That means continuing to seek regardless of how I think I’m doing.

If I do this, I trust the ah hah moments that have truly moved me forward on my journey will continue. I have to watch for anything that might be pre-occupying me, it could be another addictive distraction because the addict within is expert at deceiving me.

But with the knowledge I now have about my disease of addiction, I can look at my denial around drinking and make sure that I don’t look for reasons where there are none. If I have thoughts about picking up it is because I am an alcoholic. If I actually do pick up, it is because I am an alcoholic. Being addicted to alcohol is the reason why, not any of those other things outside of that.

Accepting this is important to me because it means I can make change from a place of honesty. It means that ok, the whole thing starts and stops with my addiction so what do I need to do to take full responsibility for managing this?

First of all, I surrender to the fact that the disease of addiction can only be arrested one day at a time, by living in the moment, and allowing a power greater than me to do exactly that … Be greater than me.

Secondly, in addition to letting go and letting God, there is leg work. My leg work includes maintaining my commitment to self honesty. It means continuing to be open minded regardless of whether I think and feel I have made the best or even the only choice. To seek! To assume that despite compelling evidence, the denial component of this disease could well be hiding reality from me.

These are “being” things. My recovery also includes planning, service work, meetings, and other practical strategies which are “doing” things. In and of themselves, while they are important, I need to remember they are “doing” things, so that I can watch out for pre-occupation of a different kind, obsession, pride, perfectionism and really all my character defects given enough time. It is possible for my denial to make a play for my serenity if I let myself become too busy “doing” without the balance of “being”, even doing what is suggested in recovery.

Living by the principles of this program, handing over to God with all my heart and understanding every day. These are not options or choices. They are the first and only line of defence for a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease. I am so grateful that the pain of my reality became so great that it broke through my denial around my alcoholism, because it meant I could escape the hell I was living in.

Every day I am abstinent is a miracle. Each and every moment is cause for celebration and thanks. Perhaps my disease will tell me I have failed if I am marking my time in minutes, or celebrating 24 hours instead of 24 weeks or years. I’m not listening. Every second, every minute that I name this addiction and claim abstinence is a victory. Let me shout it from the roof tops. Did you hear? I’m an alcoholic, and in this moment I have broken through my denial to call it by name. Today it has no power over me.

I would love to hear how you navigate through life in respect to denial. What is your understanding of denial? How has it sabotaged you in active addiction? What tricks has it got up to in recovery? When has it left you shaking your head and smiling ruefully after the truth finally emerged? Please feel free to share on this recovery focus or anything else that might arise for you after “attending” the opening of this week’s meeting.

Jul 26: I Am An Alcoholic

I Am An Alcoholic

“I am an alcoholic” … those simple words have such a profound effect. It has been several months since I shared, and I cannot truly describe the feeling I have right now. These cyber rooms have been such a powerful part of my sobriety, and yet I wandered away so easily.

I came to AA in 1998 after a short stay in a mental hospital … in there I died spiritually. It was a very dark time in my life. At that time, I was a mother of four lovely daughters, and they were only in 5th, 4th, 2nd, and 1st grades at that time. My life was consumed in a very toxic marriage and trying to find acceptance in a world that seemed so foreign to me. I truly felt all would be better off without me.

I found myself in the rooms of AA, and it was painful hearing the Promises in those early years because God hated me because I truly felt I was a mistake. Yet you encouraged me to stay and find a God of my own understanding, and I did … in my ladies. I was determined to get better for them … they became my higher power in those early years. I would wear armor when I was with them and when I stepped through the threshold of AA, that armor would fall to the side and I became teachable. Step by step, I was able to find a higher power that brought meaning back into my life.

I saw how I put people, places, and things in the position of God. I saw how I took on the position of God myself … trying to make things be the way I wanted things to be. Slowly but surely, I left AA after my 7th year because I started to see the differences. It took another alcoholic to give me the gift of desperation to truly see I wasn’t different. When my daughter found herself in the rooms of AA, I found myself back there, too. I found GROW at that time, too.

To say I grew a lot would be an understatement. The fellowship and service work in AA and Al-anon truly brought meaning to my life … just what the promises say would happen … “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 use to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I divorced my husband and commenced on that new life accepting life on life’s terms and embracing it fully. I have gone through a lot since coming back to the rooms of AA; however, I am so very grateful for it.

So where is the topic of this week? Well, for the last three months, I found myself in a relationship. Slowly but surely, I found myself wandering away from AA again … the very thing that saved me from a life that was void of “life.” I found myself in fear quite honestly; however, it is that “fear” that I saw the steps, traditions, and concepts of AA working. That “fear” was awareness of the slippery path I was on, embraced it, and I expressed my needs. Something I would not do and yet something I must do … I do not have another drink in me.

My partner in life is understanding of my need to work my program – for which I am grateful – and supports me – by which I am humbled. That need reminds me of the importance to keep the perspective of remaining spiritually fit, taking care of myself so that I may be there for my partner.

I am truly blessed being an alcoholic. I would not be where I am today without AA and Al-anon. I was given a second chance at life that cannot be taken for granted.

No matter how long you have been in this program, we are all the same … it is a day at a time.

As it says on page 85 of the Big Book, “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.” I cannot forget from where I came, so when I say the words “My name is Tanya, and I am an alcoholic …” I am truly a grateful alcoholic.

Please share your experience, your strength, and your hope on what it means when you say “I am an alcoholic.”

Jul 19: No Price Tag

No Price Tag

The joy of living is the theme of AA’s 12th step and action is the principle behind it. This concept helps us to experience the kind of giving that asks no rewards, and here we can practice all of the 12 steps in the 12 steps we use in our daily lives we seek to change; we see the kind of love that has no price tag on it.

By reaching out the hand of AA when it is asked for, we find that we are no longer isolated and alone in a self-contained prison, that we are no longer square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in every part of HIS scheme of things.

This step claims that true ambition is not what we thought: it is to live usefully and walk with humility, all under the grace of God. When life isn’t going the way I want it to, I try every time to pick up the phone so I can learn how another alcoholic is faring, to offer my assistance, to meditate and pray to God eagerly.

As it says on p. 124, I can understand that “true leadership is being an example, and has nothing to do with power and glory. Step 12 is a joyful look at how our lives can turn around and we can be content with what we have and not want more; it is the culmination the God-directed program given us by Bill and Bob.”

Please read pages 107 and 124 in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, New York, third edition, 1959, and share with us your experience with Step 12.

Jul 12: Finding Serenity

Finding Serenity

My topic for this week is serenity. I want it. ALL the time! ☺ Serenity now!!! When I was in treatment for 30 days, this last time 9 months ago (but fifth time overall), I found serenity – for the first time in my 35 years. I really felt the heaviness of all of my burdens come off of my soul after I did my third step and REALLY gave God control of my life. I literally can tell you the day that I felt serenity for the first time. I found it even more after step four and five. I believe everyone should take their own inventory, recognize their part in some of past hurts and resentments, and heal from them.

There are so many different struggles for my family and I right now – things that normally would send me over the edge, but with the tools and support I have I am able to go on. I wonder if it is a coincidence that I was tempted to drink very badly on my 9-month anniversary yesterday. I had a few bad things happen and for the first time in 8 months, I thought about having a drink. Until then, I had been totally disgusted with even the thought. Today, I am so incredibly grateful that I woke up sober and made it through a very hard week. I can do this with God’s help and AA.

I pray for serenity and peace everyday now, but some days are so much harder than others and I lose that sense of peace, and it takes a while to get it back. I have come up with a term for what I need every now and then to make sure I get it back. It’s called DETACH and RE-CHARGE. Or D&R for short. I need to go somewhere and get away from people, pray/meditate, and be still for at least 15 minutes. It helps me TREMENDOUSLY!!!

In the promises, the Big Book says, “We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 83)

What are some of the ways that you all find your serenity??? How do you bring it back when life is tossing waves at you??

Jul 05: How We Respond

How We Respond

“What happens to us is not as important as how we respond.”

July 1st, I reached 10 years in sobriety. On one hand, it seems impossible. and yet on the other I have felt every day go by. I’m very proud of myself for maintaining sobriety through the worst years of my health. I have died 3 times and come back by the grace of God.

Looking back on the last 10 years, I started thinking about how it truly did matter how I responded to the trials and joys in my life, not what those trials or joys were. Externally, there is very little I can control. Internally, it is up to me. When I flew off the handle or dove off an emotional cliff, I always suffered the consequences. When I calmed myself within or sought the support of my God, AA group, husband, mother, or friends, I enjoyed the very act of living. Did I learn how to respond best quickly? Of course not. I stumbled. I crawled. I strolled. I ran.

And through it all, I learned how to use my support system and my toolbox.

I experienced the errors of focusing on what happened, and I have basked in the wisdom of changing how I responded to what happened. I still don’t have it correct every time. I find I disappoint myself greatest when I fail. It stinks to know the right way to do something, and yet you don’t do it. And even worse that you don’t know why you didn’t do it.

Why don’t I have it down pat yet? Because I’m not perfect … never will be. But I promise you one thing: I recognize when I’m doing it wrong, and I correct it. That usually includes a lot of asking forgiveness and mending fences. God makes me practice things I haven’t mastered. Proper response is just one of them. I’m grateful for the practice because that’s when I learn the most about myself, others, and life itself. I appreciate the trenches because they make me capable of enjoying the mountains.

Have you gotten better at responding in the best way?

Jun 28: Willing To Go To Any Lengths?

Willing To Go To Any Lengths?

Especially in your beginning in AA, were you willing to go to any lengths to get sober? And if so, what were the things you did such as: lots of meetings (90 in 90), get a sponsor and keep in touch with her by email and or phone? Did you do daily readings, find a quiet time to do those readings and try to get the best you could from those readings. Did you ask God for help (when you came to believe) and thank Him at night for your sobriety. What did you feel was and is the most important thing you do each day to stay sober?

Or if you choose share on something else that is on your mind.

Jun 21: Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery

“Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”

Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I PRETEND I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place, But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. It see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit, but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5: I walk down a different street.

This reading reminds me of the definition of Insanity by Albert Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Like -how many times did I tell myself after a day/night of heavy drinking and subsequent horrible hangover that I would never do that again? How many times did I make a promise to my God that if He got me out of the mess I had gotten myself into that I would never get drunk again? Too numerous to mention and I couldn’t keep the promises I made. I would justify my drinking by telling myself that if s/he hadn’t said or done that, or if you had my problems you’d drink too, etc. I would berate myself for doing this repeatedly and wondered why I couldn’t get off the treadmill of doing the same things over and over again.

That hole in the sidewalk (alcohol) removed my feelings of self-worth and self-esteem and left me feeling useless, worthless, less than and a person who even I wouldn’t want to be around. When I became sick and tired of doing this, I prayed and cried out or help to my God to show me a better way to live my life.

My prayer was answered when a co-worker friend of mine with 9 years of sobriety saw the pain I was in and took me to my first meeting. I was relieved to learn that I wasn’t a bad person trying to be good, but a sick person trying to get well. This made so much sense to me that I admitted I was an alcoholic and that my life was unmanageable. At first, I choked on the word, alcoholic, until I learned about your struggle with this disease and it was pretty much the same as mine. For the first time in my life, I finally fit in with a group – a group of alcoholics who got sober and helped others to get sober by sharing their ESH.

What havoc is/was that ‘hole in the sidewalk’ playing in your life? What or who helped to get you onto the Road to Recovery?

I’ll be interested in reading your shares on this subject or on anything else that is happening in your life that you’d like to share with us.

Thank you for being along with me as I ‘Trudge the Road of Happy Destiny'(Chapter 5) and for your sobriety and mine.

Jun 14: Resentments and Forgiveness

Resentments and Forgiveness

Hello everyone! I was asked by our Weekly Leader Listkeeper if I could step in to chair this week. After I said “yes,” I realized that this is the week of my sister’s birthday. She has chosen to not speak to or contact me since 1991. The reasons are multiple; I created and fanned some of them and some I did not. I have made 3 amends for my part in this situation.

What I have realized for the past few years, with the help of my sponsors and other AA folk, is that…

It doesn’t matter what my sister does or doesn’t do about the fact that I’m her sister. As one dear friend said about something else recently, “she isn’t doing anything TO me, she is just doing.”

It has taken me a loooonnnngggg time to come to this place of (mostly) quiet acceptance. And it has taken a long time for me to be uncomfortable enough when the self-righteous anger flairs up to quickly turn that moment into an opportunity to pray for her emotional and physical health. In fact, this whole “situation” has become a guide for me to assess where I am today in terms of acceptance.

I so wanted to be justified in my anger. I wanted to hold on to that anger, and the Big Book tells me that nursing anger will get me drunk. The Steps take me through the process of seeing my part in the situation, identifying my traits (character defects) that contribute to my part, turning those over for change to HP, then going forth and trying to right the wrongs I created. The story, Acceptance was the answer, tells me about the process of accepting the other person. The story, Freedom from Bondage, tells me about a tool (prayer for the person who I resent, asking for everything I want for myself to be given to the other person). And the book, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, talks about the process of forgiveness in terms of the steps. So this process has taught me a lot:

  • I have had to learn how to enact forgiveness
  • I have had to learn how to pray for someone even when I don’t want to
  • I have learned how to hand over – sometimes one minute at a time – another person to my Higher Power because I am not entitled to judge the state of anyone else’s life
  • I must work the steps of AA to stay sober and to stay alive, and the most effective way to do this work is to let go of my expectations of others
  • I must not expect perfection from me, and therefore I must not expect perfection from others.
  • That when I live in the answer, the problem goes away (see Acceptance was the Answer for what I’m paraphrasing here).

Today, I feel a little melancholy that my sister isn’t in my life – and I needed to write that so I can ask HP to help me not slide into martyrdom and victimhood. And since the 16th is her birthday, I think prayers for joy and happiness for her are in order.

I would love to hear where you are with acceptance and forgiveness and how these states play out in your recovery. And if you don’t want to share about that, I hope you’ll share about where you are right now.

Jun 07: Keeping My Peace

Keeping My Peace

What challenges or situations may threaten your peacefulness, and what do you do so that you can get it back? What are the “tools” you use to get back into balance? How do you use our Program to remain at peace and remain in balance?

Here is how I take on challenges and keep the peace:

  1. I acknowledge that LIFE just keeps happening – – -no matter what I do about it! It’s up to me how I respond to it.
  2. I accept what is instead of resisting what is placed before me;
  3. I trust that WHATEVER is placed before me is what my God wants me to take a look at, go through it, and experience the lesson;
  4. I have TOTAL trust in my Higher Power;
  5. I look at EVERYTHING as an “opportunity for growth” instead of as a “problem”; and
  6. I know today that EVERYTHING passes and I will never experience this moment again and what it holds for me.

IT WORKS WHEN I WORK IT and doesn’t when I don’t!!!

I look forward to hearing how you keep the peace in your life!

May 31: God Consciousness OR The Step You Are On Today

God Consciousness OR The Step You Are On Today

I have been listening to Joe and Charlie’s Big Book Study while driving in my car lately. (I found it on my Podcast App for those of you who have the ability to do that sort of thing.) We have 12 Steps that help us navigate closer to a God of our understanding. My concept of God tends to be a Higher Power outside of myself. Maybe some of that has to do with organized religion, Im not sure, but that doesnt really matter other than to provide you with a little background on how I think. Maybe it is because so many of us go to church to pray …

I was reminded while listening to Joe and Charlie that the solution to my alcoholism lies within me, for the simple fact that my God dwells within me. The solution to my drinking problem is inside me, and I have been carrying it around all this time! It is my job to get all of the stuff cleared away so that I may realize that the power is there. I blocked myself from the Sunlight of the Spirit with my character defects, fears, booze, etc., and the work of the 12 Steps enabled me to clean house so that God’s light could shine from within.

Slowly I found a sort of God consciousness. An awareness of a Power greater than myself that was steering my course … I tested my Higher Power plenty during the journey of these sober years. I have been blessed to have lived. After all, I like to drive the bus, be in charge, organize, categorize, control etc. But in the end, I have found that depletes my energy, and it really is easier to let life unfold and trust that my Higher Power has the best plan, route, etc. I began my day by looking at myself in the mirror and saying the 3rd Step Prayer in the mirror to myself and to salute the God within. It’s getting easier day by day. Sometimes it is hard to look myself in the eye, but I do it anyway.

If God dwells within each of us, you and I have all the knowledge and all the power to handle anything that might come up in the future provided we know how to tap into that knowledge and power. I have gotten to this place in my relationship with my Higher Power through prayer and meditation; talking to God and listening. The last 3 Steps are the ones that I use on a daily basis now. They have become habit, sort of like brushing my teeth or bathing. It is a spiritual cleanse for me on a daily basis. I have had to practice this stuff, ladies. It is easier to know intuitively how to handle situations now. That has been one of the benefits. Learning to trust myself too … all of this change in me has come about by trial and error. Lots of error, ladies, that is how I learn best. So, you gals taught me that making mistakes is part of learning how to GROW.

One of the fundamental ideas that I hung on to is that this spiritual growth stuff is a process. I like the passage about being rocketed into the 4th Dimension (page 25 of the BB), but it is not something that happens over night for most of us. (It did not for me anyway.) My spiritual growth has been of the educational variety, and like the tortoise, a slow and mostly steady race, if one can even consider it a race. I suppose in the beginning, I was in a bit of a hurry to grasp enough of the AA tenants or teachings so that I would not drink again, but over time I just kept coming back and listening to the best of my ability.

At about 10 years sober while reworking the Steps, I had a rocket ride with my Higher Power. There is no end to how far we can GROW in sobriety. I continue to evolve, change and grow. Sometimes it is painful, and that’s OK too. The answers to all of my problems today are right inside of me! Who would have thought? I am so used to looking elsewhere for answers.

As a child I would cheat on tests sometimes and glance at your paper … I would pick up a book and try and find the answer too! But what I am trying to share is that I spent much of my life looking for my answers on the outside, and it was a pleasant and sometimes painful experience to find them on the inside of Alison! I love this program and how it works. I learned some years back in an AA meeting that every answer I need lies in the actual seeking for it. The process of seeking my Higher Power’s Will regarding any given person, place, or thing will ALWAYS give me my answer. (Note: I may not always like the answer or solution, but I do receive it 100% of the time if I engage with a God of my understanding.)

There are plenty of tools to help me look inside of myself. The work of the 12 Steps are a transformative process and in the end I find myself wearing a new pair of glasses, and the world and those in it look very different to me now. Suffice it to say, Life is beautiful even when it is a load of lemons.

As many of you gals are new and not yet working Step 11, I ask you to share on what Step you are working on today.

May 24: Pause When Agitated

Pause When Agitated

On Wednesdays, I go to a Big Book study meeting. It’s been really helpful for me to listen as we read out loud for about 20 minutes, and then we have a discussion on the reading. Last week we were reading the chapter “Into Action.” This is the part that really struck me:

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.
Alcoholics Anonymous, page 87

Pause when agitated. Seriously? I actually spoke up and asked if anyone really does that. {They do}. My mode of operation my whole life, is to go from zero to ten in a fit of rage. I’m not really proud of that. The thought of pausing seemed/seems impossible. My sponsor says that, God (or the universe) gives opportunity after opportunity to work on our behaviors.

AND Of course, the next day I got to practice PAUSE. What I realized is that before my emotional explosion, there is a brief period of irritation. I never recognized that before. Truthfully, the idea of pausing and praying was not something that I had any desire to do. BUT … when I always do what I have always done, I get what I have always gotten. That’s insane. So I paused and asked my higher power for help. I didn’t explode. It wasn’t perfect or even pretty but I did it. That got me going back to the literature to read again.

The next line says, we constantly remind ourselves. Seriously? I texted my sponsor and asked her if people really do that–pause. Does she do that? — pause?–constantly remind herself she’s not running the show? – many times each day? She replied – yes, yes and yes. I have been angry for a long time. It’s my “go to” emotion. I haven’t really known what other emotions there are besides sad and angry and tired. Like so many of us, I used alcohol to medicate myself – to try to feel better – to be happy. And like all of us, the alcohol didn’t fix me.

I am practicing/learning to pause, and I am learning to pray and ask my higher power for His will not mine. I like running the show but it hasn’t worked. Today I am grateful that I am sober! I have countless blessings. Things have improved in my life. I am still a work in progress. But when I sit back and look at where I was 18 months ago, I can honestly it’s a miracle. I am so grateful for AA, my higher power, my sponsor, the fellowship, and this group.

I would really like to hear your thoughts and experiences on this subject – pause. Do you pause, does it work for you, do you constantly remind yourself you are not the running the show? How has that changed your life?

May 17: Enjoying Life On Life’s Terms

Enjoying Life On Life’s Terms

I have worked the 12 steps with my sponsor and seen the promises come true. As I celebrate how far I’ve come, I can’t help but remember what it was like I’m reminded of the section from the chapter “A Vision For You” from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt and one more failure. 
Alcoholics Anonymous, page 151

The night of my last drunk, I was on a chartered sail boat on Lake Michigan. The sun was shining and life was good. I was there for work. There were 12 of us, drinking wine and champagne and enjoying the day. Or I should say that’s what everyone else was doing. I was drinking and drinking and drinking some more. I couldn’t get enough.

After we got off the sailboat, some people were going home and others were going to go for Mexican food and margaritas. I had told myself I was going to go home. I had a husband and a nine month old at home. I should have gone home. But in my mind, it was like I would be missing out if I didn’t go for Mexican. I chose chips and salsa and, more importantly, margaritas. I was drinking so fast. I couldn’t stop. I had horrible heartburn, and I kept drinking. Then it hit me, I was an hour from home and wasted.

I got up and said “I gotta go.” I knew that if I didn’t go, I would black out and not make it home. I was scared. So I walked out to the street to hail a cab. We were in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood on the northside of Chicago, and I couldn’t find a cab. So I sat down on the curb to wait for one. I passed out and woke up to an EMT throwing me on a stretcher. I panicked. I called him some names, and he threw me on and belted me down. Took me to the ER where I was in and out of consciousness. I slept it off for a bit and when I woke up, the nurse had me call my husband. I could barely speak. It was like my mouth was full of cement. My husband was screaming and crying. I just handed the phone over to the nurse.

My husband had to wake my daughter up and drive to get us. We live in the southwest suburbs. Before I could leave, the doctor wanted to talk to me to see if I needed to be admitted for psychiatric evaluation. I admitted to her what I had known for a long time. I was an alcoholic and my life was out of control. I worked full time, was the “bread winner,” had a nine month old . Life was unmanageable. She smiled. She told me she was relieved that I knew what I needed to do. Four hours later, I was in my first AA meeting.

I would see people drink and have fun. They didn’t seem to isolate like I did. They didn’t seem to feel the guilt, shame and remorse the next day that I did. They didn’t seem tormented. They weren’t consumed by the desire and the obsession to drink.

I failed at drinking. But since coming to these rooms, I have learned how to succeed at living life. I came to the rooms in hopes to learn how to live life WITHOUT drinking. What I have learned is so much more useful. I have learned how to live life on life’s terms. I have learned about patience, tolerance, love, and compassion not only for myself, but for all the other people out there in the world.

For today’s topic, I’m hoping you can share on how you have learned how to enjoy life on life’s terms.

May 10: A Selfish Program

A Selfish Program

Welcome and Happy Mothers Day to all us women, whether you’re a mom or a daughter or both. Today is a day we take stock and appreciate those people in our lives. With this in mind I would like to suggest as a topic – It’s a Selfish Program.

How does that tie into mothering? When I came in, I was absolutely LAST on the list. Everyone else came first. I had two boys 3 and 10, and a husband who was totally capable of helping and choose to NOT. Then there were the parents and friends and on and on till I was just a human doing. Work, home drink, pass out, work, home, drink, pass out … you get the picture.

That was 12 years of my life. When I was first exposed to AA, and you suggested I make my sobriety a priority, I struggled. How could I possibly put that first on the list when I had so many responsibilities? My marriage didn’t survive, but I did. My children did, and we have relationships now.

Today, I have a relationship with myself. That’s something I never had. I have a relationship with a higher power who guides me, takes care of my most basic needs and wants and some very personal spiritual ones as well. There are days I soar on the wings of eagles, and there are days I trudge thru mud. But through all that I have put sobriety first because without that, I am nothing.

I look forward to reading your shares and how you have learned to put yourself first and learned that everyone in your life benefited from your taking action.

May 03: Rule 62

Rule 62

When I was new to AA, people would refer to Rule 62. I had no clue what they were talking about. I thought it was some secret code. And I guess it is really. “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” That’s Rule 62. It tells me to let go of all that ego stuff and just relax. For me, there are few more important rules in the program.

Don’t drink – no matter what – is, of course, the big one. I don’t have a chance if I can’t put the bottle down. Believe me, I know. It took me nine years to get from my first meeting to my last drink. If I can’t get my mind clear, I won’t get the benefits of the steps and the wisdom that’s so plentiful in the rooms of AA. But once I can actually stop drinking, what’s next?

I thought life was going to be boring and empty. Without my best friend, how in the world would I enjoy anything? It was a tremendous surprise to realize that I was busier than I’d been for years and that I was actually enjoying life without booze. But it took longer to learn how to laugh.

We are not a glum lot. The most amazing thing to me about meetings is how much we laugh. Sometimes, it’s very dark humor, but that’s what makes it funny – we know what dark is. We laugh at things that others might find embarrassing or humiliating. We tell stories on ourselves, admitting our defects without feeling ashamed of them. We know we are sick, but we are getting well – together.

When I can let go of my pride, when I can be right-sized, I don’t have to protect my fragile ego anymore. I don’t get insulted or hurt so easily. I don’t have to make snide remarks to or about others. I am not perfect, and it is perfectly ok. It is even funny. I no longer take myself so damned seriously. What a tremendous gift it is to be free enough to laugh at myself. So, newcomers, when you hear about Rule 62, remember how important it is.

Remember that a sober life is a life that includes plenty of laughter. I invite you to share this week about the laughter in your program – about not taking yourself too seriously.

Apr 26: Keeping Your Program Fresh

Keeping Your Program Fresh

For most of us, the first years of AA are something like a honeymoon. There is a new and potent reason to stay alive, joyful activity aplenty. For a time, we are diverted from the main life problems. That is all to the good.

But when the honeymoon has worn off, we are obliged to take our lumps, like other people. This is where the testing starts. Maybe the group has pushed us onto the side lines. Maybe difficulties have intensified at home, or in the world outside. Then the old behavior patterns reappear. How well we recognize and deal with them reveals the extent of our progress.
As Bill Sees It, page 216

I started this week’s meeting with this quote from As Bill Sees It because at two years into this journey, even though I feel like a relative newcomer, I am beginning to lose much of the “Pink Cloud” of early recovery. As Bill W put it, the Honeymoon is over. Having spent two years in the rooms, I know what a dangerous place this can quickly become if I allow my program to take a back seat.

If I allow my program to become stale or boring, I am putting myself at risk of picking up that first drink: the drink I know I can never afford to ever take again! Fortunately, I have surrounded myself with the “Winners” in the program, and because of their Experience, Strength and Hope, I don’t have to make the same mistakes some of them have made. I know that now is the time to double-down on working my program. I must question my motives any time someone or something threatens to become a priority over my sobriety. So now the real work begins!

My topic for this week is Keeping your Program Fresh. I’d like to hear from anyone willing to share on how you have kept your program of recovery First and Fresh in your life when the Honeymoon is over. As always, you are also welcome to share on anything you need to share on.

Apr 19: Life On Life’s Terms

Life On Life’s Terms

I have been trying to think of a topic for a month now, but this seems to cover it for me today. My dad has been diagnosed with cancer that appears to be in every organ and, today is the 6th anniversary of the death of my children’s father. So this week has not only been a celebration, it has been one of stress, sadness, anxiety and most certainly powerlessness.

I am so grateful that today, I have the tools from this program to deal with, accept and live life as it happens and I don’t have to drink or pretend to be GOD! LOL When I talked to my Dad (he is in Florida but enroute home, hooray!!!), he said he’s taking it “ONE DAY AT A TIME”!!! He’s not even in the program! LOL Life happens, and I am truly grateful that I am sober and able to be present today!

Apr 12: Serenity


I was going to write about gratitude (one can never have enough shares on that topic- LOL!) but then decided to write about “Serenity” which I feel goes hand in hand with gratitude. If I don’t have gratitude, I don’t have serenity. Unfortunately, I don’t always remember that and then get caught up in the worries and stresses of life. If I don’t take care of myself and don’t do the next right thing, my thinking gets “stinky”, and I get myself closer to that slippery slope. When I pause, breathe, and get in touch with my Higher Power and say a prayer- like the Serenity Prayer- I can feel myself starting to calm down in my head, and my thinking becomes clearer and more positive.

I also really try to meditate on those words of the Serenity Prayer and try to accept that I cannot resolve insoluble problems! Accept the things that I cannot change! Sometimes it’s not so easy to differentiate between insoluble situations and those situations that I can change.

From “Came to Believe (A.A. approved literature): “….I find that substituting the word ‘honesty’ for ‘wisdom’ often furnishes the clue to the answer I’m seeking.” I love that! This program is all about honesty. I have learned to be more honest with myself and with others. Boy oh boy – all the lying and the sneakiness that I used to do!! I had to stop lying to others and lying to myself – I learned acceptance and tolerance AND Honesty, Openness and Willingness (HOW)!

“Serenity to me, therefore, is the absence of insoluble conflict. And it is up to me first to determine whether, after an honest look at myself, I can cope with the problem, then to decide whether it is to be tackled, passed over to another day, or dismissed forever.” “Came to Believe,” p. 111

After I’ve accepted that I cannot change a situation (people too), I become more at peace with myself and the situation. It’s really comforting to know that. When I can change something, and I have taken an honest look and have prayed about it, the next thing for me to do is the very best that I can. If I know that I did the very best that I could – that I did the next right thing – then I am at peace and have serenity. Wow, it’s taken me a long time to figure this out – I am a slow learner -LOL! But it is progress, not perfection!

Apr 05: Types of AA Meetings

Types of AA Meetings

I realized that it would be helpful to start a discussion on what is bothering this alcoholic currently. In my immediate area, there were 4 Discussion Meetings a week and 4 Speaker Meetings. The 4 Speaker Meetings have regular attendance and participation but one of the Discussion meetings, a Big Book Meeting, folded before Christmas because they could not afford to pay rent due to lack of attendance. The other 3 Discussion Meetings, a 12 and 12 Study, a Women’s Discussion, and a General Discussion are all just hanging on by a thread with very limited attendance (2-3 people, many times one). My questions to the GROW membership are what types of meetings do you attend and do you have a preference for a certain type of meeting?

All AA Meetings are great, and I have never left a meeting without learning something. My preference is for Discussion Meetings where everyone gets a chance to talk and hear more than one other person share. One of these Discussion Meetings (the 12 and 12 Study) had the reputation that it was for the educated AA members – which was just an excuse used to not attend by many. That meeting has the same cross section of long-time recovering alcoholics, newcomers, and all stages in between as well as alcoholics with degrees and alcoholics who can’t read but are just as smart as those with formal educations. Three of these meetings are all held at the same place and are part of the same Group that has a Speaker Meeting. This Group started 66 years ago with the Speaker Meeting, then about 30 years ago the General Discussion Meeting started, then 25 years ago the 12 and 12 Study Meeting came into being and I started the Ladies Meeting 10 years ago.

I was wondering what type of meetings you ladies of GROW have where you live and is attendance staying the same or falling off?

Mar 29: Resentments


Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. In the Daily Reflections, it says “If I continue to relive my old hurt, it is a resentment and resentment bars the sunlight from my soul. If I continue to relive hurts and hates, I will hurt and hate myself. In As Bill Sees It … harbouring resentment is infinitely grave. For then we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. Anger is a luxury I cannot afford.

It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. 
Know God;
Know peace.
No God;
No peace.

This is only a little of what is written in Daily Reflections. I know anger comes from my resentments. This is where my mantras come into play. Let go and let God. I can still get angry, I can still feel the emotions but my choice is not to cover over it with alcohol and I can’t afford to stay there, so I must pray, talk to my sponsor, and go to meetings. I struggle with meditating but in listening to people talk it is an important part of my sobriety.

Prayer is talking to God…….meditation is listening to God.

Resentments for me come from feeling I am not enough! Why does she have more than me. Why is she thinner, prettier than me. My knitting is never as good as hers … the list goes on and on and on.

In my two years of sobriety I have grown. Thank goodness for spiritual progress and not perfection … I need to go easy on myself, forgive myself like I forgive others.

My great sponsor reminds me as I continue on this spiral journey, don’t compare myself to others. I am enough. Pat myself on the back because whatever I have gone thru (dealing with life on life’s terms) I didn’t have a drink.

When the resentments set in, I go back to a book I was given in an AA meeting “The Golden Key.” Six short pages … when a person or event is upsetting me, my eyes are off God. Using the theory “Golden Key” it or them it really works.

I am learning daily, what is my business and what is not, that I am not in control of people. That they are behaving the only way they know how to. It is not up to me to do their inventory … lol just do my own and keep my side of the street clean!

I am so thankful to be on this journey with the many I have met in GROW. When I read a share that I just need to read, I know it is God’s handiwork. Nothing happens in God’s universe by accident. I just need to sit back and ask “What is God trying to teach me right now?” Be Still and Know that I am God. I know God loves me just as I am, but he loves me too much to leave me there.

Mar 22: Plan the Action, Not the Results

Plan the Action, Not the Results

My husband and I made a decision recently, that we would not live apart any longer and trusted that the money part of this would fall together. But in view of the fact that we have waited our entire lives to find each other, it did not make sense to live in two different countries. So he gave notice and is coming home on April 4th and is done with the China gig. Hurrah! Rather magically and because we simply do the next indicated thing together, he applied for a job in Florida a month or so ago. The salary turned out to be far short of our needs, so we figured it was not meant to be. But last night he received an email informing him that the new Florida-based company would like to fly him to Florida later next month for an interview.

Now here is the part that I like the most. It’s not so much about the salary. We are not even sure we want to live in Florida right now. In fact, ideally we would get to spend the summer in our beautiful home here in the Great White North of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The winters are brutal, and we “Yoopers” really look forward to the spectacular summer months followed by the flaming Fall colors! After 200-300″ of snow removal we earn our summer months! At any rate, we don’t want to move to Florida right now, but perhaps God has another plan.

Together Dave and I have concluded that we must follow this job offer to its conclusion. The one thing I do know is that we will be happy no matter where we are, as AA has given us the tools with which to live life and the promises of happiness, joy & freedom. Plus, I am one of the most adaptable people that I know. I can live almost anywhere. We will plan a trip together to Florida later next month, “try it on” and see if it is a good fit. We will pray together and make the decision together. We will write about it, the pros & cons and we will analyze and do the footwork. We will “number crunch”, pray some more and in the end we will know that we made the right decision for us and we will have no regrets. That is how AA has taught me to live my life. So for today I will plan the action and not the results.

It has taken me a lifetime to get to this place where I don’t need to “steer” (don’t get me wrong, I will still try on occasion to control stuff!) or manipulate, conjure, massage, orchestrate, etc. the outcome of events in my life. I am learning, albeit ever so slowly, sometimes to let stuff/life unfold. It is certainly more exciting that way! I trust in the process today and know in my heart if not in my head, that God has a plan. It is His plan and all I need to do is the footwork and the rest will unfold naturally.

So today, I plan the action not the results. This is born of trust – a ruthless trust in a God of my understanding. It has taken years of “testing” my trust, years of letting go little by little and finding out that it all works out for the best. This of course, is only affirmed in retrospect. I just cannot see today what the outcome of “the game” will be. And it does not matter to me now. What matters is that I get up and do the best that I can just for today.

My Mom had a book on her nightstand that I will never forget the title of, and I have it on my nightstand now. In fact I would love to simply frame the cover and hang it on the wall as I didn’t enjoy reading it all that much. It is titled “Don’t Push the River (it flows by itself)” by Barry Stevens. The title conjures up the perfect imagery for me of just how to live life.

God has a plan here for my husband and I, and it is my job to do the footwork. I have learned to have little vested in the actual outcome, because God has always given me/us exactly what I need when I need it. What I know today is that during the course of my sober years, my Higher Power has ALWAYS taken care of my needs. I trust my God today. The freedom that gives me is priceless, absolutely priceless.

Mar 15: Humility and Responsibility

Humility and Responsibility

On Page 272 of “As Bill Sees It” it says:

“All A.A. progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards.

“Ever deepening humility, accompanied by an ever greater willingness to accept and to act upon clear-cut obligations — these are truly our touchstones for all growth in the life of the spirit. They hold up to us the very essence of right being and right doing. It is by them that we are enabled to find and to do God’s will.”

TALK, 1965 (Printed in Grapevine, January 1966)

These two little paragraphs contain an enormous amount of truth and a standard that seemed foreign to me when I entered these rooms. I did not take responsibility for my acts and behaviors. I did not have a healthy perspective on my self-worth nor my part in the insanity that was ensuing in my family life. I had checked out on being a parent and wife on many levels, and it led to an ever-increasing weight of guilt and shame.

It was easy for me to place the blame for my misery on others and to never see my part in the mess I had made of my life. As I hit my bottom, I was given the gift of willingness, and it led me to you all, and the doors of my local A.A. fellowship. It was then that the fog lifted, and I was given a new start at life.

As I began to shut up and listen, get a sponsor, do the steps, get involved in service, and practice prayer and meditation, I began to see the real picture. This picture is being revealed to me daily as I am only just beginning to see what humility and responsibility even look like. I am starting to realize that I am not worthless, nor am I the queen of everything.

I am stepping up and doing what is right and just when I am able to, and when I cannot, I learn from my mistakes. I sincerely mean it when I pray each morning for right thoughts and action, for God’s will to be done, for me to be of use to my fellow man, and to be willing to admit my wrongs and make them right. I am not a saint!! But baby steps of progress are occurring and I am so grateful that I have been given a second chance at life.

So, my question for you is: How do you practice these two things in your life? What do these paragraphs mean to you? You can also share on anything that is on your mind this week.

Mar 08: Gratitude


Today I celebrate 28 years of sobriety. I am somewhat new to GROW since only finding out about GROW last December. Reading your shares every day and listening to your experience strength and hope has helped me keep things in perspective lately since I have been crazy busy the last year with work and being in an MA program. I fall very quickly into self and negative thinking if I don’t work my program and get to meetings.

I wasn’t really sure I was an alcoholic at first but knew I could not stop drinking. I believe my drink found my friends for me back then as I wanted to drink to get drunk and basically check out as much as possible through drink. Back then if you didn’t drink like I did or wanted to drink like I did I thought you were boring, weird or there was something not right about you. I came into the rooms on March 7th, 1987, and I did not plan to get sober or stay in AA. I just wanted help to drink like a normal person (not blackout, not end up with people I didn’t want to be with the next day after drinking all night, not miss school due to drinking!|)

My Higher Power had other plans, and the meeting I walked in on March 8th, 28 years ago, was the beginning of my journey in sobriety. Well I didn’t really want to stop drinking all those years ago but I did want to learn how to “curtail” my drinking. I started hearing peoples’ stories in AA after going to meetings to try and learn how to be a normal drinker, and then I heard how peoples’ lives were so much better being sober.

I started to take suggestions from people who had some time in AA, and I did almost everything these crazy old timers in AA told me to do !’d pick up cups, wash up, greet at meetings, take on commitments, 90 in 90, read the book, talk to newcomers with less time than me and so on. They kept telling me to “keep coming back” one day at a time. It wasn’t too long that I got a sponsor and she walked me through the steps of AA.

For me I know in my heart that sobriety gives me amazing choices and opportunities in life that I would not have if I was drinking. Today I have hope and faith. And if on occasion things happen which are out of my control, I know from experience in AA that “this too shall pass.”

AA birthdays always give me an opportunity to reflect on my sober journey and express some gratitude for a new life (and an even better one than I could have imagined). Today I certainly don’t worry about hangovers, blacking out, or waking up with someone I don’t know or care to be with because of my drinking. I haven’t had the opportunity to get to any f2f meetings this week due to being out of town for work, so this fellowship online has been my saving grace. Look forward to shares on the topic of “Gratitude.”

Just want to finish my share with my favourite reading from the Big Book of AA, “Keys of the Kingdom,” page 276:

“The last fifteen years of my life have been rich and meaningful. I have had my share of problems, heartaches, and disappointments because that is life, but also I have known a great deal of joy and a peace that is the handmaiden of an inner freedom. 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 new-found 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.”

Mar 01: Daily Inventory

Daily Inventory

For today’s topic, I have chosen the powerful words about prayer and meditation in Step 10 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 89-90. These paragraphs point to the need for daily inventories which they call an accurate self-appraisal and how self-examination is necessary to stop judging other folks.

The section asks if these practices are not “joy killers.” The answer is not really, that once the habit of a self-appraisal becomes grooved, it is “interesting and profitable and the time it takes won’t be missed.”

Though this is only the 3rd and not the 10th month of the year, Step 10 has always been the key step in my sober life, so I am showcasing the information for this meeting. I am sober more than 30 years, but I still get caught up in what other people are doing and thinking: even though AA tells me I don’t have to please everyone, I still want to. And all the literature tells me that in some fashion I must do God’s will, and I will probably know it is His will if I have ease and comfort.

On page 90, it tells us “it is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.” It asks “is there no exception to this?” And the answer is our so-called “justifiable anger is better left to those qualified to handle it.”

The spot check inventory is aimed at or daily ups and downs, especially when people or events can throw us off balance. And the book underscores the development of self-restraint since “when we speak or act hastily our ability to be fair-minded evaporates on the spot.”

Recently I moved into an assisted living facility because there were many issues at the apartment house where I had lived for the last four years. As fate would have it, I face new and more difficult challenges here: I am trying to be reasonable every time something difficult happens, and I am growing constantly. Not only does my age make it harder to change and do it with good humor, but my lifetime featuring the freedom and happiness I am used to makes me balk at letting others make decisions for me. I am not the spiritually sound person I would like to be, but I try to apply these principles on an ongoing basis.

Now, I would like to hear from you about how you utilize the principles outlined here to seek solutions to the unhappiness caused by people, places, and things in your life. For me the program works both in face-to-face and online meetings, and the words, in my humble opinion, are straight from GOD. Ladies, the floor is now open for sharing.

Feb 22: The Victory of Surrender

The Victory of Surrender

For our topic this week I chose a reading from the Daily Reflections Book on page 14: “The Victory of Surrender”. This quote is from the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p.21: “We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.”

I would like to examine how utter defeat and personal powerlessness leads to victory. When I came into AA, I was and still am personally powerless over alcohol. For years while drinking, I had tried to control my drinking on my own through self-will. I tried switching from beer to wine; I tried white knuckling it; I tried vitamins, exercise, self-help. All these failed. My life was a mess and I was completely defeated.

I realized I couldn’t get sober alone. I needed AA and all of you and a God of my understanding. I needed something to lean on besides myself. Admitting my personal powerlessness and joining AA allowed me to find a God and deepen that relationship and for that I am so grateful.

Today I depend on AA and our meetings and the fellowship and God to keep me sober. And I am glad that I had to reach rock bottom to get to that point. Otherwise I’d still be trying to do it on my own.

Please share your experience, strength and hope with us on how you came to realize your personal powerlessness over alcohol and how that led to new strength and new life. Feel free to share on whatever else you need to discuss as well.

Feb 15: Practice These Principles In All Our Affairs

Practice These Principles In All Our Affairs

“Having had a spiritual awakening, as a results of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

I am focusing on the last part of Step 12, as this is something that I try to do daily. I wasn’t able to do this part in early sobriety because I didn’t understand it all. What a relief that working these steps can give me a daily reprieve for not only my alcoholism, but from life itself.

Practicing these principles has allowed me to gain relief in times that are challenging and just be a more productive and positive human being in good/all times. It gives me a blue print for life and dealing with life on life’s terms.

I have health and other challenges. I am recovering from a surgery (my third one in a nine-month period), and I have been able to stay sober through all its challenges by simply practicing these principles in all my affairs.

Here’s one last note that just tickles me pink: Because of Alcoholics Anonymous, we have other 12 step programs for almost anything that challenges you. I am a member of a number of other programs. They have enabled me to enhance my AA program because using 12 step programs on the things that challenge me (outside of my alcoholism) has afforded me steps to take for these other challenges. What a gift!!

With that being said, AA is and will always be my primary fellowship! The others just enhance my ability to clean house completely and to in-depth practice AA/these principles in all my affairs. I hope that made sense without breaking traditions! I wish I could express myself in written form as well as spell well, smiles.

So, I would love to hear how you “Practice these principles in all ‘your’ affairs” or anything else 12 step AA related that is on your heart today.

Feb 08: Emotional Balance

Emotional Balance

And let’s always remember that meditation in reality is intensely practical. One of its first fruits is emotional balance. With it we can broaden and deepen the channel between ourselves and God as we understand him. (12×12, 101-102)

Although I pray in the morning and evening, I don’t often take time for meditation. I’m in the middle of a big move and find myself thinking: I don’t have the time for meditation. My old thinking says, if I’m not wandering around my apartment doing stuff or worrying about the stuff I’m not currently doing I’m wasting my time. I’m sitting “like a bump on a log,” as my grandma used to say.

Then I came across the quote above from the 12×12. My current state of mind says that meditation is not practical. Before I moved into this period of concentrated stress, I was pretty pleased with myself in terms of “constant contact” with my HP. My routine included morning prayers, sitting down to check in with myself throughout the day, evening prayers and a Tenth Step review.

Now, when I sit down my heart is pounding and my mind is racing. I am not emotionally balanced. So … I’m re-prioritizing meditation. And I hope to hear from all of you on this topic (or another topic of your choosing). What do you do in times of stress to keep up your constant contact? How do you practice constant contact with your HP? Do you have a story to share about one time when turning to prayer/meditation really did help to bring you into emotional balance?

Feb 01: “Tolerance Keeps Us Sober”

“Tolerance Keeps Us Sober”

“Honesty with ourselves and others gets us sober, but it is tolerance that keeps us that way.

“Experience shows that few alcoholics will long stay away from a group just because they don’t like the way it is run. Most return and adjust themselves to whatever conditions they must. Some go to a different group, or form a new one.

“In other words, once an alcoholic fully realizes that he cannot get well alone, he will somehow find a way to get well and stay well in the company of others. It has been that way from the beginning of A.A. and probably will be so.”

LETTER, 1943
From “As Bill Sees It” page 312

I liked this reading and hope you do too. Honesty and tolerance – mmmm – always thought that I practiced those principles, but I’ve come to realize more and more that I haven’t been honest and tolerant all of the time – even in sobriety. I thought I was a pretty tolerant person, but really, I can be and have been selfish, self-centered, and impatient! This made my life unmanageable, and it really made others around me miserable – like my husband, children, co-workers, sponsors, friends, and other family members.

Through working the Steps (haven’t gone through all of them yet), going to meetings (f2f and online), lots of praying to the God of my understanding, working with other alcoholics, and working with a therapist, I’ve been able to change – to grow – and become the honest and tolerant woman that my higher power wants me to be.

I know that I cannot do this alone. I have missed meetings, because I don’t feel like going, and my disease tells me that I don’t need to go. Every time this happens, I feel like I am “okay” for a little while, and then the restlessness, irritability and discontent starts to creep back into my mind. Some of my old patterns of thinking and behaving start to come back.

I really need you ladies and other women in A.A. to keep me on the beam. I can do all of the exercising and yoga that I want, but it really comes down to the AA meetings – hearing other alcoholics and identifying with them. I have had to change my meetings, and I did form a new one. Many of you know that I only attend women’s meetings due to the fact that I had an affair with a man in AA. My husband and I continue to re-build our marriage, and I am still trying to gain all of his trust back. I also started up a new women’s meeting in the town that I live – a Big Book meeting which I chair.

If I isolate, it will not be good! I love that these meetings are 24/7. I try to attend at least 2-3 f2f meetings. I’m still trying to get better at picking up the phone and calling another woman in AA. Usually it’s texting 🙂 Anyways, I hope that you beautiful ladies got something out of this share! I am very grateful to be a part of GROW – I don’t always write a share, but I do read your shares!

Jan 18: Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change

Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change

One of the biggest reasons I drank (first because I liked the taste) but more importantly because I had a bad attitude and outlook on life in general. Work, family, friends, finances – you name it and I could find some fault with it somehow, someway. When I drank, I could change that attitude and outlook by thinking that I could change people, places, and things. What I found out as my drinking progressed was that family especially didn’t like my attitude and outlook on things. My friends (really only my drinking buddies) felt the same way as I did most of the time, but didn’t want to change anything so then I was not in agreement with them and my outlook on them wasn’t very good.

One night I had been celebrating my 61st birthday (as I had been for six days) and was talking to my youngest daughter on the phone, and she asked me if I had been drinking. I said yes I had had a couple, and she than informed me they would have nothing to do with me until I quit drinking and hung up on me. I was devastated and 2 hrs later called her back and said “I need help and don’t know what to do.”

Needless to say she got me into rehab. I was in an awesome rehab for 13 days, and they felt I was ready to come home. One of the things I learned in rehab, amongst many, was I had a bad attitude and outlook on life. I was making my life miserable myself due to this, and thus turned to alcohol to make me feel good. I took all their suggestions at rehab and started going to AA meetings 6 days a week and online to GROW every day. It was through the shares of everyone at the meetings and you ladies that I realized how I needed to change so many things in my attitude and outlook.

This promise has definitely come true for me in so many ways. I realize today that it is not all about Carol and what I think. It is about helping newcomers and people outside of the program. Helping people who maybe don’t have it as good as I do. It’s about doing service work in my homegroup. It’s about not being judgmental of other people, places and things. I struggle with why everyone that comes too AA cannot get it and why they have too relapse but today I so understand that everyone has to hit their own bottom and I can only be there for them if they need me and pray for them. It is in God’s hands not mine. I feel so blessed that God (my higher power) holds my hand and walks with me every day. Thank you ladies for all you have given me through your shares and friendship as my attitude and outlook on life today is how God wants me to see it.

Jan 25: Second Thought and First Action

Second Thought and First Action

Recently I’ve had occasion to attend a speaker meeting on Saturday that is usually way too early for this still-working woman, and the last two times I came away with really wonderful new takes on old topics.

Yesterday’s take-away was the statement, “I’m responsible for my second thought and my first action.” That homed right into my little brain. I’ve religiously practiced “restraint of tongue, pen, and keyboard” since being introduced to the concept. In sobriety I learned that my first thought is usually a negative and judgmental one; plus it is almost always “wrong”. I joke that I have a corkscrew ear-canal so that when someone says “Good morning, Mari Ann!” by the time it reaches my brain it has become “Drop dead, Mari Ann and do it now!”

Sobriety has taught me to double-check what I think I hear, refrain from acting on it, and wait for sober thinking to kick in. I’ve resigned myself to having that alcoholic brain without chastising myself for it anymore but liked the new angle put on it by yesterday’s speaker. I am responsible for my second thought – and my first action. It is the best little description of living a sober life to me.

This new way of living a sober, conscious life, with considerations for others inherent in its actions, has not only saved my sobriety; it has also allowed me to save myself a lot of embarrassment at shooting from the lip, and the consequent 10th Step amends that caused. It makes my sober world a much kinder one than my pre-sober one. It enables me to live the principles of this program in all my affairs.

I am so grateful I get to go to meetings so I get to hear such practical wisdom – and continue growing in sobriety. Thank you for allowing me to chair this week. You have helped me stay sober today and I hope the notion that we are responsible for our second thought and first action is helpful to your sobriety.

Jan 11: Guilt, Shame and Self-Talk

Guilt, Shame and Self-Talk

I celebrated four years of sobriety on the 1st of this month, and with my birthday came the usual mixture of sadness and gratitude. On and around my birthdays, my thoughts travel back to where I was and what I was doing at that time four years ago. My addiction to alcohol and other substances started when my daughter was about 18 months old, trying to self-medicate excruciating depression and insomnia. I was not a stellar parent up to that point, distracted by my emotional pain and also physical illness that I struggled with for the first year of her life.

Once I started using mind-altering substances, I was just checked out all of the time. I got off of drugs and alcohol from March through November 2009, but during that period of abstinence, I merely replaced substances with other alcoholic behavior. Long story short, my collapsing marriage came to an end, I relapsed, got fired and ended up back in rehab where I finally surrendered and embraced the program of AA. Today, I have my life back and so much more than I’ve ever had before.

Yet, I am still frequently plagued with guilt and fear. Much of it is surrounding my daughter, who is now eight years old. My disease often tells me that I have not been a good enough parent and never will be. I am afraid that this will happen and that will happen and she will turn out an alcoholic and blah, blah, blah.

This morning I read a quote from a women’s meditation book that said “It isn’t for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.” I know that I suffer from a disease that has no cure, but with daily maintenance I get a reprieve and day by day, a bit of healing can take place. I have come this far, and I have overcome tremendous obstacles by putting one foot in front of the other. With the support of this program and faith in my higher power, I continue to move forward and eat elephants, one bite at a time. I believe that I have it within me to overcome these feelings of guilt and fear, but so far I haven’t found a solution.

This week, I would like to present the topic of self-talk and combatting guilt and shame. How to stop unconsciously giving yourself negative messages. How do you combat this? Does it ever go away completely?

Please share your experience, strength and hope on this topic, or share whatever you need to share this week. Thank you so much!

Jan 04: “The principles we have set down are guides to progress”

“The principles we have set down are guides to progress”

The topic I’m interested in hearing discussed comes from “How it Works.” In my area, this part is read at the beginning of every meeting, just as it is reproduced on GROW at the beginning of every meeting. The sentence comes near the end of the section we read:

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.

Because I’ve been around the block for several 24 hours, and sat in many a meeting, I can find myself not paying a lot of attention at the beginning of the meeting. So when I realize that’s what’s going on, I pause, and I challenge myself to focus on what’s being read. I’ve noticed that some folks read along with the reader in their big book (or often in my case, on my phone or tablet!)

And what sometimes happens is that a phrase or something will jump off the page at me. Yes, I’ve read it before and heard in before but gosh, there are times when something just grabs my attention. That happened this past week with the sentence.

And I started wondering, just how are the principles guides to my spiritual progress? (I ask that because the next sentence says “We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”)