Dec 30: Becoming More Efficient

Becoming More Efficient

This stood out to me last week in my home group Big Book Study:

“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.” pg 87-88 Big Book

What I really identified with was in much less danger of excitement…part.

When I was still drinking and thinking about a life of not drinking, I always thought “How boring! What do those people do?!? What do they look forward to??” I needed that “excited” feeling I got when I thought about having my first drink and what ever else was to follow.

When God got me sober in 2014, I was finally able to comprehend that I could actually live without drinking….that there were other things to do and get “excited” about. But, that isn’t a necessarily a good thing for me. I basically transferred my excitement about drinking into other equally unhealthy actions and behaviors. If there was nothing going on I could conjurer up ‘excitement” that my relentless mind fed me through thoughts. This new sober addiction to excitement, or I guess it was always there, would always result in havoc, drama and chaos in my life and in my home.

Did I know that at the time…no. Did I know that I was still in bondage to the drug of dopamine, adrenaline and cortisol that my body produces through drama and fear-no. Did I know that if I am obsessing over someone, trying to control them, fix them (which is playing God); that this creates strife, nervous energy, unrest, discomfort and dis-ease that is infectious and destructive for others-no.

When I went through the work again, I saw that AGAIN, I was the problem-UGH! I was a controlling, frighten, chaos junkie…even though I couldn’t see it because it’s easier to blame them instead. Excitement is dangerous for me. Either the thing that I am getting excited about will not meet my expectations and I will be disappointed, or I would create a resentment toward the person who got me excited and did not meet my huge expectations.

I clearly see when and how this started. When I was a young girl my perceptions and conceptions were just starting to form. My mom (not blaming her-at all, I just needed to understand why and where this started so that I wouldn’t repeat it) would say stuff like “Honey are you excited about this or that” and she would get excited….

I don’t think its natural to get excited over food or whatever my mom wanted me to get excited over. I just think she wanted to see me happy but instead what she was doing was feeding my dis-ease. When her excitement didn’t live up to my expectations I was disappointed and honestly pissed at her for building it up! LOL Then she would get pissed at me a say “why are you never satisfied!!” My brain wasn’t developed enough or equip to handle such “excitement”. Not to mention not being grounded in God or reality.

I know I have told this story to sponsees, or perhaps shared it in the group, but it sums up my life into my mid 20’s….

It was the night before my 7th or 8th birthday and I was about to take a shower and mom said…”when you get out I have a surprise for you!!!!” She would do a little dance and sing a bit just getting me all that more excited ( I now do this with my dogs, which makes them overly excited..which then makes me anxious even though I started it…lol.. I am working on not doing) So while I am in the shower my 7 year old mind is building this “surprise” into a huge event! I truly thought that I would get out of the shower and Chucky Cheese would be in the living room with all his friends to greet me and wish me a happy birthday! I had convinced myself of this reality.

SO, when I got out of the shower and saw the new Strawberry Shortcake pj’s laying there, that THAT was my surprise…I was livid!!! LOLOLOLOL! I wasn’t the type to hold back my disappointment and fury! I let her KNOW how disappointed I was and through a fit!! She then would say that I was crazy just like my dad and a spoiled brat…and so it goes. I wasn’t spoiled (just alcoholic) and she wasn’t necessarily doing anything wrong.

Most children don’t build stuff up in their heads the way I did… but I have a alcoholic brain so excitement is dangerous for me and my family. I know she picked up on my constant state of sadness as a child and that she was just trying to make me happy-instead it just helped to create a unsatisfied monster and more strife between us because of her reaction to my outbursts. I wasn’t a happy go lucky child-I was intense and worried, sad and nervous, irritable, restless and discontent….so excitement was just an accelerator.

Being disconnected from God in a unstable environment is when I created my maladjusted coping mechanisms to “get through” life. The same child like mind and defects that resulted from these maladjusted skills and thought forms, followed me into my teens and early adulthood. It took longer to grow out of I think because of my drinking and still being disconnected from God.

Now that I am reconnected to my Creator, not drinking, and aware of my defects, I don’t need “excitement” because I am content…on most days. It still ignites when I am in some sort of obsession, usually on Brian, setting him up to fail me because I am in some sort of fear…

So I call my sponsor, reach out to sponsees or newcomer, do some inventory, make some prayer, and I get grounded back into reality.

I am less likely to be drained and to drain others with my excitement when I am spiritually fit. When I am and grounded in my Faith and AA, I am way more efficient in my relationships, in sponsoring and my daily life.

Questions to group, pick one or all:

Where have you seen the dangerous and self destructive side effects of excitement in or out of sobriety? Do you tend to build things up, just to be disappointed? What patterns have you noticed that lead to self sabotaging? Please also share on how you stay spiritually fit and efficient and what measures you take when you see yourself slipping into excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or a foolish decision….

Thank you for the opportunity to Chair today!


Dec 23: Opportunity to be of Service

Opportunity to be of Service

The timing of this opportunity to be of service couldn’t come at a better time because it’s also a very challenging one in my recovery. Funny how things can work out that way.

I have to be very honest with you all. I have been experiencing the pitfalls of longer term sobriety and have felt like a hypocrite. Intellectually, I know what the right things are to do; meetings, sponsorship, working with a sponsor and others, service, prayer, meditation and more.

Over time I have become lost and distant from f2f meetings. The tools of the program have been neglected including my connection with my Higher Power.

I have felt as though I have been in trouble and not understanding what’s going on.

Finally, in a counseling session, I realized all of the changes and losses that there’s been for me in my AA community. A number of key people who were a big part of my recovery here in VT have moved away including my sponsor. There have been others who’ve left for other reasons, and then there have been deaths of a couple of old timers whose absence is keenly felt.

I am fortunate in that my husband is also in recovery. He has his program and I have mine. He doesn’t nag me or try to tell me what to do but, he’s always there if I need him. I asked him where to start humbly realizing I needed help. He is a huge example of someone who talks the talk and walks the walk.

He suggested I go back to the basics. So, to start I have been getting on my knees in the am. I have been reading “How It Works” in the Big Book, and meditating for short periods of time. More action is needed.

I am so grateful because this is our sober weekend getaway. Every Christmas for the last few years we are fortunate to be able to go to E. Dorset, VT to Bill Wilson’s Inn. There we are submerged in AA. Just the surroundings alone bring me comfort and a feeling of serenity and peace.

There are meetings from tonight, into tomorrow and then Sun am that we attend. It’ like a shot of AA in the heart to help me move forward. I can’t afford to keep sliding back or to stay stuck in place.

I know that I can’t stay sober alone and isolated. I have to take responsibility and do whatever it takes to rebuild a community of women in f2f meetings, find a new sponsor locally, continually stay in contact with my Higher Power and remember the tools.

I don’t want to drink today but, I truly understand that our disease is insidious and always there if we neglect our program of recovery.

I feel as though I have rambled on but hope that there are those of you who can relate to what I have shared in some way. If you have any ESH that you would like to share with me privately please send to I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, as always, I look forward to your shares.

Merry X-mas and Happy New Year.

Love, Ruth F. DOS: 2/14/99

Dec 16: Christmas, and gratitude versus expectations/rights

Christmas, and gratitude versus expectations/rights

I rarely drank over Christmas when I was a drinking alcoholic. Only once and that was a horrible time, needless to say. I made myself and my family miserable. I was a binge drinker so staying away from alcohol over the holidays wasn’t difficult for me, as I had grown up with fabulous memories of Christmas as a child, and then into my adult drinking life. It was a magical time of year– I’d whizz through the house until it was sparkling clean, every corner, don’t you know.. presents wrapped, visits made, and all very much centred around our son. It seemed like Christmas was the magical oasis in a year where the other 360 or so days were full of pain and chaos as a result of my alcoholism. Even when my husband and I split up {I got sober a year or so after we split up), it was still good, as my son would spend Christmas Day with his dad and Boxing Day became another Christmas Day for him with me. The spiritual significance of Christmas I felt to some extent too.

I celebrated 36 years of sobriety just last Tuesday. I’m so very grateful for that. I got sober upon turning 30 years of age, two weeks before Christmas… And I look forward to the season and celebrations every year since. That’s apart from the Christmas many years ago now when my young nephew was killed in a car crash. Christmas didn’t happen. But ever after, he became part of what made Christmas special. His memory very much is part of it in a good way.

The past two Christmases have not been so good– one involved an early stage breast cancer diagnosis the week before Christmas (cancer-free now and healthy). And last year, I spent Christmas alone (mostly by choice). Now, I normally live quite a social and busy life but I deeply value my time spent alone so I thought being alone at Christmas would be okay for me– it wasn’t! Maybe another year it might have been but there’d been a death in Oct (my ex) and then an ex-in law took her own life as well just three weeks later. Both my sons were affected deeply by all of this.. and for various reasons we couldn’t spend Christmas together (one lives in Peru, the other had to work).

Being alone over the holidays can be the most peaceful for some of you– you have shared that with me. And I thought that I would handle it well and actually enjoy relaxing and not having to be running around looking after others. But I drifted into self pity, resentment and, yes, sadness. I found out that me alone at Christmas didn’t work — not that year anyway–so this year I’d thought about helping out at a homeless shelter or somewhere like that but as it turns out I won’t be.

This year my son will be coming over again and we’re both very much looking forward to that. On Monday my grandson will be coming up for a few days. I’m excited about seeing both of them (haven’t since August). But I also know that as an alcoholic I can build pictures in my mind of how it should be . . .! Yes, expectations. And when I expect things to be a certain way, I often get a rude awakening!

If I stay grateful each 24-hr period I am given, living in the day and doing the next right thing, doing what I can to prepare but handing over the results to my Higher Power, then I’m on a winner! I can remain serene, and know that God is in charge of the whole caboodle. A few lines from Acceptance is the Answer in our Big Book tell me about expectations, and also ‘rights’. How many times did this scenario run through my head…. ‘but I deserve better than this… surely at my time in sobriety I should not be experiencing them not doing as I would like them to…’ LOL … :

My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations. The higher my expectations of[ …. ] other people, the lower is my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But then my “rights” try to move in, and they too can force my serenity level down. I have to discard my “rights,” as well as my expectations, by asking myself, How important is it, really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety? And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level–at least for the time being. Acceptance is the key to my relationship with God today. I never just sit and do nothing while waiting for Him to tell me what to do. Rather, I do whatever is in front of me to be done, and I leave the results up to Him; however it turns out, that’s God’s will for me. I must keep my magic magnifying mind on my acceptance and off my expectations, for my serenity is directly proportional to my level of acceptance.

I realise that some of you reading this may not celebrate Christmas. Please share on expectations / gratitude about any day, holiday season or not. Do you have another holiday / season which figures big for you? And does the season impact on you whether you celebrate it or not?

Do you spend Christmas alone or with others? What are your suggestions, things that work for you, that you might pass on to others?

When I live in gratitude, I experience a peace that passes all understanding… no matter what is going on in my life. Share your gratitude list if you like!

Love and hugs, Louise

Dec 09: Decisions in Sobriety

Decisions in Sobriety

When I was drinking and well into my early sobriety I was terrible with making decisions. I would generally either make impulsive decisions that would turn out to be disasters (i.e marriages, relationships, geographics, spending impulsively, quitting jobs I really needed) or I would be so indecisive to where I could not make a decision. I had neither wisdom, God, or sobriety to help me. I was running on self-will run riot. I did not pause or take time to think.

Our Big Book says to pause when agitated. (Page 87, concerning morning meditation).

I was a very immature 47 year old when I got sober and kids/immature people do not make the best decisions.

What changed? The program and steps of course.

I ask God for help with my life and for his will for my life. I have more confidence in myself and think I am a capable person now. Sometimes my decision is just to do the next right thing.

I try to have lots of gratitude for basic things like my home, my job, food. I try to “play the tape all the way through” so I can see future consequences of a possible bad decision. I try to think of others instead of just myself, tall order for this selfish alcoholic. I pray for extra help through the bad situations. I use “restraint of pen and tongue.”I don’t always have to chime in or say something. Life is still progress and not perfection but I feel like a lady now as opposed to the drunk I used to be.

I just love page 86-87 “On awakening…”in the Big Book which tells us how to handle our daily decisions with God. It even says God gave us brains to use.

Thanks so much for letting me share.

Dec 02: Suggestions


Hi! I’m Julie and a grateful alcoholic. Happy to be of service at the last minute this week.

For a topic I would like to suggest the suggestions!

“Make no requests in prayer for yourself only.

Never pray for your own selfish ends.

Select and memorize a few set prayers that emphasize the principles of the Steps.

Ask a priest, minister or rabbi about helpful books and prayers that emphasize the principles of the Steps.

Be quick to see where religious people are right.

Make use of what religious people have to offer. (p. 87)”

I thought when I came in that I had a relationship with God and I prayed for others.

What I realized is that I was praying more so for my own selfish needs.

I learned that praying, really praying, meant I had to learn how to. Listen to others. Follow suggestions on how to connect with the God of my understanding. Finally I had to put others before myself. Trust and have faith. I had to learn about God and aligning my will with Gods. Not the other way around.

Please share on this topic or anything that may be on your mind.

Julie K, 5/17/12

Nov 25: Tried & Tested Prayers

Tried & Tested Prayers

When I was first attending AA and beginning to put sober days together I was surprised when it was suggested that I try praying.

I had no reference point for prayer other than in the church of my childhood.

I quickly learned the Serenity Prayer to say at the end of meetings but only because I wanted to fit in. I was saying it by rote but with no meaning.

Then someone suggested I say thank you at the end of each day. Thank you for the roof over my head, the food in my belly, the clothes on my back. And to say it to whatever I thought may or may not be there. I began following this suggestion and found I was slept better! I didn’t think of this as a prayer back then but I do now.

Then I met the lady who would become my sponsor for the next 5 years of my sobriety. She talked about waking up in the morning and talking to god. She told me how she would sit at the edge of her bed and open her arms. I had no idea! I thought prayer was on one’s knees with hands together.

Today I’m open to learning from anyone and anywhere, ideas on ways to pray and words to say, ways to develop my conscious contact with the god of my understanding.

P.104-105 Step 11 from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ( says…

“In AA we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question…

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.”

Are there results you’ve had from praying? Do any of these experiences of wisdom or peace or strength resonate?

Are there any prayers or words that have been particularly helpful? Have you struggled with willingness to pray? Have you doubted prayer could work for you?

I went through one of the toughest things in my life and in my sobriety this year. I was given a suggestion to repeatedly pray just 3 lines of the St Francis / Step 11 Prayer.

It changed my experience of what was happening, it gave me a peace that could only have come from something beyond human, it enabled me to put others first but still look after myself, it opened my eyes and heart to the humanity in someone I’d had a difficult relationship with and gave me the strength to be of use to them.

The lines were these…

God, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.

At another incredibly tough time, a few years ago, I was shown how to pray by slowing down the words to say a single word at a time, with a big pause between each word, giving my mind time to feel the word.

I used to use this as a meditation, standing at my garden door, rocking my poorly baby, sometimes an hour at a time until he slept. I felt so alone and so helpless but praying in this way connected me at such a deep level with god, I felt safe and held and that I was being given the strength to get well myself and to be there for my baby.

It gave me such comfort in such a dark time that I knew no matter what came, god would be there for me.

At times of unwillingness to pray I find writing to god really helpful, just getting all my thoughts out.

I am so grateful to AA for showing me how to find a power greater than myself and for continuing to show me how to connect and hear the guidance I need to live a sober, useful, content life. At times it’s not necessarily easy, but it’s easier than drinking!

Thank you for letting me be of service.

The meeting is open for sharing, on the topic of Tried & Tested Prayers or for anything recovery related that you need or want to share.

In love and fellowship, Sophie.

Nov 18: Procrastination


My name is Christy and I am an alcoholic. Thanks for attending today’s meeting of GROW. My topic this week is Procrastination. I have certainly struggled, and still do, with procrastination in about all areas of my life. When I was drinking I would come up with grandiose plans of things to get done, crafts I could do, and places to see. But, I never got around to doing those things, because I was so tired and hungover the next day. Worse, was that I would make promises that I would never keep. Promises to my husband and my kids. I would tell them later we will do it or maybe. I thought that I needed that drink to let myself be free and be creative. When all I was doing was procrastinating and putting off being with my loved ones for a drink. My disease told me I was more fun and engaged when I was under the influence, when in actuality I was more removed from my family. My husband would tell me how removed I was from them, I isolated and was all about me.

I certainly don’t miss those days! AA has made me self aware and helped me find the true Christy again. I am very thankful I found AA and the fellowship. I am a new person, free to be me, more involved with my husband and kids. I am a crafty gal and I have so many new hobbies! I love my life, without alcohol. Thank you ladies for listening and fellowship!

Nov 11: The List and The Solution

The List and The Solution

This week I would like to share about the list of resentments and the solution to mastering them.

From the BB page…

We turned back to the list, for it held the key to the future. We were prepared to look for it from an entirely different angle. We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us. In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill. How could we escape? We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol. This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”

When I first did a fourth step, I made a list. And when I did the fifth step my sponsor, at the time, helped me see my character defects. (I can see them a lot clearer today. Ha.) Today when I get my panties in a wad, my sponsor will send me to do a fourth step and then call her back. It’s easy for me to state my resentments. BUT it’s not so easy to look at it from a different angle.

I have to realize the people who wronged me are spiritually sick.

And to pray for them??!!


The holidays are approaching, and to be honest with you, many of the people on my list happen to be in my family (or my husbands family). Sometimes (ALOT) it feels impossible to see that they are spiritually sick and to pray for them. Especially my dad. It’s so hard for me not to blame him for things in my life. In the program, I have learned to set boundaries and to take care of myself. But sometimes in a single word or look that he gives—-a flame of anger can engulf me. So right now I am preparing myself. I am praying for him and my father in law (who I can’t stand). It’s really hard to pray for them –I don’t know what to say. I am setting time limits on family gatherings. I’m focusing on my husband and children and myself and what works best for our family.

I guess the last thing I want to say is that this stuff isn’t easy. But when I practice what is suggested, things tend to work out and I have peace instead of anger and anxiety.

Nov 04: Anonymity


I’ve been thinking about anonymity and all the different meanings it has had for me over the years in AA. At first, all it meant was that no one would know I was in AA, therefore an alcoholic. I was fearful about judgment and the stigma I attached, thinking it meant I was weak and/or defective.

After making amends and telling people I was in AA, I lost most of that fear. I have never has anything negative happen because someone knew I was a sober alcoholic.

In meetings and with sponsors I began to see anonymity in a different way. It had more to do with humility and my growing love for AA. I wanted to adhere to the traditions and respect the idea of being anonymous at any public level. I am not much of a social media person, but I think it is an area where many people question the bounds of being an anonymous member of AA.

Today anonymity means that I don’t disclose my membership in AA in any public way. I was on a vacation in Italy last month and the wine flowed. I was careful about alcohol (it was in desserts) and some people noticed that I didn’t drink. I’m careful in those situations because I’m never sure if it makes people uncomfortable. When I do disclose it, it’s always fine, but I hesitate to be totally transparent.

I wonder how others understand anonymity and how/when to share being in AA with strangers, in social media, in various groups, etc.

Oct 28: Practicing These Principles in All Our Affairs

Practicing These Principles in All Our Affairs

I am so grateful to be alive and sober today. I have gone through a lot of things in sobriety which I have learned is part of life. I have learned that I am not “special” that every human being is connected and we are more alike than we think. Learning how to practice the principals in all my affairs and to do the right thing when no one is looking has been huge for me. The growth that has come from doing what I know in my gut has been “right” has been one of the greatest gifts of recovery. Recently I have peeled off another layer of the onion. For the past 2 years I have struggled with an issue almost non-stop and I just could not let it go, and it ended up coming out sideways in a lot of areas in my life. I knew the entire time that the answer would come and that eventually I would grow though this and I feel like I finally reached a new level of acceptance. The answers are always in the steps and just because we are doing everything right doesn’t mean life “works out” sometimes.

“God is everything or nothing what is our choice to be?”

I am so grateful to be able to practice honesty dependability and transparency in my everyday life, thanks for letting me share.

Oct 21: On Awakening

On Awakening

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. we relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.

If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works – it really does.

We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.” (from “Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 86-88)

I have always enjoyed this passage. For me, it encapsulates our AA morning ritual.

When I read it, it reminds me that my answers and solutions are right there, with my higher power. I surrender my will and my life to him each morning. I ask him to guide me and show me my next right action.

The time I spend in prayer and meditation are always time well spent.

How does this AA passage aid you in your sobriety?

Have a blessed day!

Oct 14: Sharing


Hello, my dear sisters in sobriety! Thank you for this opportunity to chair a meeting. As I was fishing for a topic, this is what came up for me:

It seems to me that secrets are about the only things (besides mushrooms) that grow in the dark. Secrets, wrapped up in shame, hiding under denial, festering in isolation, begging for a drink to keep them under wraps…What are my secrets today? Apparently I still have a few (!) — I’ve been going through a pretty difficult time, but have I shared about it? I have been going to f2f meetings, but I haven’t been opening my mouth. And I have been absent from GROW for quite some time. I get into that vicious cycle of not sharing regularly, and a week turns into two weeks, which turns into a month of not even checking in. Meanwhile, my secret shame is doing push-ups (just like my alcoholism) and starting to tell me things like, “You might as well drop out of GROW,” and other, worse things, which, experience has taught me, sooner or later will lead me to the alcohol watering hole.

Luckily (coincidence? I think not) I had signed up to chair this week — Something is keeping me connected to GROW…and committed to growing. The higher power, I believe, is doing this for me, in spite of my vicious mind. I have been shown my primary purpose — to stay sober and help another alcoholic. How to do that? HOW, the first one being Honesty, which takes courage, and courage takes faith, and faith takes letting go and turning it over, which gives me the strength to be Open and Willing to connect to other alcoholics by sharing whatever is going on with me. I know a drink is waiting for me to close up again and dive back into the depths of old thinking.

You know what hit me as I was reading back over this? I said, “I’ve been going through a pretty difficult time,” and it finally dawned on me — why is it difficult? I’ve been trying to control everything again! D’oh! So that’s what has been going on with me! All I had to do was put my problem into words (and the particulars really don’t matter) and share it, whether in writing or at a meeting, and the miracle of being restored to sanity can happen. And I didn’t have to drink over it!

Thank you all for letting me (and encouraging me to) share.

Oct 07: Gratitude for GROW and A.A.

Gratitude for GROW and A.A.

For this week’s meeting, I wanted to express my gratitude for AA and this meeting in particular.When I first got sober, I joined three women’s groups online. I had heard meeting makers “make it” and since I wouldn’t be able to make a meeting every day, I wanted to find online meetings.

After some time, I dropped one that didn’t really seem to be focusing on the solution and good quality sobriety. That’s ok. Hopefully it works for other women.

And now, I’m ready to drop another for lack of participation. It’s a bummer but it is what it is. Maybe it’s time for me to find a new online group.

I just read somewhere that “Gratitude is nothing more than a decision to look at problems with a fresh perspective.”

AA has been the best thing that’s happened in my life. Aside from my husband and two girls. I don’t attend the same meetings face to face as I did when I first got sober. Some I have outgrow and then when I moved I wanted to find new ones more convenient to my home and my new schedule.

The problem or challenge I’m facing is lack of participation. But I didn’t want to focus too long on that. Instead I realized just how grateful I am to Grow.

I share that I can’t stay sober on my own. I don’t want to try. But as a working married mother of two, I rely on online A.A. to supplement my face to face meetings.

I’m grateful that this group here at grow is so solid. Such great sobriety. So many women truly living in the solution and willing to share their esh with the group. I’m also grateful to those that share off topic when they need to do so. I know I have. And in doing so, someone has always reached out personally sharing their own experience, strength and hope.

I hope we all continue to do so. My life is so good as a result of working this program of recovery.

Gratitude is an action and I want to share it with you and everyone I come into contact with.

My sponsor has me saved in her phone as grateful Julie. I don’t ever want to go back to how it was being so flipping ungrateful.

Sep 30: AA in Two Words

AA in Two Words

As Bill Sees It
September 30
A.A. In Two Words, p.271

“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)

Wow. I love this short and powerful message. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone showed humility and responsibility in their life? It starts with us. Today. Almost all our problems can be fixed with a little humble pie and taking responsibility for our part. I know I need a dose of each every day so I am reminded I am no one else’s life manager but mine. God willing, I continue to do the right thing today and tomorrow. Making the world around me a better place, one day at a time. It starts with me. It starts with you. AA in two words: humility and responsibility.

Sep 23: Isolation and Loneliness

Isolation and Loneliness

I am grateful to be here today with GROW and celebrate an AA birthday. I recently came back to the rooms after 25 years away. This came about as the result of circumstances I was in. I did not drink. I never stopped living according to AA.principles. But I began to experience the most painful case of isolation and loneliness I ever thought possible. I simply could not stop crying. These feelings were ever-present when I had been drinking too I know. In fact, the Big Book says:

What are we likely to receive from Step Five? For one thing, we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we’ve always had. Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. * * AA World Services Inc. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 57).

Isolation serves a purpose for the drinker, No one will see, stop or judge us on how much we drink. We don’t have time for anything else but drinking. We had drinking ‘friends’ but they are long gone. We can stay in our heads. As a friend used to tell me, ‘ When we are in our heads we are behind enemy lines.’ We can easily neglect ourselves and our home because no one will see us. And in a certain way we are saying, Don’t bother me–I need to feel sorry for myself right now. Or, I have to rage and nurse a resentment–I’ll get back to you. Of course, we won’t.

It is rare that isolation isn’t coupled with loneliness. We deny it, but there is a huge hole inside of us and when we were drinking, we thought alcohol could heal the ulcer. Of course it didn’t work. It got worse. We are social beings. We need other human beings. A god of my understanding was rarely even a thought! There is no such thing as we can do it all ourselves. The power of a group is much greater than that of an individual. Our human and spiritual sides atrophy and cause the pain of loneliness. Despite our isolation perhaps, we look everywhere to dismiss the loneliness. These really are the underpinnings for setting us alcoholics up for failure. We refuse to see the connection. Talking through my tears, I actually fought coming back to the rooms. Really, go figure!

I gave little or no attention to a Higher Power. He did stay on the side waiting for me to make a move and ask Him for help all through this time. I was not used to interacting with people. I surely wasn’t used to smiling or thinking about someone else. I came to realize how my unshared emotional pain and isolation were wallowing–selfish–and digging me into a deep hole. First I came to GROW and then found a f2f meeting. The funny part of this all is that I was so SURPRISED how much better I felt back in the rooms. Btw, I was told not to waste a lot of time looking for my Higher Power because He wasn’t hiding!

One last note. Let me offer one caveat. The ‘craving’ for isolation is not lifted like the craving for alcohol. It sneaks up on us and we may not attend meetings. We have all the denial we had when we were drinking. While I had not been hiding, I needed to be here no matter what in my life impeded me. I will keep coming back. I am grateful I found a way to do it. My sponsor has made this clear. In no way do I recommend the path I took to return to the rooms. I was blessed to have survived.

Please share on this topic ISOLATION AND LONELINESS or on any other topic from your experience, strength, and hope. We are glad most of all that you are here.

hgz, b. dos 9/21/83

Sep 16: Why Service Works/Chronic Relapsers

Why Service Works/Chronic Relapsers

“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can.” -BB page 89

So this is why service worked for me…

  • When I help other women, or anyone for that matter, I am bringing God into the room, because before “I” brought nothing but chaos and drama….now that I am recovered; I bring Him. When I do anything of selfless service it glorifies what God did for me…Him using me as a vessel heals me, calms me, and makes me sane. Also I get to be a living breathing example of what AA is-not this white knuckle sobriety or chronic relapsing which seems to be the new normal in AA.
  • When I am selflessly engaging with someone I am NOT thinking about myself. It blocks me from selfish thoughts and self-preoccupation, which is precisely what makes and keeps us spiritually ill. Not only that, but I just feel like crap when I am totally self-absorbed, like when I was drinking. In an effort to help them, my mind gets empty and I can operate from spirit, instead of self. Mental clutter begets more clutter, and then suddenly I’ve become a hoarder with all sorts of toxic, self-created problems.
  • Service repaired my soul. Working with others healed me spiritually, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically!
  • Service/Sponsorship helped me to grow in God and strengthen my sobriety so much so that I haven’t once in the 4 years I have been sponsoring romanced the idea of drinking-Immunity. I get relief and restored sanity daily because no matter how bad my day, someone ALWAYS has it worse. Self pity is instantly tuned into compassion. I get to help them which means that my brain has less time to mess with me….when I am being used by God in service I am sane=whole.
  • Sponsoring lifts me up inside, which is perfect for alcoholics who always need to feel good…lol! Seriously, God knew the alcoholic had to have a “good feeling”, something in it for me!
  • Service is the opposite of being a selfish alcoholic-I can’t treat my selfish disease with more selfishness-which is why AA is not “self help”-the Self Help industry emphasizes on self, we emphasis on God and others. It’s self that get us crazed.

Impart, I get immunity from drinking when I carry the message of AA. No room to relapse. The real message is in the book-not in slogans, rehabs or meetings. Fellowship is but one part of recovery. Fellowship is support, love and friendships…Meetings are a place we gather to share the solution with the newcomers…But the Immunity comes with working then Steps then Working with Others.

Growing in my connection and knowledge of God-and teaching other women to do the same. Half measure avail me NOTHING. If I go to meetings and am not working the Steps or sponsoring other women my sobriety will reflect that-barley hanging on; that isn’t in the big book. Celebrating relapses as though it’s a normal part of recovery-Relapse is a result of half measures-kinda working the program, expecting my sponsor to fix me, just attending meetings, not fully doing the to Step work, not being fully honest which will result in a shaking foundation that is laid in the first 3 Steps….

The book tells me if I think I have control over my drinking I should head over to the nearest bar and try that theory out…LOL!! Can you imagine if a sponsor said that now?!? Oh wow, she would be racked over the coals! “Hilarie, you think your normal, you still think you have power…go drink and get back to me” Instead we are so afraid that they might “get mad at us” or say something bad behind our backs, that we allow them to breeze through the first 3 instead of going with the gut that says…”I KNOW she thinks she’s still in control, but I move her along anyways” I’ve done this, so I call myself out. I admit it it. What I should have done is what the bb says instead of making myself their higher power by thinking I could make them better.

Getting stuck on those who aren’t completely willing and just want to hang out and talk, keeps me from helping someone who is really ready…I have just allowed my ego to sponsor and developed a savior complex-NOT GOOD! Moving on and being ok with the fit they will throw (because they will) My gut knows when I am playing God…You think God’s gonna let me get away with that…hell no! LOL…Thank God for God who reveled that to me in inventory and then gave me courage to stop people pleasing sponsees. That doesn’t mean I’m always right, or that I am the sponsor for them-but at least I can admit that I needed edification there instead of getting stuck in this old idea.

If you are a chronic relapeser I ask you to stand down for a year or two…wait to speak until you have something of substance to share. I know that flies in the face of “make everyone happy” modern AA, but I don’t care. We have adopted the idea that relapse is normal in recovery and it’s not. If they are doing all the that they should be doing then relapse isn’t even an issue…it’s something we don’t entertain anymore. If that pisses people off-good. We should be pissing people off instead of people pleasing them to death. My biggest turn arounds in sobriety have come with facing the uncomfortable truths of myself and my behavior. Change is not comfortable-sorry.

We spend so much time coddling them instead of teaching them. We practicality throw a party because they “came back” cool, your back…now lets see where you messed up….
Which Step did you stop at?
Were you not entirely honest with your sponsor?
Did you not fully concede to Step 1?
Do you still have a lurking notion that you can drink normally?
Where you not fully convinced that God could do for you what he did for me?
Did you really turn your will over?
What did you leave off your 4th and didn’t say in the 5th?
How about defects? Which ones were you unwilling to let go of? Did you pray for willingness to do so?
How many outstanding amends do you really have?
How is the daily inventory going?
Prayer and meditation daily?
Sponsoring others? Home group? Service commitment?

My guess is that the reason for the relapse is one if not all of these things. But who cares…lets just blame our sponsors, our life circumstances and drink because I always can “keep coming back”….THEN, we get to listen to them…the newcomer then thinks this is normal…and the old timers let it slide.

Shame on us for not having the courage to pull these women aside and tell them to shut up and listen until they have truly entered into the sunlight of the spirit. They use to make people wait five years before they could speak…and made sure they had quality sobriety-that they weren’t just dry and speaking to hear themselves talk. You can’t transmit something you haven’t got…Get it first, then we will hear you…until then-listen, do what your sponsor says, be honest, do the work and pray…otherwise, stand down.

If they get pissed and bring it to the meeting format so that they can draw out and feed off the emotions of other lukewarm recovering alcoholics to falsely justify themselves and their numb hurt feelings-so be it. Integrity has taking a back seat to making sure “feelings” aren’t hurt…Stop it! LOL! That’s why I got so messed up in the first place…my mom never wanted my precious “feelings” hurt! Feelings get hurt-so what, get over it. Our entire fellowship is just handed over to those who think AA is a revolving door of white chips which causes confusion in the minds of those who really do want to live. We no longer have the right to confuse or use people-not anymore. If we don’t start standing up for our fellowship instead of conforming to this wishy washy people pleasing crap-then we will lose it. The message is so watered down that’s it’s almost gone. We are people pleasing drunks into a early grave. I’m not letting go of my fellowship to protect feelings of chronic relapeser anymore.

Thanks for letting me share!

Sep 09: All or Nothing

All or Nothing

My name is Suanne and I am an alcoholic. The following reading comes from the Grapevine, March 1962.

“Acceptance and faith are capable of producing 100 per cent sobriety. In fact, they usually do; and they must, else we could have no life at all. But the moment we carry these attitudes into our emotional problems, we find that only relative results are possible. Nobody can, for example, become complete free from fear, anger, and pride.

Hence, in this life we shall attain nothing like perfect humility and love. So we shall have to settle, respecting most of our problems, for a very gradual progress, punctuated sometimes by heavy setbacks. Our old-time attitude of “all or nothing” will have to be abandoned.”

Man, this smacks me between the eyes sometimes. All or nothing because that’s the way I am. I have a hard time with balance. However, with the principles of our program, I am learning and I hope I will always be teachable. I used to think that if I was working a good program, I would never get angry again, or depressed again. However, I’ve found this is an ongoing surrender. When I ask God to remove any defects of character that are not of any use to Him, I don’t get struck “perfect”. I have to remember that there are still some defects He is using right now. Serenity comes when I”m doing the best I can today, asking for God’s will and doing my best to do whatever He puts before me. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. But I”m willing and I’m willing to learn from my mistakes as well. Thy will be done.

Ladies, this is your meeting. Please share your experience with the above or with whatever you feel led to share on. Thanks for allowing me to be of service.

Suanne G
DOS 6-20-01
Waco, TX

Sep 02: Attitude Adjustment

Attitude Adjustment

Hello everyone.
“Not picking up a drink creates infinite possibilities for me. … Who knows? This could be the greatest day of my life.” Grapevine DAILY QUOTE Book on p. 9

I love reading this passage and have it taped on my bathroom mirror so, I can’t miss it every day. I feel a combination of hope and gratitude when I read it and know that it’s only because of GOD and AA that it’s a possibility.

Is today the greatest day of your life? I don’t know if it’s mine but, I sure don’t want to miss it just in case.

Please share your experience, strength, and hope on this reading. The quote comes from a Grapevine article titled “Attitude Adjustment” (Jan 2006).

Aug 26: AA Literature

AA Literature

Hello ladies of GROW, my name is Allison M and I am an alcoholic. I’ll admit to being hooked on our wonderful array of AA literature! Who else here is a fan of it?

My first impression of the first 164 pages of our Big Book was that it was frumpy, outdated and chauvinistic. But it didn’t take long to uncover the gems scattered in the pages, and I actually now enjoy re-reading certain passages that always seem to calm me down or help me find an answer to almost any problem that weighs on me. Do you have a favorite passage?

And what about the stories from the Big Book? My go-to is “Freedom from Bondage” on page 544 of the 4th edition. I identify so strongly with this story that the first time I read it, I briefly wondered if I had written it during a blackout and forgotten! I have found some amazing stories in Experience, Strength and Hope, a collection of stories from earlier editions of the Big Book that have been retired to make room for new stories. It’s amazing to see how we members have grown and evolved in the program through the decades. Again and again I go back to “The Professor and the Paradox” and “Stars Don’t Fall” from previous editions and continue to be moved by them. What are some of your favorite stories from the Big Book, any edition?

I’ve recently been tearing through the AA Grapevine books, compilations of Grapevine stories relating to specific categories like step work, sponsorship, and emotional sobriety. It’s like having a topic meeting on demand! Is there a Grapevine story that has stuck with you over time?

There are some great memoirs written by women who are living sober in AA. They aren’t technically AA literature, but I have read some incredibly moving and motivating stories that have given me fresh energy and insight into living a fulfilling sober life.

I look forward to hearing your favorites from the wide selection of AA literature we have to choose from, or about what is affecting your sobriety today!

Aug 19: Accountability is Sustainability

Accountability is Sustainability

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

The first five steps barreled into my life all together like a ton of bricks. Step 5 was my turning point! I had tried to be honest with my husband after drinking and his begging me to stop (for years)…not good enough….I tried to be honest with myself and my failed attempts to be sober…not enough and in fact after really trying to stop and repeatedly failing, I was getting worse because my conscious was telling me I was a failure in every respect. I couldn’t do it alone. I’ve been a Catholic my entire life and had fallen away from church, prayer or anything spiritual. It was all fake. One day I cried and finally cried out and asked God to help me. I was powerless and drinking was going to take everything I held dear away. By listening to what I needed, to seek God’s help in order to be open and honest to another human being about my life, my choices and who I had become and how this has happened, came the grace I so desperately sought. I would never have fathomed the questions or the answers which poured out. All of the terrible things I had done and said, the lies, the pain I had caused others. After it was over it was like the entire AA program, made complete sense.

It was an ever so slight shift in thinking and a decision to never want to go through that pain again. My honest words leaving my mouth somehow made things seem real for the first time. It was like being set free from a prison. I found that I could do the work needed to accomplish being sober. I recognize that God is humble and never comes if first not invited, but God will find a clever way to get invited. And so it truly began.

A book I recently read said you cannot heal what you don’t acknowledge and what you do not consciously acknowledge will remain in control of you from within. We must work through our fear, our stinking thinking, guilt, to get to the powerful steps of AA in order to be the women we were meant to be. Step 5 gives a clear structure of recognizing that accountability is sustainability. How do you keep yourself accountable in order to sustain your sobriety?

Aug 12: No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.

No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.

Hi everyone,
My name is Nydia and I am an alcoholic. Thank you for the opportunity to chair.

I found myself thinking today – 10 years to the day I last picked up a drink – only when I stay close to my Higher Power do I find serenity. Like a true alky though, I do tend to wander 🙂 If I expect/ depend upon people, places and things to fill that hole in the donut, there’s no God, and no peace. Only when I turn to my HP to find that inner calm. A place of sanctuary. Below I have placed a few words from Bill W. He says it better than I do 🙂

Taken from the article ‘The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety’ by Bill Wilson (January 1958)

“I asked myself, “Why can’t the Twelve Steps work to release me from this unbearable depression?” By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer: “It is better to comfort than to be comforted.”

Suddenly I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence – almost absolute dependence – on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.

There wasn’t a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.”

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

Aug 05: Listening Deeply

Listening Deeply

Daily Reflections
August 5

How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act. -TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 37

If I accept and act upon the advice of those who have made the program work for themselves, I have a chance to outgrow the limits of the past. Some problems will shrink to nothingness, while others may require patient, well-thought-out action. Listening deeply when others share can develop intuition in handling problems which arise unexpectedly. It is usually best for me to avoid impetuous action. Attending a meeting or calling a fellow A.A. member will usually reduce tension enough to bring relief to a desperate sufferer like me. Sharing problems at meetings with other alcoholics to whom I can relate, or privately with my sponsor, can change aspects of the positions in which I find myself. Character defects are identified and I begin to see how they work against me. When I put my faith in the spiritual power of the program, when I trust others to teach me what I need to do to have a better life, I find that I can trust myself to do what is necessary.

Share on this topic, your ES&H.

Amanda 8-3-2016

Jul 29: Growing Up in AA

Growing Up in AA

Hello women of GROW and thank you for the opportunity to chair!

I am getting ready to celebrate 5 years sober…I’m also 51 years old and finally starting to feel like a grown up woman.

Today, my HP and I have a partnership. As a result I have been able to do things I never thought I could handle.

As a result of working these Steps, I no longer manipulate my partner into doing things I just don’t want to do; if I notice something that needs taking care of, I take care of it.

I no longer try to get something for nothing. If my computer is infected by malware, I pay someone to remove it. I no longer try to find a friend to do it for free.

I face my fear of financial insecurity. I am finally getting new glasses and I chose to go to the clinic that felt supportive, as opposed to one that was inexpensive.

Today I am learning to maintain good boundaries with partners and friends. I’m take care of my body. I am self-supporting through my own contributions! And it feels great.

I’d love to hear how AA has helped you to grow and take responsibility for your lives. What can you do now, with the support of your Higher Power that you thought you were unable or unwilling to handle?

Have a lovely week and I’m looking forward to hearing from you on this topic or whatever is on your heart.


Jul 22: Accepting Others As They Are

Accepting Other As They Are

I read the serenity prayer several times each week, adding 2 words in my mind: “…accept the people and things I cannot change…”. I personally find it much more of a struggle each day to truly accept the behavior of others when they don’t meet my expectations. I also convince myself that they should be able to read my mind and understand that I am not pleased, and therefore change – for me! After all, I am the center of the universe (aren’t I)?

At times I am able to easily turn my expectations over to God, and eventually that promised feeling of serenity washes over me like a warm glow. Other times, my fears and insecurities in my personal and work relationships hit me hard, and I want them to make it (i.e., me) feel better. When they don’t, well, I want to drink, eat or go shopping.

This excerpt is from the Hazelden app that I use every day, I find it so helpful when I am stuck in the mire of expectations (the first sentence really makes me chuckle, it’s so true!):

“Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting. How often we turn minor challenges into monumental barriers by giving them undue attention, forgetting that within any problem lies its solution! However, the center of our focus must be off the problem’s tangle if we are to find the solution’s thread. The best remedy for this dilemma is the Serenity Prayer. We cannot change our children, our husbands or partners, not even the best friends who we know love us. But with God’s help we can change the attitude that has us blocked at this time. A changed attitude, easing up on ourselves, lessening our expectations of others, will open the door to the kind of relationships we seek, the smooth flowing days we long for. We need not take life so seriously. In fact, we shouldn’t take it so seriously. We can measure our emotional health by how heartily we laugh with others and at ourselves. The 24 hours stretching before us at this time promises many choices in attitude. We can worry, be mad, depressed, or frustrated, or we can trust our higher power to see us through whatever the situation. So, we can relax. It is our decision, the one decision over which we are not powerless. I will be in control of my attitude today. I can have the kind of day I long for.”

Please share your thoughts on this topic or anything else you would like to bring up.

Grateful to be of service this week, thank you!
Susan P.

Jul 15: Feelings in Sobriety

Feelings in Sobriety

It’s so hard to handle and feel emotions and feelings sober! With alcohol, I could sure handle them much better. Alcohol was like a wonder drug for me, it gave me courage, self confidence, and a great mood… For awhile anyway.

My first year sober I heard voices and committee meetings in my head constantly. I had to do some serious praying and God took the voices away. My emotions were so out of control though, luckily my home group was balanced and understood my emotional roller coaster. Feelings for me never last forever, they will pass. But new coping skills took practice and I still don’t always have the emotional balance down like I should. For example, at my new job I have a coworker who was my boyfriend 32 years ago. I was his check racker on roulette yesterday and I had nervous butterflies in my stomach just because he was talking to me asking how I was doing. And I still feel like a 14 year old school girl with a crush when I am interested in a man. (I’m 58). I have heard at meetings that you stop maturing when you had your first drink. So maybe with 10 sober years I have the maturity of a 26 year old? Sometimes I can get lost in resentment which is fatal to the alcoholic. Lots of prayers, distancing myself, and finding my part in it. Sometimes I have fear and I try to pretend I’m not afraid of anything. I know when dealing with feelings sober I need other women alcoholics to talk to because they will probably understand. Gratitude is a great way to get grounded and tame the feelings. Thanks for letting me share! Have a great week Grow ladies!

Jul 08: Alcoholic Who Still Suffers: Life on Life’s Terms

Alcoholic Who Still Suffers: Life on Life’s Terms

We hear these words at every meeting. ” A moment of silence for the alcoholic who still suffers, inside and outside of these rooms.” I have to admit, first I see the homeless drunk suffering and sick. I may not even get time to think about the alcoholics inside the rooms.

The other night at a f2f meeting a woman raised her hand and said, “Please don’t forget about those suffering inside the rooms.” This is a young woman who is going to prison for what occurred during her using. Her 6 year old child has been taken away from her. Her sobriety has been fragile but she has been working it. She is heart-broken and ashamed. She needs our prayers and support and continued acceptance. She needs us to understand. These problems are at the heart of Living On Life’s Terms.

Many in our small local f2f group are suffering a lot today. Serious illness; impending death; disabled children; loss; broken families; loneliness; financial problems left over from using. One man is trying to share a lot ‘before he cant’ anymore–he has early Alzheimer’s. Another man just 90 years old, keeps repeating the AA slogan: Don’t drink and don’t die, but the dying part clearly weighs heavily on his mind. He tries to joke about it. But his eyes are not laughing. This is life on life’s terms.

But what can be said of ‘inside the rooms’ alcoholics is that they are sober. They are not drinking. They have a sponsor. They work the Steps. They come to meetings. And still they suffer. Perhaps for the moment, we are okay. We are able to give extra support to those in need. We can pray for them. We can check up on them. The Promises are being realized in our lives. And we can say a prayer of gratitude for today, AA, and our Higher Power. We can do service. We are okay today, one day at a time. We are not doing it alone. Nor are they. AA prepares us for Life on Life’s Terms. It’s not easy but it works.

Jul 01: 4 Reasons Why I’m Active in AA

Reasons Why I’m Active in AA

Hello all, Yolanda, humbly grateful alcoholic here to serve. Welcome to new members and congrats to those celebrating sober milestones – I’m glad everyone is here.

I chaired the end of the month Birthday Speaker meeting at one of my regular meetings yesterday, and it was an amazingly powerful meeting. Several people picked up one year medallions and one person celebrated having 9 years of continuous sobriety – glorious! The speaker was a gentleman who imparts such words of wisdom that it was truly an honor to introduce him and hear his ESH.

He began his story by reading pages 180-181 from the BB, and as I was considering my topic, it continually came to mind. In this section, Dr. Bob’s Nightmare, he’s talking about why he continued to be active in AA:

  1. Sense of duty.
  2. It is a pleasure.
  3. Because in so doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.
  4. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip.

When people ask why I still attend meetings, sponsor others and do service work, without realizing I was strikingly similar to Dr. Bob, I give these reasons. I have been given SO much from this program that to take it all and not help someone is returning to my old character defects and being selfish and self-centered. This is the sense of duty.

Because it’s a pleasure: to help someone through their steps, be an ear when they need to work through a problem, chair a meeting, make coffee, etc., all these things make me feel I’m contributing to this Society and it fills my cup. It brings me joy to be of use to others!

By doing so I’m repaying a debt to those who showed me the way: my sponsor(s) have put a lot of work and time into my sobriety and they’ve shared so much wisdom with me that who am I to keep it to myself? Again, I can’t be, shouldn’t be so selfish as to keep it to myself. They helped me so I know their words would help others and I’m happy to share how their suggestions helped me deal with various issues and it could possibly help them, too.

Lastly, continuing to be active is my insurance against slipping: working with a Sponsee always reminds me why I got sober. I can listen to their pain and remember my own like I was just drowning in it yesterday, and I never want to feel that way again. If I slip up and drink, I’m right back where I was 3.5 years ago or worse- I would be in jail, in the hospital or dead.

So, why are you here? What keeps you an active “card carrying” member of this fine fellowship? Do you have reasons other than above or what are your thoughts on the reasons Dr. Bob noted- can you relate? I look forward to reading your shares and thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving. The meeting is now open……….

Jun 24: “Firsts” in Sobriety

“Firsts” in Sobriety

This week, I’ve chosen ” Firsts” in sobriety as our Topic. We can all relate to this topic of “Firsts” – some of ours may be the same, some may be different, but we all have them. As for me, here are some of the “Firsts” that I remember:

  • Not stopping at the beer store on my way home from work
  • Stopping at a convenience store instead to get milk/cream for the coffee I make for my home group
  • Identifying myself as an alcoholic for the first time (I thought I would choke on the word but I’m still here)
  • Identifying my fears
  • Attending a family drinking Christmas party sober for the first time in my adult life
  • Being the designated driver at the party…Woo Hoo!
  • My compulsion to drink was removed once I made the decision to get and stay sober
  • The right sponsor for me at the time (she’d not put up with any B.S. – she knew me so well)
  • I could drive anywhere day or night without the fear of being caught by the police
  • I was told that I didn’t have to quit drinking for life – but just for today
  • earing someone’s 5th Step
  • Doing my own 5th Step
  • Helping to put on meetings at the men’s jail, a treatment centre, hospital, and a women’s correctional facility
  • Getting married
  • Buying a home
  • Joining an online AA group

I have many, many more “Firsts” since I got sober which are too numerous to mention. However, as I look at the ones I’ve written, they are actually some of the blessings I have received since I started working the AA program. How neat is that!

I am interested in reading about your “Firsts” in sobriety. As always, please feel free to respond to this topic or share on anything that is bothering you. Please do not include URLs in your share.

Hugs to all, Laura G. 6/17/1989

Jun 17: Emotional Sobriety/Emotional Hangover

Emotional Sobriety/Emotional Hangover

Hey friends. Karrie here-alcoholic.

This week’s topic is on the solution for emotional hangovers–emotional sobriety. Step 10 in the twelves and twelve says this:

“When a drunk has a terrific hangover because he drank heavily yesterday, he cannot live well today. But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excesses of negative emotion–anger, fear, jealousy, and the like. If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers. This doesn’t mean we need to wander morbidly around in the past. It requires an admission and correction of errors now. Our inventory enables us to settle with the past. When this is done, we are really able to leave it behind us. When our inventory is carefully taken, and we have made peace with ourselves, the conviction follows that tomorrow’s challenges can be met as they come.”

I seem to get more of these emotional hangovers then I would care to. The good news is, that today I can see them faster and am willing to do something about my emotional state sooner. Granted I still have a ways to go. But I have discovered that the answer is in workings the steps. That’s how I get some emotional sobriety. BUT that’s not always easy to do when I’m feeling sorry for myself. My sponsor always says “poor me, poor me, POUR me another drink”. It always irritates me when she says that but it’s the truth. When I wallow in self pity, anger, resentments, etc etc…I head down into a deep hole. It’s a place that leads me to a drink. We are either moving towards a drink or moving away from one.

The meeting is now open for discussion on emotional sobriety/emotional hangovers or anything else that will keep you from taking a drink today.

Jun 10: The Trappings of Texting

The Trappings of Texting

I love to text. I text with my husband, my friends, my family and my co-workers all day long. I send messages, emesis, photos, memes, gifs, videos and links to articles. One time my husband was in a text-less situation for several days and I felt like my right arm had been cut off. I can even text and send hand-drawn images from my watch!

My sponsor hates to text. She abhors it. She says, “People can hide behind texting. It doesn’t enhance the ‘we’ of our program. It actually does the exact opposite, allowing us to isolate and mask our true feelings.” She’s okay with quick, non-personal messages like, “I’m on my way,” “Running late – be there in 10” or “I called – please call me ASAP”, but that’s it.

I’m beginning to agree with her. How often can we tell something’s not right with someone simply by hearing a certain inflection in their voice or by observing other non-verbal cues? How often have we been misled by taking a text the wrong way?

How often have we suffered from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) due to group texts about friends going out drinking, to a party or to happy hour? “Poor me – sobriety sucks – I suck,” leading us right down that dark rabbit hole of self-pity and self-loathing. Our disease loves it, laughing all the way, while twisting that sharp knife of FOMO around and around in our gut, jeopardizing our hard-won sobriety.

How often have we suffered the horror, shame and guilt from hastily sending a snarky comment about someone to that exact same person by mistake, ruining that relationship forever? Written words cannot be taken back – they are eternal.

All this misery stemming from tiny black letters on a rectangular piece of plastic, small enough to fit in our hands. It’s ridiculous; another addiction.

I recently developed a huge resentment over a text. Our adult niece, whom we raised, texted us that her boyfriend had just purchased a diamond for her engagement ring. A text. Not a phone call – a text. I was instantly filled with rage saying, “WTF?! Only a TEXT??! This is a HUGE event in her life and after ALL we’ve done for her, she doesn’t even think we deserve a PHONE CALL??!” I was so upset that I didn’t even respond. I felt unloved, unappreciated, disappointed and disrespected.

Luckily, our program kicked in and I immediately did a mental Fourth Step, realizing how all those feelings boiled down to one single thing – my big fat ego with its self-righteous expectations. As we say, “Expectations are the stair steps to resentments” and I had just sprinted right up those stairs! I knew all these things in my head, but my heart and gut refused to connect to it.

Texting is how Millennials communicate. I know our niece loves, respects and appreciates me with all her heart. I was most likely the first person she wanted to share her excitement with and what did I do? I stomped my foot and made it all about me. Crazy, right?

I fessed up about all this to my sponsor the next day. I had written out a Fourth Step by then, using the four-column technique, and read it to her. She confirmed the insanity of my feelings. She said our niece is probably feeling confused and hurt because I didn’t respond. After all, I’m the one who fostered this style of communication with her and here I am, all pissed off because that’s exactly what she did! It had nothing negative to do with me.

After working with my sponsor, my head, heart and gut began to unify. I felt much lighter and acted on her suggestion to call our niece and sincerely share in her excitement. We had a wonderful hour-long chat and my resentment completely dissolved.

My emotional sobriety had been restored through the use of the tools provided in the rooms of AA. Who knows how long this resentment would have festered had I not used them? In the past, I most definitely would have drank “at it” in order to numb my feelings. I am now willing to feel my feelings, as uncomfortable as they may be, and to work through them. This is yet another example of the miracles of our program and I am grateful for it.

Has texting ever jeopardized your physical and/or emotional sobriety? Has it ever been the root of a resentment? How do you guard yourself from the trappings of texting?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you for letting me chair and share. Love to all – xoxoruthb 4/13/15

Jun 03: Step One

Step One

At all the face-to-face meetings I’ve attended, Step One is a frequent topic because it is the foundation upon which sobriety is built. If we are to prosper in the program, newcomers must fully understand the power of the disease of alcoholism. One way we try to foster that understanding by telling our own stories.

The first time I arrived at AA, I knew I was an alcoholic, but I didn’t believe my life was unmanageable. Others were convinced about unmanageability but questioned if they were really alcoholics. Telling our stories exposes new people to a wide range of personal experiences, at least a few of which they will hopefully be able to relate.

For me, it was hearing people with sobriety describing my own behaviors that helped me accept my powerlessness. The outstanding one was when a man said he knew where every 7-11 store was within a five-mile radius of his home, and he never went to the same store twice in a row because he didn’t want the clerk to know how much he drank. That statement hit me like a brick because it described me. There were many more aspects of my life that I didn’t recognize as unmanageable until I heard AAers describe them as consequences of their drinking.

Hearing your stories made all the difference for me, and I hope it will be helpful to our members who are new to or struggling with sobriety. Therefore, I invite you to share on the first step this week.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

May 27: Growing


We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole end and aim of our lives. If we place instincts first, we have got the cart before the horse; we shall be pulled backward into disillusionment. But when we are willing to place spiritual growth first–then and only then do we have a real chance. – Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, p. 114

I’m Julie and still a grateful alcoholic. This reading above reminds me that I have grown and changed. I am not the person that I used to be. Today, I have learned to put my faith in the God of my understanding first. When I remember to pause and trust God, anything is possible. The key here is to pause… Sometimes I fall short and then I have to use the 10th step. But, it doesn’t happen as often as it used to and that is growth.

Today my goal is to continue to grow. I don’t fear failure or success like I used to. I’m grateful when things are comfortable but I’m aware that life gives me opportunities for growth. Some I may like more than others. But I don’t fear life as something I must endure. I am no longer existing but living. I have had experience of facing challenges head on in sobriety, and I have seen that my faith in my God gets me through, always.

So I am growing and I am grateful. I will keep coming back. I hope you do, too.
Please share on this topic or anything that’s on your mind. Thank you for allowing me to be of service.
Happy Memorial Day!
Julie K

May 20: The AA Group – home or away, f2f or online

The AA Group – home or away, f2f or online

Welcome especially to ladies joining us, if this is your first Grow weekly topic meeting I’m glad you found us. Congratulations to anniversary and milestones too. If you’re new to AA, it was suggested to me that I listen for the similarities not the differences.

I’ve recently been reflecting on my journey with different home groups that I’ve been part of in AA and of times I’ve travelled with home group members, doing service beyond my group or geographical location. I recall many happy times car sharing and hitting the road to attend a convention, a service meeting, to carry the message to a prison or treatment centre or to support a new meeting. I have great memories of the fun, the laughs, the openness and intimacy, the feeling of joy at being sober, of experiencing the “camaraderie” our Big Book describes. And the bonds and unity with my fellow home group members being strengthened and deepened through these shared times. I have nearly always been able to have a face to face home group, for which I’m so grateful. But I’m also grateful I needed to reach out and be part of an online email home group too, the love and support here has carried me at times.

I joined my first f2f home group at a week sober. I got the tea-making service post a week later. I cried into that tea pot most weeks for my first year! But I was loved anyway. Later on I became group secretary, then later served as GSR. That was where I really began to experience the wonder of “one alcoholic talking to another”.

That was where I learned about carrying the message into prisons, the AA helpline, about turning up to a service meeting and making a commitment. I’m grateful to all those members in that first home group and first intergroup and first area for showing me how service would help me grow. For me, my weekly grounding comes from being part of an AA group. Somewhere I can do service, be of use, carry the message that was carried to me, but also a place to get strength and inspiration, a place to get that “different perspective” that I so often need. It’s also where I can feel connected, that I’m not alone, and get a hug (even email hugs make a difference to my day!!).

I love our weekly topic meetings here. I love how safe our Grow group is and I’m grateful for all the women who’ve done service here over the years to help us stay that way and function within the AA Traditions. I am grateful I get to check in with our weekly topic meeting or the monthly step & tradition meeting or the Grapevine topic meeting just by looking at my emails.

I had post natal anxiety a few years ago, where my mental health was in crisis, and at times I couldn’t leave my house let alone get to a meeting. I reached out to fellowship and members came to my home every Sunday for months for a meeting. Someone brought an old set of banners, people came with food to share afterwards, we took turns chairing and choosing topics. It was beautiful. It kept me “in” the fellowship. Back then I didn’t know about how supportive being in online AA could be. I also had no idea that my f2f home group would actually be in my home for a while! Travel has played a part in my sobriety. I relocated cities at almost 5 years sober, countries at 12 years and again at 16 years and then cities last year. In each place I’ve lived I’ve joined a group and done service, and felt part of. I’ve always sought out fellowship and meetings on holidays too and it makes me smile at some of the adventures I’ve had searching for a meeting venue abroad in a new and strange place. And that feeling of taking a seat, seeing the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions on the walls, the silence or prayer at the beginning and that feeling in my bones and in my heart that “I’m home”.

One of the few times I took an overseas trip for work, the meeting room turned out to be on the same street as my hotel and the meeting time meant I could do the meeting before dinner and the evening with colleagues. Such a god job!

One of the things I love about being a member here in Grow is the variety of experiences and bits of AA history and stories I hear from you. They inspire me to keep coming back and to keep growing. This week our topic is the AA group home or away – online or f2f. Please share on this or whatever you need to. The meeting is yours.
In fellowship

May 13: Outlook on Life Will Change

Outlook on Life Will Change

On pg. 84 of the Big Book, the ninth step promises states that,
“Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I had a situation happen this weekend that would have normally put me in a tail spin. Drunk or sober, I tend to fly off the handle emotionally when I go through a break up. I have always had separation anxiety and repeated unhealthy cycles to keep myself from being alone. This time was different. Way different.

I felt God’s presence very strongly. I felt at peace with my decision to end a toxic relationship. I stood up for myself and was able to feel serenity in the fact that I was indeed following God’s will. I felt like something in me had shifted. Like God was truly doing for me what I had never been able to do for myself.

I’ve never been able to end a relationship and be ok with it. I’ve always dreaded the loneliness that followed and so on. This time my outlook on life has changed completely. I see my life today in a positive way. I went through this situation and knew how to handle it. What a miracle!! The glass is half full today instead of half empty.

I have been basking in this new outlook all day. I have had many God moments recently but this one takes the cake. I am truly sitting in an answered prayer right now. I have asked God to change me over and over in the last few months. I have been working with a therapist and my sponsor on a new way of thinking. And suddenly, this weekend, I can see how God has done for me what I could never do for myself before.

He has given me a new outlook on life. A healthy, positive outlook that only focuses on today and his presence with me right now. What a great feeling it is to not sit in misery today, resenting my new single relationship status. What a relief to not be repeating the same tail spin cycle again. The sunlight of the Spirit is shining bright in my life today. This truly is a miracle for me.

Please share your experience with this part of the ninth step promises. I would love to hear how your outlook has changed through this program and share in your sunlight story too.

This meeting is now yours. Thanks for being here.

May 06: Page 164

Page 164

Hi ladies of GROW, welcome to the new members, and congratulations to those celebrating anniversaries. My name is Ruth F. and I am an alcoholic.

I have the privilege of suggesting a topic for this week. I mulled over a couple of ideas and then the last paragraph on page 164 of the BB kept coming up.

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

I have always liked this paragraph. What’s not to like, right? For me, It gives me hope and sums up the program for me. I admit I had some difficulty wrapping my head around the word “trudge.” I looked it up in “The Little BIG BOOK DICTIONARY”. There are 2 meanings listed. One is to “move oneself slowly”, and the other is “to walk or march steadily; usually with difficulty”.

So, in the back of my mind, I think of trudging as moving forward, however long it takes. I have been doing some sidestepping and backward walking for a while now. Time passes so quickly and days can turn into weeks, even months before you realize it..

Some of the warning signs for me are the addictive behaviors that crop up. These can include; spending too much money, obsessing, being dishonest and hiding what I am doing.

I have had to get really honest with my support system including my husband, sponsor, and counselor. Returning to f2f meetings have been important to me in order to stop hiding. I finally told my sponsor how long it’d been since my last f2f meetings and was shocked after I figured it out. I am grateful to a wonderful sponsor who helped me to be accountable while encouraging me, in a loving way to get my butt to meetings. It can feel good, to be honest, and follow directions. I could not afford to let any more time get past me without taking action.

So, I will keep on trudging forward along this road of happy destiny because I know it’s progress, not perfection, and I am not alone. I am so grateful for this program and for all of you. I am interested in your take on this paragraph and what it might mean to you.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service and to stay sober.
Ruth F.

Apr 29: The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer

Hi! I’m Julie and still a grateful alcoholic. I thank you for allowing me to be of service to the group this week.
For the topic this week, I am suggesting the long form of the Serenity Prayer.

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

When I came to AA, I dove in and looked for as many resources as possible to help me on my daily sobriety. Thanks to technology I was able to download an app on my smartphone called the 12 step companion.

It’s basically the Big Book on my phone. I love it because it’s always with me.

They have a section of prayers and here is where I first saw the long form of the serenity prayer. I love the long form because it sums up how simple my life can be if I follow a few suggestions.
I ask for help in accepting life on life’s terms.

I ask for courage to take action.

I trust that in my right mind, with the help of my God, I can decipher what’s up to me and what’s not.

I live one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

Trying to enjoy as many of the moments as possible.

Trusting that the good will outweigh the not as good. And then not as good will move along as quickly as it comes.

Remembering there is a God and it’s not me. If I keep letting go and letting God be in charge, I can be happy. It’s my choice.

And finally trusting that if I try my best each day I will be rewarded when my time on earth is through.

It really can be so simple and it truly works.

There’s a lot of life going on for me. Working, married, mom of two little girls. It’s so great that I’m able to enjoy it. Be present for it.

Accept it and live it.
This is why I’ll keep coming back!
Please feel free to share on this topic or anything that’s on your mind.

Julie K

Apr 22: The Second Promise

The Second Promise

This week, our topic for discussion is the second Promise which states: “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

Recently, I’ve read several statements on social media like: ‘Don’t judge me by my past behaviour; I don’t live there anymore.’

Another one is: ‘Even though there are days I wish I could change some things that happened in the past, there’s a reason why the rear-view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big – where I’m headed is much more important than what I’ve left behind.’

I’ve been sober for awhile now and, thanks to our program, I have dealt with things that I did when I was drinking through forgiveness, making amends, and changing my ways. I know today that I had to go through those things in order to get to where I am today.

I don’t regret my past, for it is one of my greatest assets. All I have to do is remember what it used to be like, and I am filled with gratitude for the kind of life I am living today.

Do you have remorse or bitterness of your actions in your past? If not, how did you get rid of these feelings? Are you grateful for the kind of life you have today?

I’d love to hear from you this week on this topic or on anything else that’s on your mind.

Hugs, Laura G.

Apr 15: Emotional Sobriety

Emotional Sobriety

Good Morning Sober Sisters!!

Today marks the 8th year of my sober journey. It is no longer about alcohol for me. In the 12 & 12 pg. 116-117 it states, “we were still trying to find emotional security by being dominating or dependent on others”. It goes on to say “right relations with people who understand us; we don’t have to be alone anymore.” How those words ring true for me. I lived many years either controlling the situation/person or being the “VICTIM”. Today, I seek to do HIS will by living spiritual principles and my reward is sanity and emotional sobriety!!! PRICELESS I rely on my HP whom I choose to call God and the “people who understand me”…that includes YOU! Please share your experience with emotional sobriety or sobriety in general. Thank you for being part of my journey…God is good!

In love and service,
Statia H.
DOS: 04/15/2010

Apr 08: Spiritual Awakening and the Importance of Service

Spiritual Awakening and the Importance of Service

“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.” (Keys of the Kingdom, Big Book)

We had a traveling book study where we would finish off with this reading from a story in the big book. It always hit home. The lines “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.” In working the 12 steps again and again, I no longer feel like the loneliest person in the room. In addition, remaining active in a Homegroup and general service, I developed a sense of belonging and purpose which has changed my life outside AA. By living in the triangle, life isn’t so bad. Dealing with the highs and the lows, sobriety has taught me to remain active in our three legacies. As a result, the thirst is and has stayed gone.

Topic: spiritual awakening and the importance service. If you are new in sobriety, the topic is modified: how you are working towards achieving a spiritual awakening.

In love and service,

Apr 01: Progress not Perfection

Progress not Perfection

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.
We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Greetings GROW family, once again, my name is Julie and I am an alcoholic. I am grateful to be this week’s chairperson, a small, tangible way to say thank you to all of you for helping me stay sober.

So, that being said, the topic I have chosen is the familiar phrase, ‘Progress, Not Perfection’. And here is how I came up with it…. All week I have been trying to think of the absolute perfect topic, should it be step four oriented? Step oriented? Spirituality? Big book focus? Should I just wait til the last minute and see what happens? What would be perfect? And on Friday morning I realized that I was falling into my ever so familiar trap (or defect) of being paralyzed by perfectionism and doing nothing. I am not even going to touch the not-so-spiritual motive behind my perfectionism. I was instantly reminded of a quote (Voltaire, I believe) “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”. I knew if I prayed, and asked for guidance, the topic would come, and it did. That phrase that reminds me that AA does not ask (or require ) me to be perfect, just to try. To try to be a tiny bit better, to take baby steps of progress, in all of my affairs. And that I can do.

I am constantly amazed at the divine words our Big Book offers us. How it Works outlines exactly that, how this life of recovery works. There are no secret chapters or strategies. There are these simple (not easy) steps offered up, or suggested. Even after going through the steps and being sober for a few years, when I think of incorporating ALL of the steps and actions into ALL of my affairs, I get a feeling of ‘there is no way I can do that’. But our brilliant AA pioneers tell us that we just aim for progress in these things, and that I can do. So I feel safe enough to try. We celebrate each other’s progress in meetings, sponsor- sponsee relationships and other ways.

I am learning to be satisfied with progress, instead of beating myself up for not being perfect. When I stop and think of the difference between the woman I am today compared to the woman I was before I quit drinking, there are gigantic differences, differences that can only be explained by the miracle of sobriety. But, unlike the TV shows I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched, those changes were not instant. They happened gradually, in almost imperceivable steps of progress. Things like being a tiny bit more tolerant of others, having a few moments of thinking less about me, realizing that I may not know everything that everyone else should be doing, that what I am doing is not working, so maybe try something new. All the things that help me keep moving away from a drink instead of rushing towards one.

Progress is doable for me. Good is doable for me. So I am willing to follow suggestions offered up by loving people, who follow the same suggestions. Today I know that I am ‘perfectly imperfect’ or ‘perfect with room for improvement’. Over time, like everything else AA offers me, I have the gift of being able to apply this tool of Progress Not Perfection to all aspects of my life, work, relationships, and health. What a gift. Once again I got the better deal.

Looking forward to your thoughts on Progress, Not Perfection.
Thank you for helping me stay sober.
Julie A

Mar 25: Fellowship


“But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding, which is indescribably wonderful.” BB pg 17

Hi Ladies. My name is Alison B and I am an alcoholic. Welcome to the new gals and congratulations to those celebrating a milestone this month. I’m traveling this week and am waiting for a topic to reveal itself to me. I flew to California for my daughter’s baby shower; I really wanted to rub her belly and feel my grandson kick. She is due in about 5 weeks, so that belly is getting ripe! Lol.

Ok, it’s the end of an amazing week of AA Fellowship for me, hence the topic choice. I live in a region of Michigan that has little “fellowshipping” outside of the AA meetings. And this past week has been spent traveling to see friends and family in another California. I realized that my friends are mostly all members of Alcoholic Anonymous. As one of my girlfriends shared, though it has been years since “the clan” has all been together, it was as if we somehow transcended time. Our camaraderie, community, sisterhood and fellowship remains unchanged as time passes. It is the essence of our beings. We have survived the alcoholic storm that befell us all, and thrive in our AA Fellowship together. It was a beautiful week. I was able to reconnect with my old home group in two different regions of California that I once called home.

There is such a powerful positive energy or force in the collective spirit of sober women. I was able to celebrate my 25th sober birthday with these beautiful ladies. There is no substitute for the good old face to face meetings in my opinion. The hugs, the pats, hand holding, Kleenex fetching, care and love I have found in the rooms of AA is unparalleled. For me, there simply is no replacement for the personal contact with others. Don’t get me wrong, I love GROW too. It compliments my face to face Fellowship.

It is an honor and a privilege to witness the struggles and the spiritual growth of my fellow women in sobriety. What does Fellowship mean to you?

Thank you for the wonderful birthday wishes this past week!
Alison B

Mar 18: How to Find Happy Sobriety

How to Find Happy Sobriety

BB Acceptance pg. 417- Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.

12 and 12 Step One, pg 21- Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.

12 and 12 Step Twelve, pg 119- With clear understanding and right, grown-up attitudes, very happy results do follow.

Bob B., an AA speaker, talks about serenity and happiness in sobriety. This is just one of many speakers that you will find to listen to. If you haven’t listened to speaker meetings, you can find some by searching YouTube.

I bring this topic to you today because I have found myself in a place where happiness is just not there sometimes. I have sponsees that have issues with happiness in sobriety as well.

So, instead of just sitting in that funk, I have started working the steps again, VERY thoroughly, digging deep with a new online sponsor. It’s amazing how quickly my perspective has changed. It’s amazing how quickly my happiness returned, just from taking the action of rereading the Big Book and reflecting on its message. Listening to speakers also really helps my perspective on life.

If you aren’t happy in sobriety after working the steps, something is wrong. Life happens but we get to choose today how to react. You have a choice this very minute whether you smile or roll your eyes in disgust. You have a choice in an hour whether you enjoy where you are in your life or complain for whatever reason.

Choose happiness. I choose happiness today, despite the perils of this world. I hope you will join me in sharing your journey to happiness in sobriety or where you hope you to be when you complete the steps, if you haven’t done so yet.

The meeting is open to any and all shares. Smile!! ??

Mar 11: It’s an Inside job

It’s an Inside Job

Hi everyone,
My name is Nydia and I’m an alcoholic. Congrats to all celebrating a sober anniversary and welcome to new ladies in GROW. Thank you for the opportunity to lead the meeting this week.

I sometimes sense a tendency within myself of comparing how I feel on the inside with what other people look like on the outside – deadly for an alcoholic! That just fires up my terminal uniqueness. That is then closely followed by – if I do A, B, C then surely God/ programme/ someone will reward me with X, Y, Z – instant gratification please. Am I not a good AA/ friend/ colleague/ sister/ …? Where is my gold star for all the effort put in?

One way stilling my mind and coming back to myself – in a healthy way – is of course, gratitude (as was all the shares last week). The other way I have found, is to honestly ask myself – through prayer and meditation – what and why do I continue to fear? Where is my sense of desperation and deprivation coming from? What are my motives?

In the end, the answers don’t matter as much as giving myself the space and permission to look within. In that big empty hole is where the healing happens. On page 127 of the big book it is written: “For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded.” It always reminds me of when a friend said to me, “Nydia, you need to get well on the inside and the outside will change… it’s an inside job.”

I steal from myself and if I want peace, it needs be from within, not without… No booze, man, money or image can fill that empty hole (although I have an interesting time trying, trust me).

Do you relate to this theme? And how have you worked/ working through it?

Thank you.

Mar 04: Putting Gratitude In Your Attitude

Putting Gratitude In Your Attitude

Hi GROW Sisters: I’m Barbara, grateful recovering alcoholic with the help of AA and my Higher Power.

For me, from the very start, gratitude was a way to calm myself and ‘prove’ to myself that AA was working, no matter how bad I felt. I heard others talk about a gratitude list. They said check out the Promises. I tried it, at first skeptically. So, okay, today I didn’t drink; I raised my hand at a meeting; I went to coffee with other AA’ers. And so my list began and grew as I grew in recovery.

Over time, I’d say to my sponsor, ”I prayed today.’ Wow! But then there were days I complained “How can I do a gratitude list?–my best friend just died–there is no way!” She reminded me” You can experience sadness and loss today”. “You can feel the love you had with this friend for so many years.” “You can show up and console the family” –see—you can do it.

My Higher Power and I became more and more in synch. After a while I could explore gratitude within its deeper meaning in my heart and soul—my daily life-the fits and starts of everyday–everything. And once again I would become calm and remind mysel ‘it works if you work it’ one day at a time right along with my Higher Power. I made a new list every day.

I came to AA at 40. I got married (second time) at 50. I got my first car at 60 (Jeep!) and I learned to swim at 70 after a terrible dread of the water. I even lost weight! But life also happened between those lines!

A true and poignant story of my gratitude is that of my Father and me. We were distant for a very long time, and didn’t speak. Finally I started to write to him in the name of my real life cat Peppermint: ‘Peppermint says Mommy had a root canal today.’ ‘Peppermint says Mommy wishes you a happy birthday.’ And so on. This went on for years. One Christmas I sent him a toy stuffed, rabbit fur ‘cat’ that looked like my own sleeping cat. No word from him (tho we finally did reconcile). When he died years later, we entered his house and found the ‘cat,’ all brushed and on a clean chopped meat plastic tray in front of all the other family pictures. We had become a family again.

May you all be grateful and be-calmed tonite. Hgz, b. dos 9/21/83

Feb 25: AA is a We Program

AA is a We Program

Hello ladies of GROW, my name is Allison and I am an alcoholic. Yesterday I celebrated 3 years of sobriety! I came into GROW on day 1, before I had even attended a f2f meeting, and have been grateful for you wonderful women every day since!

I’d like to suggest as our topic this week: AA Is a We Program, and what that means to each of us.

Reflecting back on the misery of my life before I got here, and the peace and happiness I have found over the past 3 years, I realize the part of the deviousness of my addiction was how it stripped away my relationships one by one, until no one was left. Alcoholism is a jealous disease, and it doesn’t tolerate competitors. I might (but most likely wouldn’t) be able to stay sober on my own – but it’s so much more fun to live in recovery with my friends!

And of course, we know that we have to give away what we get through this program in order to keep it!

I look forward to hearing what you have to say about this topic, or about what is affecting your sobriety today!

Feb 18: Serenity Prayer

Serenity Prayer

As I look back over the past 21 years, it is praying the Serenity Prayer, sometimes as a mantra, that has helped me so much.

Just this past Tuesday my oldest son had surgery that seemed to go well but the next day he was found to have several blood clots in his lung and the lung was collapsed. I have been praying the Serenity Prayer steadily since my dear daughter-in-law called me. Good news, his lung is ok now and he will be on blood thinners for several months.

Then this morning the sewer backed up in my shower and in the tub in my other bathroom………………my landlords came over right after I called and fixed the problem and even cleaned the shower and tub!

Those are just 2 examples of when I used the Serenity Prayer just this week.

I always used to say at meetings that for me, one of the biggest things was “wisdom to know the difference”.

I’d love to hear from you ladies, who wish to share, your experience with the Serenity Prayer or anything you may need to discuss!

I’ll close with the complete Serenity Prayer, AA groups usually use the first 4 lines.

The complete Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful
world As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all
things right If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.


(prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971)

Feb 11: Phrases and Slogans

Phrases and Slogans

It’s great to be here sober this morning, and to be part of this amazing group of recovering women. Heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to drop me a note to help me celebrate my 30 year anniversary this past week. Believe me, I don’t talk about attaining 30 years to brag. There were a whole lot of people (angels really), spiritual messages and divine intervention that kept me sober during some of my darkest days. I know without a doubt that sobriety is a gift and i will be forever grateful to those who have helped me hang on. Some who have helped me through are members of this group.

I don’t ever want to forget where I came from. At one time in my life, I was unable to do the most basic things without drinking. I had to drink before going to any kind of social gathering. By the end, I even had to drink on my lunch hour so I could get through a work day.

In my earliest days of sobriety, I remember some women saying to me, “If you can’t hang in there one day at a time, hang in there for just this moment.” It was one of many phrases that I was able to absorb and repeat over and over as I tried to figure out how to stay sober. The slogans also made a difference, particularly “Easy Does It – But Do It.” A friend of mine in early recovery said that when you are newly sober, it’s as if an entire ocean of information is being thrown at you, and all you can take away each day is a thimbleful. So each day I would take home my thimbleful of tips to stay sober, usually in the form of slogans and short phrases. Some other phrases that really impacted my ability to be sober include:

  1. Carry the message, not the drunk.
  2. You’re where you’re supposed to be.
  3. It will happen in God’s time, not my time.
  4. You may not get what you want, but you always get what you need.
  5. We walk in the shadow of tragedy, and eternal vigilance is the price we pay for sobriety.

Here’s another sentence that really made a huge difference in my recovery. Once an old-timer said to me fairly early in my sobriety, “If you’re feeling off-balance, you’re either not living in the moment or you’re fighting against God’s will.” I have turned that over and over in my mind on many occasions.

I would love to hear any slogans or phrases that have made a difference in your recovery. As always, feel free to share on this topic, or any other topic that you need to share on.

Together we can do what none of us can do alone.

Thank you all for being part of this group and for letting me lead this week.

Hugs to all who need or want one.
Valerie D DOS 2/8/88

Feb 04: Alcohol’s Control Over Us

Alcohol’s Control Over Us

A reading in my “A Day at a Time” meditations book resonated with me.

“Now that I am in the Program, I am no longer enslaved by alcohol and other drugs. Free at last from the morning after tremors, the dry heaves…. Free from working out the alibis and hoping they won’t unravel, free from blackouts, free from watching the clock until I can get that desperately needed first drink/drug.”

Wow, exact picture of me in my using days! Alcohol told me if I could work that day, interact with other people or hide in my house, had to borrow money for more booze, had to hide more booze, was too high to stay up with the kids or spend the day in bed. Alcohol convinced me that the evening before that I could not remember was ok, that I was still a together person at work, that I did not have an alcohol problem. King alcohol constantly whispered in my ear, louder than my common sense, children or spouse. King alcohol changed what I heard to its own benefit, ever defending its dominate position in my life.

I am so happy to be free today! I have regained my life, my vision, my finances and my joy. Thanks to God and this program I am free from the chains of my addiction and will ever be grateful, as long as I follow my program.

Thanks for letting me lead this week.

Lynn H. DOS 9/30/96

Jan 28: Time


Last Tuesday I honored the fact that I have not picked up a drink for the past 29 years. I have never been much of a birthday person. I don’t enjoy them and I find them painful. They reminded me of all the bad old memories and feelings, the body memory of why I drank and what the consequences were. I felt obligated to celebrate them but inside, I hated them.

I have known people in AA with a lot of years who have nothing that I want; some newcomers are more sober. I’ve known some old-timers that have a lot that I want. The length of time a person has been sober has little to do with the quality of sobriety that they have, from what I can see.

Relapse is a part of my story. I first came to AA in 1986; I relapsed at 2 1/2 years sober. I only drank for a day. I did it because I was a drug addict and I wanted to be sure I was also an alcoholic. I stepped into the nearest liquor store and bought some beer, with the clever plan to drink two and leave four in the fridge. I proved to myself that day that I cannot drink like a normal person, but oh how I hated to give up my time. It has taken me years to get over the pride of that one! The only reason I share my birthday now is because it might help another woman.

Please share this week on time in the program. What value does sober time have for you? What do you like and dislike about AA birthdays? Are they meaningful to you, and if so, why.

Jan 21: Connecting with your Higher Power

Connecting with your Higher Power

I apologize for being so late getting the topic out today. No excuses. Dysfunctional thinking (or not thinking). My brain has been on vacation all week! In fact, my mental disconnection applies to more than our meeting …

I am going through a phase of backing off the connection with my Higher Power. I’m not angry or disappointed. There is no particular reason, but I am not praying much, and I am not feeling that presence. This has been going on for a couple of weeks. And this is not the first time it’s happened in sobriety. It can last from weeks to months. The longer it lasts, the more likely I am to become irritable, impatient, and just plain ol’ unpleasant.

But I’m not really worried about it. I am still engaged in the program of AA and applying the steps in everything I do. My HP knows what I think and feel before I am aware. “He” probably saw this coming long before it started. “He” is loving and forgiving and will indulge my distance. He will let me take care of things and be amused when I run into my own character defects. He knows that those defects will bring me back, humbled and willing to begin again.

In my early days, I would have been anxious and guilty, feeling like a failure in the program and a disappointment to my God. Today, I know that my Higher Power loves me and will always be there for me, no matter what. It’s okay to take a few steps back now and then. I am not a failure. I haven’t completely disconnected. I’ve just gone quiet for a while. This, too, shall pass.

So, I invite you to share about your connection with your Higher Power. Do you ever “disconnect?” How does it make you feel? And what do you do about it? Of course, please share on anything you need to this week.

Jan 14: Being an Example

Being an Example

Being an Example, knowingly or not.

On January 9th, Tuesday, I celebrated 30 continuous years of sobriety. I see it as 10,957 days because for 23 years, I had to drink every day so every day without having to drink is a little miracle.

Wednesday night is my home group meeting and another woman there, J, celebrated 40 years of sobriety that day. I asked my sponsor to give both of us our medallions because of the wonderful symmetry I hope to make clear in a minute.

Over 35 years ago, when J had only been sober a couple of years, her young son was killed getting off the school bus. Though she could only cry and rock herself for comfort, she came to meetings. At every meeting, she sat and sobbed and rocked and listened and did it over again and again – because she did not want to drink. Her only certainty was that working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous would help her stay sober.

She didn’t know that there was a young woman who attended many of the same meetings, who was very new to AA and desperately looking for a way to live her life soberly without a clue to HOW to do that. That young woman watched J. make the choice to come to meetings rather than drink her sorrow away.

What struck that young woman was the idea that if this horrible event did not drive J out of the rooms and into the arms of booze, then how could she have any reservations about staying sober?

I came into the rooms when that young woman had about 5 1/2 years sober and I watched her at meetings. She had social anxiety and would practically vibrate from tension when she shared at a meeting, but she did it any way.

She practiced every suggestion she was given in this program and I was privileged to witness it.

That young woman became my sponsor because I =knew= she had already experienced a way to stay sober through all the difficulties I was facing in my own sobriety. She never suggested I do anything that she had not already had to do before me. She told me the story of J’s grief and how it ingrained in her the realization that nothing, absolutely nothing, is a reason to drink.

So the three of us were standing at the head of the table with a total of 105 years of sobriety among us. Me with my 30 years, my sponsor with 35, and J with 40 years that day. I was struck with awe that because of J’s example so many years ago, my sponsor worked her own program harder than ever and she became the example I clung to in my own program of recovery. Definitely a goose bump moment for me.

Thanks to them I have learned that the right choice in every situation is whatever is most gentle and loving of me and my sobriety. As long as I do that I can have a sober life beyond my wildest dreams. I do, no matter what happens.

Please feel free to share on whatever you need to share in order to stay sober another day. This is your meeting and your chance to do what is best for your own recovery.

Thanks, Mari Ann

Jan 01: Step 1

Step 1

Happy New Year ladies!!! Given it is January, Step 1 Month, and the month of my AA sobriety date I would like to share my experience, strength and hope regarding Step 1.

Step One
We admitted at we are powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Who cares to admit complete defeat? Practically no one, of course. Every natural instinct cries out against the idea of personal powerlessness. It is truly awful to admit that, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us. (12 x 12)

Eleven years ago, I was fortunate enough to have “an act of Providence” completely remove my desire for alcohol on the 24th and 25th of December. The cravings prevented me from putting together more that 4 days of sobriety from March of that year when I started attending AA meetings, until the 24th of December, about 9 months in total.

“Alcohol, now become the rapacious creditor, bleeds us of all self sufficiency and all will to resist its demands.”

During those 9 months I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop – I was going to meetings, got a sponsor, praying, reading literature, etc. But that amazing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – oh the relief to have that rapacious creditor off my back – it was that spiritual experience that AAer’s had talked about and it gave me a hope and faith that I had not known before that day. The cravings came back with a vengeance on the 26th and I white knuckled it for the next 5 days. They started to diminish the following week and on my 13th day of sobriety I gave in to the rapacious creditor and drank. It made my head foggy and I got no “ahhhhhhhh” feeling out if it, not even the first drink and I did not like the way it made me feel. On Jan 6, 2007, I started a new day of sobriety and by the grace of a higher power, following the suggestions of the program and the having the support of people in AA, I have been sober ever since and am incredibly grateful for the gift of sobriety.

When I look back, I was fortunate I wasn’t given that Christmas Eve reprieve earlier. While I knew I was an alcoholic at my first AA meeting, I had yet to admit complete defeat – and I had not accepted that my life was unmanageable. I hadn’t received DUI, lost my job, etc – in retrospect I think I still had some control underneath it all – it took utter defeat for me to become truly teachable.

I still remember an Episcopalian priest at my women’s meeting that would wish me a low bottom!!! What???? I loved this woman but couldn’t believe as a priest she would wish such a horrible thing on me! Aha, more will be revealed, right? Now I understand. She wasn’t wishing me a DUI, or the loss of my children – she was wishing me the gift of desperation so I would become teachable and the gift of humility so I would do whatever it took to ensure I never returned to hell in a bottle. I am grateful for my low bottom and the amazing life I have now even though it is not perfect.

I would love to hear to hear your thoughts on what Step 1 means to you and how it has impacted your life.

Thank you all for being here. I could not stay sober without you! You all enrich my life so much!!!