Dec 29: Control/Taking Care of Ourselves

Control/Taking Care of Ourselves

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

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

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

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

Sarah K

Dec 22: Balance


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

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

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

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

Thank you for letting me be of service,

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

Dec 15: Having Sober Holidays

Having Sober Holidays

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

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

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

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


Dec 08: Boundaries and Expectations

Boundaries and Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is a Christmas miracle, folks!

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

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.

X Kirsten

Dec 01: Step 12

Step 12: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Joy of living is the theme of the Twelfth step. Action its keyword. Giving that asks no reward. Love that has no price tag. What is spiritual awakening? A new state of consciousness and being is received as a free gift. Readiness to receive gift lies in practice of the Twelve steps. The magnificent reality. Rewards of helping other alcoholics. Kinds of Twelfth step work. Problems of Twelfth Step work. What about the practice of these principles in ALL our affairs? Monotony, pain, and calamity turned to good use by the practice of the Steps. Difficulties of practice. “Two Stepping” and demonstrations of faith. Growing spiritually is the answer to our problems. Placing spiritual growth first. Domination and over-dependence. Putting our lives on give-and-take basis. Dependence upon God necessary to recovery of alcoholic. “Practicing theses principles in ALL our affairs.” Domestic relations in A.A. Outlook upon material matters changes. So do feelings about personal importance. Instincts restored to true purpose. Understanding is key to right attitudes, right action key to good living.
(From, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions Table of Contents).
This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 60). There’s more in Chapter 7 (Working with Others), starting on p. 89, which is all about the 12th step. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Holy Cow Batman, There’s a lot to talk about in this step. Please feel free to pick the line that speaks to your heart and share on it.

For me service is not about fixing changing or helping anyone, service is about myself. It’s about giving what I have to offer without expecting recognition or reward. It is about doing what needs to be done, as I am asked, to the best of my ability. It means giving 100 percent of my attention to what I am doing, as long as I can do so without causing myself harm. Anything more is an attempt to gain control, and anything less is a dis-service. There is a fine line between being of service and trying to help someone.

For many years I have alienated people by being helpful – controlling in their eyes. It’s been a journey to learn how to be of service, to listen — truly listen — to what someone actually needs, and do JUST that. It’s also become a journey to freedom. Freedom from the insanity in my head of trying to figure out what people want. I have and am learning to ask what someone needs.

Please feel free to share on any part of this step that resonates with you. Ladies, the meeting is now yours.

Nov 24: AA and God

Tools in AA that are parallel to tools in my Christian walk:
Take a day at a time; worrying today is interest that may never need to be collected.
Have the faith that God will always be there for me. Wherever I travel AA will be there for me.
I do not have to face anything on my own, God proves over and over he will be there for me. AA is a we program. People in the rooms keep me sober.
AA is my strength, God is my strength.
AA works if you work the program, God works if you believe in him.
Alcohol is the enemy. The secular way of the world is the enemy.
The more we read the Big Book the more we understand about alcoholism and how to live a joyful content life. The more we read the Bible the more we learn about God’s word and how to live a joyful content life.
What is a God shot we hear in AA versus Divine intervention?
The longer I am sober and the longer I hang out in the rooms of AA whether it is f2f meetings or online meetings, I experience the promises of AA as I have experienced the promises of God.
I would love to hear of your similarities in AA and God.

Nov 17: Isolation

I am so grateful to be sober and be able to lead this meeting. Thank you for being here.

Isolation has been a big thing for me all throughout my 20s as well as my first handful of months of sobriety. While drinking, I always wanted to drown out the world and the noise in my head. It was always self inflicted isolation.

Now, in sobriety, I am what is referred to as a loner in the AA lingo, as in I do not have an AA community where I live here in Indonesia. I never have had local meetings and thank God I found GROW in the first week of sobriety and finally an online sponsor a little later on or else I don’t think I would’ve gotten very far. Here, I have experienced physical isolation with being in a new country and community all while getting sober.

For a long time I didn’t feel comfortable letting anyone but my therapist know what was going on so I just stayed with my familiar habit of thinking that others ‘just won’t get it.’ I made myself miserably sad those first few months.

I found out there was one other AAer in town at around 6 months of sobriety and soon after was able to go to my first F2F meetings in Bali for a weekend. Connecting was key to moving through some of my self loathing I still harbored as I worked through steps 4 & 5.

My AA friend in town moved away a couple of weeks ago and I’m observing the difference between being ‘alone’ now versus what I felt in the beginning.

As the Big Book says, by sticking with the program and working the steps:’… we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we’ve always had.’ – 12 &12 Step 5

Now, after working through step 7 and having a lot of conversations with God, I don’t feel isolated. I am alone in a lot of respects, but I don’t feel lonely. I like to think of this as feeling safe and finally honest in my solitude with God instead of feeding into the sadness and stinking thinking. This particular pity party is over and I intend to keep working on my emotional sobriety to keep it that way.

I know that this grounded feeling has been gifted to me by my Higher Power as well as the step work I’ve done with my sponsor and the support I’ve found here in GROW. Daily meditation, prayer, breath work, the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, sobriety podcasts and spiritual texts are the biggest tools that I use to keep this connection strong.

Please feel free to share about your relationship with isolation past or present and how you are growing beyond that damaging coping mechanism.

I look forward to hearing from you all.


Sarah M

Nov 10: Amends and families

Hello, ladies, my name is Suanne and I am an alcoholic. Thank you for allowing me to be of service by chairing this meeting. We have had some great topics lately and I was a little nervous about chairing. I wanted to write something profound and “wow” you (old alcoholic thinking)! I’ve been sober for a few 24 hours and realize that even though alcohol has left my body, I’m still left with the alcoholic mind. 🙂

Yesterday, I had lunch with an old friend who is a normie. She asked me if she could talk to me about her son, who is drinking heavily and “doing what we do.” Her husband and her brother are also alcoholic. I listened and it brought it all back fresh as to how I hurt my family while I was drinking. She’s asking me what she could do and honestly, I could say only to pray for him. It’s so baffling to me even as an alcoholic how crazy our disease is and how crazy it makes us and I HAVE the disease. So think about how our family members are confused. The difference in cancer and alcoholism – both equally fatal diseases – is that alcoholism destroys families, careers, finances, health along the way. Cancer doesn’t do that. And a normie looks as us and says: why can’t you just stop?

I can’t tell you the number of times I swore to my son that I would not drink again – and meant it with every fiber of my being – yet by the time the hangover started wearing off, I was figuring out which liquor store to go to that day. It was a cycle born of addiction.

The good news I could tell her was that there is a solution — after alcohol takes you down (and the elevator only goes down if you are an alcoholic like me). But most alcoholics won’t stop until we do hit bottom. I told her I was grateful for my bottom because I remember it like it was yesterday and that anytime a drink starts looking good, I remember that bottom, play the tape all the way through, and it looks like poison again. I told her the solution gave me back my life and gave me a connection to God that I would not have had without it. Relationships have been restored, finances better, health better… but that all came after I hit bottom and started working the program.

I was happy I am in AA and could show her that recovery is possible. Every day is a living amends to my family. I now have a blended family of 4 kids and 7 grands with another on the way .. Only my son has seen me drunk but he has forgiven me (thank you God) and life is much better than I could ever have imagined, all thanks to God and the AA program and you.

So I’d ask you to think about your families. Where has your journey led you with amends and your families? I know some are struggling, some have restored families, some have new families. Can you share some hope for those who are still struggling? God works miracles and please don’t leave 5 minutes before your miracle happens.

I hope this wasn’t too long.

Suanne G
DOS 6-20-01

Nov 03: Step 11

We are all invited to share on Step 11. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives. We look forward to your shares.

*** Step 11 ***
“Sought through prayer and meditation to increase our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting at the bottom of p. 85. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***
You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See

Hello friends, my name is Emily M and I am an alcoholic. Today, I am sharing with you about Step Eleven: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

I have found many times, that while I think I’m working this step, or want to be working this step, I feel some sort of block in prayer. Like I’m not sure I’m “doing it right”. Sometimes upon examination, I find that I’m maybe praying for selfish wants and not for the will of God to be done and instead for the will of Emily to be done.

My ego, my self on its own, as an alcoholic woman, really can get strong, really can become cunning baffling and powerful like only this disease can, and only crisis situations force me to truly humbly seek my HP in prayer and meditation the way this program actually says to. And funny thing is, once I get out of my own way and begin to do that, sure enough God had a plan the whole time, I just needed to seek Him and stop talking and crying and thinking long enough to receive that plan…aka meditation.

So today, I read in the 12 and 12, and I found this “guide” for how to make a start. It suggested finding a good prayer, one you relate to, and it suggested this one and said the following:

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

“As beginners in meditation, we might now reread this prayer several times very slowly, savoring every word and trying to take in the deep meaning of each phrase and idea. It will help if we can drop all resistance to what our friend says. For in meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts of someone who knows, so that we may experience and learn.

“As though lying upon a sunlit beach, let us relax and breathe deeply of the spiritual atmosphere with which the grace of this prayer surrounds us. Let us become willing to partake and be strengthened and lifted up by the sheer spiritual power, beauty, and love of which these magnificent words are the carriers. Let us look now upon the sea and ponder what its mystery is; and let us lift our eyes to the far horizon, beyond which we shall seek all those wonders still unseen.” Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 99-100

For me getting back to our texts always helps me find answers to my life’s problems whether they be big or small. I’ve found there’s no problem bigger than my HP. This meeting and text reminds me that it’s not all about me, but about serving others and being “on the beam” ourselves, in all our joys and in our trials.

I invite you to share about your relationship with Step 11, where it’s taken you, what practices you’ve found work, what you’ve found gets you in trouble.

Thank you for the honor of chairing this meeting.

Emily M.
DOS 9/1/10

Oct 27: Gratitude

Hi Growing Women. My name is Alison B and I am an alcoholic. I had an opportunity to travel with a group of AA women to Mexico last week for a women’s retreat. I did not attend with any expectations; I had no agenda for myself. As some of you know, I lived in this same area of Mexico for 10 years, 8 of which were on my sailboat raising my two children with my now ex-husband. The journey this past week was an interesting one for me, in that from 1991-93 while living in Mexico aboard my sailboat I was still drinking. These were the last two years of my active disease. I sobered up in La Paz, Mexico in 1993. So the memories for me in Mexico are a mixed bag.

The first AA meeting of the retreat turned out to be the topic of gratitude. As it was a meditation meeting we were led by one of the members. She took us all on quite a journey into the past, the present and the future. As soon as I opened the door to the past I saw myself on my sailboat anchored off shore from where I was currently staying. I found gratitude in my past. It was so very clear to me and the tears began to roll down my cheeks. And in fact, for the entire 20 minutes of the meditation/journey the tears just streamed down my face. (The tears were accompanied by copious amounts of snot near the end. Lol )

The significance of being able to at long last find gratitude in my heart for my past drinking life was a surprise to me. I have been in the rooms of AA for many years, and acceptance of my past was a key to staying sober. But what I did not realize was that the acceptance of my past was very different from gratitude for my past. Something shifted in my perception during that meditation in a most profound way. I became one with my past. It was no longer something that happened, but an integral part of who I am today. It was a warm and friendly feeling towards my past. It’s difficult to put into words.

All I know is that I keep coming back. I love AA and all that it has to offer. I remain open to new ideas and my Higher Power reveals those new ideas to me as I age in the AA program. Gratitude has taken on a whole new meaning for me. My own definition has shifted. This is a gift. It is the gift I traveled to Mexico for, unbeknownst to me. My Higher Power and the 11 other AA women I was sharing the week with gave me the greatest gift of all. They gave me myself. I was whole once again. There was perfection in the moment that words do not convey.

Do not leave before the miracle happens. Keep coming back. This AA sober life is amazing. Thank you to you ladies for the many gifts that you have given me. I love the definition I found. “….kindness awakened by a favor received.”

Webster Dictionary


the state of being grateful; warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness

Origin: [F. gratitude, LL. gratitudo, from gratus agreeable, grateful. See Grate, a.] She sent them a present to show/express her gratitude.

Take this as a token of my gratitude for all your help.


Alison B

Oct 20: We Are Not Alone

We Are Not Alone

“Our first woman alcoholic had been a patient of Dr. Harry Tiebout’s, and he had handed her a pre-publication manuscript copy of the Big Book. The first reading made her rebellious, but the second convinced her. Presently she came to a meeting held in our living room, and from there she returned to the sanitarium carrying this classic message to a follow patient: “ We aren’t alone any more.“
AA Comes Of Age, p18.
In AA I have found more fellowship and more genuine friendship with women than I ever did when drinking. When I was drinking I was always in competition with other women. I never felt comfortable in the presence of other women. I always felt inferior to other women.
Of course, one of my major complaints about going to AA was the fact that I was a woman. In my mind I was convinced that only men were alcoholic. That I would only find dirty old men at AA.
My first meeting was a young person’s group held in a church hall (of course), and the first people I met were three young ladies. It was these women who kept me coming back. Coming back keeps me sober.
One of these young ladies gave me a Big Book. When I got to the chapter, “There Is A Solution”, I knew this was going to work. Chapter 5 taught me I had to be prepared “to go to any lengths to get it .“ I was, because by the time I got this far in the Big Book, I had been to enough meetings to know I wanted what you had.
I have been reading the Big Book ever since. I love the stories in the back, especially the women’s stories. I read and reread the chapters. It’s where I start my day and it’s where I end my day.
This group, GROW, has been my mainstay for a long time now. I joined in ‘99. I have been very quiet in the past few years because my physical health has been bad and I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital. When I’m in hospital my Big Book goes with me.
Please share with us this week on your experience as a woman in AA or how coming into AA you’ve found affinity with other women, or what the Big Book has done for you. Or on anything else.
DOS 12/6/89
PS: the Big Book is the book entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous”.

Oct 13: Speaking to your newly-sober self

Speaking to your newly-sober self

Dear friends in G.R.O.W.– I’m Louise and I’m an alcoholic, very grateful for the sobriety I have today, both physical, emotional and spiritual.   Welcome to all our newcomers too.
What would I tell my newly-sober self to put her at ease if the mature sober me, well over three continuously sober decades later, could go back as I am now and sit with her for a few hours…?
The newly-sober me was 30-yrs old, an emotional mess, with such a past gathered up behind her, which she carried about inside her.   She’d been hospitalized many times, and had left a trail of chaos in her wake.    She gave a child up for adoption, and lost custody of her son and her marriage broke up. She’d married a father figure in the rooms of AA—almost 13 years older than her.    She suffered from what our Book talks of as a ‘grave emotional and mental disorder’.     Today she might even have been classified with a personality disorder.     She’d been in and out of AA since 19 years of age.   She truly thought she was different.    AA didn’t work for her. And no matter how hard she tried to stop (hundreds of times), she always went back to drinking. But she’d come back one last time, as she knew (like the psychiatrist told her a year or so before) she’d be dead by 30.    She came back, broken and willing to be taught.    She put down that first drink, for one day.

I’d gently tell her the following:
Louise, if you only knew the peace you will experience, and how it will all work out, you would let go and let God in fully now. 🙂
Get a sponsor, go through the steps, and let the magic of this program unfold little by little within you. Don’t listen to your head’s stinkin’ thinkin’. Get to a meeting instead.
Get into service in any way at all in meetings. Stay with service always.
You don’t need to worry any more. You are safe in the hands of a Power greater than you.
Don’t be scared; you are going to experience a way of life beyond your wildest dreams, even when the going is tough. Life is tough at times for everyone but you will grow through it all.
Keep trusting that you are being looked after and guided. You ‘have entered the world of the spirit’. (p 84 BB)
You will experience a growing peace that deepens through the years of living this way.
You will have lost the desire to drink by the time you are seven months sober (for me, that is, up until today).
You will come to listen to that still small voice within, which guides you in your decision-making.
You will build a relationship with a Power that gets more intimate as time goes on.
You will begin to leave your world of self and move out into an other-centered world—there will come a point when you realize that you genuinely can put others’ needs before your own. Even when your own problems are looming– especially when your own problems are looming you will look to help others!!
You will come to a point in your life when it becomes hard to even imagine how you are now. That’s because your true personality will have a chance to emerge. And you will love it. You will no longer feel lower than a snake’s belly…
All the conflict within your mind that you find hard to live with will lessen, little by little, through time. Just keep sharing..
God will untangle all the mess that no psychiatrist ever could do.
You will be a rock for your sons and family.
You will build a life which involves going back to school, new career, and you will become a person people can rely on. You will be valued in the society in which you move.
You will learn to accept that you are powerless over people, places and things. And this is a lifetime job but you will get better at it as your experience of life and being sober grows.
You will sit and marvel that you have been fortunate enough to have been given this gift…

Ladies, I invite you to share on what you would tell your newly-sober self if you could go back in a time machine and sit with her for an hour or two..
And for those newly-sober members of our group, please just share on anything I have brought up.
For the new members of our group, we’d truly love to hear you share.

Oct 06: Step 10

Step 10:  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

Asking ourselves these question each night, writing about it, discussing things with our sponsor to get a different perspective…ect…we have daily tools to grow that have been laid at our feet…
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.
Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?
Do we owe an apology?
Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
Were we kind and loving toward all?
What could we have done better?
Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time?
Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?
“But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.”

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

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

“We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.”
We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only.
We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped.
We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.
“Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.”
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.
We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”
We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works – it really does.

“We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.”

My personal Step 10 consists of a daily written inventory. I of course spot check throughout the day, but I find it’s harder to lie to myself when I have the truth written out in front of me in black and white. My mind will justify and rationalize everything in my favor. It likes to tell me that I am a victim and blameless. The Spirit knows otherwise. I spent years and years in my head justifying my reactions, decisions and behaviors, pretty much always based in a victim mentality. I blamed others (still have to watch that everyday) instead of admitting that I participated in my own self destruction.

Now, because of God and the Steps of AA, my brain is being continually being rewired to match my soul-where before my mind running the show. Since it doesn’t come automatically to admit my faults, I find this daily 10th Step keeps my accounts with God and others short, so that my next 4th Step won’t be as dramatic.

Simply by asking myself honestly the questions mentioned above, keeps me in check. It’s hard for me to be honest if I am so full of anger, self pity, resentment or blame, so I pray for the willingness to be honest and for God to revel to me the truth in all things. I also ask for the courage to face myself and take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. I would have NEVER known how to do this if not for AA and spiritually fit people God put in my life.

Please share on your experience with Step 10, your personal daily process or whatever experience, strength and hope your sober walk can bless us with!


Sep 29: Enough – Things My Sponsor Taught Me

Enough – Things My Sponsor Taught Me

I hope you didn’t click on this share thinking I might tell you how much recovery is enough. Maybe my 36 years in the Program fooled you. There is never enough recovery. And I never want to leave before the miracle. Seen many–but which one is it? Anniversaries make me reminisce. I’m going to focus on enough. There are 2 enough’s: I have had enough. OR I don’t have enough. AA is a simple program for complicated people. ‘I’ve had it!’ Enough! I came to AA when my life was unmanageable. Alcohol was destroying me. One drink was not enough. It was the first drink that got me drunk. I was in deep pain: emotional, physical, and spiritual. But when is enough for me? How long can I keep this up? Willpower isn’t enough. I can’t do this alone. I need AA, a Higher Power and you.

Enough already! I say to my sponsor. I am a grownup. You don’t have to tell me what to do. But development stops when we pick up a drink, she says. For most of us, that isn’t enough growing up. Sigh. Enough of this. I can’t write any more on my 4th step. I’m calling you enough. I already go to enough meetings. Not enough, my sponsor echoes. I’m not sober enough to share with all those oldtimers! Don’t judge your insides by another’s outsides, says my sponsor. My HP doesn’t answer my prayers quickly enough! Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Time takes time. So what is enough in recovery? One of my favorites lists of enough is the Promises. (However, expect life on life’s terms: freckles, dysfunctional family members, toothaches, bills, etc. Not the worst things compared to the Promises.)

The real enough’s of AA include the obsession to drink being lifted. A connection to a Higher Power. Living one day at a time. Never being alone again. Beloved relationships. Mending bridges to those I’ve harmed. Being comfortable with my place in life. You loving me enough until I love myself. Helping others. Serenity. Sanity. Joy. Love. GROW! My past no longer haunts me. Spirituality. You know how it is. My Higher Power allowed me to drink just enough not to kill myself. And now, I really do have enough. The list goes on. We all have our personal lists that are the enough’s for us. But there’s not enough space here. Too many ‘enough’s’ to list in sobriety. You are enough. Make your own list. Savor your life of abundance.

hgz, b.
dos 9/21/83

Sep 22: Overcoming Character Defects

Overcoming Character Defects

Hi my name is Ruth F and I’m an alcoholic.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead this meeting and am glad to know you are here with me. It’s nice to not be alone as we trudge this road of happy destiny.

I have been going through the steps again with my sponsor. We are spending some time on Steps 6 and 7. I realized that I’ve struggled with these steps, which is partly true. Mainly, I think I have glossed over them, said the 7th step prayer, and moved on to Step 8 pretty quickly.

A realization came to me. My discomfort with myself and others is a manifestation of my character defects affecting my behaviors, attitudes, and even my thinking. Normally, I would look out and decide I had a resentment, or fear or something else that would require another 4th step. So, I’d confirm my character defects again but not feel any better.

I have realized through praying to my Higher Power, reading literature, attending meetings, and talking to my sponsor that what’s really happening is that I haven’t taken action on changing/improving my character defects. I’m not working towards the principles of the program as well as I could.

There’s so little information to go by in the Big Book. I tend to do best with specific instructions or guidelines on how to take whatever action is necessary to help me be a better person.

So, my sponsor and I went looking for another resource that worked with AA. We both knew of the book, “Drop the Rock” but neither one of us had ever read it through or studied it. The book addresses Steps 6 and 7.

We are reading it now, which has helped as another tool in my recovery process.

I am learning that there are specific actions I can take. That turning my character defects over and asking that they be removed requires surrendering. It’s been harder for me than in Step 3.

I realize that the bigger character defects are easier to recognize and “work at” removing. It’s the moderate defects, the ones that bubble just below the surface that are harder. Maybe it’s because I’m hanging on to them or it’s easier to brush them aside thinking that they’re not that bad. The problem for me is that they build up. I can only apologize so many times. It becomes empty and meaningless as long as my behaviors don’t change. I either read or heard in a meeting that I judged myself by my thinking while others judged me by my actions. That really affected me.

A higher level of awareness of my character defects is so important if I’m going to grow and change. I can’t keep my blinders on. One thing I’ve learned from studying “Drop the Rock” along with AA, is that I can act “as if” I’m the person I’ve always wanted to be. I can act with generosity instead of selfishness. I can think of others instead of being so self involved. The opportunities to grow keep popping up and I’m amazed when I can actually adjust my attitude, my reaction, or my behavior. That acting “as if” becomes the new me more than the character defects.

It’s not perfection I’m after, just progress. Progress, for me, takes a lot of practice.

I’ve also realized that I am more than my character defects. We all are. Because as I practice being a better person there’s a shift within me. I still can regress but that doesn’t make me bad, it makes me human. I know what I can do about it and not feel trapped.

My character defects may always be with me. I realize now that I do not have to be ruled by them. Their power can lessen rather than dominate my life. I can move forward using all of the tools available to me and with the guidance of my Higher Power become a better person.

I would love to hear how you’ve been using the tools of the program and your Higher Power on character defects. How are you becoming someone more in line with the principles of the program? I look forward to reading your ESH.

Thank you for being there and giving me this opportunity to be of service.

Ruth F.

Sep 15: Taking the program and fellowship of AA wherever we go

Taking the program and fellowship of AA wherever we go

I am currently on a much-needed holiday in Greece. I come here every year and every year before I depart for my hols I check online to see if there is an AA meeting or a loner on the island (where two or more are gathered it’s a meeting!) Last year when I visited there was a woman I met with and we had a meeting. Unfortunately, there is no meeting or loners presently on this island. I don’t know if they moved away or didn’t stay sober but I have put in the action to maintain a lifeline to my program and the fellowship. Thank God for technology today as I can keep in touch with people via apps on my phone as well as email and Skype on my computer. Where there is Wi-Fi there is a way to AA.

I have been sober since ‘87 and I have traveled or lived abroad most of my sober life. I was only 3 years sober when I moved to a small town in the South of France to study at university for a year. I remember writing NY central office 6 months before I departed and requesting an international guide for meetings in Europe. [Back then they used to publish this international meeting guide about every 2 years, of course, this is way before the internet]

When I arrived in this small town in France I looked up the address listed in the book as the only English AA meeting. I found the address and knocked on the door and in my broken French asked for the man listed in the book. They told me he moved back to the US a year ago. I thought what do I do now??

I did find the one AA French meeting in this small town and showed up. It was a small meeting of about 4-5 people and I must have really wanted to stay sober as I stayed throughout the entire meeting which lasted about 2+ hours (bless them but they were truly French – they loved to talk, smoke, talk and drink coffee and talk J). I was 21 years old and I sat in this very smoky room in the back of a church with these older French people who were complete strangers to me. I ended up enduring (that’s what I felt at the time) incredibly fast-talking French who all smoked about 4 packs of Gauloise (unfiltered cigarettes) in one meeting alone.

Thankfully a few months later I did eventually find some English AA meetings in the Cote d’Azur and would take a 3-hour bus ride to Nice to get to some English AA once in a while. I met some really amazing people who took in this young, naïve college student (that was me back in the late 80s) who kindly offered me the hand of AA. I remember going to one meeting in Monaco and the secretary gave me a brown paper bag full of English AA speaker cassette tapes to take back with me.

I can look back now and see that by taking small actions I kept my AA lifeline which helped keep me sober one day at a time. Towards the end of my year studying abroad in France, I managed to speak fluent french because of those french AA meetings I attended. It now seems like a (very) long time ago but I remember as clear as a bell feeling so sad saying goodbye to those lovely French AA folks who were so patient and kind with me and my broken French months before. I learned a lot from that early living abroad experience – mostly that I needed to put in some footwork and try my best to reach out to stay connected to other AA’ers.

I love GROW because it’s another tool in my recovery toolbox to stay connected to the program– if I’m working a lot or traveling (like I am this week) I can stay connected by reading shares, emailing or phoning people.

Over the years I have accumulated so many stories and ‘coincidences’ when traveling through remote places in my search to find an AA loner or a meeting. I would always end up meeting the most amazing people!

If I can’t get to meetings because they don’t exist or are not there anymore I know I can listen to AA speakers online or participate in a Skype meeting or read literature online. Yes, it’s not the same as f2f meetings but better than nothing if I have nothing. I also keep the Big Book, 12 & 12 and other AA literature on my Kindle app for my phone and computer.

I love AA and I am truly blessed to have met so many wonderful AA’ers around the world through meetings and AA encounters. London has been my home for the last 19 years. I am grateful we are all connected through this amazing fellowship with our primary purpose to stay sober and help other alcoholics. No matter where you are in the world today thank you for helping me stay sober ODAT J

Would love to hear your experience about traveling, living remotely, or living abroad and how you stay connected to AA and the fellowship.

Thank you for letting me be of service today


Sep 08: Obsession


My name is Karen and I’m an alcoholic.

In the Big Book chapter “More About Alcoholism” there is a line “The idea that somehow; someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30) That fit me to a T. Later in the chapter it talks about some of the methods we try; for example, Drinking beer only…Never drinking in the morning…Switching from scotch to brandy…Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath, and so on ad infinitum. I was handed my first Big Book while in detox in rehab and read this chapter, including the list. I felt I had just taken a quiz to see if I was an alcoholic and checked all the boxes. It was a relief to know that other people had tried all these crazy methods to quit drinking that had consumed my life for so long.

When I was drinking my mind was like a hamster wheel, constantly thinking about drinking or not drinking, whichever version I was trying out at the moment. Nighttime offered little relief; I woke at 2 a.m. on the dot every morning worried I was going to die from alcohol poisoning or trying to remember what I had said or done the night before. I would start to plan how the next day would be different. In the last year of my drinking I pretty much gave up trying to string together sober days because they weren’t that much better than the days I drank. I may not have had a hangover, but I was never free from the obsession of thinking about drinking.

At the treatment center I went to we learned that alcohol is not only an allergy of the body but also an obsession of the mind. That made so much sense to me. The physical cravings left first, and it wasn’t many days before I started to feel physically better and occasionally slept through the night. The mental obsession was much harder. I have heard people in AA say they had a spiritual awakening and the obsession was lifted. It didn’t happen that way for me. It was very gradual. There was a day, probably about six months sober, when I realized I hadn’t thought about alcohol for several hours. That started to happen more often and those chunks of time, when I felt like I had my brain back, kept me going. For me, losing the obsession that had zapped my energy and my ability to be present for so many years was the key to finding the freedom and happiness talked about in the promises. Occasionally, I’ll go on a trip down memory lane and start to feel nostalgic about having a nice glass of wine. The best way for me to get out of that “stinking thinking” is to remind myself that I am no longer thinking about drinking every minute and that once I pick up that glass that freedom is gone.

I invite you all to share on obsession: how it was lifted or if it’s still a struggle. Of course, please share on any other topic you need to.

Thanks for letting me chair,

Karen H.

Sep 01: Step 9

Step 9

Topic for the week: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s much more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

In Step Eight I revisited the concepts of willingness and ego-deflation! I had to acknowledge the painful adventures of the past in which my character defects manifested themselves.

Once again, I had to own up to the wreckage my self-will had caused me. It was then time to admit my faults, mistakes
and character defects not only to God, to myself, to another human being, but also to the very individuals whom I had harmed! I had to make amends for what I had done.

In the process I accepted both responsibility for, and the consequences of, my past behavior. Only in that way could I find freedom. There was no other way to put the guilt and shame of the past behind me and ensure that I would not behave that way again!

Step Nine is a painful, humbling Step…..but rewarding. The A.A.’s Twelve Promises are said to come true with the Ninth Step. The Big Book is clear on the necessity of this commitment. And I have found that the power of
this Step lies in facing the person I had wronged as well as in confronting the wrongs themselves, and in trying to correct them. The pain of this Step and the ego-deflation it brings come directly from this confrontation.

I have also found that there is no “easier, softer way” that works!

I put off making an amends to my “favorite” ex-husband for over 20 years. When I finally returned to Hawaii and made my amends, he said: “Huh?” He had long forgotten me and my bad behavior! The importance of this recollection is this: I carried around in my head, for over 20 years,
remembrances of this bad behavior and definitely put a thorn in my peace of mind – –hence it stayed in the “committee” in my head!

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

I look forward to your shares and experiences with Step Nine.

Murphys, CA

Aug 25: Procrastination


Hi, my name Rene and alcoholic.

When it came to step four I procrastinated big time, I was petrified of what will come out.

My sponsor still asked after two weeks whether I had quit the programme and or her. It was like a power struggle, I was thinking of good versus “evil”, , here me hanging by the “scales by my fingertips”.

Not that much coercion needed, simply a case of work the programme or not. Not a lot of choice, but better than where I was.

“Fear of failure is often the reason why people procrastinate”.

Before sobriety I could list many ways of why am putting something off. When my drinking developed into a “daily habit”, I cut myself off from everyone, just functioning going to work, then home to bottle ( I could not be an alcoholic as I was everyday at work). What a joke, I put myself in my self imposed hell hole.

I would debate with myself when having to do a project, and inevitably come up with some creative excuse as to why not done on time. The bottle kept my time.

Without this programme and group, which will remain grateful for, I let life take me according to my HP.

Aug 18: Acceptance


From the big book, page 418 (the story is Acceptance Was The Answer) : “But when I try to see what I can add to the meeting, rather than what I can get out of it, and when I focus my mind on what’s good about it, rather than what’s wrong with it, the meeting keeps getting better and better. When I focus on what’s good today, I have a good day, and when I focus on what’s bad, I have a bad day. If I focus on a problem, the problem increases ; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases.”

This is one of my favorite stories! It applies to both meetings and everyday life. I can complain because someone in the meeting said something I didn’t agree with, maybe they have a rule I find absurd, etc. Or, I can be grateful I’m at an A.A. meeting and can be sober with others for this time. Same with life! Are we irritated because we can’t get the closest parking spot, because we had to wait extra long at the grocery store? It’s little things that add up and make me annoyed! If I stopped, took a breath, and focused my attention on God and where my feet are planted I wouldn’t have half the irritation I do.

It also applies to big things. Waiting on medical test results, fear over finances. Living in the problem and obsessing about it every free moment is not going to fix it or make us feel any better. Looking towards the solution and living in the now is all we can do.

Please share how accepting where you are today and living in the solution is helpful to your sobriety. Or, share why you struggle with this.

Aug 11: The Set Aside Prayer

The Set Aside Prayer

Hi Ladies,

My name is Nydia and I am an alcoholic. I am still humbled when I see newcomers change – they are the bright spot of my life (Big Book, p.89). I recently had one of them ask me “how do I get there?” and I thought, what’s ‘there’? And ‘there’ was basically some Utopian thought of bliss where everything works like clockwork, the family, the relationship, the money, the house, the new fad diet.

I said to her, I will get ‘there’ when I am dead. Because as long as I am alive there will always be something new to uncover, discover and sometimes discard. I am also always receiving new experiences, gifts, freedoms.

I will leave you with the Set Aside Prayer which has been such a joy to say these past few months. It reminds me, there is no graduation and to continue to let go of what I think I know…


Please help me set aside everything I think I know about myself, my disease, the 12 steps, and especially You; So I may have an open mind and a new experience about myself, my disease, the 12 steps and especially You.

(Drawn from instructions in the Big Book, p.46-48)

I look forward to hearing your experience, strength and hope on setting aside what you think you know in recovery.



Aug 04: Step 8

Step 8

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Hello GROW, I’m an alcoholic named Kirsten. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service this week. Welcome newcomers!

Step 8 asks us to do two things:

Make a list and cultivate the willingness to make amends.

When I found AA, I already knew how to make lists. Lists of ideas, projects, tasks—tasks from previous lists that were still undone.

And although I could think of plenty of people who had had harmed me, I was pretty sure I hadn’t harmed anyone.

So, why would I make that list?

Fortunately, we work the Steps in the order given. By the time I got to Step 8 I could think of a few things I had done that I wished I hadn’t.

I was finally ready to recall people and behaviors that I had intentionally forgotten—because I didn’t want to think of myself as unkind, or thoughtless, or cruel. Step 4 showed me that I could be all of those things. Surprise!

In order to complete Step 8 we’re asked to cultivate willingness.

Using the humility I learned in Step 7, I found the willingness to write the list.

Step 8 introduced me to a new recovery skill, making amends, which I would practice imperfectly. Thereby creating one more opportunity to practice humility.

Step 8 taught me that I could admit to the hurt I caused others and prepare for the work of Step 9—admitting to other human beings that I was far from perfect.

I’m looking forward to hearing about your relationship with Step 8, the Program concepts involved, or anything you would like to get current on this week.


Jul 28: Surrender


“I am learning to let go and let God, to have a mind that is open and a heart that is willing to receive God’s grace in all my affairs; in this way I can experience the peace and freedom that come as a result of surrender. It has been proven that an act of surrender, originating in desperation and defeat, can grow into an ongoing act of faith, and that faith means freedom and victory”. (Daily reflections July 21)

Growing up there were lots of aunts and uncles in our family. The uncles would love to tease us kids and tickle us. We called it tickle torture. And we would have to cry “uncle” for them to stop.  Crying “uncle” was an act of surrender.  Surrendering is defeat but what relief to yell out “uncle”. Too bad I didn’t carry that lesson to adulthood. Lol.

As I grew up I became very self reliant.  Mostly as a defense mechanism.  I had to.  Then I became haughty and arrogant and decided to show my family that I could do life on my own. I decided as a young girl that I would never be like my mother – dependent on a man.  I closed my heart to people and to God. I put myself through college and graduate school.  In a short time I was making more money then my parents did together. Whatever I wanted I got—I earned — by myself.

The problem came much later with alcohol.  I believe that I have always had an alcoholic mind. But my drinking didn’t really get into full swing until my late 20’s. It brought such relief to my anxiety and anger and angst. It was magic. I was hooked. Then it became poison. Then it didn’t work. And then I could NOT stop.  I tried to stop over and over ON MY OWN.  Surely I was not an alcoholic—I did not live under a bridge. I had a good job, marriage, house, cars.  I was a community leader. I DID NOT want to surrender to the idea (or truth) that I was an alcoholic.  My counselor said “if you drink again maybe you should try AA”.  NOPE!! So I stopped. Two and a half long months of sheer hell for me and everyone around me.  I needed a drink sooooo bad. I was irritable, discontented, depressed, anxious, angry and a #@&%!

Out of desperation, I went to AA online for help and they suggested I go to a meeting. NO WAY!  I’ll never forgot what the guy emailed me. He said it was my choice to drink but if I drank again I would loose those 2.5 months and I would have to start over. That got my goat!  He pointed me to an online women’s meeting similar to Grow. There I got a sponsor and started going to face to face meetings and started working the steps.  As I started to surrender to the fact that I couldn’t get sober or stay sober on my own I began to slowly feel some relief.

Today it’s easier for me to surrender. Sometimes it still takes my sponsor to say “now Karrie…..”

I love how it says in the reading….”It has been proven that an act of surrender, originating in desperation and defeat, can grow into an ongoing act of faith, and that faith means freedom and victory”. (Daily reflections July 21)

Today I have freedom from alcohol.  My life has changed. I have changed.  I AM A MIRACLE!

I’m so so grateful to have sobriety!!

Thank you for listening.

Kind regards,


11.13.13 dos

Jul 21: Attitude


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

 This paragraph hits home for me any day of the week and makes me chuckle.  For example, the past two months I’ve been quite anxious about an upcoming family vacation – 12 days with the parents/sister-in-law, which hasn’t occurred since my pre-sober days.  Before sobriety and AA helped me to change my life, alcohol was my ‘friend’ during these types of visits.  When the going got tough (i.e., things not going my way, family pushing my buttons as they are wont to do), I could ‘depend on’ my buddy booze to numb me up for a few hours each day. Of course, in reality going this route had a terribly negative impact on relationships and always made me feel worse.

 My approach of dealing with the anxiety is different today, thanks to this program and tools such as Hazelden.  While the same feelings of resentments and anger do come up, I choose to respond differently.  I am able to quickly recognize that I cannot control others, only myself.  I keep my expectations and self-centeredness in check.  My God is here to support me if I am willing to slow down long enough to pause and listen, followed by doing the next right behavior.  While the 12 days of vacation will likely have a few self-induced bumps, today I have faith that I will find my way to enjoyment, in spite of my stubborn defects!  As always, I will take it one day (or if needed one moment) at a time.

I would very much like to hear how you prepare for upcoming events that bring up anxiety well in advance, perhaps with people that tend to ‘push your buttons’. 

 Thank you for being here!

Susan P. 

DOS 02/02/2015

Jul 14: A Vision For You

A Vision For You 

“….We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what
you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you—until then.”
From Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 4th edition, from the chapter A Vision For You, page 164
This passage from the Big Book has been coming up again and again for me recently. Every time I am met with unrest, unwillingness, negative emotions, everywhere I look in my spiritual toolkit I am led back to this. Whenever I get lost and unsure of what to do, I can easily find direction from these words, purpose, clarity. A beautiful reminder to bring me back down to earth and back to AA. Keep coming back!
Being a part of Alcoholics Anonymous, being able to share openly and honestly with you, my fellow women in recovery, as well as the God of my understanding is so immeasurably healing. Continuously taking the stairway of the steps through life in both good and bad times has reached me on such a deeper level, grown me up so much as a human being and woman.
I am coming up on 9 years of sobriety September 1. For roughly eight years of that time I was in do it yourself recovery. Just me, God, the big book and my also diy recovering boyfriend. I didn’t work the steps other than maybe 1-3, and that was strictly the alcohol and drugs, everything else I was not surrendering. I stayed sober/dry solely by the grace of God but I was extremely lacking in emotional sobriety and that led to a bottom where I was depressed and suicidal and having using dreams like consistently every night. It was enough to bring me into the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, get a sponsor, work the steps and be willing to sponsor women… and for this girl, the miracle is real, beyond description and this program truly has saved my life.
How does this passage impact you when you read it? I find it just so amazingly succinct in addressing our condition and showing us always, one day at a time, how you find hope, how you make beauty from ashes.

Jul 07: Step 7

Step 7

The following comes from the last paragraph of Step 7 in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

“The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude which permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God. The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility. It is really saying to us that we now ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.”

Now I am going to share with you an excerpt on my share for Step 6 as it describes my spiritual experience that prepared me for Step 7:

“My most recent Step work was the very first time I feel like I finally understood the meaning of Defects Of Character as it applies to me spiritually.  Anything that my EGO craves or thrives on is a defect and that ties directly into the “isms”, which is connected to Stinking Thinking, Me Me Me, Poor Me, My Way or no way, I deserve this or that for what he/she/them/it/life did to me, what’s the point when no body else follows the rules…etc..

I became aware that it’s the part of me that wants to hang onto justified anger or resentment; the part of me who wants to be the Director and when my expectations aren’t met then all the other glaring defects come oozing out to the surface like an infection ready to jump start my disease into an emotional or psychological relapse, which always sends me straight to that slippery slope that I have zero desire to slide down again.  I have burn marks on my soul from the many slides down that slope…….

I immediately became willing to let go of all the defects of character that I am aware of and those that will sprout up and be revealed.  That true spiritual willingness was really a beautiful and peaceful feeling.  This is where I must go to any lengths to Live The Spiritual Life or I will lose my sobriety.”

Step 7 came directly after this realization.  Asking HP to remove my shortcomings this time around was purely spiritual and truly beautiful.  I could feel all resistance melt away.  I was able to trust my whole being to my HP to remove every defect that stands in the way of doing HP”s Will.  It was easy and peaceful.  I did feel that serenity the BB, 12×12 and Fellowship speak about.

I became more than willing to go to any lengths to do whatever HP guided me to do with every shortcoming. Most of the time, it’s choosing a spiritual action over what the ego wants to do.  I feel that because of my history with sobriety and relapse, Step 7 has to be a permanent part of my every day sober life.

I was sober 3 months before I got a sponsor and started working The Steps.  I was miserable, hopeless, despairing and darkness surrounded my soul.  Putting the plug in the jug was not enough.  My sober life is so much better than it was even at 3 months sober because I am living the AA way of life.  This only came about because I got a sponsor and worked The Steps.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

Heather B

Jun 30: Recovery in Your Life

Recovery in Your Life

Today is special for me because it has been exactly 23 years since I had my last (hopefully) drink. It boggles my mind, as I was a daily drinker for three decades, and I had never tried to stop because I knew I couldn’t. I went to my first AA meeting in 1987 (32 years ago). Obviously, it didn’t take. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to quit drinking. I just wanted my husband at the time to get off my back. 

I had known I was an alcoholic for a very long time, but I didn’t care. I had to find my own personal bottom to become willing to do what was suggested. My bottom wasn’t as low as some, but it was low enough for me. I could no longer be that woman. I believe my Higher Power showed me what I had become in the middle of a drunk. I was angry, even violent, and completely delusional. I was broken and hopeless by the time I got back to AA in 1996. But by then, I had the gift of desperation. It was a gift, for that’s what it took for me to take the program seriously. 

I am one of the slow types of alcoholics. I stayed broken and miserable for several years after I stopped drinking. I did the steps, and it helped. But I was still broken. It took a long time for what I was taught to get from my hard head to my heart. I had to learn everything from personal experience before I believed it. I had to do the steps again – and again. Every time I did them, I got better. My life got better. And one day, I realized that some of the 9th Step promises had come true for me. Hope found its way into my heart. 

Those first years, I worked this program like my life depended on it. And it did. Recovery was the main focus of my life. I read the Big Book, went to meetings, participated in this group, and did both formal and informal service work. I ate, slept, and breathed recovery. Not because I wanted to, but because I had no options left but this one. I either stayed in AA and recovery this time, or I died. It didn’t matter if I believed. It didn’t matter if I had hope. It was all there was left for me. Thank God there was this one thing left. It saved my life. It gave me a life I’d never had before. 

Today, recovery is not the all-consuming focus of my life, but it is still my first priority. I learned the hard way that when I don’t work the program, I become nothing but a dry drunk with all the old behaviors. Today, I can’t tolerate that misery for very long. I know what serenity feels like, so I continue to work the program every day. 

So, what I’d like to hear from you this week – no matter how long it’s been since you’ve had a drink – is what recovery means to you personally and what its role is in your life today. Of course, please share whatever you need to share with us. 

Thank you for letting me share,


Jun 23: The Need to Change

The Need to Change

The need to change Laura came to me through my HP, my AA program, newcomers, and long-time AA members.

Once I experienced the relief and blessing of not having to take a drink when I was happy, sad, glad, angry, upset, etc., the ‘need’ to change became a ‘want’ instead.  As the saying goes, AA is not for this who ‘need’ it but for those who ‘want’ it and I wanted desperately what you had.  I couldn’t change everything all at once, but by learning and working through the Steps with my sponsor and listening to those who came before me, I realized that I had to change many things about myself if I were to remain sober.

Thankfully, I learned that ours is a lifetime program and that there is no graduation date because it will take more than a lifetime to change/remove some of my character defects.

What have I needed to change?  Many, many, many aspects of my character; i.e. I had to admit that I needed help from others instead of being too stubborn to ask for it or to even admit that I needed help.  I needed to forgive myself and others.  I needed to be honest in all my affairs.  I needed to accept myself for who I am and am still working on loving the person I am.  A former sponsor of mine told me that every time I looked it the mirror, I was to say, “I love you” which would help me to change my opinion of myself (this one, I’m also still working on from time to time).

The first thing I needed to do was to get help to stop drinking and my HP provided exactly what I needed.  In sobriety, I have been able to build and maintain friendships and leave my drinking buddies behind.  I needed to make time to listen and help others by giving away what was so freely given to me.  I needed to become more health-conscious about what I put into my body and how I take care of it; i.e. quit smoking.  I have had to follow instructions and advice given by healthcare professionals instead of dismissing them without even trying their suggestions (contempt prior to investigation?).  I have become aware of and grateful for the many, many blessings I have received in my life.I would not change the last 30 years of my life in sobriety for anything.  I have slowed down quite a bit due to age and health reasons but due to the Grace of God and you people, I am sober today.  The compulsion to drink was removed as soon as I became serious about getting sober.  I have regained my self-confidence and self-esteem, and have learned a lot about what makes me tick, found my Higher Power whom I call God, joined online AA groups, became a sponsor to a few, and found my niche in the AA way of life.

What changes have you been able to make so far in sobriety?  How do you feel about these changes?  Please feel free to share on this topic or on anything that may be troubling you.  I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Laura G.

Jun 16: Meditation and Prayer

Meditation and Prayer

Hi again I am Sarah and I am definitely alcoholic. I’m grateful to be sharing this week with a group of women that understand my issues and disease inside and out. Welcome to the new women, I hope you stay and find this group useful.

I read a few daily meditations for this Sunday and in trying to pick one I decided to share generally instead of sharing just one (not AA approved literature) I have felt a little overwhelmed lately by trying to do and be everything for everyone (not as much as I used to thank god). I stopped and thought about the meditations I did when I was going through harder times and realized I need to have this discipline again. Even a 5 min breathing exercise helps change my world so significantly so I know in the 12×12 there is a good description of how we are supposed to do this but I wanted to hear from you (busy) women what you do daily as a form of meditation and prayer 🙂 the meeting is now open 🥰🥰🥰🏝 have a wonderful week ! And thank you everyone for showing up for your sobriety !


Jun 09: A New Outlook on Life

A New Outlook on Life

This comes from the last paragraph of the personal story: “A Ward From The Probate Court.”

“I have a new outlook on life. I look forward to each day with happiness because the real enjoyment it is to me to be sane, sober, and respectable. I was existing really from one drink until the next, with no perception about circumstances, conditions, or even nature’s elements. My acquaintance with God-lost and forgotten when I was a young man-is renewed. God is all-loving and all-forgiving. The memories of my past are being dimmed by the life I now aspire to.”

I was reminded in a meeting last evening of how I merely existed before coming to the program.

This program offers me a design for living that truly works.

This paragraph sums up what it’s like for me today.

I have such gratitude to live a life that I’m proud of. Some circumstances are the same as when I came in. Same husband. Same job. Same kid (well a second one came in sobriety.) Same family. Same stuff…

But my perceptions have changed. The relationships have changed. I have changed. Today I can say with all my heart that I truly am a sane, sober and respectful (respectable) person. I owe this all to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Please feel free to share on whatever you might have gotten from this topic.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

Julie K

Jun 02: Step 6

Step 6

“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting about page 75. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions which we call the the ’12 and 12.’ My reference today is the 12 and 12.

Step 6 continues the focus of our recovery from perfection to progress. Step One, our stopping the use of alcohol, is the only Step we need to get perfect.

At Step 6 progress towards perfection is in full swing. From the outside, adhering to Step One would seem to be the hardest step to take. It is then amusing how strong our resistance is to Step 6. The only loophole in Step 6 is that we be ‘entirely ready’ rather than achieving perfection first time out. It requires daily progress and commits us to a lifetime of attention to our character defects. We may have a rather magical interpretation of Step 6 at first. I got excited at the thought of having my character defects taken away with no effort on my part. WOW. Doesn’t work that way!

I am going to repeat myself, but I continue to be so in awe of our founders who knew us so well. Step 6 from the reference I’m using is fun to read, as difficult as the ideas presented there are. We are busted! They knew how we would think when we first heard this Step. It is important to see that we must be willing. That is all that is asked of us. We know that our Higher Power lifted our obsession to drink. Surely our Higher Power will help us here too.

It has always been my belief that alcoholics are smart, good people. We are not bad, but sick. But Step 6 addresses the fact we abandoned all good sense when we drank. We rationalized our misdeeds away. If the phrase ‘art of the deal’ wasn’t already coined, we would have taken credit for it. We wanted to negotiate away the underlying real causes of our actions. But they were really ‘character defects.’ We got upset at our sponsors, at our Higher Power, and at AA when we heard those words. I did–didn’t you?

Our Higher Power gave us our basic instincts for self-preservation. It is our misuse of them that gets us into trouble. There is no such thing as 25% perfection, a little perfection, occasional perfection. That just isn’t the deal. Nothing by half measures we hear. Our Higher Power created alcohol. He did not intend for us to destroy ourselves. None of us has perfect readiness either. That is a relief, I’d say.

Flipping through my playbook of character defects, there are many I can recall. ‘I don’t see why I can’t take a few of those really great gel pens from work–I work hard and they don’t pay me enough.’ ‘I only slept with him once and his wife didn’t know.’ ‘Sure I gossiped, but I didn’t tell ‘that’ many people. ‘My thesis was only 2 days late–give me a break: it’s a graduate program!’ ‘He was making a problem for the neighborhood: I am going out there and set him straight. I’m a good neighbor.’ ‘I don’t get it. How could just one new outfit affect our credit rating?’ ‘I acknowledged my Higher Power. I don’t want to become some sort of fanatic. He knows what I’m thinking anyway, doesn’t He?’ ‘Yeah, I cursed her out. She cut me off. I’m going to get in front of her and slow down.’

We seem to strive, in our human way, for only enough perfection to get us by. We draw up a list of ‘milder defects’ to show our sponsor which we hope will relieve the pressure of this Step. We want to continue to enjoy our character defects. On the face of that, it is really comical to say that we enjoy our character defects–but we do! We don’t want to give them up. I am sure you could edit my paragraph of defects to a point where they could be considered mild. While it is another addition, overeating brings home to me the best negotiations: my plan is not to eat sweets. But, this cookie has all natural ingredients and I am ‘only’ going to eat one. Sugar is natural after all. How bad could it be?

We only need to start work on our character defects, even if our feet slip from time to time. And for the perfectionists among us (me?), we will lose our way from time to time. That is why it is progress toward perfection. Our Higher Power has promised us forgiveness…if only we ask for it. And at the bottom of it all, Never say Never. Just keep on keeping on.

Thank you for letting me share. Enjoy this first month of Summer 2019.

hgz, b. dos 9/21/83

May 26: Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

I’m Sophie, an alcoholic. I’m grateful to A.A. and all I’ve found here, I’m learning more and more to put into practice our program so I can enjoy life and manage in tricky times without having to resort to alcohol or any mind altering substance.
I’ve noticed over the recent weeks and months lots of new ladies here seeking sobriety and trying out A.A. here online in Grow before potentially going along to face to face (f2) meetings – welcome! I hope you’re still here and reading, even if not able to share to the group yet!
My first meeting was a f2f meeting. For the first time in my life I felt understood. And the miracle was these were complete strangers who within minutes I felt they knew me better than my own family.
I was told “we’re not here to see through you, but to see you through”.
I came to know that special feeling of unity in A.A. meetings – of having survived the horrors of active alcoholism and the drinking life.
I have seen that it’s really true that alcohol is the great leveller, and that the equality that exists here amongst members is priceless.
I don’t have to dress a certain way, pray a certain way, eat certain foods, give my credit card details or even tell you my name to be accepted in A.A.
There are many qualities, or character assets, or behaviour that I see here in aa that I strive to have more of in my life – compassion, understanding, patience, forgiveness, unconditional love.
I’ve found meetings (online & f2f) are full of friends I haven’t met yet. I can’t possibly like everyone but I can learn from everyone.
I wasn’t full of confidence when I first started going to A.A. meetings but I’m glad I persevered especially in finding local ones that worked for me.
My whole recovery is online at the moment – I have two little children at home, and I live in a semi-rural area with good meetings few and far. It’s a big change for me but I’ve kept sobriety at number one priority and have women A.A. friends I talk to on the phone and meet up with. As my old sponsor says, do what works for me.
I’ve found true unconditional love here in these rooms, f2f and online. The warmth and the welcome, the women wanting to help by sharing their own experiences or stories.
Sponsorship has been an extension of this unconditional love too for me.
In the same way I’m encouraged to find meetings that work for me I’ve been encouraged to find a sponsor who I feel heard and loved by. It’s been my experience that I’ve needed loving direction rather than brow beating or a kick in the pants.
I love finding and getting to know women I connect with and when that relationship can grow into sponsor-sponsored-sponsee I’ve found for me it’s a way to really get deep with this program and the spiritual tools and self discovery.
For me a sponsor has always been a woman in A.A. who is more experienced in the program than me, who I can talk (or write) to, (I’ve had one or two I’ve been scared of and couldn’t meet their expectations so they just weren’t for me) and who I can see living the program and who I’m inspired by.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for being part of my sobriety journey, and for celebrating last Friday my 19th A.A. birthday. Special times and I wish I could share cake and candles with all of you in person!!
Please join in the meeting if you’d like, on the topic of unconditional love, how you may have found this through sponsorship or meetings or some other way, or on any of the other qualities that you may be learning to practice through our 12 steps, or share on what you need to.

May 19: Cunning, Baffling, Powerful

Cunning, Baffling, Powerful

Hi, I’m Laurie and I’m an alcoholic. Still. Not cured. Even after a lot of years sober. 
I am 59, (not lonely), divorced for many years and do not even date, I have trouble picking. I am attracted to control freaks, (practicing) alcoholics, married men, and abusive guys. I am also immature in my thinking about relationships so I stay away from dating. 
In the Big Book they talk about a sober guy eating a sandwich and (even after some time sober) he puts aside his knowledge of his disease and decides that he can take some whiskey if he mixes it with a glass of milk. I believe he either went back to the asylum or died. 
This week I had a real bad thought. At work, (I am a table games shift manager in a casino aka “pit boss”) I was just getting to the pit. On Wednesday and Thursday, the boss I relieve is the absolute sexiest and best looking man in my town. And he is really young, about 30. We were watching the guys at the bar, our coworkers who had just gotten off work and were having a cocktail. (You are allowed to do that where I work). Mr. Sexy says this to me: “we need to take Laurie out and get her off the wagon.” I could barely breathe. For the next 8 hours I entertained thoughts of hanging out and drinking with this awesome guy. 
But later, I prayed. And the thought seemed childish and foolish after awhile. But the fact I even considered it was alarming. So I broke down my reasoning:
1) he is really sexy
2) he is the ex of another coworker I don’t like very much (un dealt with resentment maybe?)
3) Maybe I have been isolating too much
4) I really need to work on trusting people and making more appropriate friendships. 
5) Maybe I need to step up my meeting attendance.
6) working my new hours of 1:00 am to 9:30 am has totally fried my brain (tool: H.A.L.T, do not get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. 
7) I should talk about this to another alcoholic
I will address the resentment of my female coworker, the ex of Mr. Sexy. 
I am resentful of S. She is younger and prettier than me. She may be sleeping with a way high up boss. Every man in town wants her. 
(Jealousy, envy, fear)
What is the fear behind my resentment? That she will say bad things behind my back while sleeping with the higher up boss, that she is trying to get me fired. 
Breaking down the fear even further: I am really scared of losing my job. That fear has consumed me and I should be living one day at a time. And trusting God. Praying for my customers and coworkers. Praying about my job. Our disease of alcoholism is potentially mind-warping. Even after a period of sobriety. I still get drunk dreams from time to time as well. Facing and discussing our new resentments as they crop up is a great program tool. 
I am grateful that I am very busy this week moving to a bigger apartment. Lots of tasks. Keeping me busy instead of in my crazy head. 
Have a great week ladies of G.R.O.W.! 
Love and hugs,
Laurie B.
Mesquite, NV
DOS 12/9/07

May 12: Freedom


Today I am free of the monkey on my back – – -the demon rum!!!!  I am free of the guilt, shame and anger that once ruled my life.
I can’t say it any better than it is said on page 553:
“This great experience that released me from the bondage of hatred and replaced it with love is really just another affirmation of the truth I know:   I get everything I need in Alcoholics Anonymous – — -everything I need I get – – –and when I get what I need I invariably find that it was just what I wanted all the time.”
Yesterday’s threats can’t touch me today.  What is true in the now is that those old feelings, perceptions and boundaries are no longer relevant! Today, they are false in the sense that I have outgrown their power!  Fear is slavery.  Overcoming fear is freedom!  Resentments block me from God.  I would become insane, drink and die if I continued to hold on to resentments!  I can no longer afford to let the people on my “resentment list” live rent-free in my head.
I made a decision (Step Three) to let God direct my thinking.   If I allow “others” to direct my thinking, God can’t, and it’s just that simple.   My sponsor had me check out the stupidity behind resentment.  This was finally done with a THOROUGH 4th Step, wherein I was forced to put out of mind the wrongs others had done and check out what I did to set in motion trains of circumstances which in turn caused people to hurt me, which eventually led to my resentment of them for doing so!!!
Before realizing I had created practically every situation – – -when I went back far enough in this Step — -I would replay my “resentment machine” – – – -much like the replay cameras in football – –which led to my “get-even machine”.  My mind never stopped!  Today I am grateful that I realize that it was all a big waste of time!
Today, I turn to page 552 and pray for the person, institution, or principle that I resent.  I do this, as suggested, every day for two weeks.   It has never failed me.  I have found that prayer and hate can’t exist on the same plane.  Love will eventually replace resentment.  Joe and Charlie reminded me that praying for the SOB doesn’t necessarily mean we approve of their action.
Anger comes from a threat to one of the basic instincts of life.  It’s how I choose to react to that threat which determines whether I’m angry or not.  I begin to get a handle on anger.
One thing I have found (and have mentioned before) is that I can’t speed up my recovery, but I sure can slow it down!!!  I “slow it down” by not living the principles (Steps) of this program in all my affairs!
 My sponsor used to say to me:  “A thorough Fourth Step will ruin your ability to hold resentments.”
I attribute my freedom today to the working of the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and then going on to learn how to use them in all my affairs! Before doing this, there was no hope of achieving this freedom!!!!
I look forward to your participation on your experiences with Freedom.
Thanks for listening (hopefully) to my long-winded share on freedom!
Murphys, CA

May 05: Step 5

Step 5

“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6, starting on p. 72. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
When I was growing up, I hated cleaning my room. My mom once said, “How could you not have seen that?” She had just watched me step right on a sock on the floor, next to the pile of clothes on my chair that spilled onto the floor. “How can you live like this?” she asked. Of course I got punished, but that didn’t change my behavior. I continued to “live like this” until I got sober and started working the steps. This came to mind when I began to think about Step 5, our topic for the first week of the fifth month.
Looking back at that behavior, I see the parallels with my drinking. Just like that sock, I simply could not see, or chose not to see, what I was doing to myself and others. The consequences of drinking were certainly more dire than leaving a dirty sock on the floor, but alcohol only deepened my denial (Don’t Even Notice I ALying — to myself, first of all). Maybe that’s why it has taken me quite a while, and repeated Steps 4 and 5 many times, in order to really come clean.
Step 5 continues to help keep me honest, open and willing. For me, there’s no possibility of being completely honest if I’m only talking to myself. Step 5 is where I began to learn that opening up to another person was the key to being released from my own prison full of secrets. And for me, there’s no possibility of staying sober if I’m not honest, open and willing. It’s not the threat of punishment that keeps me sober — it’s the loving presence of my higher power, my own self-acceptance and close relationships with trusted AA friends that give me the courage, strength and wisdom to admit my mistakes, make sincere amends and have a chance at living a happy, joyous and free life.
I may still find an occasional dirty sock, but it’s easier to see if I’m in the habit of keeping the place clean to begin with!
I look forward to your shares on Step 5 or on whatever else might be going on with you now. Thanks for letting me share (and chair!).

Apr 28: HOW


There are a lot of acronyms in the program of AA. One that has been significant to me is HOW. HOW— Honest, Open, and Willing. When I was drinking, I was dishonest, closed to suggestions, and unwilling to make changes in my life. I thought everyone else was the problem—they caused me to drink. The whole idea of being honest scared me to the core. I was afraid if people found out who I was they wouldn’t like me. When I heard that HOW was a way to live I didn’t think I could do it. It was daunting. My sponsor suggested that I pray to become willing– willing to be open and willing to be honest. That’s what I did. That was and still is a scary prayer…”God help me be willing to work these steps, willing to take suggestions, willing to humble myself, willing to be vulnerable. I would love to hear your thoughts on honesty, openness and willingness.
Thanks for letting me chair.

Kind regards,

Apr 21: More Will Be Revealed

More Will Be Revealed

“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.” (page 164, Alcoholics Anonymous)

My name is Nydia and I am an alcoholic. I am grateful I can be of service this week as the topic leader, thank you Grow.

More is revealed – slowly – in God’s time not mine. Every time I see those words in A Vision for You, I am reminded: be teachable Nydia. The Universe or Life continues to unfold. If I am teachable, then I can be open to the wonder of it.

In sobriety I am discovering more about myself, my family, who are my friends, what I like, what I am passionate about, where I feel safe and where I need to step out of my comfort zone. I am learning how I can be of service and a friend among friends.

I am also learning, to say “I don’t know”, recognise when I am lost and be open to seeing something from another point of view. It is a leap of faith: at times scary, at times fun and always adventurous.

What has been revealed to you?

Apr 14: Let Go…Let God

Let Go…Let God

Thank you all for being here everyday.  I look forward to reading your shares.  What a gift to be reminded I’m not alone!
My whole life I’ve struggled with control0 and still do…control of people, places and things as well as myself.  Funny I couldn’t control my drinking!  Lol
I see now by manipulating the plan my HP has in place only causes me and others harm.  By not allowing others to make choices for themselves robs them of valuable coping skills.  Being a first time (sober) grandma I share my experience only when asked!!  Ha…I’ve grown.
Today, because of the program, I can let go.  It was exhausting to have to be God all those years!  Please share on your experience with letting go or anything that may be on your mind.
In love and service,

Apr 07: There Are No Coincidences

There Are No Coincidences

Hello, my name is Allison M and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic.

How many times do we hear in sobriety that there are no coincidences? I’ve heard them called God shots. I have also heard that coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.

In my drinking days, I had lots of grandiose plans and zero energy to set any of them in motion. I drifted along in life like a twig in a river. When something went well for me, I happily took credit for my hard work – it never occurred to me that a Power was setting events in motion that even I couldn’t mess up.

With a bit of time sober and the clarity it gives me, I now know that my HP is always at work, way ahead of me, with a wonderful plan that will unfold if I don’t fight it or second-guess. I often can’t see until later that a series of random happenings has culminated in just what I needed, like being introduced to the person who brought me to my first meeting (we were shopping in a consignment store with mutual friends), or holding the door for a stranger who shows up as a newcomer at a meeting that evening.

I remind myself often that I can only see my little corner of the puzzle while my HP has a birds-eye view. What appears to me to be a setback or a hardship may actually be putting me in the path of someone or something that becomes a significant turning point in my life better than anything I could think up on my own.

What “coincidences” have helped your recovery or brought you an unexpected blessing? Please share your experiences about There Are No Coincidences, or whatever is affecting your sobriety today. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Mar 31: Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

“A little humour is good for the soul-regardless of how old you may be”. Or how long you have been sober.

I know sometimes I forget to have fun. I m so busy following the steps, the traditions , all my mantras I have learned before I joined A.A. and certainly all I have learned since I took my last drink. March 30, 2013….
My sponsor has heard it called the 13th step…No I am not adding to the steps.
In the 12 and 12 it refers to having a sense of humour. I don’t have a copy here in the USA, where I live for 5 months…. I have 3 copies back in CA…
I’m sure someone will tell me where it is….whoops don’t forget I’m an alcoholic I would prefer you suggest, where I can find.  I always found that funny that alcoholics don’t like to be told what to do. My brother never suggested I go to A.A…he told me and said he would be phoning me to make sure I was attending meetings……he scared me to death…. but when I went to that meeting I heard what I needed to do, and did what I was told to do….
A month later when I asked my dear sponsor to be my sponsor she said I had to phone her everyday…I said you’ve got to be kidding! She gave me permission to phone her. I always felt I was bothering people…I now know that if I was disciplined enough to phone her everyday, I took the program seriously and if I ever ran into trouble I would be in the habit of phoning her.
I know I speak for myself but I have heard hundreds of shares at f2f mtgs, in GROW meetings and in the B.B. I love it when I laugh.. it is funny now how I use to hide my drinking, how I worked so hard at controlling my  drinking thinking people didn’t know..
How I had to go to different liquor stores so the clerks wouldn’t know I had a “drinking problem”….I was an active alcoholic, of course I did all that.
When I was in the problem later in my life.. I always said I am not the smartest apple on the tree. My granddaughter said” But grandma at least you are on the tree”…..I had alcoholic behaviour long before I was an active alcoholic…
Anyways Tuesday was my real day to drink because the grandchildren had no activities so I would start cooking (I never liked cooking and was not good)… anyways I would start drinking and cooking. Don’t laugh you all know how that ended up..
I would look in the fridge in the morning to see what I cooked, was it burnt? I certainly couldn’t remember if I had eaten it or not. I was too embarrassed to ask my Grandkids or husband how dinner went….
When my sponsor suggested if I wanted to learn to cook I should take cooking classes! I informed her I didn’t want to learn how to cook…..
Getting back to meetings I hear how people hid alcohol in the trunks of their cars, filling up bottles with water so it looked like bottles were full…filling up bottles with vodka…I wish I could remember more “funny” stories….
Wow it took a lot of energy to hide my alcohol and hide my drinking…
 I was a member months before I took my last drink….that is funny… but not really because I know people come to meetings still drinking. They are in the right place. “As long as they have the desire to stop drinking” they can attend meetings…
I love the sign on the wall. “WE ARE NOT A GLUM LOT”
I look forward to hearing how you have learned not to take yourself so seriously. Thank you my dear GROW friends who have played a very important role in my life to help me stay sober…..GAIL

Mar 24: Dealing With Loss

Dealing With Loss

Hi beautiful GROWING women. My name is Alison B. and I am an alcoholic. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes this past week!

I had an interesting experience this morning. It is not exactly how I chose to begin my day. It went something like this. My home group is “Chicks with Chips”, and we have a Step Study on Thursday evening. Last Thursday I noticed I did not have my 12×12 Step Study book in my car in its usual spot when I arrived at my meeting. No big deal. I made a mental note to look for it when I got home. I forgot all about it until this morning. I recalled meeting my Sponsor a week ago to go over my Step 1. I had taken my books and notepad into the restaurant when I met with her. I was pretty sure I must have forgotten the bag of books at the restaurant. No big deal. I simply called the restaurant. Well, they did not have my bag of books.

Here is where things began to accelerate for me…….I began an earnest search of the house. Mostly my office, as that is where I would have left it. I checked my car twice. I began to get anxious. I simply could not find them anywhere. My former sponsor gave me that Step Study book 26 years ago. And my Big Book was almost as old. I had so many tidbits of wisdom from the women of AA in that little step book. I began to cry. I had lost so much wisdom. I went out to the shop to cry on my husband’s shoulder. He was sympathetic. He helped me look again.

We checked the car together, we looked in closets together. My tears subsided. I sat down at my desk and began to look for the silver lining. I realized I was beginning the 12 Steps again, in part to celebrate my 26 years of sobriety, but also because I felt a bit complacent with my program. As I had lost my books, I figured my Higher Power must want me to begin with new books. Why else would I have lost them? I grieved for my lost memory a bit too. Not just the ones I had written in the book, but my 63 year old mind just does not remember stuff like it used too. This has become a bit of a problem for me. Oh, I can still find my way home, lol, but I struggle with small stuff now on a regular basis. (Post-its have become my external brain. That and the “Notes” App in my phone!) I realized that I was grieving as much for my mostly short term memory loss as I was for the loss of my special AA books. At this point I paused.

I let go. I let go of the books and my sadness, and all of it. I chose to trust that God had the perfect plan for me. I would simply go purchase new books on Monday. That’s when it happened. My husband walks into my office for a second time. He reaches over beside me. And right there on the shelf were my books! (By now I was pretty sure that I must have been a little too attached.) I was also sure that God was right there with me the whole time. I had not had an occasion to cry like that in a long time. In fact, it has been a few years since I had felt such loss and the sadness that goes along with it. It was cathartic for me. It was all perfect. It was all part of a divine plan for me. Once again I am restored to sanity. I am grounded. I have a much better contact with my Higher Power right now than I did when I got up this morning.

I am losing my short term memory, ever so slowly. It is the natural course of this aging process. God has a plan for me. It will all work out perfectly. I have less vested in the outcome of my plans today. That is that. Tomorrow I will begin Step 2. If truth be told, I began Step 2 this morning. Lol In conclusion, it turns out I cannot ever “lose” the wisdom that I have acquired from years of Step Study meetings with AA women. It is apparently a part of my tapestry. There is magic in working the 12 Steps!


Alison B.

Mar 17: Fear and Courage

Fear and Courage

Welcome to this week’s meeting and congratulations to every awesome lady celebrating another day of sobriety.

Since joining AA I have learned a lot about how fear has driven so many of the bad decisions and behaviors I’ve made since my teen years – which is when my troubles started. In spite of growing up in a relatively happy home with two awesome parents in a lovely neighborhood in southern California, I had no confidence to cope with life’s challenges that hit during those years of puberty. In hindsight, I think I felt afraid most of the time, and unlike my siblings I didn’t manage this well.

My coping mechanisms were all destructive: I began with a few personal bad habits, then began to overeat to soothe myself which only compounded my anxieties and self-image as I grew larger. High school was a disaster, I sabotaged all prior success in school by hanging out with the bad kids, started taking drugs and drinking. By my early 20’s, I didn’t think much of myself and succumbed to having sex with any man that was interested. I could write a book about the awful things I did between the ages of 16 and 24, suffice it to say life wasn’t pretty.

I ‘cleaned up my act’ to some degree by the time I was in my late twenties, but until recently I did not understand the powerful emotion of fear and the impacts it has on me. When a fear comes up in my mind, I’m often too pre-occupied or busy to even notice, the master at burying that which I don’t want to deal with because it’s painful. Then my unhealthy ‘go to’ coping remedies take over (drinking, overeating, trying to control others, etc.). This has been a very destructive pattern for most of my life causing harm in all of my relationships and many bad decisions that are based in fear. The fear that people won’t like me, that conflict will come up if I say what I need to say, or do what I need to do, fear that others might not approve.

Thanks to the 12 steps, I don’t care any longer where this character defect stems from, I am just grateful now that I recognize it and have the tools to address it. This has made a huge difference in how I think and subsequently behave. Once I recognize and face a fear, I eventually muster up the courage to give it to God, which often times helps me to take action if needed. I might still feel afraid temporarily, but having the courage to move through the situation like a responsible adult brings a marvelous improvement in the quality of my life!

I look forward to hearing how each of you handles fear and experience courage to move through it.

Gratefully, Susan

Mar 10: Relationships in Recovery

Relationships in Recovery

Hello GROW!

It’s March in the desert and that means visitors. Next week one of the people coming down to enjoy the weather will be my dad.

I have not lived in my hometown for almost 25 years. For most of that time I spent vacations visiting my dad. And I resented it. I resented the fact that my dad had never come to visit me. I felt hurt by his lack of interest in spending time with me. When I got sober, I saw that I had a lot of expectations: in short, I wanted my dad to become the dad I wanted him to be.

Over time, I have stepped back. Today I only call when I am feeling spiritually centered. I try to accept him as he is. Most importantly, I am learning to approve of myself, instead of waiting for him to approve of me.

And last year my dad came to visit me for the first time.

I have time boundaries around our interactions and bring my HP along to help me release my expectations.I have learned to say “You could be right,” instead of arguing. Today, I use my interactions with Dad to focus on what is important to me: practicing tolerance and limit setting.

How have your relationships changed as you’ve changed in sobriety? What are some of the tools you use to adjust yourself to “what is”f?

Looking forward to hearing you share on this topic or whatever is going on in your Program this week. Thanks for allowing me to be of service!



Mar 03: We admitted we were alcoholic and our lives had become unmanageable

We admitted we were alcoholic and our lives had become unmanageable

As always -I love looking up definitions. When I walked into AA, I came in with two kids, a marriage, a good job, I was and still am self employed. I hadn’t lost anything other than my self respect, my health, and my sanity. My daily mantra was ” Is this all there is” It took 6 months of therapy, after I stopped drinking to get me to see how unmanageable my life truly was. I am listing the synonyms below to help you identify with the word.

Synonyms of unmanageable
froward, headstrong, incontrollable, intractable, recalcitrant, refractory, uncontrollable, ungovernable, unruly, untoward, wayward, willful (or wilful)

Words related to unmanageable
bullheaded, contrary, difficult, hardheaded, incorrigible, intransigent, mulish, obdurate, obstinate, opinionated,perverse, pigheaded, self-willed, stiff, stiff-necked, stubborn, undisciplined, unpunished, uncontrolled, wild, boisterous, irrepressible, rambunctious, rowdy, disobedient, indocile, insubordinate, rebellious, misbehaving, naughty

(hmm now I thought those were mostly fun) Much to my chagrin, I still enjoy being boisterous, wild, rowdy and uncontrolled… well they say it’s progress. So I am also listing the replacements for unmanageability. These are the words I am working on including into my life, today.

Near Antonyms of unmanageable
docile, obedient, well-behaved, compliant, placable, pliable, submissive, yielding, accepting, persuadable, receptive, responsive, willing, reasonable, temperate, trainable

By replacing the former with the latter, I am learning that I can have the life I have always wanted. Which words resonate with you, and which ones are you working at replacing in your life? As always, If theres something you need to share, please do.

Thanks for the opportunity to be of service.


Feb 24: Online AA

Online AA

My name is Nancy C and I am a very grateful alcoholic. It is an honor for me to Chair the GROW Meeting this week. It was February 17, 1997 that I first found online AA and my gratitude is eternal.

I sent a message to join the online group then got drunk and sent another message with just HELP in the Subject line. When I got up the next morning, there were messages from so many dear sober ladies telling me their stories and encouraging me to join them in sober living.

At first, I thought that this was my answer, not going to meetings in my town but instead doing my sober journey online. There were many ladies who pointed out that I needed to get to face-to-face meetings so people could look me in the eye and give me real hugs. It took me 2 weeks but I finally attended my first meeting on a Sunday morning and another one that night. Attended 90 meetings in 90 days and this gave me a great start on my sober journey. Met so many wonderful, helpful people who have been an important part of my life the past 22 years.

I still stayed in the online group and joined GROW when it started and found it so helpful to have a meeting and sharing available 24/7. On sleepless nights, I would get online and straighten out my stinking thinking! For four years, I was so fortunate to meet face-to-face many members of the online group at a retreat in Georgia. Awesome memories from those gatherings.

I had a sponsor here in my town who helped me immensely and had an online sponsor who I became very close to and would visit each year for my AA Birthday. She sadly passed away 2 1/2 years ago, just 5 weeks after my husband of 51 years suddenly passed away.

I have always had a very special connection to online AA and was privileged to volunteer at the OIAA (Online Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous)Hospitality Suite at the 70th International AA Conference in Toronto ON Canada in 2005. It was fun to introduce my local AA friends to my online friends!

Both face-to-face AA and online AA mean the world to me but online will always have a special place in my heart. I would love to hear from you women this week what your experiences with online AA have been or whatever you need to share about with the group.

Thank you for the opportunity to Chair this week,

Nancy C

Feb 17: God Could and Would If He Were Sought

God Could and Would If He Were Sought


It has been said that there are no atheists in foxholes. As so many of us know, we sought a foxhole for refuge from alcoholism. It brought us to our knees to ask for help from a Higher Power, even if we didn’t have or understand one. And we were given the help we sought whether or not it seemed we deserved it. When we cleared up, of course, many of us began to question the existence of a Higher Power. Isn’t that just like us!

Having sought a foxhole from raging emotions recently, I found myself unable to identify a way out. While the wonderful women of GROW reached out to me, I was stuck in hurt, fear and hopelessness. My sponsor, a very spiritual woman, immediately noticed I was not seeking my Higher Power. She has a joyful spirituality, even after a lot of pain in her life and does not lack for a sense of humor. We even got to a point of her asking if I had been ‘sought-ing’ today (if He were sought…you got it). She also pointed out that after please should come thank you.

My relationship with a Higher Power has been touch and go throughout the years. Blame it on upbringing, blame it on me. However, in these last 2 years, we seem to have become much closer. I am starting to experience a tangible feel of His presence. Of course, it is I who is moving closer to Him. I doubt He ever moved. It seems always to take a lot to get my attention. I can only say that I hope that my attentiveness grows. Then it may not take such prolonged painful events to get me to turn to the God of my understanding.

There is a particular point in this suggestion from the Big Book. In order to receive help, we must keep an open dialog with our Higher Power. For me, there has been a lot of magical thinking around a Higher Power. For example, I thought, He will just know what I want–I don’t have to ask. The only action I have to take is to ask. And it is not my place to be guiding our Higher Power on how to get the job done! Someone wryly commented that If you insist on what you want, you may lose what you need. That is worthy of thought. AA is a simple program for complicated people.

I only have to say Please Help. I have received blessings and answers to my prayers with so little effort. While our prayers most often are on behalf of others, there is a time that I must declare my powerlessness and humility and go directly to my Higher Power for help for myself. He never disappoints! Oh sure, I may not be given what I think should get, but I always get what I need. From time to time I look at what I received when I prayed and see how spot-on the answer was. So often it turns out not to be what I thought I needed. This really is How It Works.


Feb 10: Life On Life’s Terms

Life On Life’s Terms

We hear the phrase, :”Life on life’s terms” often in our Program. I look at it this way: Every day life is handed to me as my Higher Power directs it to be. I often say to my sponsees: “Life happens — -It’s how I respond to it that is important”!

I also describe it this way: “BORN HERE – – -TIC, TIC, TIC, TIC, TIC, TIC, TIC, TIC, TIC, AND DIE HERE”! I can’t go back one tic or go forward one time. I am in THIS TIC – – -right here, right now! Nowwwwwwwwwwwwww, that tic is over!!! I often look down at my feet to remind myself where I am: “Ohhhh — -Here I am!”

I find each tic is a choice! Today I feel I have the responsibility to not only carry the message but also to carry it on in a positive manner! Imagine it the entire world felt this way – – -there would be no wars!

It’s an privilege to present our topic for the week. I look forward on your take on this subject,

Susanne Murphys, CA 8/17/91

Feb 03: Gifts of Sobriety

Gifts of Sobriety

Hello to all in this fantastic group and thank you for helping to keep us connected in sober cyber space.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts of sobriety as I approach my 7 year anniversary on Monday this week.

Partly this is because the further away from the beginning I stay sober, it can be easy to take things for granted and lose gratitude which has been me recently.

Over winter, I’ve been in the doldrums. In the summer last year I got myself into a fantastic routine of getting up early before the rest of my family, and my work and starting the day with silence prayers, meditation and yoga. I was motoring along great feeling a little complacent and smug perhaps thinking this would last for ever…

But further into a busy academic year, I overdid the yoga, and in a fit of resentment towards someone who was messing around at the gym not using the machines ( didn’t she know I had a busy job , kids to feed at home, me me me stuff) when I rushed and injured my shoulder. My impatience and self importance rearing it’s ugly head.

Roll on December and busy busy work as a musician and teacher whilst still in severe pain I got a nasty chest infection very physically and mentally run down . Upshot was by January ,3 months in, and a stone heavier, I was swerving way way off routine and feeling pretty sorry for myself. (I have a tendency to over do it and pay for it later!!)

Needless to say although I think I know my programme ,and usually think I know when I’m off balance, it’s incredibly easy to veer off in the wrong direction. Thankfully in late Jan early Feb I’m slowly slowly finding my way back to health and mental sobriety but it’s taken a while.

The important reminder for me is that in the dark days of “poor me ” I completely lost sight of ” but you’re still sober” and any gratitude to the tools I’ve been given.

Now I’m back to a daily morning and evening routine and recording my gratitude. And it’s so true that gratitude changes attitude. But I’m trying to remember my perfection- ism and say easy does it and what I can fit in is good enough.

So this essentially is a long way round to saying I’m really keen to recalibrate and reflect on the gifts of sobriety which I’d somehow forgotten having overdone it big time.

What are the immediate gifts of sobriety that spring to mind? Here are mine.

The biggest is peace of mind – losing the daily angst, self flagellation and hatred, and knowing if that inner dialogue starts I’m off kilter and need to re-set.

Another gift is self awareness around my “isms”. Perfectionism and being impatient with myself and others still loom large but generally I have a strategy and if I don’t I have a front row set of friends who can tell me.

I love that old pleasures and interests have returned. The things I loved before the drinking years. A renewed interest in theatre and my music. I’ve now joined a stunning choir here in Oxford UK, which just brings me huge amounts of joy.

I love reading and I’m back to enjoying historical novels. All these things were lost to me in the years of drink. I couldn’t sit through a play if I’d had a drink without being restless irritable and discontent and I used to read and re read chapters in books as I’d not be focussed and forget what I’d read the night before. I’d decided all my drinking friends who were musicians just made it worse and I had so many drunken nights with them I’d kind of lost connection to music.

New pastimes also have been gifts – namely Mindfulness and Pilates/ yoga . A different gift of desperation – a rock bottom of a different type in 2014 opened me up to the huge benefits of these practices to keep in my sobriety tool kit.

Enjoying what is is another big gift- simple things such as smelling the grass as the seasons change, just being attuned and alert to the world around me. Not having smoked so many cigarettes or drunk so many wines it didn’t make any difference weather it was October or February.

Another gift is a better – generally lol – way of dealing with being acutely sensitive, having a quick temper and and needing now to reflect not react. Mostly!!!

Twice this week someone has said something to me where I’ve felt hurt and instantly stung. But that all too quick surge of rising anger in my stomach was replaced by pause, hand it over, detach, ” it’s not about you” , writing it out – which I’ve discovered helps loads- and getting the adult part of my head to talk down the fearful child reactive bit.

The gift of 24 hours helps me daily. Being able to start again the next or even same day better again having not dealt with things well. Reflecting re- sizing and re addressing things and being in better mental shape to be around others – be it my children, my students or family, friends in and out of the fellowship.

omeone once told me another brilliant gift from A.A. is you can bring your children up with the twelve steps. It’s a way of living for everyone in the family. As loving and kind as my own parents were and still are I don’t think they or I knew many strategies for dealing with life and other people when things go ” not according to plan”. I’m so aware that I can help me and my kids ( one of whom has all the isms that I do) cope better.

I’m also aware how fortunate I am that my kids can’t remember me as a drunk mum.

There’s so much else I could say about gifts I have received in this last seven years, amazing women I’ve met in the fellowship, and so so much more, but genuinely I’m really keen to hear from others in this amazing group –

What had sobriety given you in terms of gifts? and which things still trip you up or do you need reminding of?

My blessings to all of you for a wonderful 24 hours and thank you for all your wonderful guidance as part of my sobriety tool kit.


Jan 20: Words to Live By

Words to Live By

For our topic today I am using a reading from A Day at a Time, Words to Live By – A Hazelden meditation book.

“Have I ever stopped to think that the impulse to “blow off steam” and say something unkind or even vicious will, if followed through, hurt me far more seriously than the person to whom the insult is directed? I must try constantly to quiet my mind before I act with impatience or hostility for my mind can be-in a very real way-an enemy as great as any I’ve ever known. Will I look before I leap, think before I speak-and try to avoid self-will to the greatest extent possible?”

When I first got sober and had my profound spiritual experience, I did everything more slowly. I thought over every comment, every word, before they left my mouth. I even meditated on what God’s will would be for each and every action. As years went by I became more accustomed to this way of thinking and acting as it had became 2nd nature (this was told to me by my sponsor because I was worried I did not process the same as in the beginning).

I seem now to have lost some of this ability. It may due to long term sobriety and my complacency with it, I am not sure. I am not as bad as I was during my using days but would like to have that God consciousness again. I want to slow down more, think about what I am going to say more and stop being as judgemental as I have become. I have acted more impatiently on occasions of losing my temper or becoming frustrated. This has truly bothered me and I am embarrassed over these incidents. I have a new sponsor and hope our work together will put me back into my God conscious state of mind.

Please share if you have had any issues with this or about anything you need to talk about today.

Hugs, Lynn H. DOS 9/30/96

Jan 13: Step One

Step One

It is January, and many women have already shared on Step One. However, in our October business meeting, we considered dedicating one week of each month to the corresponding step. We will discuss this again in April. I’d love to hear what you think about dedicating one meeting each month to the corresponding step.

It’s January, so Step One is on the table. I never doubted that I was an alcoholic. I was compulsively drawn to anything that took my feelings away long before I ever tasted alcohol. When I finally did have my first drink, I got drunk. I loved it. It made me sociable and sexy. I was able to talk to people. I could dance better. I could play pool (between the second and third drink). I never had one or two drinks. I always got drunk. That was the goal. So, when I got to AA, my powerlessness over mind-altering substances was not an issue.

The unmanageability of my life was. For a very long time, I was high-functioning despite my dependence on booze, pot, pills, food. I didn’t miss work. It was my punishment for getting so drunk the night before. I got promotions and raises. My friends were all partiers, too, so no one noticed how much I drank. For many years, I was able to fake it through life. Never mind two failed marriages, childlessness, aimlessness. I somehow made it look okay. That went on for over 30 years before it all began to catch up with me.

I’d already tried AA once – to get my husband off my back. I wasn’t sincere. I still wanted to drink, and I did. I went to meetings every day for three years, and I drank every day, too. I pretended to be part of AA, but I had unspoken contempt for people who could do what I could not. After three years of this, I got to treatment and managed 15 months without a drink (although I cheated with Nyquil). When I relapsed, I swore I’d never go back to AA. Little did I know my drinking would bring me back.

A five-year relapse brought me to my knees. My life got very unmanageable. The promotions, awards, and raises had long since ended. I didn’t party with others anymore. I drank alone in front of the TV. I had to check the bath towels to know if I’d bathed the night before and check the kitchen sick to know if I’d eaten. I drank and drove often. Thank God I never killed anyone. I couldn’t go more than one day without drinking. I used to joke that if I could make it a week, I could make years. That turned out to be true.

Finally, I married a man I’d never had a date with who didn’t speak much English. He wanted a green card and my money. He got both. I was delusional. I was doing my part to help the Third World. When asked why I married him, I told them I didn’t have anything better to do at the time. That’s how much I valued myself. After three months of pretend marriage and a couple of attempts on his life, God showed me what I had become – a foul-mouthed fire-breathing, hateful, raging drunk woman. I couldn’t be that woman anymore. It was time to go back to AA.

I was terrified I’d go through another three years of meetings and drinking. I was broken and hopeless. I didn’t believe AA would work for me, but I’d run out of options. It was all that was left. So, I went, and I listened, and I cried. This time, I wasn’t pretending. I was desperate. I wanted what you had but had no hope of getting it. Even so, I did what people suggested. Why not? Nothing I’d done on my own had helped. I was finally willing to do Step One with all my heart.

That was over 22 years ago. I didn’t have to go through that feared three years. When I left my first meeting, the compulsion to drink was gone. The obsession was not, but I finally had a choice. I was one of the “slowly” variety. It took years for me to feel some hope. I cried regularly in meetings for at least the first two years. It took a year to get the Peruvian out of my house and life. Everything was a struggle. In my first year, I lost my beloved cat, and then I lost my best friend to breast cancer. But I didn’t drink.

It wasn’t easy. But it was simple. AA gave me the Steps and a sponsor to help me work them. My sponsor ‘tricked’ me into service positions, so I began to feel like a part of AA. The online community, you women, kept me sober even when I wasn’t sane. I got to meet some of you personally, a true blessing of the program. The program gave me written instructions in the Big Book and many people who had been there to show me the way. I think I was maybe five years sober when I realized the promises were coming true even for me.

I can have it all again. All I have to do is pick up a drink. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be able to stop again. That’s what I think of whenever I think about having “just one” drink. I never had just one. I am sure I would die an alcoholic death. But what I am more afraid of is living an alcoholic life. So, every time I think of picking up, I do Step One all over again. I play the tape all the way through. I know where it ends. No need to experiment or do more research.

I invite you to share your story with us this week. What brought you to AA? What keeps you here?

Thank you for letting me share, danna

Jan 06: From Page 62 of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous

From Page 62 of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous

“This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.”

Hi! I’m Julie and still an alcoholic. I was reminded of this bit in another meeting and wanted to make it the topic and share in this meeting.

“Most good ideas are simple.” Oh, how I love that line. The simplicity of this program is such a beautiful thing. Simple but not easy.

For the longest time, I played God. I thought I was in charge of my life. I had to run the show. I couldn’t ask for help. Even though I had a little bit of religious education but lacked trust and faith.

I felt let down again and again by my parents. I watched them try to do it all and act like martyrs in the process. I guess that’s what was ingrained in me.

Do it yourself. You won’t be able to do it perfectly. So quit trying. Maybe just moan and complain. Don’t ask for help. Repeat and repeat.

It’s so awesome to have come to believe in a power greater than myself. I am no longer alone. I have faith in my God. I trust my God. It was a simple suggestion from my sponsor to ask for help in the morning and say thank you at night.

Overtime I grew in my recovery and spiritually. I came to believe. I passed that arch and it’s been such an amazing journey.

Sobriety has given me so much (and taken away as much, thank God.)

Following the how and the why of it… I’m grateful. I’ll keep coming back.

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

Julie K, 5/17/12