repost: love yourself now

via Shawna Rae at a sober miracle comes a post well-worth reading. Again. And again. Powerful, powerful stuff straight from the heart. She was in a dreadful place emotionally and psychologically, struggling, as she said, “…under the weight of guilt and shame because I had, once again, despite all of my resolve and great intentions, had too much to drink.” So she decided to punish herself by journaling.

As I lay on the bed, pouring my self-loathing onto the page, I suddenly felt the unmistakable presence of someone surrounding me with love … some wayward angel sent to comfort lost causes. But the feeling was powerful … much stronger than I’d felt before. The loving energy overwhelmed me, running through my mind and down into my hand holding the pen.

Love yourself now, the presence urged. I felt a wave of compassion wash over me, and I was overcome with the meaning behind the words.

In a heartfelt post on her highly subscribable blog, Shawna proceeds to expound on what it means to do that very thing. It’s a significant part of her healing, just as we can make it a part of ours. I’ll leave it to you to step over to Shawna’s place and take it all in.

daily reflection: protection for all

At the personal level, anonymity provides protection for all members from identification as alcoholics, a safeguard often of special importance to newcomers. At the level of press, radio, TV, and films, anonymity stresses the equality in the Fellowship of all members by putting the brake on those who might otherwise exploit their A.A. affiliation to achieve recognition, power, or personal gain.

— “UNDERSTANDING ANONYMITY,” p. 5

Attraction is the main force in the Fellowship of A.A. The miracle of continuous sobriety of alcoholics within A.A. confirms this fact every day. It would be harmful if the Fellowship promoted itself by publicizing, through the media of radio and TV, the sobriety of well-known public personalities who became members of A.A. If these personalities happened to have slips, outsiders would think our movement is not strong and they might question the veracity of the miracle of the century. Alcoholics Anonymous is not anonymous, but its members should be.

repost: my life and other sordid tales

Special thanks to Indianapolis blogger Christopher M Turner for this thought-provoking fable from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation: The Fox and the Stork.

serenity-prayer280

One evening the fox invited his friend the stork to dinner. For a joke, the fox prepared soup and served it in a shallow dish. The fox could easily lap up the soup. But the stork, with its long bill, went hungry. The fox gave the stork a sly grin and said, “I am so sorry. It seems as if the soup is not to your liking.”

“There is no need to apologize,” the stork replied. “I would like to repay your hospitality and invite you to dinner tomorrow night.”

The next evening, the stork served the fox a meal in a long-necked jar with a narrow mouth. The stork could easily reach into the jar and eat, but the fox could not and went hungry. “I will not apologize for the dinner,” the stork said. “because one bad turn deserves another.” After that, the fox and the stork were no longer friends.

The Moral of the story: Revenge may be sweet, but the damage it does cannot be repaired.

No matter how wronged you may feel by the words or actions of another, remember that revenge, retaliation, and harboring resentment serve no useful purpose.

I will let go of past resentments and consider no one to be my enemy.

You are reading from the book:

Morning Light

by Amy E. Dean © 2011 Hazelden Foundation

via Nov. 29, 2018 – Readings in Recovery: Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation — My life and other sordid tales

repost: stopping the negative thoughts

Ever had one of those circle one: (days) (weeks) (months) (years) — and I know you know what I mean here — where everything just majorly sucked? Katie at How I Killed Betty! walks through the basics of stopping those relentless negative thoughts that tend to. Drag. Us. Down.

Do you have a habit of thinking about something vaguely depressing or negative (usually about the past) that within minutes can be blown out of all proportion? And one’s musings seem to slide downwards into the dark murky waters of depression? Well, in the wonderful world of CBT* there is a name for this:

Rumination.

Easy, encouraging read with interesting, doable points. Definitely worth bookmarking. Because it’s not for you, right? It’s just that you know someone who definitely would benefit from reading this. Of course.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

repost: time flies when you’re anxious and self-medicated

Outstanding post from one of my regular reads that brings back some old, yet still quite memorable moments in time. I hardly know where to begin. Joy and I have hit some amazing resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico: the Dominican Republic (2x), Costa Rica, and both Mexican coasts (4x) have left indelible imprints in what is left of my memory cells. That being said…

It was on our Feb. 27th, 2010, flight home from my weeklong 60th birthday party at the Moon Palace in Punta Cana that we had a conversation as to whether we may have an alcohol problem. Gotta start somewhere, right? BTW, just for the record, in every photo in that particular photo album, no matter where I am or what I’m doing or what time of day or night, I have a serious drink in my hand. Which is probably why precisely one month later I introduced myself at a meeting Club East and said, “My name is Greg and I’m an alcoholic.”

So for that reason, I love what time flies… says about dealing with crises in a sober life on life’s sober terms. The following is one example of several in a very profound entry, so go read the whole thing.

The first took me by surprise almost immediately upon arriving in Mazatlan.  My parents and their friends were out of control!  I’m talking folks in their 70s  (in varying degrees of physical shape and general health) being so drunk they were stumbling and falling down on cobblestone streets and around a pool.  I felt like I was babysitting, and it really pissed me off!

  See what I mean? Good stuff.

daily reflection: active guardians

To us, however, it represents far more than a sound public relations policy. It is more than a denial of self-seeking. This Tradition is a constant and practical reminder that personal ambition has no place in A.A. In it, each member becomes an active guardian of our Fellowship.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 183

The basic concept of humility is expressed in the Eleventh Tradition: it allows me to participate completely in the program in such a simple, yet profound, manner; it fulfills my need to be an integral part of a significant whole. Humility brings me closer to the actual spirit of togetherness and oneness, without which I could not stay sober. In remembering that every member is an example of sobriety, each one living the Eleventh Tradition, I am able to experience freedom because each one of us is anonymous.

daily reflection: attraction, not promotion

Through many painful experiences, we think we have arrived at what that policy ought to be. It is the opposite in many ways of usual promotional practice. We found that we had to rely upon the principle of attraction rather than of promotion.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 180-81

While I was drinking I reacted with anger, self-pity and defiance against anyone who wanted to change me. All I wanted then was to be accepted by another human simply as I was and, curiously, that is what I found in A.A. I became the custodian of this concept of attraction, which is the principle of our Fellowship’s public relations. It is by attraction that I can best reach the alcoholic who still suffers.

I thank God for having given me the attraction of a well-planned and established program of Steps and Traditions. Through humility and the support of my fellow sober members, I have been able to practice the A.A. way of life through attraction, not promotion.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

daily reflection: the perils of the limelight

In the beginning, the press could not understand our refusal of all personal publicity. They were genuinely baffled by our insistence upon anonymity. Then they got the point. Here was something rare in the world—a society which said it wished to publicize its principles and its work, but not its individual members. The press was delighted with this attitude. Ever since, these friends have reported A.A. with an enthusiasm which the most ardent members would find hard to match.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 182

It is essential for my personal survival and that of the Fellowship that I not use A.A. to put myself in the limelight. Anonymity is a way for me to work on my humility. Since pride is one of my most dangerous shortcomings, practicing humility is one of the best ways to overcome it. The Fellowship of A.A. gains worldwide recognition by its various methods of publicizing its principles and its work, not by its individual members advertising themselves. The attraction created by my changing attitudes and my altruism contributes much more to the welfare of A.A. than self-promotion.

repost: life is a struggle. really.

From functioningguzzler (one word), one of my favorite bloggers in this messed up world we all share, comes a heartfelt, no-holds-barred glimpse into settling for life one day at a time.

Previously I would of got myself drunk in an attempt to numb it out but then would of had to also go through the period of oh poor little me until I would reach the point that I would be able to pass out and just not think at all. Now I can be sad and not complicate it further by drinking and feeling like crap on top of feeling sad.

See what I mean? Those two sentences in the same ‘graph are enough for a lot of people I know to quit drinking. Right. Now.

But go read it. Won’t take but a couple of minutes… unless you do what I did and camp out on the closing ‘graph for a while.

repost: ten times filtered

Via Anna at Storm in a Wine Glass comes one of life’s hair-shirt adventures most — if not all — of us have lived through at least once. This one was played out by her “normal teenager” son Bambino. It’s fair to say that, for Anna, the dèjá vu was pretty freaking overwhelming:

I was once a teenager too. I knew this was coming. I was roughly Bambino’s age the first time I chugged vodka from a bottle a friend and I had nicked from her parents (and later filled up with water). So it’s not like I was going around thinking Bambino is some little angel who will only taste alcohol once he is of legal age. Hah! That’s a lie. I didn’t see this coming. I did and I didn’t. I think I just didn’t see it happening this way, so brazenly and violently right in front of me. I feel so stupid I can’t even begin to tell you. But I can tell you how my heart was breaking when I last night checked in on Bambino before bedtime and tried to ask him if he’d felt like he couldn’t stop once he started. It was a stupid thing to ask and I don’t know what answer I expected. I got all this so very wrong.

Although Joy and I have three dogs and no kids, I feel it’s insightful of me to add that I used to be a kid and, like most of the folks around me the last 8½ years, I got my alcohol-based training wheels off at an early age due to family environment. No wonder Anna’s concerned, to say the very least.

Read the whole thing. She does a terrific job of parsing out her heart on the situation and weighing truth against her beliefs.

 

daily reflection: the hazards of publicity

People who symbolize causes and ideas fill a deep human need. We of A.A. do not question that. But we do have to soberly face the fact that being in the public eye is hazardous, especially for us.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 181

As a recovered alcoholic I must make an effort to put into practice the principles of the A.A. program, which are founded on honesty, truth and humility. While I was drinking I was constantly trying to be in the limelight. Now that I am conscious of my mistakes and of my former lack of integrity, it would not be honest to seek prestige, even for the justifiable purpose of promoting the A.A. message of recovery. Is the publicity that centers around the A.A. Fellowship and the miracles it produces not worth much more? Why not let the people around us appreciate by themselves the changes that A.A. has brought in us, for that will be a far better recommendation for the Fellowship than any I could make.

daily reflection: a powerful tradition

In the years before the publication of the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous,” we had no name. . . . By a narrow majority the verdict was for naming our book “The Way Out.” . . . One of our early lone members . . . found exactly twelve books already titled “The Way Out.”. . . So “Alcoholics Anonymous” became first choice. That’s how we got a name for our book of experience, a name for our movement and, as we are now beginning to see, a tradition of the greatest spiritual import.

— “A.A. TRADITION: HOW IT DEVELOPED,” pp. 35-36

Beginning with Bill’s momentous decision in Akron to make a telephone call rather than a visit to the hotel bar, how often has a Higher Power made itself felt at crucial moments in our history! The eventual importance that the principle of anonymity would acquire was but dimly perceived, if at all, in those early days. There seems to have been an element of chance even in the choice of a name for our Fellowship.

God is no stranger to anonymity and often appears in human affairs in the guises of “luck,” “chance,” or “coincidence.” If anonymity, somewhat fortuitously, became the spiritual basis for all of our Traditions, perhaps God was acting anonymously on our behalf.

daily reflection: a universal search

Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87

I do not claim to have all the answers in spiritual matters, any more than I claim to have all the answers about alcoholism. There are others who are also engaged in a spiritual search. If I keep an open mind about what others have to say, I have much to gain. My sobriety is greatly enriched, and my practice of the Eleventh Step more fruitful, when I use both the literature and practices of my Judeo-Christian tradition, and the resources of other religions. Thus, I receive support from many sources in staying away from the first drink.