Dec 31: Untreated Alcoholism

Untreated Alcoholism

The big book describes dry drunk syndrome and untreated alcoholism with the phrase “restless, irritable, and discontented”. Basically, if you happen to be a sober alcoholic, and find yourself constantly dissatisfied with life, you may be in the thick of untreated alcoholism. It’s obvious to spot untreated alcoholism — when the alcoholic is drinking. How do you spot it when the alcoholic is sober?

In our meetings, we often hear talk about stinking thinking, the insanity of the next drink, character defects, fear, resentments, the fear of relapse, the progressive nature of alcoholism, and how important it is for the alcoholic to stay physically sober.

One thing that I hear little talk about is the behavior and attitudes associated with untreated alcoholism and how it affects the alcoholic and the other people who must be around them. I work with many women who have been physically sober for years, some with double digit sobriety, yet their lives are still filled with turmoil, drama, conflict, unmanageability, glaring defects, more garbage piled onto old garbage that was never cleared, and most significantly I find that NONE of them have never sponsored another person…or if they have it was half asked.

These oldtimers will put on a great front. Happy hallmark meeting shares as they die inside. Or there are the ones that are jaded and unteachable-they hate everything and everyone, but know the big book front and back… using meetings as a place to spread their cheery disposition and have no problem humiliating a newcomer for share…If that’s sober…I don’t want it. I don’t care how much time they have. They would rather suffer and spread their suffering then seek help from someone new or be sponsored by somebody that has less time.

I could be sponsored right now by somebody with a month sober. God doesn’t care about time, why should I? What matters is the message and if they carry it effectively. There is no reason people should suffer having 25 years sober because they think there are above being taught by someone with less time.

We settle for being a dry drunk instead of being catapulted into the 4th dimension and being agents for God???…Why? Pride? Ego? Sloth? It’s starting to piss me off the more of these women come out of the woodwork. Like seriously, something is wrong with our fellowship when slogans and meetings overshadow the Solution. They are just as lost and sick as the newcomer we must start talking about this and what we can personally do each day to help shed light on what seem to be a epidemic in our fellowship. Chronic relapses because we as sponsors are lazy? I am going step up my game this next year. Period.

“They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story. More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it. The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees.” pg 73

So are you yourself suffering from a reconstructed ego produced by “time” and refusing to stay teachable?…or are you a product of 90 meetings in 90 days?…or a never worked the Steps but go to meetings everyday?…or worked Steps 1-3 and my sponsor told me to “take my time” (that message kills people btw) or worked them once 10 years ago and chooses to “carry the message” by sharing at meetings just to hear themselves talk?…or untreated altogether alcoholic?? Have you lived with one a untreated drunk?? Do you know anyone suffering in silence? Sponsored any of them?

We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of real help to other people

The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.

Below is something someone wrote about untreated alcoholism which I love. Private email me if you would like this dudes blog….also the “sign and symptoms of a dry drunk…
Love in the Sunlight of the Holy Spirit!

Untreated Alcoholism

The problem with only achieving physical sobriety is that we may never get any better.
Because sobriety doesn’t cure insanity, nor does it reduce selfishness. Sobriety doesn’t stop us from constantly whining and complaining, from thinking about ourselves 24/7. How ridiculous it is to get sober but remain mentally and spiritually warped beyond comprehension. In fact, if you’re gonna kick it and not really change, you might as well just keep drinking. At least you’d be making a small economic contribution.
Most addicts are actually more annoying when they’re sober yet untreated, if you can fathom that. We remain needy and obsessed with how we feel all of the time.
Oh no, what am I doing in life?! What am I gonna do today? What am I gonna do tomorrow?! Nobody knows what it’s like to be me. Me! Why do I feel this way? Poor me. Nobody has it this tough! The world owes me! I need a cigarette, I need this, I need that, I need to go to a meeting! I want cookies, I want ice cream, I want… wanh, wanh, wanh, wanh, wanh!
Yup. If all we do is remove the drugs and alcohol, we still act like drug addicts and alcoholics. But, hey, at least we’re sober! What a joke. Addicts and alcoholics can do as much, if not more damage to others by achieving physical sobriety but failing to actually get better.
Once sober, I literally have a volcano of work to do on myself. I must begin to extract the cauldron of poisons that have turned me into a pathologically selfish drug addict. I must extract the poisons of selfishness, self-seeking, dishonesty, fear, and countless others if I am to truly recover. I must take it upon myself to fundamentally change the person I was. I must change the way I act, react and respond. I must change the way I view suffering. I must change the way I approach others. I must change my attitude towards life, work, relationships and family. For sure, I must change from deep within.
Through right action, I begin to enlarge my spiritual life. I begin to accept that I shouldn’t be taking credit for every good thing that happens to me… and I shouldn’t be blaming something else for every bad thing. I begin to realize that the bad stuff is my own fault. It happens when I try to do things my way, when I exert my own selfish will. But the good stuff happens when I let go, when I step back a little and let something guide me that is much greater and more powerful.
Even if you’re an addict and you don’t believe that God is present in your life, maybe you should change your mind because it’s much better to have a humble attitude as opposed to attributing your recovery and success to you and you only.
Because it’s arrogant not to. Are we really that powerful? Are we really all-knowing? Do we really have it all figured out? Please. Look how small and insignificant we are compared to the entire Universe.

God, give me the courage, power and willingness to walk through discomfort, just like everybody else…

Dry Drunk Syndrome

Those individuals who give up alcohol but fail to do more work will often develop dry drunk syndrome. The symptoms of dry drunk syndrome include:

  • They are likely to have a low tolerance for stress – even the slightest incontinence can send them into a rage.
  • Such people will have few scruples about engaging in unethical behavior.
  • The dry drunk will tend to blame all their problems on other people. They will fail to take responsibility for their own bad decisions.
  • They continue to behave secretively and tell lies.
  • The individual is likely to suffer from loneliness and boredom. They may later use this as a justification to return back to their addiction.
  • They will tend to be full of self-pity. They view their time in recovery as being similar to serving a prison sentence.
  • They are likely to romance the drink This means that they spend a good deal of time thinking about all the good times they had while drinking – even though such good times are usually just in their imagination.
  • This individual tends to be overconfident in their ability to stay sober. They will deny that they need the help of anyone else.
  • Even though this individual is physically sober they are still caught in denial. They just can’t see that their behavior needs to change.
  • The dry drunk will usually suffer from terminal uniqueness. This means that they do not believe the normal rules apply to them, and this can put them in great danger.
  • Such people tend to be full of negativity and resentment. This makes them difficult to be around.

Dec 24: One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time

All this past week I have been thinking of what to use for a topic for this week’s meeting. . . I looked in Daily Reflections and other daily readers, but nothing “jumped out at me”. Then this morning, I saw my reminder on my phone to send in the topic, and the topic became more clear.

My home group, and many groups in Toronto, use the reading: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. This finishes with the line: “Let us therefore live but One Day at a Time”.

I have been anticipating chairing this week. Then yesterday I had a bad headache, didn’t even turn on my computer, and went to bed early. . . forgetting about sending in today’s topic. I firmly believe that my HP uses my body to bring something to my attention. . . that even something good and positive doesn’t need to be over-thought ahead of time .

I too often dwell on the past and all the negative aspects of it. For me, this only magnifies how bad something was. And I also tend to think of days, weeks and months to come, with the hopes, dreams, and dreads (of the past catching up with me, haha) of the future. None of this is productive to my recovery, or progress as a person.

I do not wand to “regret the past or shut the door on it”, but I do want to learn from it, not live in it.

I sometimes wish I could plan the future, but all I can really accomplish is to “do the next right thing”. Some things require preparation, but I cannot plan things out in detail.

All this is Progress, not Perfection.

How have you learned to take One Day at a Time?

In love,

Dec 17: Complacency


My name is Gail and I am an alcoholic. As I realized I had prayed for a few days I thought, wow. Where was I headed?

My spouse was being himself, I haven’t been to a meeting for over a week. God had answered so many of my prayers and other than saying the serenity prayer so I wouldn’t strangle my partner, I hadn’t prayed.

I do not forget I am an alcoholic. I was sick for a week. Left my Canada home to go to my winter home…so not able to get to a meeting.

Complacency is not good. But I caught it in time. I need my meetings and I need God there at my side to continue to be the Christian woman I strive to be on a daily basis.

Ah a sober one…..

What has happened in your life when you have been complacent with AA and God in the center of your life?


Dec 10: Step 12, Faith and Action

Step 12, Faith and Action

Having had a spiritual awakening as result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principals in all our affairs.

Hello GROW,

I recently left a job that was no longer right for me. And I’m not worried that I won’t be able to find another. In fact, I feel confident that I will be looked after: as long as I take action. That means slowly looking for more appropriate work. And turning over any fear that comes up. Faith allows me to act when the time is right.

I learned how to do this by working the steps!

A few weeks ago a member wrote that turning it over or letting go is the action part of faith.

In Step 12 I learn that as a result of a spiritual awakening I’m able to go out into the world and help others. I’m able to apply the principles to anything that comes up; not just drinking.

Sometimes the action is reaching out, sometimes the action is letting go. But faith is what keeps me from acting on fear. This week, I’d like to hear how you practice Step 12. What actions have you been able to take in sobriety thanks to your faith in a Higher Power?

Please feel free to share on this topic or on whatever is happening in your program this week.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

Dec 03: Have I Hit Bottom?

Have I Hit Bottom?

As a newcomer, my sponsor and I attended a 12&12 study where two old-timers would break down the 12 & 12 literature. I recall reading this paragraph with excitement! In active alcoholism, the Court ordered treatment with recommendations that included AA. At a meeting, I met an alcoholic who would buy beer from me two years prior, standing before me with 18 months sobriety. He pointed out that AA could never work for me unless I could answer yes to two questions: am I willing to go to any lengths for my sobriety; and am I entirely done drinking. The answer was no. He told me to go out and get done. So, when reading the 12 & 12 with my sponsor and 2 old-timers, this paragraph resonated with me:

“Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.’s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.’s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect– unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself. Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A., and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation. Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be. We stand ready to do anything which will lift the merciless obsession from us.” 12&12

None of this could work without hitting bottom.

Question: have you hit your bottom? Are you entirely done drinking and willing to go to any lengths for your sobriety? If so, what are you willing to do for your recovery?

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” HOW, Chapter 5

Please share your experience, strength and hope. If you are unsure about hitting bottom, please share this with us too. Perhaps, our ESH would help the suffering alcoholic in this online room. God bless!

My name is Nicole and I am an alcoholic. Thank you for paying a 12 step call on me.

Nov 26: Dealing With Ego

Dealing With Ego

Ego is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the opinion that you have about yourself; a part of the mind that senses and adapts to the real world”.

This is the content for Layout P TagOn the other hand, Merriam-Webster’s definition of Humility is: “The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; the quality or state of being humble”.

When I drank, I felt I was smarter than and superior to everyone else and I let them know it! I could solve your problems and just about everyone else’s until the hangover hit the next morning at which time my attitude changed to ‘inferior’ and ego-shattering (my self-esteem) and feelings of guilt, shame and remorse set in – how could I have said or done those things the night before? What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I have stopped drinking after 2 or 3 beers? How could I have been so stupid as to have gotten drunk yet one more time when I promised myself the last time that I would never do this again?

I think that it takes an act of true humility to realize and acknowledge that we have a problem with alcohol (or anything else for that matter). If I practice humility, it allows me to be honest with myself, recognize that I don’t know it all, admit that I need help, and acknowledge that there is a God and our trusted AA family and friends who can help. I didn’t come to AA because of something great and wonderful that I did – rather, I was a sick and sorry individual without any hope of living a meaningful, purposeful, happy life with or without alcohol.

My program teaches me that a big part of being humble is to respect others and offer to help them, especially when they cannot help me in return. It also teaches me to admit that I’ve made mistakes, own up to them, and make amends, if necessary. Instead of comparing myself to others, I can take a measure of my own progress by comparing the person I am today to the person I used to be, because no one’s “outsides” will ever match my “insides”. Repeated inventories and Twelfth-Step work are routine reminders that I must work at preserving my sobriety and keeping my ego in check.

I would like to hear your views on the ego and how you manage to keep it in check. This is your meeting and I would like to hear from all of you; if not this topic, then please share on anything that is bothering you today.

Hugs and best wishes for a great day.

Laura G.


Nov 19: Working the Program

Working the Program

Hi all. I learned a very important lesson in the last month so I thought I’d share. I have a few things I do consistently to work my program. I call/text my sponsor every day. I commit to 3 weekly F2F meetings. I do a daily meditation and post it to an AA Facebook page. And I do my daily readings on here.

About 3 week’s ago, I started getting complacent. I skipped some F2F meetings. I wasn’t consistent with my sponsor. I wasn’t reading my daily GROW emails. It didn’t take long before I landed myself in the hospital. I was only 1 step away from relapse. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have ended up in the hospital if I had been faithful to my program but I sure would’ve had a better chance. That incident showed me how important it really is to continue working my program to the best of my ability.

What are some things you do to consistently work your program? Thanks all! Have a great week!


Nov 12: Sharing the Miracles

Sharing the Miracles

There have been many little miracles have happened since I got sober. To someone else, they might have had no significance but, for me, the coming together of certain happenings in a way that struck me deeply, and brought great meaning and a sense of a Power who cared and was looking after me, has deepened the bond I have with my Higher Power.

I’m not going to give the dictionary definition of ‘miracle’. Suffice it to say there are many views on what constitutes one. It doesn’t have to be the breaking of natural laws (like rising from the dead or growing new legs after we lost them!).

I’m asking you to share anything you feel was miraculous to you.

Some things stand out for me. But really there have been countless times I’ve stood still and just thought.. . wow.

I’ll share two things that stand out. At a year sober, my friend and I took over the franchise on a leisure centre snack bar. One day we were in dire straits wondering how we would pay the Coca Cola man (this was a long time ago before health consciousness was that developed lol)… we owed him ?184.10.

Now, our little cafe was loved by the people but there was never a huge amount of customers coming through. That day, after handing it over, an unexpected busload of folk came in and guess how much our till showed at the end of the day… ?184.10 (this was 1983…)! We were dumbfounded and in awe. (My partner was newly sober too).

Another time, at many years sober, and struggling as a single parent to even put together the fuel costs, I drove my 13 year old to a fencing competition a few hours’ drive away. I’d packed a simple picnic lunch for us. Our car was an old banger. We got lost on the way, and after futile attempts to find darn Pontefract, even my son agreed we’d have to give up. Feeling a right failure, I began the journey home. Out of nowhere, a sign for Pontefract popped up. In a race against time, we arrived just as it was beginning.

To cut a long story short, our little banger sat among top of the range cars… Jags, Rolls, Mercedes . . it was a very posh private school the competition was being held in. But we were not deterred.. (my son loved his sport and was very talented). However, great feelings of despondency did come over me as we parked up, thinking of how little financially we had… (I’d walked away from a toxic marriage and a 6-bedroomed house with virtually nothing material to my name)

A few hours later, we left there, my son clutching this huge trophy! He’d come first!! Cars didn’t matter… financial status didn’t matter… my guy had the talent and money couldn’t buy that.

We had an amazing drive home.. we shared together, this boy of mine and me, of spiritual values, of it all being an inside job. (He would go on to get a 1st at university and a Masters after. But his greatest achievement to date has been the celebration of 2 years’ sobriety last week. He went on a few years after the fencing victory to discover alcohol)

Please share if you can anything that has left you feeling… wow.

If you can’t think of any (yet), feel free to share about anything related to alcoholism.

With love in fellowship

Nov 05: Let Go, Let God

Let Go, Let God

Hi guys! I’m Sarah, alcoholic. So grateful to be of service today and keep my head on solution and not trash ! Lol!

I have experienced some real miracles when I Let go and let god- and listen to that whisper inside my gut- not sure how I come to “let go” sometimes but it usually involves a very high level of pain ?. Today I can let go of custody stuff and my ex and current situations and really trust god – it’s an amazing relationship that I never anticipated and it’s very slowly grown over the years as I have began to trust my higher power. I’m still not sure what it is but it’s good and it’s the good in everyone – that’s how I see God. I am an impatient, imperfect alcoholic women and I get in there and screw things up but when I sit back and think– deep down I know what to do and that’s god for me- and today I know I can trust Him 100% even if it still feels like jumping off a ledge sometimes- can’t wait to hear your experience strength and hope – love you all thanks for keeping me sober today 🙂 oxoxoxox

Sarah K.

Oct 29: Contempt Prior to Investigation

Contempt Prior to Investigation

Hi! Thank you for allowing me to be of service this week. I’m so excited because this is my first time to Chair a GROW meeting! So here goes!

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance- that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” – Herbert Spencer – BB, Appendix II, Spiritual Experience

So, luckily I came into this program with an open mind towards spirituality. I was able to see God working fairly quickly in my life and others. I was able to surrender and keep surrendering. I have also experienced many who cannot come by spiritual experiences this easily.

This quote struck me in a different way as well. The contempt prior to investigation. I am a very quick judge of character. I am quick to come to conclusions and am very stubborn. All character defects that I can own up to today. When I look back, I realize how ignorant I willingly kept myself just because I had chosen to judge a situation first, rather than dig in to see the truth.

My dark and twisty thoughts usually come from holding contempt against someone or something. Whether it be a wrong done or a wish that never came true. But once I decide to investigate and reflect on said contempt, it usually turns out that there is nothing to be upset about.

Going back to the passage stated above, if you are having trouble accepting the Higher Power of this program or the spiritual experiences we talk about, just try to have an open mind. You don’t have to believe in my God. Just be willing to believe in something. Investigate and try it out before you cement your contempt in your mind. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in “everlasting ignorance” about anything!

I’m glad I didn’t have this contempt. But I do have it in others areas and needed this reminder to stay willing to see the other side before I make judgments.

Please share on this or anything that’s on your mind.

Sending hugs from Texas!

Amanda 8/3/2016

Oct 22: Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Before I came into the rooms, I thought I didn’t have much of an ego. When I butted into conversations or gave advice, I thought I was just doing my “Mama Bear” thing.

Once I started working with my sponsor, a whole new side of me came to light. She showed me how my Mama Bear-ism was nothing more than my big, fat ego raising its ugly, nosy head. I was shocked! Me? Self-centered? WHAAAA??! I truly had no idea.

At 2.5 years sober, I’ve developed a keen awareness of how unsolicited advice can often be seen as criticism. I must restrain always. However, I can ask, “Are you open for input?” This gives the person the right to grant me permission or to decline. If they agree to it, I go forth. If not, I repeat to myself, “Not my circus; not my monkeys.”

“Not my circus; not my monkeys” has made a profound difference in my life. It keeps me in my own lane. It tells me to ignore conversations and situations I have no business inviting myself into. It stops me from judging. Talk about freeing!!! Talk about serenity!!! Talk about peace!!!

I must admit, though, this newfound peace can feel uncomfortable at times. The lack of stimulating drama and not making everything about me has been quite an adjustment. I’m slowly getting used to a quieter and more present self, as are my family and friends. When they ask if something’s wrong or if I’m okay, I simply give them a smile and say that I’m just listening, which they seem to appreciate.

My efforts to send my Mama Bear back to wherever the h*## she came from are far from perfect, but I am making progress. I’ll keep doing so if I’m completely willing to mind my own circus, mind my own monkeys and no one else’s.

Thank you, my sobriety sisters, for letting me share and chair.

xoxoruth 4/13/15

Oct 15: Complacency


“Complacency can be defined as a feeling of contentment or self satisfaction (I’m cured now), especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble or controversy (drama). To say an individual is acting complacently means that they are taking things for granted. When we grow complacent, (usually begins with a cocky attitude of boredom), we aren’t doing what we need in order to grow and move forward. We stand still or move in reverse. That’s a dangerous place for me. When a member suggests I have grown complacent, I need to take measures to jump start working the Program in its entirety, daily, as it should be. Gratitude lists, working with others, doing the Steps. Reading the Big Book, reminds me that I have a disease. One that wants me dead but will settle for me drunk. I’m certain the awareness of becoming complacent does not escape me, it’s when I ignore it is when it is a danger.

Are you aware when you decide to stay sober on yesterdays work? What do you do to counteract this dilemma?

The floor is now open for discussion.

Oct 08: The Path – Surrendering

The Path – Surrendering

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.”

I have been thinking about this statement a lot lately. My sponsor recently sat with me and read the whole chapter. The thoroughly part often gets me. I’m pretty good at sitting on the fence. I’m also decent at regurgitating the “right” answer. But thoroughly…that’s hard. Thoroughly is about surrendering over and over. It’s about facing my secrets and facing my demons. Thoroughly is looking at me. No B.S. Today I walked a 1/2 marathon with two friends. The path was laid out for us. All we had to do was follow the path. There was support and aid along those 13.1 miles. BUT no one could walk the path for me. It was up to me to march forward. To complete the course. I did it. It wasn’t exactly pretty. And neither is my life journey. But I want what the old timers have. I am willing more then ever to press on. So it’s about surrendering my will and staying on course–on the beam.

The meeting is now open
Thanks for listening.

Oct 01: Looking for Similarities

Looking for Similarities

Hi! My name is Julie and I’m a grateful alcoholic. Thank you for allowing me to be of service this week.

When I first came into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was overwhelmed with how much I could relate to the people that I heard speak in my face-to-face meetings.

In the first few weeks, though, I started to focus on the differences. I think I was in denial that I truly was an alcoholic.

My sponsor and many people in the rooms after the meetings would encourage me to look for the similarities.

It was a challenge to push myself, but I’m so glad that I did it.

Looking at our similarities has allowed me to be more patient, tolerant, loving and kind not only to my family but to people out in the world.

I say I’m grateful to be an alcoholic because I finally have a program, a design for a living, that truly helps me live my best life.

I feel we are all brothers and sisters walking on this planet. It has taken me a long time to come to this point. But today I believe that looking at each other and looking at our similarities, it allows me to be a kinder and gentler person. It also reminds me of the insanity that I existed in before getting sober.

No, I never had a dui, I didn’t go to jail. I didn’t lose my job or my family. But I lost myself to this disease. And should I decide one day that maybe I’m not alcoholic, these are things that could happen. I have a healthy fear of that happening!

I hope that this topic resonates in some way. I wanted to share this topic specifically because I’m happy to have many new ladies join our group this week.

If you think you have a problem with alcohol, you’re in the right place. There is a lot of great sobriety in this group. I encourage you to try and stay open to growing, learning, and changing. It’s amazing what following some suggestions and looking at the similarities has done for me in my life in such a short amount of time.

Please share on this or anything that’s on your mind.

Julie K

Sep 16: Surrender


I was especially touched lately by the introduction of some of our new members. They describe the confusion, desperation and fear I felt before finally asking for help. I thought I was doing the things in life that would make me happy and make me feel fulfilled. But I was not happy or fulfilled. I was lonely, scared, angry and full of pride. I had prayed for a couple of years for help with the drink problem. The answer was always the same, AA. I knew nothing about AA, but I was NOT going there and saying out loud that I was alcoholic. There was also fear of giving up alcohol, it had been the solution at one time, it took away the fear, the low self-esteem, made me more outgoing socially and I felt part of when at happy hours and parties.

But happy hours and parties were long gone. I was sitting at home alone drinking myself drunk every night and starting early in the morning on week-ends and holidays. So, I finally surrendered and went to an AA meeting. I will celebrate 28 years in a few days and I am utterly amazed and grateful for the life I have today.

Who knew all I had to do was give up? I hung on to a few things in the big book,

“Rarely have we seen a person fail…”, “Abandon yourself to God…” “Let go absolutely…”

For a topic, I suggest people share on what surrender looks like to them and if it has worked. My best prayers are “Thy will be done” and “Direct my thinking”. When I quit fighting and trust God good things happen and I learned how to quit fighting by working steps and being an active member of AA.

Sep 23: What’s in your Toolbox?

What’s in your Toolbox?

Hello Ladies, Jennifer here, alkie.. very sorry to be late.. had every intention of doing this before hand and having it ready, however, life happened..

First off, congrats to all who have celebrated this month and welcome to our new members. I don’t post very much, however, I do read and love the ESH of this group. I’ve been a member for many years, have done service work in the past (I always say, BD-before disability) and like to chair a couple times a year to be of service these days.

My sober date is September 30, 1992 – which means, if HP graces me with a few more 24 hours, I will celebrate 25 yrs in this program this coming Saturday. Over the years, I have acquired many tools of the program. From the beginning, it was suggested that I gain a sponsor..I did..It was suggested I formally do the steps, I did, a few times was suggested I be of service and I did..and still do as I can..and I read the BB, many times over.I have not always done what was suggested..I walked away from the program for many years..not being sponsored and not sponsoring..thank HP that I still had the tools of the program so that I did not physically relapse, however, I did emotionally and spiritually many times. I walked back into the program of AA at 14 yrs sober and never looked back! Again very lucky to have kept sober that whole time (dry actually).

Today, I am able to finally make 1-2 F2F mtgs a week and I use the internet (video mtgs live) for the times I am unable to get out of the house, and, of course, there is our group GROW!! There is NO excuse today for me not to make a mtg. It is in those meetings that I fine tune my tools, get reminded that I may need to use my tools and even still do add to my tool box. I also recently asked a new lady to sponsor me and it’s been the best thing I did for myself in the last couple years. I’m following suggestions and working this program daily, even in the midst of a lot of chaos recently with the hurricanes and other stuff I’ll mention below, I’ve not found it necessary to drink over any of it and for that I am grateful!

When you are a sober gal, dealing with health challenges, there are set backs that are unavoidable. I’ve had to reinvent myself in what my abilities are at the time many times over. I could sit on my pity pot or as my dear friend use to say, I could get up and flush and move on. One of my tools is sayings..This too shall pass, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one min at a time, one sec at a breath at a time..Just breath..I’ve been using that one a lot.

The awesome thing about the tools of the that I can share them today, even with normies. One of my best friends in the world just got diagnosed with Cancer the last couple weeks and I am able to be present today and share our sayings and our teachings to assist her with her fear and connect to something greater then herself (which she already has) and to help remind her that we are not in charge..all we can do is the footwork and HP has the rest.

So, I hope this made sense..I’m a bit all over the place hence the lateness so I appreciate your patience with me today. I guess there could be a couple topics in there but my point was to bring home that the program affords us so many tools to allow us to live a sober life today.

Would love to hear what is in your tool box?

Sep 09: Discipline, Practice, and Resting on our Laurels

Discipline, Practice, and Resting on our Laurels

“We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined (step 10).” – Pg. 88 BB



Eeeek! Discipline! Who wants that?

I do actually. When I was new to the program, the suggestion that I go to 90 meetings in 90 days seemed outrageous. I didn’t do anything every day except blink and go to the bathroom. Some days I didn’t sleep, eat, shower, tend to personal hygiene. I just did what I wanted when I wanted and didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do unless I absolutely had to. I did do my 90 meetings in 90 days because after talking with my sponsor, I realized I had to try her suggestions to stay sober or face the consequences.

Now some time has passed, I’ll have 7 years in 9 days. Life is bigger and more beautiful than I have ever dreamed. I have much more discipline than I used to, but still have much room to grow. I still struggle to pray and meditate everyday. I struggle with regular meeting attendance. I do my 10th step most nights, but not every night.

I find it easy to work my program hard when life is hard and painful, but when life is easy and sweet… my discipline diminishes.

How do you stay disciplined in your recovery? What do you actually do every day for your recovery? Do you really honestly do it every day? How do you do that?

If you have relapsed, how did resting on your laurels and being undisciplined contribute to that?

Give me your experience strength and hope ladies!

Sep 02: Spiritual Malady in our Threefold Illness

Spiritual Malady in our Threefold Illness

The definition of a Spiritual Malady is:
Malady means disconnect or separation. So therefore a spiritual malady is a separation or disconnect from spiritual things. This can mean a separation or disconnect from other human beings, spiritual principles, a spiritual higher power etc. Spiritual things are not merely religion but are defined by each individual uniquely as the guiding force in their lives-something that is greater than them or principles they live by.

The disconnect for me from God happen when I was a little girl. I wasn’t firmly grounded in the love and knowing of my Father, so it didn’t take much to separate me from that which I didn’t know. Me and little boy played “you show me yours and I show you mine”….at like age 4. The guilt of that weighed HEAVY on me from that moment on. Doesn’t seem like much, but it was enough to put me on a path of Shame, Guilt and Remorse which then resulted in being Restless, Irritable and Discontent.

If any sort of happy thought or excitement tried to enter me in childhood, it was immediately squashed by the memory of doing that. My sexuality was strong at a very young age that boys and men picked up on. It made me feel gross, nervous, and overcome with anxiety. Sex was then attached to everything from my head into my stomach. I developed an ulcer and unrelenting sadness and guilt. No room for God.

The obsession of the mind was BOYS before booze. I was reading my dairy from age 8-15 and WOW…All consumed by boys. I see that they were my Higher Power! No room for God. Then when I became sexually active it made the guilt worse. I was used by boys and used boys. I was seeking the same feeling I got from the “first kiss”, kinda like the feeling I got from my “first buzz”….Chasing a feeling I could never get back no mater how many boys or how many drinks….The obsession, guilt, shame, self loathing, fear, low self worth, humiliation, hopelessness, etc….Leaves absolutely no room for God!

to fill the void of my spiritual malady….I of course blamed God!. What I didn’t realize was that God, like any loving parent, waits patiently for me to come home to Him when I am done rebelling. At that time I would only call “home” to him when something was wrong and then would curse him if it/they failed. God can’t dwell in the darkness that I was in until I sought him. He could, would, and did once I let him in sobriety.

Using people to fill a void then using alcohol to numb the pain of what I was doing and creating. As a child, I of course had no control over what happen to me. What I do have a choice in is if I continue to prey upon others because of it. Forgiving the predators of my youth, knowing that they were preyed upon as well, and taking full accountability for the harm I caused others, stopped the cycle of predatory behavior. If I am getting fed through God then I am not draining you like a parasite that feeds off someone to feed what it’s lacking.

Even if my behavior and actions weren’t as server as those who preyed on me, I was still contributing to the pattern of using human beings to get fed. That’s what they were doing using me to get fed….It’s a terrible cycle happening in this world. Over time my soul was almost depleted by what I had done. Humans looking to be filled no matter who gets hurt.

Thankfully I found my way into AA and was given a set of spiritual tools to work with. These “tools” if given to all of us as children would save the world a lot of suffering!! These simple tools and Faith in my Father, stopped the cycle chaos and pain. It removed the guilt through the 4th step and gave me peace in the 5th Step. It showed me what defects were driving me the 6th Step. It made me accountable in the 9th Step….I was clean and ready to serve the Power that got and keeps me sober through service to Him by service to his children.

Selflessness, gratitude, love, service and compassion combats the self certeredness, self seeking, self pity, victim hood and selfishness which is at the core of my dis-ease that kept the malady going for so long. The more I fed “Self”, the worse I got. This is a Selfless program. You can’t combat Selfishness with more selfishness. This is the reason that “self help” didn’t work for me. Less self, more God. Feeding the God in me by service to His children is the only way I found to freedom from the looping of my personal hell.

Please share on your experience accepting Spiritual help or your experience with service to others and how it has transformed you.

Love, safe and protected in the Armor of God!

Hilarie 4.8.14

“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.

The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves. Pg 25-Big Book

Aug 27: What I Know Now

What I Know Now

When I stumbled into AA 2-1/2 years ago, I was beaten down and scared. You people, happy and confident, told me that there is a solution and to keep coming back. I didn’t know how “it” was going to work, but you assured me it would. Looking back, I’m humbled and a little baffled by it all.

When I started this journey, I thought I would never have fun again if I had to be sober. Actually, some of the most fun times I have ever had have been spent with my sober friends. To be a welcome part of the group, to laugh so hard I cry, and to remember it all the next morning is a treat I wouldn’t give up for all the wine in Napa. Since Day 1 I literally have never once woken up in the morning and thought, “Dang, I really wish I had gotten drunk last night!” But every day, I say a prayer of thanks that I am a sober member of AA today.

At the beginning of this journey, I didn’t believe that I would ever feel comfortable in sobriety. In an awesome twist of irony, my sobriety is now the one thing I can depend on when everything else is falling apart. It’s what I count on to keep me moving forward, left foot right foot, when things are spiraling beyond my control. I hang onto my sobriety before everything else now.

So tell us: what do you know now that you wish you had known on day 1 of your sobriety? What did the old timers tell you when you were new to the rooms that you didn’t believe could be possible but now is a big part of your daily life? Which of your wildest dreams has come in sobriety?

I look forward to hearing your shares on this topic, or whatever is affecting your sobriety today!

Hugs, Allison McG

Aug 20: Acceptance


Hello lovely ladies of GROW,

Marti here, grateful recovering alcoholic and grateful to be here and be of service! Welcome to the newcomers! It has been quite a long time since I have actively participated. I have remained quiet and still sober through the grace of my Higher Power who I call God.

I would like to start out with the “Acceptance” passage from p. 417 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Page 417 Acceptance
A.A. Big Book – Acceptance is the answer to ALL of my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

I have had lately a lot of unmanageability and chaos here in my house- specifically with my 18 year old daughter who just went off to college. I feel like I have had several emotional hangovers in the past week alone. She has a lot of anger towards me regarding my drinking history and also of my not being around much when she was younger due to going to AA meetings. She has seen me relapse multiple times over the years since 2008. I am so grateful that I have been able to stay sober on a daily basis since July of 2016. I am trying to be a good role model for her also which I don’t know if she really sees.

I am powerless over people- my daughter-, places and things. I cannot change her, and I need to fully understand and accept that she is who she is right now and to stop wishing that she would act and respond differently to me. I must accept that she is the person who she is right now and be okay with it. Acceptance has always been difficult for me. I want everything to be just right- to have things the way I want and when I want. LOL- real alcoholic thinking!! It’s a matter of working that Step 3 also- to turn Everything and Everybody over to my Higher Power.

I am grieving in a way also the fact that both she and my son are away at college. They are both very far away now. I have been so emotional and missing them so much. I am longing for the days when they were young. Acceptance again- they are where they are supposed to be for this time being, and I am where I need to be at this time. I have been praying the Serenity Prayer a lot which also helps! I am learning to adjust to this transition and to remain sober while I go through it. Sobriety must always remain my Number One priority!! I also must not hold on to any resentments towards my daughter. She had said some very hurtful things to me before we took her to college. I also realized that I do not know what is really going on in other people’s head, and that they may be experiencing a lot of fear just like I do.

One more thing about acceptance. I had lost another nursing job just this past June- I was still under my 90 days probation. I thought it was going to be my “dream job.” Well it did not work out, and I was told that it was not the “right fit” for me. I am actually relieved and grateful that it happened and, I have accepted it. It allowed me the opportunity to change careers and to pursue a different “calling” which I am very passionate about.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. Dear sober friends, I look forward to reading your shares. Pleases share on the topic of Acceptance, how to deal with transitions or any other topic that is on your mind.

Love and Hugs, Marti DOS 7-4-16

Aug 12: We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace

Thank you GROW for giving me the opportunity to chair this week. My name is Nydia and I am an alcoholic. Congrats also to all others celebrating a milestone at this time. Thank you to the many ladies here I have gotten to know over the past several years.

I honestly hadn’t thought of the topic until I came back after my long Sunday morning run. I turned to one of the meditations books I use and the reading was about struggling to get our own ways. Knowing it was futile but nonetheless, trying to get something the way I want it to be. It got me thinking of he ways I try to change a situation/ place/ person or thing – asking, pleading, bargaining, bribing, coercing, forcing, blackmailing, threatening, manipulating… oh the list is endless.

Having recently survived ADD (another dating disaster) whilst at the same time, trying to work on my own as an independent, I am taken aback by how much my HP has helped me to live in the present and be still. Wounds still remain and I am not out of the woods (yet) but I there is something that struck me this morning when I was having breakfast – I truly believe, if I continue to work the programme, I will continue to comprehend the word serenity and know peace – no matter what the circumstances are around me. There’s a moment when I am running I see the trees and the sky and the water and it is such a calming moment. That’s when I hear it – let it go, there’s no need to hold on. No pleading or bargaining or forcing…

So at 9 years I have picked one of the 9th step promises 🙂

What does it mean to you to comprehend the word serenity, and to know peace?

Hugs, Nydia

Aug 05: A Worker Among Workers

A Worker Among Workers

Hello GROW!

This week I wanted to share a passage from Step 4 in the 12 X 12 (p. 53).

As we redouble our efforts at control, and continue to fail, our suffering becomes acute and constant. We have not once sought to be one in a family, to be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society. Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us. Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension.

This was me, when I came into AA.

I felt such hope and excitement when I got the news that I could learn to be a friend among friends. A worker among workers: and that this was enough.

Today I don’t have to be perfect or figure everything out by myself. I just have to stop drinking, offer help, ask for help, and apologize when I screw up.

I am a worker among workers. Remembering this makes my life so much easier and it gives my ego the vacation it needs.

So, my plan each day at work is: be of service.

This keeps me open to what unfolds, as opposed to my agenda. It keeps me in Step 12. And it reminds me that I’m not the best and I’m not the worst. I’m an average-sized part of something bigger. And that’s exactly what my HP wants for me.

How do you relate to the above passage? How have you learned to reach out to your fellows in sobriety? What changes have you seen in your partnerships as a result of working the Steps?

I’m looking forward to your shares on this topic or whatever is on your heart this week.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.


Jul 29: The Three Pertinent Ideas

The Three Pertinent Ideas

Hello dear GROWers, and thank you for allowing me to chair this meeting this week. I know that we have some new members in the past few months, many of whom are new to AA. The topic for this week is found at the end of the reading (from the chapter “How It Works, pp. 58 – 60 in the Big Book) done in so many meetings in the rooms of AA, in the (a), (b), and (c).

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could relieve our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if God were sought.

I have reflected on each of these ideas many times. To me, understanding of the nature of my dis-ease of alcoholism came gradually after I stopped drinking. I had little awareness of what my problem actually was during my active drinking and drugging years. My disease is not based on the fact that I cannot control how much I drink; that is simply a symptom. My illness goes much deeper than that one symptom in particular. That just happens to be the one that got my attention! My disease is rooted in my ideas of my importance (selfishness), the actions I believe to be worth my time and effort, primarily drinking and drugging to escape any difficulties I am experiencing (self-seeking), my inability to see and to accept what is going on, also known as “denial” (dishonesty) and the abject fear that underlies all of these (afraid / fear). These were a part of my nature long before I ever picked up a drink or a drug. This state of mind is known as “the obsession”.

The second idea, that no human power can help me, means that treatment centers, doctors and nurses, therapists, family members, friends, lovers, children, bosses, coworkers, places of employment, churches, pastors, ministers, the legal system, lawyers, the police, jails and institutions, and all others will not be able to stop me from feeling these feelings and wanting to run from them by using a substance. Indeed, the substance will cause physical triggers known as “the allergy”. The allergy is the part that causes so many of the humiliating consequences that I suffered, and it is also the part of my disease that makes me aware that I have a disease.

The third idea is the one that truly helps me. Belief in a Power greater than myself, however I choose to define it, and calling on that Power when I need help, is the solution to my problem. The Steps of our beautiful program give us a path, an easy way to put spiritual principles to work in our day-to-day lives. I don’t do these steps alone; I do them with someone who sponsors me and once I do that, I go on to do them with others I sponsor. I don’t do them one time and call it done; I use them on a daily basis for the rest of my life, in every single problem I have. When I do this, I find the relief that humans alone cannot give.

It may seem a bit confusing, because so much of my help is channeled through humans. Humans often show me the way to put these principles to work in my life, either overtly in AA meetings and sponsor-sponsee Step work, or less directly in therapy or life as a whole. These principles are the answer; they are the Power greater than myself; they are of God, Allah, Buddha, the universe, or whatever we choose to call that Power greater than ourselves that keep us sober today.

This week, please share with us how these three pertinent ideas, or any single one of them, gets your attention. Is it the lack of being able to manage that got you here? Have you tried human power, and what was the result? How about a Power greater than yourself? How has that worked for you? Does a sponsor help you with these? Please share on these or any part of this reading that is helpful to you in staying sober today.

Hugs to all who want one, gigi

Jul 22: Paradoxes in our Program

Paradoxes in our Program

There are a few paradoxes in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and “We Surrender to Win” is one that is essential to “get” in order to go further on this journey. I had to surrender to a Power Greater Than Myself before I could get out of my silly self that got me in so much trouble before joining AA. I lived my entire life on self will and, in retrospect, I can see today that this way of looking at life led me to nothing but chaos and unmanageability! Yep – –it took some time – –as early on I DID, in fact, have some fun times, living in the “fast lane”. In the end it led me to nothing but misery and in prison

Here are some of the paradoxes that have worked for me in this program:

“1. We SURRENDER TO WIN. On the face of it, surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. But it is in A.A. Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit “bottom” in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety which we could never accomplish before. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.

2. We GIVE AWAY TO KEEP. That seems absurd and untrue. How can you keep anything if you give it away? But in order to keep whatever it is we get in A.A., we must go about giving it away to others, for no fees or rewards of any kind. When we cannot afford to give away what we have received so freely in A.A., we had better get ready for our next drunk. It will happen every time. We’ve got to continue to give it away in order to keep it.

3.We SUFFER TO GET WELL. There is no way to escape the terrible suffering of remorse and regret and shame and harassment which starts us on the road to getting well from our affliction. There is no new way to shake out a hangover. It’s painful. And for us, necessarily so. I told this to a friend of mine as he sat weaving to and fro on the side of the bed, in terrible shape, about to die for some paraldehyde. I said, ‘Lost John’- that’s his nickname-Lost John, you know you’re going to have to do a certain amount of shaking sooner or later. “Well, he said, for God’s sake let’s make it later!” We suffer to get well.

4.We DIE TO LIVE. That is a beautiful paradox straight out of the Biblical idea of being ‘born again or ‘losing one’s life’ to find it. When we work at our Twelve Steps, the old life of guzzling and fuzzy thinking, and all that goes with it, gradually dies, and we acquire a different and a better way of life. As our shortcomings are removed, one life of us dies, and another life of us lives. We in A.A. die to live.”

second edition, Alcoholics Anonymous


I have found that I have “won the battle” by giving the program of AA my all. Today I have total trust in my HP (Higher Power) and give myself to Him/Her every morning as a part of my morning rituals of prayer and meditation. I no longer resist what is and accept everything as an “opportunity for growth” instead of as a “problem”! I have found that EVERYTHING is just the way it is supposed to be and all I have to do is go with the flow, praying for guidance all the way!

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

I look forward to our shares on how the paradoxes work in your life.

Susanne L. Murphys, CA 8/17/91

Jul 15: Fear and (Self) Loathing in Sobriety

Fear and (Self) Loathing in Sobriety

Hi everyone!

Greetings all!! I come to you grateful and sober in Texas. This is my birthday week for 42 and for 5mos sobriety! Yay me! I am excited to host a meeting and nervous because I am responsible to give a great topic! I wish I had something prepared that I knew would be “just right” or that would inspire a revolution of sorts… however, I know that I’m barely a legitimate AA member and still so very green. I can only hope my humble participation will inspire others to speak up and share because well, hopefully you can’t do worse than me!! lol

I have learned my share of lingo and believe myself to have a fairly high bottom which is not bragging because I was only a drink away from the lowest bottom. I lack in the confidence to share or I guess of feeling important enough. Perhaps like many I have trust issues, I’m hard headed, I’m selfish, insecure, lazy, and a bit of a whiner. Perhaps these are those character defects that I need to ask my HP to remove?!! Maybe this is my topic!?!

All in all I have a very healthy fear of relapse and I’m not entirely sure what a dry drunk is but I know I don’t want that! So I lead today proud of 5 months sobriety and thirsty for encouragement. Thanks in advance to those that can find a topic in here somewhere and share with us newbies on fear and (self)loathing in sobriety. Perhaps I make sense to them!

Grace and Blessings, Brenda C DOS 2/21/17

Jul 8: Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

July, 2017, marks 33 years of my sobriety in AA, and for this I’m deeply grateful.

I was fortunate to recognize the disease early in the progression, to surrender to how dangerous it is, and to connect with the people and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Most of the credit for my early acceptance goes to members of the Fellowship who told their stories honestly and fearlessly, no matter how horrible. I identified with them; I had the same disease.

So I worked with a sponsor and followed the Steps and Traditions to the best of my ability. The treatment plan was spelled out in the Big Book. “A.A. does not teach us how to handle our drinking…it teaches us how to handle sobriety.” Something my sponsor taught me to do when fearful or angry: make a gratitude list.

More importantly, I was taught to practice gratitude by helping other alcoholics.

How do you practice the gratitude you feel? – Lucine

Jul 01: A Power Greater Than Ourselves

A Power Greater Than Ourselves

When I entered the rooms of AA I was a Christian so I did not struggle with the God concept.

Everyone has their own story.

Some come into the rooms angry at God, some come in believing in God, and some do not believe in God.

As I was preparing today I noticed six out of 12 steps refers to either “a power greater than ourselves”, “God as we understand him”, “admitted to God”, ” have God remove all these defects of character”, and “humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in Miracles where God chooses to remains anonymous.

I opened the Twelve steps and Twelve traditions book and I read “that we are today sober only by the grace of God and that any success we may be having is far more His success than ours.”

I give God the credit where I am today.

I have a great sponsor, who listens to me endlessly, but numerous times she asks me “did you pray about it?”

I am interested in hearing how God has worked in your life, what your concept of God is or how your concept of a Higher Power has helped you on your journey in sobriety.

A few mantras that help keep me on track. Be still and know that I am God.

My job is to pray and God’s job is to deal with the chaos in my life. Let Go and Let God!!!

Feel free to share on this topic or any other topic you desire.

Thanks for listening and being a part of this meeting.

Jun 25: Secrets


From the Big Book: “More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.”

Hello everyone- The other day I was listening to the radio and they were asking callers how much they would want to be paid to divulge their deepest, darkest secret to one person. I was amazed at some of the answers!

I thought about it for a minute and realized that, thanks to AA, I no longer have a deepest, darkest secret! Thanks to steps 4 and 5, I have aired my dirty laundry.

Secrets used to plague me and help me feel like that person with the reputation she didn’t deserve. Now I feel a sense of relief and freedom from my secrets. I have a tremendous weight lifted that I had carried for a long time.

How did secrets affect you when you were drinking and how do you feel about them now?

Feel free to share on this topic or any other topic you desire.

Thanks for listening and being a part of this meeting!

Jun 18: The Need to Change

The Need to Change

The need to change Laura came to me through my HP 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 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) LOL!

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 28 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 my life and the AA way of life.

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

Hugs, Laura G. 6/17/1989

Jun 11: Honesty and Hope

Honesty and Hope

Dear GROW Sisters,

I am so excited to be able to share on my 28th AA birthday and thank you to all of you who have written to congratulate me this morning.

It’s a miracle I got sober in the first place and another miracle – actually LOTS of miracles adding up to these many years! – that I am still sober. These two facts alone prove to me there is a Power Greater Than Myself in this Universe who has my highest good and wellbeing in mind. I have been shown grace and mercy over and over again. As dark and terrible and calamitous as my life became during my sobriety (and it got extremely dark from 2005 to 2015 with loss and illness), that Unseen Hand, my AA sponsors and friends and the spiritual program of action bequeathed to us by Bill and Dr. Bob (and Lois and the women in their lives) saw me through.

There were many times I didn’t think I would make it. Early on in the program and also as written in the Big Book, I was told that alcoholism will drive us into insanity, suicide or death, and actions that hurt others, even take their life or drive them into insanity. The first two (insanity, suicide) haunted me for many years in the program. I was always and still am grateful to read this in the opening of Chapter 5:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. […..] There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

The bolded sentence which I heard or read out loud at every meeting I ever attended gave me deep hope that I would someday, somehow, by mastering the magic key of “honesty,” I would find and experience the peace and serenity and feeling of belonging that I so desperately sought since being a very young child. I was from the onset one of those bewildered human beings, confused by the words and behaviors of the human beings around me, not understanding what my place was or where I belonged. (I blamed my alcoholic family for this for decades but truthfully my feelings were in depth about a longing for unity with Creation; more later).

Honesty, it turned out, was a tough one. With my limited scope of how to be a human being, I interpreted it to mean telling the truth no matter what or whose feelings I hurt or toes I stepped on. I was like the child who wants top marks for being that perfect student. Then I took notice of the saying on the back of AA anniversary coins of old, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” The phrase was first coined by a philosopher I admire deeply, Frederic Nietzsche, and in full, it reads:

“To Thine Own Self and Way be True.”

But who was I and what was my Way? With my limited scope of how to be a human being and my limited understanding of the human condition, I thought at first it meant living up to the expectations I had for and of myself, finally, unshackled from the compulsion to drink and the torment of active alcoholism. With zeal, I launched myself in my new life. I obtained degrees, tried out professional careers, finally achieved a position of stature. I had Power, Prestige and Money!

And I was still miserable inside, alienated from myself, full of internal conflict and emotional pain. I had moments of peace and serenity and I held onto those as proof I was working a good program (along with my attendance at AA meetings and service I did). Growing up in an alcoholic family, I knew how to put out a very good image. I also knew I had to work the program with greater sincerity – honesty! – but try as I may, I couldn’t complete a third round of going to the steps – I would stall at Step Four every time! Self-will was a formidable and dishonest foe.

I then hit in 2014 an emotional, physical, and spiritual rock bottom. All the Power, Prestige and Money gone in a pile up of illnesses and misfortunes in the space of 6 years. My worse fear came true: I ended up in a psychiatric ward for a week with some psychiatric and medical 14 diagnoses. I had become totally neurotoxic, literally and figuratively.

I look back 3 years later now as I find myself on the threshold of doing that third and so elusive 4th Step after almost 15 years of trying. I can say sincerely that everything that happened was in perfect Divine Order. This walk through life has been my Way. The breakdown was a breakthrough. Grace and Mercy were with me in the darkest hour such that I did not kill myself or end up locked up permanently. I came out to Arizona to detoxify body, mind, and soul. Finally, rising from the Phoenix’s ashes (near Phoenix in Sedona ha ha), I can for the first time in my life humble myself to a depth never before possible such that I can be me exactly as I AM in full honesty.

And it feels so truly good!

I am so grateful I hung in there and I am so grateful to AA for its powerful wisdom and for those that have tenaciously walked this Road Less Travelled before me.

Many blessings and thank you to all of you,

Gillian 6/11/1989

Jun 03: Meeting Suggestions

Meeting Suggestions

Hi there! My name is Julie and I’m a grateful alcoholic. One of the first things I heard in the meetings I attended were “suggestions.” No one was telling me what to do, they simply shared what worked for them. I was intrigued and I listened. By being honest, open and willing to follow these suggestions, I noticed changes in my life, how I approached life on life’s terms.

Some suggestions that worked for me, and continue to do so…

  • Go to three meetings a week.
  • Reach out to my sponsor three times a week.
  • Call at least three alcoholics a day… I don’t do this and I really should. I try to call at least three a week.
  • Wake up, hit my knees, and ask God for patience, tolerance, love and compassion… And to follow his will.
  • Before bed, hit my knees, again, and thank God for another day sober.
  • Humble yourself and ask for help.
  • Make a gratitude list.
  • Relax and take it easy.
  • Trust and have faith.
  • Get busy with service and carry the message.
  • Keep it simple!

Please share with us what was suggested to you that works for you in your sobriety today!

Thank you for letting me be of service!

Julie K 5/17/12

May 27: Taking Action

Taking Action

Hey there friends. Karrie here, alcoholic. This week, I would like to talk about “taking action”. Most of my life I have evaded problems or ran away from them. I lived in fear and was paralyzed by those fears. I drank to self medicate. My counselor tells me that drinking only pushed the pause button on my/life’s issues. Typically, the pain of the issue has to get severe before I become willing to make a change. That has been true in a recent family situation. My sponsor says the universe gives us opportunity after opportunity to address issues and each time it gets a little harder.

When I first got sober, I thought that not drinking was good enough. After all, I drank because I had a terrible life and had been wronged and you would drink too if you had my life. Haha. But it’s been the process of living day by day and working the steps that has helped me start seeing my self and that I do need to take action.

I have been thinking a lot about this section in the big book–chapter “into action”

“The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, “Don’t see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain’t it grand the wind stopped blowin’?” Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead.”

I can identify with this farmer. I have often pretended the cyclone hasn’t ruined anything. Denial! I certainly don’t care for the idea that there is a long period of reconstruction ahead OR for the idea that I have to take the lead. BUT at this point I am acknowledging the problems in my family, I am addressing them with my husband and I am taking the lead to get counseling for my son and I. I have played the victim/martyr role my whole life. I am tired of it. Finally, I am ready to pull up my big girl panties and get to it.

The meeting is now open for discussion.


May 20: Freedom in Sobriety

Freedom in Sobriety

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

I’m aware we have many new members to Grow and many newcomers and returnees to the program and our fellowship. You are so welcome. I was told to listen for the similarities and ignore the differences, this freed me from my pessimism and my prejudices and probably helped save my life.

I was also encouraged to share and this helped free me from feelings of worthlessness. I began to see and feel I was a valid human being and an equal.

Whilst life is life and may present me with challenges or fun on any given day, just for today and for a few consecutive days now, I am free from active alcoholism. I am free from the prison of having to drink even when I didn’t want to. Free of the plotting and planning of how much, where, with whom.

This was the first freedom I experienced when I began my sober journey and began to understand and practice the principles in our 12 step program. I found freedom in understanding this disease, the condition of powerlessness as described in the AA literature.

I soon experienced freedom from my dishonesty. I was no longer sneaking around, denying my drinking or making out I was ok when I was dying inside. I was free to be honest!

And I learned a new kind of honesty in the rooms of AA. I heard members share with gut level honesty. They were putting words to the thoughts and feelings I’d buried for the ten years of my drinking. This was the beginning of freedom from my past.

Our Big Book talks about “a new freedom” (p.83, p.xxi). Two stories that give me hope that this program will continue to work and keep me free are My Chance To Live and Freedom From Bondage in the back section of the Big Book.

Today and each day I aim to bring the spiritual tools of our fellowship into my life. My consistency in doing this varies (progress not perfection!!). I find keeping these simple things a consistent priority is the easier softer way. As the path gets narrower and I have less wiggle room for Sophie’s way, I find the view gets better.

My freedom from fear and from anxiety seems to be connected to how willing I am to let go and let god. Right now I’ve been working on seeing it as a choice. I can choose worry, fear, anxiety or I can choose to say a little prayer and begin to let go of my fear & ego driven expectation. I then experience freedom from fear, and freedom from “the bondage of self”.

Connecting with some prayers, a reading or two, quiet time for a little meditation, seeking god’s will instead of bombarding life with my demands, being of service inside and outside of the fellowship; all of these offer me a freedom I never knew was possible. My favourite summing up of my “new freedom” is on p.124 in the 12&12

“we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things…. no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes”.

Freedom to be me, freedom to feel good enough about being me, freedom to choose values and morals and live by them, freedom to find my personal Higher Power (the god of my own understanding); all gifts of my sobriety.

Thank you for being there and sharing the journey.

Please share if you can your hope, strength and experience around Freedom in Sobriety or on anything recovery related you wish to. Wishing you all a sober 24 hours.


May 13: About Experience

About Experience

Topic for the week: About Experience I have found that experience is the ONLY teacher, not just the BEST! I have also found that everything has a beginning and an ending, and that’s just the way it is! Everything in between is a composition (compilation) of what got me here!

Today I look back at all the experiences in my life – – -from the day I was born until now! They all comprise who I am today. At the time I thought a lot of those experiences were particularly icky and preferred not to go through them! Annnnnnnnnnnnd, what I have learned is that I have the most growth through adversity!

I found that my Higher Power had the “big plan” already laid out for me, so everything happened just the way it was planned ! I needn’t have tried to change ANY of it – –the original plan was perfect – – –and the way I tried to make it happen didn’t turn out so perfect!!! However it is what it is and today I am content with this!

Every morning after my meditation and prayer session I pray for guidance in WHATEVER is placed before me this day – – – – -there is generally a lesson my HP wants me to learn; so I put one foot in front of the other and put all my attention at the lesson at hand! If it is something that doesn’t please me, I go through it at the pace my HP wants me to go, knowing it is the BEST thing for me today! I am NEVER led wrong by my HP today. And all it took was many lessons in trust before I gave myself entirely to my HP!

I owe my life today to the Program and Fellowship to Alcoholics Anonymous! What a gift!!!

I look forward to your shares on how you perceive the experiences in your life – – — or anything else, relating to recovery, that you need to share on.

ACCEPTING AND ENJOYING WHAT IS! I hope you all are, too! Why not?

Susanne Murphys, CA 8/17/91

May 07: Forgiveness


I am honored to be chairing this meeting, especially because May 7 is my anniversary – 17 years of continuous sobriety. I have each of you to thank for the many ways you’ve helped me get through each day at a time without picking up a drink. Now I get to live in, not just get through, another day. Chairing this meeting is a small way to give back.

I’d like to follow up Cheryl’s great topic of self-acceptance with the topic of forgiveness, which many of you mentioned as an essential part of coming to self-acceptance. There are so many things I’ve come to understand in completely different ways through the program, forgiveness being a major one.

For the longest time, I held onto blaming my dad for my drinking. Actually, I blamed my husband, my job, myself, you name it, but I really believed it all began because of my dad. Alcohol kept me imprisoned in the teenaged mindset of who I was when I started drinking – blaming anyone and everyone for everything, and underneath it all was blaming myself just for being who I am. Talk about lack of self-acceptance, or acceptance of anything!

With a lot of help from all of you who understand me (just because I’m an alcoholic!), I have come to see that, like almost everything else, forgiveness is a process that’s not as simple as I thought it was. I certainly don’t do this perfectly, but now I know when my heart has been relieved of that rock of blame and forgiveness becomes possible.

It goes something like this: For whatever reason (argument, acting badly, hungry, angry, lonely, tired, whatever) I find myself feeling all kinds of negative emotions. My natural instinct is to blame – if I can blame you, I don’t have to look inside me. That kind of thinking kept me drinking. If I do look inside me, it’s all my fault. That kind of thinking kept me drinking for sure! But the idea of how forgiveness can help me stay sober reminds me that blaming doesn’t work anymore for me. I have to go deeper than self-blame. The phrase, “every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us,” comes back to me, and I shift my focus deeper into myself. I can usually trace my disturbance back to some ancient FEAR (Forgetting Everything?s All Right), which leads me back to my higher power, and I can release my grip on blame. Suddenly I can breathe again, and I can honestly say, “Thank you for giving me this experience,” this opportunity to get all the way to true forgiveness. When I can feel gratitude for another chance to accept and forgive myself, I can make genuine amends. Quite a far cry from having to anesthetize all of this with booze!

Please feel free to share about forgiveness or anything else that would help you right now. Thank you all for this opportunity to be of service!

Apr 30: Self Acceptance

Self Acceptance

Greetings fellow ladies of GROW.

It brings me great pleasure to share I am 4 years sober today by the grace of God (my Higher Power) as well as the fellowship of AA and many people like those of you in this group. I couldn’t conceive of the idea of ever reaching 4 years of sobriety when I got to these rooms, so if you are a newcomer, welcome and keep coming back. There is hope for each of us.

When I first entered the rooms of AA I thought I was coming here to learn how to live without drinking. What I learned was my drinking was but a symptom of why I drank. It wasn’t until I read my 4rth Step with my sponsor that I was able to see where so much of the pain came from that I had been trying to drown with the alcohol. I found I really didn’t like myself and spent a lot of time wallowing in self loathing and self rejection. Finding myself an alcoholic, albeit a recovering one, did little to change my opinion.

I found it pretty easy by the time I arrived at AA to accept the fact that I was an alcoholic. I was totally defeated and ready to do whatever it took to get and stay sober. Finding self acceptance has been much harder for me. I don’t find it so difficult to forgive myself for things I have done or not done but rather I find it hard to accept things I perceive as personal shortcomings. Not being smart enough, lacking motivation and my personal favorite- never being happy or comfortable with my body. I’m too fat, I’m too this or too that. These days I am also too old! Up until this point all my efforts to be better – more acceptable, more loveable have only managed to keep me at war with myself and make me my own worst enemy. Regrettably, many of us give up our power by trying to live up to standards that don’t “naturally” fit us – standards that deprive us of being our own true self and deprive us of being who we are “naturally” meant to be.

Thanks to AA and some outside help through group and individual therapy I have learned to look at self acceptance as a skill, one I need to practice on a daily basis. I surround myself with people that lift me up and eliminate or limit my exposure to those who speak negatively to me. I try to be more gentle and caring with myself. If it’s something I wouldn’t say to someone I care for I don’t say it to myself. I try to be more aware of my habit of searching outside of myself for validation and instead celebrate my strengths.

It has taken a lot of soul searching and 12 step work to improve my self esteem and begin the road to self acceptance. Turning my life over to a Higher Power has been “key” for me in this journey. I believe in a God/Higher Power and I believe that God does not make junk: therefore I must not be junk. Who do I think I am to question God? I frequently remind myself of this when I find the negative self talk taking over in my head. I know it is my ego and my disease talking. I have begun to give up trying to be perfect and instead try to work at accepting my short comings. Instead of thinking of “should” and “ought’s” I practice being grateful and happy with what is. I know that as humans we are not able to be perfect but that we can learn something from our mistakes. Self acceptance for me means I know I am alright even when I am not perfect but that I can improve. It’s a gentle place of making peace with who I am.

Please share your E,S + H about self acceptance in your program of recovery. As always feel free to share anything else that might be on your mind.

Thank you for letting me be of service by being the meeting chair this week.

Yours in Recovery,

Cheryl B

Apr 23: The Slogans

The Slogans

I find that the Slogans (brief attention-getting phrases) are great tools to use whenever I am talking to another alcoholic because we realize the depth behind the sayings. I have also used some of the Slogans outside of AA when talking to family and other friends, and in my daily routines. My favourite one is: “But for the Grace of God” because I didn’t get the gift of sobriety due to anything great or wonderful that I did so I can’t take too much credit for it. If not for God’s Grace and Mercy in leading me to AA and a chance at a better life, I don’t know where I’d be today – likely nowhere.

Some of the most recognizable Slogans/expressions are as follows although there are hundreds of these that we use:

First Things First: Helps me to remember that alcohol is my number one problem so I must not let any other problems in my life take precedence over this one.

Live and Let Live: Reminds me to show patience and tolerance toward people, both in and out of the rooms, who think and act differently than I.

Just for Today: I was told early on that I didn’t have to think about staying sober forever but just for one day – today. Heck, I could do that! I was quite relieved to hear this in that could it possibly mean that I could drink again? LOL.

You Are No Longer Alone: Reminds me that I have a sponsor and close AA friends that I can talk to so that I don’t have to work on my problems by myself. Help is usually just a phone call or email away.

Fake It Till You Make It: Although probably not a ‘true’ slogan (i.e. original), this one helps me to stick around until I ‘get’ it; e.g. even though I was not a true believer that praying for someone night and day would help me to get rid of a resentment I had toward another person, I prayed as the Big Book suggested and the resentment did go away.

Which Slogans helped you the most in early sobriety? Which ones do you use the most today? Do you consider them as valuable tools to use in daily living?

Thanks for the opportunity to share today with you and for being along with me on my life’s journey in sobriety. I look forward to hearing from you.


Laura G.


Apr 16: Half Measures Avail Us Nothing

Half Measures Avail Us Nothing

My name is Tanya and I am an alcoholic. I was going to share on something else however after reading through the How it Works…I gravitated to this very simple yet powerful words. “Half measures avail us nothing.”

I came into AA in December of 1998…and I struggled for many years. It wasn’t until I came back to A.A. that I truly stood at that turning point and it wasn’t pretty how I asked for the protection of this higher power I could not see. It was painful to let go with complete abandonment.

When I think back at that time a tear comes to my eye…very painful time. I found GROW around this time too.

This program…its steps, traditions and promises truly are miraculous…when you let go, that is.

Where am I going with this? Funny … half the time I do not know where my shares lead me only that when I do share my experience, my strength and my hope (no matter how little that hope may be at that time)…it leads me to an awareness that gives me to acceptance of that person, place or thing I face which in-turn leads me to action.

Awareness, Acceptance and Action. Powerful words.

There was a time where my life was really dark, very dark. Everyday felt like acid running through my veins and trying to work, hell just trying to live was like climbing Mount Everest. The fear was paralyzing and it took every ounce of my body to just show up. My Stephen King mind would make the shadows an Eager Allen novel. I hated life and I hated me. However,…

I kept coming back.

And when I loss all (including my own mind)…I had no where to turn…I stood at a turning point in my life. I worked hard my AA and Al-anon programs and then there came a moment where I realized the struggle I had in the beginning was truly self-induced.

I was not able to be honest with myself and I truly did try to find the “short-cuts”, you know that easier softer way and stay married in a very unhealthy relationship. I stayed sober those many years but it was the hell-hole of dry drunkenness, feeling every painful twisted feeling I could conjure up. It was a bottom beyond the bottom that secured my membership to these rooms.

Step-work, service-work, sponsorship, and my sober community held me up until I could rise from the fog.

Sobriety is not easy, no one ever said it would be. Half measures had to go. I threw myself in with two feet. Utter abandonment to program that seemed so simple yet so freaking hard. I followed the path not knowing where I was going…only that I was doing the next right step for me at that moment.

Where am I today, I am married to an amazing spouse that truly has lifted me out of my past and given me a chance to see what love is truly about.

And I am to having to face the ugly part of our addiction and relive a painful past in the manipulation of young tenant that truly threatens the serenity of my core and that of my daughter’s. Both my daughter and I are facing our daemons.

A path we both must take. Please pray for us as we all know that only the person in the addiction has to be the one that wants to stop, not the parents or anyone else. Interesting as I write this I am seeing an awareness that I did not see before which is a gift. Thank you for that.

So my dear sisters of GROW. Please share your own experience, strength and hope on that realization when you saw how “half measures” really did not work? And as always do share what you need to share.

Thank you for the gift of you.

With grateful heart, Tanya C

Apr 09: Control


My choice of topic reflects where I am today – having an AFGO! I am in an unusual (for me) situation where I have a leadership position. I’ve always thought of myself as very flexible with few control issues. WRONG! It is very hard for me to know where the line is between ‘leading’ and ‘controlling.’

There are roles in life that require a person to direct others – like parents trying to raise healthy, morally-based children and managers/supervisors within organizations. Giving instructions, offering criticism, and awarding positive behavior are inherent in the role.

Yet, the Big Book tells us that: “Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way” (pg. 60) and then “What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well.” (pg. 61)

At my f2f BB meeting yesterday, I shared about this predicament. A woman in the meeting said, “I know I’m not supposed to try to be the director, but my business card says I AM the Director!” Responsible for the performance of hundreds of employees, she lives with this contradiction every day.

My predicament right now is the line is between fulfilling the role of leader (or parent or boss) and being the self-centered controlling Director. I may think I am doing the right thing when I really am just trying to get my way. Where is the line between fulfilling your role and using the role to express some character defects?

Control issues crop up at the most inconvenient times! I have to check my motives when I want to tell someone else what to do. Am I contributing in a positive way to the situation? Am I approaching it with, as the BB says, love and tolerance?

This topic doesn’t have a direct relationship to alcohol or drinking. But when I was drinking, these thoughts would never have occurred to me. I’d have pushed for my way no matter what the consequences. AA and the 12 Steps have taught me to take a step back, to breathe, and to look at my part in any situation where I feel uncomfortable or unhappy – or where I’m making others uncomfortable or unhappy.

This week, I invite you to share with us your experience, strength, and hope related to fulfilling your roles in life while also being faithful to the principles of the AA program. And, of course, please feel free to share on anything you need to.

Apr 02: Willingness


Hello, women of GROW!

I recently made my last outstanding amend. Most of my 9th Step amends I made quickly. This one took 4 years. What it boiled down to was my lack of willingness.

Step 8 reminds me that willingness precedes action. I was anxious to do this amend, but I still had anger. I was not 100% focused on my part.

Then, the person came to town. And I realized I was no longer interested in her part. I was interested in behaving in a way I could be proud of. Which, in this case, meant apologizing for being a jerk.

I was willing to do something uncomfortable in the interest of growing as a person.

Willingness to act, even when I feel fear, has been one of the biggest changes I have experienced since getting sober.

Now I am more willing to try new things, to make mistakes. When I am willing I open myself to my HP’s will for me. In fact, willingness led me to my HP!

Taking the first Step was the beginning of this journey.

I’d love to hear about your experience of willingness in sobriety or anything else that is happening in your program this week.

Thank you for allowing me to be of service.


Mar 26: Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple

Hello all you lovely ladies of GROW, I’m Susan and an alcoholic. I chose the topic “Keep it Simple” becaue it’s a unique struggle for me; I find that it’s so much easier said than done! On the one hand, I long for the luxury of simplicity in all areas of my life – relationships, career, my program, working the 12 steps. But often when I make choices to move in that direction, I feel a lot of GUILT! I.e., I must not be doing enough, analyzing enough, planning enough, and of course cotrolling enough (back to last week’s bus driver).

Perhaps I just need a lot more practice and conversations with my HP to get better at ‘keeping it simple’. I want to reap the serenity without the guilt! In the meantime, I would like to hear your shares on this topic, especially if you have a similar challenge and how you handle it. I learn so much from all of you… (Example: I’m trying to keep this share short and simple but I feel like it’s not long enough – LOL!)

Thank you for being here ladies, have a wonderful sober week!

Susan P.

Mar 19: Who is Driving the Bus?

Who is Driving the Bus?

Hi Ladies. My name is Alison and I am an alcoholic. Welcome new gals, and congratulations to our celebrants!

I am still a planner and an organizer. I make lists and cross stuff off. In fact, if I forgot to put something on the list, I may actually add it to the list after I have completed the task and then proceed to cross it off! Lol So, being as how I like to plan and organize, it was difficult for me to let God drive the bus when I first sobered up.

I was constantly taking the wheel and driving myself where I wanted to go. I found through trial and error, mostly error, that my Higher Power might have a better plan. I have learned over the years that God’s plan doesn’t always come with an itinerary! I have to trust my Higher Power more often than not. When I was new in sobriety I had a lot of difficulty figuring out if I was following God’s will, or my own will. (If the outcome was not to my liking, it was usually self-will at work.)

It seems that my Higher Power is full of surprises. I have come to figure out for myself that God’s will is very clear to me. It does not need my discernment or calculations or machinations. It has gotten easier to “Let Go and Let God” with the passage of sober time.

I have been ill for nearly 8 months now. I traipse from one specialist to another, and in all honesty, I and the doctors are left with more questions than answers, and yet doctor appointments continue to be the next indicated thing for me. I am in the research and discovery stage still. My medical case is complicated. It is frustrating, though I do have some answers and feel like I am moving closer to a diagnosis, which means a solution in my book. I have to trust in the process, do the footwork and let God handle it. My Higher Power has got this. I just forget that every now and again. So, for this week anyway, I am going to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Blessings, Alison B.

Mar 12: What is Your Bubble to Stay Sober?

What is Your Bubble to Stay Sober?

So, it’s Saturday night and I went to acupuncture and the grocery store. Now, I’m home and I’m really perfectly content. My life as a sober alcoholic has changed a lot in how I deal with stress, how I socialize and who I socialize with. I really enjoy listening to a sobriety podcast called, “The Bubble Hour.” The name was chosen because of the idea that each of us have strategies that protect us, like a bubble, to keep us sober.

My bubble:

I’ve found my new happy hours after a stressful day of work: acupuncture or hot yoga. I’ve come to enjoy them more than I ever did drinking at happy hour and feel more relaxed afterwards…but I at first I resented it. My new habits, while healthier, sometimes seem boring and I wonder if I’m missing out. My Friday nights could be hot yoga, an AA meeting, a movie at home or a dinner at a friend’s house. I’ve relaxed into this flow. I find scheduling my week with my appts, AA meetings, exercise and a to-do list helps me. I try to start my day with meditation and prayer and listen to a podcast relating to sobriety while I’m getting ready for work.

Someone at a meeting recently said something that made sense, “You put together a good day.” It is kind of like that for me. I plan the activities and practices that will help me have a better week. The friends I have now happen to be non-drinkers or normal drinkers. I am not really around drinkers that much, so my activities with friends are going for coffee, meeting up for exercise, dinner…. I also like trying “fancy” nonalcoholic drinks like different flavored or sparking waters. Sometimes I even put them in a wine class.

It’s a different life, but I know I’m healthier. My focus is more on taking advantage of opportunities to try new events, rather than drinking wine at home alone (boring!!!). So really, what was so exciting about that life I’m ‘missing?’

My topic for this week is what is your bubble to stay sober? Hope you have a peaceful and sober week. – Jessica 6/28/16

Mar 05: Step 10

Step 10

Step 10 “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

This is by far my favorite step because it allows me to purge each day. If I am taking constructive daily review in written inventory, when I do my annual reworking of the Steps then my 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th steps are not as overwhelming because of the daily maintenance of Step 10.

Steps 4-9 are to “prepare us” for daily living, the AA way of life, “One Day at a Time.” The obsession to drink and the insanity has been removed. In Step 10, we are returned to sanity. In Steps 10-12 we maintain the new order of things — and we grow in understanding and effectiveness.

When I start to “cut back” on daily inventory the reconstruction of ego commences. I will start to Minimize, Justify and Rationalize the white lie, the road rage, the keeping that text secret, the judging her, the blaming him, any and all actions that cut me off from God’s light. If I am cut off from that light I start worshiping myself again. My soul will get hungry so I will drain your light, my boyfriends light, anyone’s light because I am not getting fed. No light, no purpose…And so begins….THE CHATTER! I can not get fed on yesterday’s inventory, steps, gratitude list, service to others, prayer and meditation. You eat food everyday, you don’t just eat once and ride on that for days, weeks, years…Same applies.

Inventory allows me to see where I fell short. What were my motives? Who did I hurt? Why do I say that? Who was I rude to? Why did I sabotage this? Why do I put so much effort into looking good on social media? Do I put half the effort into my sobriety and growth that I do playing a role or living up to an illusion of what others think of me? How does my home life look? How do I treat my partner?

These questions, being completely HONEST with myself, putting it on paper, practicing the opposite tomorrow will ensure that I continue to grow. If I am NOT growing, I am dying…My alcoholism/ego mind wants me dead but will settle for me drunk or dry drunk and miserable. This predator, I call the ego mind, not only hates me but HATES people who love me and will hurt them too if the light is cut from my soul. This is why I drank the way I did, as long as I did. I was living off the light I had before I started drinking or drain others of theirs then piling on more garbage by what I was doing while I was drinking.

Zero nourishment/light so my body and soul suffered because I was trying to “think” my way out using the same mind that got me this way running on animal instinct and creating chaos. My mind/ego could not be trusted as integrity is NOT a mental construct.

Maintaining a constant vigilance is vital as to not became vampiric…sucking others dry with complacency.

When I have a life of inventory, discipline and discernment, freedom from being enslaved by booze and other people’s perceptions is the byproduct. Freedom is in the discipline of Step 10.

When I first started this process I didn’t really understand how to carry out this Step. Do I just sit and think about my day? NO!!!! Thinking is my worst enemy! So when it was finally revealed to me what Step 10 entailed I saw it more than just keeping a journal but more as a opportunity take part in my sobriety by putting pen to paper as Awaken God Conscious Human Being. Not the automaton that I once was because I was cut off from my soul. The Big Book says about Step 10:

We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Pg 84

How do you practice Step 10 daily?

Thank you for to opportunity to be of service…

Love in the Sunlight of the Spirit! Hilarie

Feb 27: Design for Living That Works in Rough Going

Design for Living That Works in Rough Going

Hello all. A few weeks ago, we were reading Bill’s Story from the Big Book in a meeting. Of course, the climax comes when an old drinking buddy (Ebby T) comes to visit and, to Bill’s surprise, Ebby is sober. During their talk, Ebby laid out the foundations of a new way of life – drastic and simple – that he had learned about and that was keeping him sober. After Bill accepts this process as a new way of life (the process became the 12 steps; what Bill did is found on pp. 12-15), Ebby made clear “… the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs…. Faith without works was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic. For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.” (pp. 14-15), Then Bill went on to write briefly about some of the hard times he had after sobriety and how he wasn’t always well and how he was met with disbelief from many.

Bill then says “… I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day. Many times I have gone to my old hospital in despair. On talking to a man there, I would be amazingly lifted up and set on my feet. It is a design for living that works in rough going.” (p. 15)

“It is a design for living that works in rough going.” That sentence jumped off the page at me.

To not only find that the 12 steps could help me stay sober, day after day (one day at a time), and that if I continue, every day, to focus on my connection with a Higher Power of my understanding and to reach out to be with and help as I can other alcoholics – that I can stay sober – has been amazing.

Against all “logic” that I tried to use when I was drinking, this strange program of 12 steps and continuous service is “A design for living that works in rough going” – not just the bright and cheerful times, not just in the spring and summer – but in all times and in all circumstances and especially when I’m stuck in a morass of sorrow or other difficult circumstances.

I would love to hear how you find this a program, a “design for living that works in rough going” – or in anything else suggested by your current life circumstances or by Bill’s story.

Thank you.

Feb 19: Reliance on God

Reliance on God

How do you depend and rely on God or your Higher Power for strength in your life? How do you let God act through you to help others?

Please share on how your Higher Power uses you to help others and how relying on God or your Higher Power is different than self-reliance.

Thanks for the chance to lead this week. I am pinch hitting for our regularly scheduled leader. Sorry this is a wee bit late.

Sherrie W.

Feb 12: Dealing With Grief in Sobriety

Dealing With Grief in Sobriety

Hi dear ladies of GROW, Nancy C an alcoholic here. God willing, I will have 20 years of sobriety, One Day At A Time, next Saturday! This past year has been one of many lows and many changes. My dear husband of almost 51 years died very suddenly August 27 and then my sponsor and dear friend Jean (AFGO) died 6 weeks later.

Thankfully I had God, AA and AA friends to help, guide and support me. There are 5 of us, who attend a 12 step retreat twice a year, that have each lost our husbands since last March. We live in different areas but we are constantly checking on each other and supporting each other.

My family and friends and neighbours have all been so helpful and supportive and I am so grateful…

Daily I go to Step 1 because my world has turned upside down and I am completely powerless. Avoiding my feelings and suppressing my emotions are old behaviors that need to be dealt with upfront. There is no timetable for grief and I use the principles of AA to get through each day, sometimes minute by minute.

I’d love to hear how you ladies have dealt with grief. Thank you for allowing me to chair this week.

Feb 05: Humility


I always thought I was such a humble and giving person. I wanted YOU to see my self sacrifice and then YOU would praise me and hold me in high esteem. Sounds humble-eh?

I finally got out this deep ugly, yucky secret that I have skirted around for a long time. Coming face to face with my “sins” and admitting them to God, myself and then sponsor. It has humbling. She suggested that I start daily getting on my knees and praying. At one point I did regularly and then I stopped. So I have been doing that and it is humbling. I have been praying the third and seventh step prayers. This morning I was reading about step 7 in the 12 and 12.

I want to change, I want the change in my attitude. I’m pretty self centered–I never would have admitted that before.

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.” (Pg 76 from 12n12)

Please feel free to share on humility or anything else you wish. I cherish this group.

Kind Regards, Karrie

Jan 22: Laughter


Dear GROWers,

Thank you for allowing me to chair this week on the anniversary of my last drink, January 22, 1989. I have not had to drink a drink of alcohol nor to take any mind- or mood-altering substances in 28 years. Without our amazing program, I would surely have died from complications of liver disease.

To begin our topic for this week, I quote from the Big Book:

I began to see the miracles that happen only in AA. People who would nearly crawl in the doors, sick and broken, and in a few weeks of meetings and not drinking one day at a time would get their health back, find a little job and friends who really cared, and then discover a God in their lives.

But the most compelling part of AA, the part that made me want to try this sober thing, was the laughter, the pure joy of the laughter that I heard from sober alcoholics. – Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 333

Please share a funny story about your time in sobriety, or how you feel about the laughter in the rooms. Did this help you to keep coming back?

Thank you for reading me and as always, hugs to all who want one from me! – Gigi

Jan 29: We Absolutely Insist on Enjoying Life

We Absolutely Insist on Enjoying Life

Hi I’m Jennifer, A women in long term recovery…and thank you Sherrie for allowing me to be of service to the group. I am a what seems to be a silent memeber, however, I read often and try to chair when I can. I would like to welcome all who are new to the group and all the newcomers, those returning to us and a big congrats to any all our celebrants!! I do a group thing…smiles.

When I took this opportunity to step up, I prayed for a topic, you see, this year has not been so kind to me thus far. I started it off with a vacation in the hospital for the first weekend of the month. Then came home to recovery from that only to have two major home appliances go on me at the same time (AC and Hot water heater), my new service puppy in training to become sick and although I have a spouse, he is not as supportive as I could use…so..It’s been extremely challenging…So you say, Jennifer, really you enjoying life?

Well, when I was new in recovery, about 18 mo in, I was dating a guy who loved the BB and he would go through my book and underline the parts he loved. On page 132, he said, “count down 17 lines from the top, and then from the bottom count up 17 lines. Ok, now count in two words from the right in, and then two words for the left in….what is right smack in the middle of this page?” So, I did this…low and behold, it said, “We absolutely insist on enjoying life”. Wow, right there in the middle of the page. And for some reason, that gave me hope. You see, from about 18 month til today, I have dealth with a lot of changes. I became very ill about 18 mo in recovery and have dealth with a lot of physical, spiritual, mental and health challenges along with significant losses. Through it all, I have not found it necessary to drink and I have found that in the moments that I am able to “move about the cabin” as I joke about being about to get out of the house to do errands or on a great day, go out to a party or something fun, I enjoy it to the fullest.

Sobriety didn’t equal no more fun or enjoying life, it actually was a beautiful beginning of sorts of how to deal with life on life’s terms and enjoy life without being drunk or numbing the situation. “We absolutely INSIST on ejoying life” and I do. Through it all, I really do. It could even be as simple as my puppy giving me her puppy eyes today or a puppy kiss, or mastering a task we are working on. My hubby when he is having a moment of support, bringing me roses just because he has realized I’m having a bad week (I got roses yesterday)…or being able to go to my friend’s 50th bday party at thier home, knowing that there will be drinking, and being able to be spiritually fit to bring my own drink (my drink of choice is coconut water, smiles) and sitting by their fire pit and it not being any of my buisness what others are doing (my hubby does not drink, he’s a normie but does not drink at all, so I have him there). Last night, I really enjoyed getting out and enjoying life. Especially after the heck I’ve been through this month.

I have one more hump to get over Tuesday, It’s the one year anniversary of when I had to place my heart dog, Haylee Jo, my service dog of 13.4 years to peace, and my heart still breaks everyday for her, however, I am sure I will not drink over it, and that she would want me to continue to enjoy life just as she did everyday of hers!!

So I would love to hear your ESH on what this means to you or anything else that is on your heart today. Again, thank you for allowing me to be of service, sorry if this was long….blessings

Jan 15: In God’s Hands

In God’s Hands

“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.” Alcoholics Anonymous, p.100

Excerpt taken from As Bill Sees It, No. 2

Hi everyone,

Twice this week I’ve had to go back and look at my trust is God, as I understand him…

The first, as I’m praying for the courage to change, to ask him with whatever humility I could muster, in not acting out, being argumentative, getting belligerent, … and trusting that whatever he gives me, I can handle.

Second, when again facing questions of relationships, reminding myself, God has plans for me far more than what I know or can conceive.

I remember my first meeting, drunk, hearing the word surrender. It was a lady from North Carolina. I thought, “lady, that civil war was 200 years ago and we are in Europe!”

But she was so right. All I can do is surrender. Surrender, myself, my fears, my short comings, my life. The gift of desperation leads to peace. If I turn it over.

How do you surrender? How do you trust? What does God’s care mean to you?

Thank you for letting me lead this week 🙂 Hugs, Nydia

Jan 08: Your Actions When No One is Watching

Your Actions When No One is Watching

Lynn, alcoholic here.

I read this in my Keep It Simple daily meditations and it really stuck a nerve. “We learn that even if we can get away with something, we can’t get away from ourselves” In my using days I spent all my time figuring out; how to be half drunk without my family knowing, how to get more alcohol without my husband knowing, where I could hide the booze so no one would know I was drinking, what different public trashcan I could throw my empties so no one at home would know. I was always looking for avenues to get away with my drinking because everyone else cared if I did, but I sure didn’t. I thought I was so smart, sneaking and scoring big when I pulled one over on people. I think you all know where I ended up with this thought process.

I thank my HP for leading me to my first AA meeting and my road to recovery. I worked the steps with everything in me and did everything they told me. It was a white knuckler most days and I stumbled but my HP got me back up. As time passed and I added up days of sobriety I noticed a change in myself as far as personal responsibility. I could sneak drinks and no one would notice but I would! I cared if I stumbled. I cared about how I would feel if I relapsed. Who was this and what the heck happened to the sneaky drunk that looked like me? Not only was I not drinking but I cared what I did and how I acted when no one else noticed. I cared. I had formed a responsibility to myself as well as my HP.

Ladies, how did you come to the point where you cared what you did even if no one else would know? Please share this or whatever you need to talk about today. The meeting is now yours. Have a sober and Happy New Year ladies!

Lynn H. DOS 9/30/96

Jan 1: Deep Breath, and Pause, Exhale, Deep Breath and Pause, Exhale, Deep Breath, Pause,….Exhale

Deep Breath, and Pause, Exhale, Deep Breath and Pause, Exhale, Deep Breath, Pause,….Exhale

My name is Laurie and I am a grateful recovering Alcoholic.

Today is the first day of a new year. Today is also the first day of the rest of your life.

Today I woke up sober, and happy, looking forward to the challenges, opportunities, joys that today will bring.

I have been tossing back and forth between acceptance and first step, but New Years Resolutions keep popping into my brain….SO… this seems particularly important when so many of us are making New Years Resolutions wanting our lives to be different.

My life certainly is different from the three pots of coffee hangovers I had on a daily basis. I was so out of balance and didn’t know how to care for myself when I came in the rooms. My sponsor has taught me that I have 5 areas to work with. Physical, Emotional, Social, Spiritual and Intellectual. That I need to put something in each account, each day.

I have found that if I am telling myself musts or that it’s work- I make things so much harder on myself. So I try to find things I enjoy, for example:

  • Physical – yoga, horseback riding, any type of physical exercise, sex
  • Emotional – I try to have a least one conversation a day when I am fully paying attention to the person and my feelings.
  • Social – I go to work, and a meeting 3 to 4 times a week, If I am home, I make an effort to call and talk to someone, just because I care.
  • Spiritual- For me, I pray, Meditate, but my horses are also a spiritual outlet, as sex can be too.
  • Intellectual- That’s’ Grow, and Meetings and YouTube and another group of Like minded Individuals that I have started attending meetings with. My brain is much happier stimulated. I am seldom bored.

This topic does tie in with ” our lives were unmanageable….. “were” being a past tense for many of us. There are so many tools to care of each of our five areas, I thought it might be interesting to hear how you care for each of these aspects of self, and any New Years Resolutions you may have, and how you are kind to yourself while learning to balance life.

Of course if there is anything you feel the need to share, please do… we are here to listen.

Happy New Years Ladies, May all your dreams come true. – Laurie 2-99