February 4: Step Two

Topic for the week: Step 2

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

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

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

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

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

Came to believe that a power greater than us could restore us to sanity.

I’m Sophie and an alcoholic.

What was your first experience of the Second Step? And what do you do today to keep the Second Step alive in your sobriety and in your life? Have you got a favourite reading that helps you with Step Two?

In 2013 in Auckland New Zealand I took part in an AA Women’s retreat where we participated in workshops over a weekend that took us through the 12 steps. It was an entirely new way for me to go through the steps as previously I had only gone through them with a sponsor, and then as a sponsor to others, or by reading and hearing sharing on them in a regular AA meeting.

At the workshops I saw many things about the program in new and inspiring ways. I learned I could meditate by reading one word of a phrase or in this case a step and allowing a few moments to pause and allow each word to sink in slowly. When I do this with Step Two I am reminded of Came….. Came to….. Came to believe… and how this was very much my journey into Step Two. I came along to AA meetings, slowly I “came to”, I began to wake up from the alcoholic fog and blindness and I came to believe. I came to believe that perhaps AA might work for me too, that perhaps I didn’t just have a bit of a problem and need to stop alcohol for a few months, that I was actually bodily and mentally different, I came to believe that there was something at work in AA meetings that I needed and didn’t find anywhere else in my life, that something spiritual happened when a Group of Drunks met or when one alcoholic talks (or writes!) to another. Slowly I began to have more spiritual awakenings and came to believe in a power greater than. I met that power in nature, in the voices and stories of others like me, in reading AA literature.

I began being sponsored in earnest at 5 months sober. That sponsor saved my life by guiding me through the AA literature and bringing it to life with her example. I learned that I was insane as far as the first drink was concerned. I may have had and still can have other kinds of insanity in other areas of my life but here in Step Two it was about me recognising and accepting and allowing that God could restore my sanity around alcohol so I was no longer seeking alcohol as an answer to how to do life.

Today I have been practicing that part of the AA Just for Today card, the part where it says to study something. I have read something new or revisited something from AA literature each day for the past month. It feels as if part of my brain is like a sponge but one that just needs a little moisture each day, something to direct my thoughts away from negative or self centred spiralling and outwards towards god’s will for me and towards others. I have been reading the AA book “Language of the Heart”, just a page or essay/chapter and also the AA book “Came To Believe”. I don’t think I have the answers, I just know I want to keep learning and growing in my sobriety and in life. Both of these books are filled with reflections and light bulb moments from a variety of alcoholics writing for our international magazine The Grapevine. I am in awe of the fact that in this tiny slim book “Came To Believe” there are 75 different stories about alcoholics’ spiritual experiences. I am filled up each time I read a page.

Step Two for me is the opening of something incredible. I can’t necessarily see it or put a flag in it but it’s there, that thing which I turn to. Every day I thank God for AA and thank AA for God. I thank God for being restored to sanity around the first drink and being able to be sober today and live a life beyond my dreams.

Please come back and share with us on Step Two or anything pertaining to your sobriety. All are welcome! If you’re new or shy please feel welcome to simply say hello to the meeting and identify as an alcoholic here in this safe space.

In love and service

Sophie F, Somerset UK

January 28: There is a Solution

Topic for the week: There is a Solution……

Solution

  • an action or process of solving a problem
  • an answer to a problem : EXPLANATION
  • specifically : a set of values of the variables that satisfies an equation
  • a bringing or coming to an end or into a state of discontinuity

“There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet. We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.
Pg 25 BB

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was wonderful to find out that there was an actual solution to the insanity that I had been living in my entire life. My mind, even before I found relief in drinking, was always “on me”. I was like I was literally being “thought at ” My mind started lying to me disguised as me, from the get go. I didn’t know there was a difference. I thought these were my thoughts-I thought I was those thoughts. I thought you were those thoughts. But in reality it was the noise of the dis-ease that even today, wants me dead but will settle for me drunk.

I’ve heard it said that we also have a thinking problem-in fact, if you have been here a while and the obsession to drink has been removed, then I suggest going through the book again and replacing the word drinking with thinking-it’s eye opening. That’s why when the alcohol gets removed and we are sober, we must continue to grow and strengthen our spiritual connection. More so now, then back then.

My ego wants to tell me that because I have some sober “time” that I’m good. I don’t really need to pray today-I prayed yesterday. I don’t really need to read that meeting, I read something yesterday. I don’t really need to correspond with my sponsee, or ask God where he needs me today-I asked yesterday.

I never got drunk on yesterday’s booze. I didn’t get fed on yesterday’s dinner. I made sure I put on makeup and checked in to let all my “friends” know how cute I look or how my family is doing. I may have even worked out. I never rested on yesterday’s feeding of body, feeding the disease or feeding the ego, so why do I think for one second that I can rest on yesterday’s solution to a disease that will kill me? .

Having an allergy to alcohol (abnormal reaction), is just like a peanut allergy. Except, the person with the allergy to peanuts does not continuously seek to ingest peanuts. He is consciously aware and sane enough to know what will happen if he eats them. I, on the other hand, will obsess about it, try to find loopholes, bargain, think it through and then go to great lengths to find ways to destroy myself and end my state of sobriety. I can be stone cold sober physically, but drunk on drama and unmanageability.

We as alcoholics have a 3 fold disease. This was VERY significant for me to absorb so I could fully embrace the entire solution. When I was new, I didn’t have the capacity to comprehend the magnitude of what I was up against, I just didn’t want to drink anymore. I honestly thought I would hit a few meetings, not drink, do this step stuff and live happily ever after. That’s fine, because I couldn’t have handled much else at the time, but if I stayed there, in AA kindergarten, then I would be dead.

Mind-Obsession, incessant thoughts about other people, replaying the past, reliving past senorios, rehearsing conversations, manipulation, scheming, lying-sober or not:

“I’m gonna say this, so they will do that”, 

“I need to get this because if I don’t have it then….” 

“what will they think if I get this car” 

“did they see me do that? OMG, what if I get fired! What will I do?”

“I wonder if he will be there, OMG, what if she is with him” 

“If they ask me to do….then how do I tell them no, I know, I will tell them I’m sick”

“Why aren’t my neighbors aren’t moving their car, I think I will tell them how it makes me feel” 

“I need to tell her this so maybe she will….” 

“Remember when you did that at that party…I’m disgusting, I hate myself-I hate everyone.” 

“I hope I see him so he sees what I look like now and wants me back” 

“That bitch thinks she can do that to me?!?”

I MEAN…how in the hell could God/truth/good/beauty/gratitude get in through all that noise??? It’s exhausting juggling all that! That frequency/channel allows nothing in but static nonsense! I need to change the channel! But how do you change something you think is completely normal?? I learned I could change the channel from hearing the ESH of honest, spirit filled, recovered alcoholics who had no problem sharing the dark reality of what I was living in daily. It was gross. It was heavy, and it is NOT normal. And then offering me a way out. Normalizing the abnormal kept me sick.

Body-When I ingest alcohol I want more. It’s like a switch is turned on. A normal drinker will start to feel the warm and fuzzy feelings, get a little tired and call it a night. NOT ME. I’m off to the races! I instantly want more. I will go to any lengths to recapture the first time my body recorded that feeling of ease and comfort and I want more. I do not process alcohol normally so I can’t drink it. I can never drink it. But I need to further my growth so I never again seek to fill myself with poison of any form for ease and comfort.

Spirit-My spirit suffers when it disconnects from me when I am on a spree. The disease can manifest in sex sprees, shopping sprees, fear sprees, food sprees, drama spress, thinking sprees, anger sprees, politics sprees, news sprees, emotionally charged social cause sprees -all symptoms of obsession to consume or get more of something because my spirit is malnourished and without purpose. I can so easily go to extremes-so the solution brings me back to center.

If one or all parts of self are out of balance, we suffer. We can always get back on track-no matter how far down the scale I have gone-again, sober or not. I don’t care if you have 100 years sober time- if you are suffering because of a wicked case of untreated alcoholism-please ask for help. We have all been there!! The solution is in having a new experience with the Steps that paves the way back to the source that nourishes us. The things we may be seeking relief in are temporary/temporal-God is infinite, merciful, sustainable, safe and stable.

Asking the group to share one of your favorite passages from chapter 2 “There is a Solution”  and your personal experience with the Solution.

I pray you are all well wherever you are!!

Hilarie

4.8.14

 

January 21: Finding a Power Greater than Myself

Topic for the week:

‘Most emphatically, we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.’

From Appendix 2, Spiritual Experience, p. 568 ed. 4

Due to some early life trauma that triggered my first drunk at age 11, I became both intolerant and belligerent about anything spiritual. Though not atheist, I was strongly agnostic and convinced it was impossible to prove God existed, so why bother with any of it? A loving God was out of the question. I stubbornly stuck to this through many years. I’m still not sure about a ‘loving’ God, but I became able to explore and accept spiritual concepts purely to save my sanity and my life. Finding a power greater than myself evolved with Creative Intelligence (p. 46) and electricity (p. 48). I haven’t really gone to religion, though I’ve studied several of them. But I have gained access to a Power greater than me (p. 50) that has brought about the miracle of my survival. I have fortunately had a few profound spiritual experiences. PLUS I can now say that I’m happy, joyous and free most of the time! The AA booklet, ‘Came To Believe’, has been very helpful in offering many different ways of approaching spiritual growth and fulfillment. I am mostly free of all the ‘bedevilments’ (p. 52), and can no longer state that there may be no meaning to any of existence – who am I to say . There is a Power greater than myself, certainly, and today I’m able to call that Great Reality ‘God’.

January 14: The good we do for others (and ourselves)

Topic for the week: The good we do for others (and ourselves)

Hi again, I’m Mari Ann and I’m still an alcoholic.

There are four of us at my home group who celebrate anniversaries in January and this year they all landed in the past week.  So we four, and our sponsors or a sponsee, went to dinner last night to celebrate the occasion for the first time together.

It turned out that the sponsor of one of the women was an old-timer known to most of us but whom we haven’t seen in years due to living in different towns some distance apart. I recognized Mary from a women-only conference where hundreds of sober women met for a day of workshops and where there was a sobriety countdown.  As each tier of time-sober women sat down, she was usually the last woman standing with a number of years sober that seemed impossible.

My own sponsor never attended those conferences and mentioned that she hadn’t seen Mary in 35 years – at least.

The group exchanged stories of experiences shared over the years, but the one that caused goosebumps to pop out all over me was when my sponsor reminded Mary that “You took me to treatment over 40 years ago.”

That simple acknowledgement of a single action that saved one more life took my breath away. How one woman, doing what was best for her own sobriety by doing service in bringing a teenage girl to treatment, had ultimately informed the lives of most of us sitting around the table.

Mary didn’t remember doing that particular good deed. Probably because over the course of her 49 years in the program she has done too many to recall.  Every time we share at a meeting, every time we give someone a ride, every time we do coffee, take a phone call, check on another person in the program we sprinkle the life-saving good in ways we can’t see, probably won’t remember, but do more good than we think possible.

I celebrated 36 years sober last Tuesday and every year believe more firmly that I am a conduit for this program. It passes through me to whomever needs it as long as I do my best to live it.

To borrow from the old Nike Ad “Just do it!” It saves others as well as ourselves.

Thanks for letting me lead this week.  Be assured whatever you choose to share will turn out to be needed by someone.

Mari Ann

January 7: Step One

Topic for the week: Step 1

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

*** Step 1 ***

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

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

I didn’t think I was powerless when I was drinking. I was in control and you weren’t like me. Then I found I’d feel like crying if I couldn’t drink. I am sure that is a normal thing, isnt it? Then I just felt I needed a drink, to get out the door (To get more drink)… Still couldn’t admit it was a problem…. I’d embarrass myself, in towns where no one knew me…. Still not a problem. I even embarrassed myself at my sisters 60th birthday in October 2018 ((She’s 65 now… That’s A positive hint))… Caus then they told me, I had a problem… And slowly slowly catchy this monkey, I finally caved and for the first time on day 2 of sobriety ((For the final time – I hope to HP) I learnt that first step and started to say it in public, to my sister and anyone else including myself who knew how to listen and what to hear…

It had a powerful spell on me and I couldn’t get out from under it. It took and took and left me with nothing but my virtual knobbly knees.

It was Jan 02, when I rang the facility. I was there for assessment on the third and I had a room on the 6th. I had my last hangover on the 01st of Jan and my last ever drink on the 05th Jan.

So on the 05 Jan 2024 – I will be 5 years sober. 5 years, since I realised the spell – and the only way to dismiss a spell, is to call it out. YES – I WAS powerless and YES – My life was unmanageable….

Not any more….. 🙂 True Story – LOL

So ladies, what’s your story? What or who whispered that you were stronger than that storm? How did you rise from your knees? Looking forward to hearing from you all xxxxx