daily reflection: hitting bottom

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.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p, 24

Hitting bottom opened my mind and I became willing to try something different. What I tried was A.A. My new life in the Fellowship was a little like learning how to ride a bike for the first time: A.A. became my training wheels and my supporting hand. It’s not that I wanted the help so much at the time; I simply did not want to hurt like that again. My desire to avoid hitting bottom again was more powerful than my desire to drink. In the beginning that was what kept me sober. But after a while I found myself working the Steps to the best of my ability. I soon realized that my attitudes and actions were changing—if ever so slightly. One Day at a Time, I became comfortable with myself, and others, and my hurting started to heal. Thank God for the training wheels and supporting hand that I choose to call Alcoholics Anonymous.

daily reflection: an unsuspected inner resource

With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 567-68

From my first days in A.A., as I struggled for sobriety, I found hope in these words from our founders. I often pondered the phrase: “they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource.” How, I asked myself, can I find the Power within myself, since I am so powerless? In time, as the founders promised, it came to me: I have always had the choice between goodness and evil, between unselfishness and selfishness, between serenity and fear. That Power greater than myself is an original gift that I did not recognize until I achieved daily sobriety through living A.A.’s Twelve Steps.

repost of a repost by finding a sober miracle: keeping up appearances and drinking

From Finding a Sober Miracle, one of the consistently inspiring recovery blogs I purely admire, comes the revisiting of a very revealing issue… and a profound step forward in Shawna’s own healing.

I am reposting this blog about how important it was for me to look like I had it all together to the outside world, even while I was falling apart.

. . .

What happened next was tragic, like it always is with heavy drinking. And once the storm picked up steam, it was downright scary — like watching a car crash in slow motion. Divorce. Custody suits. Lawyers. Financial problems. Damaged children. Escalating drinking, to cope with the ruins of a life led by drink. I never knew it could get this bad. The truth burst like dam, flooding everything in sight, nearly drowning us all.

I have precious little to add to this, other than one just needs to go read the entire post. This is what this stuff does to lot of folks, eh?

via Keeping Up Appearances and Drinking

daily reflection: no regrets

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 83

Once I became sober, I began to see how wasteful my life had been and I experienced overwhelming guilt and feelings of regret. The program’s Fourth and Fifth Steps assisted me enormously in healing those troubling regrets. I learned that my self-centeredness and dishonesty stemmed largely from my drinking and that I drank because I was an alcoholic. Now I see how even my most distasteful past experiences can turn to gold because, as a sober alcoholic, I can share them to help my fellow alcoholics, particularly newcomers. Sober for several years in A.A., I no longer regret the past; I am simply grateful to be conscious of God’s love and of the help I can give to others in the Fellowship.

daily reflection: it doesn’t happen overnight

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

The most common alcoholic fantasy seems to be: “If I just don’t drink, everything will be all right.” Once the fog cleared for me, I saw—for the first time—the mess my life had become. I had family, work, financial and legal problems; I was hung up on old religious ideas; there were sides of my character to which I was inclined to stay blind because they easily could have convinced me that I was hopeless and pushed me toward escape again. The Big Book guided me in resolving all of my problems. But it didn’t happen overnight—and certainly not automatically—with no effort on my part. I need always to recognize God’s mercy and blessings that shine through any problem I have to face.

daily reflection: accepting our present circumstances

Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that unflattering point of departure.

This is an exercise in acceptance that we can profitably practice every day of our lives.Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 44

When I am having a difficult time accepting people, places or events, I turn to this passage and it relieves me of many an underlying fear regarding others, or situations life presents me. The thought allows me to be human and not perfect, and to regain my peace of mind.

daily reflection: the 100% step

Only Step One, where we made the 100 percent admission we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 68

Long before I was able to obtain sobriety in A.A., I knew without a doubt that alcohol was killing me, yet even with this knowledge, I was unable to stop drinking. So, when faced with Step One, I found it easy to admit that I lacked the power to not drink. But was my life unmanageable? Never! Five months after coming into A.A., I was drinking again and wondered why.

Later on, back in A.A. and smarting from my wounds, I learned that Step One is the only Step that can be taken 100%. And that the only way to take it 100% is to take 100% of the Step. That was many twenty-four hours ago and I haven’t had to take Step One again.

for radio friendly users: rock and recovery

Just to set the stage, here’s a fantastic 1985 blasto from the past: Little Steven Van Zandt and an incredible crowd of folks in a memorable song/vid to protest the former Apartheid Policy of South Africa. Keep your eyes out for Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons, Joey Ramone (RIP), Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed (RIP), Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela (RIP), Bono, Herbie Hancock, Jackson Browne… the list goes on and on. Check it out:

Go on. You know you want to watch the whole thing.

Here’s something really worth paying attention to: WAPS-FM is an Akron, OH radio station that specifically reaches out to people experiencing addiction, trauma and mental health issues. Centered in the the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous and the modern recovery movement – Rock and Recovery™ mixes music with stories and resources that will inspire and offer strength and hope to support each individual recovery journey

Rock and Recovery™ weaves “information capsules” – personal stories, anecdotes and real-time, modern intervention strategies – from professional health-care providers, recovering addicts and their families, artists, awesome musicians like Little Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen), Richie Furay (Poco, Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (Hollies, CSNY), Jorma Kaukonan (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), and James Young (Styx).

Listen for the ultra-personal My Recovery Rocks sound bytes and Rock and Recovery™ Minutes on air and online, and download the app here for full live interviews, through Recovery Talks! In addition to the dedicated streaming audio website and mobile app, the site also offers a fast-growing and active social media community on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, that means I’d have to actually be on Facebook — you know, have an account — and of course, I’d rather stick rusted forks in both my eyes than go back on fb. However, Twitter’s an okay thing, I think, and this site’s stuff goes to my own page there just as it’s posted here.

So… there we be. Rock and Recovery™ is a good place to settle in for a bit. Check it out and see how it works for you.

daily reflection: united we stand

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 30

I came to Alcoholics Anonymous because I was no longer able to control my drinking. It was either my wife’s complaining about my drinking, or maybe the sheriff forced me to go to A.A. meetings, or perhaps I knew, deep down inside, that I couldn’t drink like others, but I was unwilling to admit it because the alternative terrified me. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women united against a common, fatal disease. Each one of our lives is linked to every other, much like the survivors on a life raft at sea. If we all work together, we can get safely to shore.

has seasonal affective disorder, um… got you down?

It’s that magic time of the year in this part of the magical forest. Despite the incredibly mild — some would say, ‘non-existent’ — winter wonderland we’ve managed to enjoy so far this season, today marks the first truly ‘winter-like’ day we’ve had in Central Indiana since, oh… last year. Really.

I guess the strongest indicator was the temperature high today was an Arctic 24 degrees F  with snow flurries all day long. So it’s worth noting that along with the onset of genuine winter weather comes something even more grim that has a profound, bleak impact on those it overwhelms. I am, of course, referring to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Back in the eighties, SAD was officially recognized and categorized as a form of depression with an annual recurrence, a condition far more debilitating than your average “winter blues.” Today SAD is considered a diagnosable (and insurable) disorder. Treatment ranges from psychotherapy to antidepressants to light therapy — large boxes that look like tanning beds filled with lightbulbs for your face.

So… all that to say this: Victoria B. at 800 recovery hub blog has a brief, easy to read, but nevertheless superb overview of four steps to challenge and control SAD. Now that we are actually heading into winter, it pays to be equipped to deal with the Old Man with everything we have to bring to the table. So go read it. You’ll be more content that you did.