Sep 22

Walking Through the New Life…One Step at a Time

…click the link below to visit the website I mentioned on speaker tapes…

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Sep 16

New YouTube Vlog Channel…

…below is the link to have the Richard Rohr daily devotional sent to your email inbox…
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Aug 28

Provisional Guideline Continuance as a Collection for Building Humility

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the higher power conception was not an easy thing for me to accept…growing up in an atheist household, the influence of a God figure wasn’t at the forefront of my teaching, as a child…that didn’t leave my mother with a poor raising…she did tell me the differences between right and wrong…to treat everyone as i would want to be treated…thinking of what i can do for others, before doing for myself…aside from religious learning, she was a fabulous spiritual teacher…and she never pushed or instructed me on her own personal beliefs…in fact, once a neighbor of ours invited to take me to their church…and she hadn’t any problem allowing me to go

that being said, my personal beliefs have always been surrounded by visual and physical proofs…my hardest time with the God concept is the not hearing Him from the clouds…or seeing Him in person…that was the toughest part for me to grasp…so, when approached with the solution to my drug/alcohol problem (as directed in the 12 steps) belief in a Higher Power became a stumbling block…in the beginning

provisional – arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed later

when sitting down with my sponsor to go over Step 2, he asked me to give him my own ideas of what the God idea is …given my need for proof of this existence, i merely looked into nature…here are the building blocks to life as we know it…on this planet, materials, organisms and all other sorts of matter are built upon pyramids…specifically, there are charts labeling food and creatures in an order…certain animals need particular substances for reason to survive…every thing on this planet has a purpose…i couldn’t see any accidents surrounding me…and they all appeared too creative for mentioning mistake…flowers had such color and vibrance…birds carried beautiful song and ornate patterns in their feathers…fruits grew from trees for eating…or from the ground, surrounded by complex design features…i just couldn’t see this as being a molecular cataclysm in space through a giant Big Bang…it all seemed too reasonable than that

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recently, i’ve had more thoughts on the concept of God…a couple of meetings i’ve attended have involved discussion on will…selfishness is definitely the root of my problems…alcohol and drugs were merely antidotes…these were what i used to overcome difficulty…for the longest time, i felt this was my own personal preference…that no one needed bother me about my use…it had nothing to do with them…this was my decision…however, from the outside my behavior went into a deep cauldron…and i was the only one who refused to see it, or admit to it…in fact, i was the last person to realize that addiction had taken over

as in nature, humans are the only ones running upon self-will…all other animals and creatures upon this earth fit their purposes in life…their thoughts and actions are used and taken to preserve their own lives…but with humans, we straggle with a multitude of ideas…thoughts…emotions…feelings…movements…and when finally taken by a disease such as alcoholism/drug addiction, we haven’t the power to change and go back…we need something other than human to help…this begins with turning our own will and life over to God…but, what is God’s will for us?…how is that a light offering to take with utmost assurance?

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i hear God’s messages through the people about me…this is why meetings are so important…it is a fellowship with people who have gone through similar turmoil…and survived…without taking a drink…or a drug…and they tell me how they’ve done it…but, words are not my only source of will from a Higher Power…a book with instructions can only take me so far…i have to participate in the action…which brought me to the Trinity…Service…Unity…Recovery…God’s will is the result of events taking in place in my life…it is the problems i face…and i look to those i trust for assistance in what i should do next…i don’t think anything happens by mistake in this world any longer…i have to take what i have learned from those that care deeply about me…and want me to succeed…and go forth by making good deeds…problems do not solve by themselves…i must go forth by doing the right things…instead of the wrong ones that have only benefitted me in the horrible past…life goes on…good and bad…it is only in how handling it the sober way that a new life begins and continues…i no longer have to go it alone…taking inventory will show how much a mess i have made by myself…if i could have taken it by myself…i never would have gone a foot inside the doors of our 12 step fellowship

Jun 04

Cessation of a Highly Strained, Abnormal Condition

IMG_0010the above passage came from page 123 in the AA BB…it’s been on my mind lately, the drastic changes in my life due to the accident i suffered from last year…it’s been a rough time, and a lot has been altered in my life…but, it’s clear to me now that the solutions are the same…it’s just in how often, repeated and fervently i pursue these answers that clear directions are offered to me…i spent too much effort in running my own life before, keeping certain things to myself, instead of being completely honest with those closest to me…had i not of had the accident that completely changed my life, it probably would have only been a matter of time before something else had taken over…i’m confident of that now

this blog page used to be a huge part of my life before…i became the host of an online radio show once a week because of it…for 5 years this was a way for me to carry the message of 12 step recovery, and share my experience and others with the internet…that stopped abruptly before and after the accident…i have grown back into it, but slowly, as if from the beginning…i know i don’t post blogs much on here…maybe once or twice a month…however, it is important to me that these pieces hold value…i’d rather not submit writings that are half-assed, or hold hardly a weight…i put it off until i have something solid for me to say and talk about…i really miss doing the blogtalkradio show…but, that is not possible for me now…it may return in the future, but i have much more to depend on at this moment…my service work is placed on a much closer, personal plane…so much is going on, i have to stick to what is vital to my recovery and everyday living…i’ve thought about the vlogs…i used to post video messages on myspace, in 2008, when HMR first was created…that may return soon…it is still of importance for me to keep everything on a even keel…i don’t want to place anything in jeopardy for me and others that are involved in my well-being

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all that being said, fellowship has been a principle i’ve encountered in sharing, and conversation with people in the program lately…to the left are the doors opening for the meeting i’m a member of…the top of those circles beneath the word House is the AA symbol…it’s like a triad…a triathlon of the Three Legacies in the program:  Unity…Service…Recovery…this circle and triangle design has been around for ages…“priests and seers of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing in the triangle as a means of warding off spirits of evil”Bill W. speech 1955…as far as i understand it, Recovery is the practice of the steps…Service is the committal of self to helping others in sobriety…and Unity is the fellowship part…unifying oneself to the group of drunks who are following the direction of the 12 steps to stay sober themselves…this is the key  part of me being part of a home group, a meeting i spend most of my time at…there are other groups i visit, but the Yellow House is where the majority of my meeting time is spent…it is where i get to know people, and people get to know me…it’s where i devote my actions to service work…chairing meetings…manning the coffee bar…introducing newcomers to the program…i’ve been going to this place for twenty years now, and there are some members there that i remember from my first meeting…it’s great that they are still a big part of the place, and keeps my hopes up for a better future

i ran into my first sponsor last weekend at a baseball game…hadn’t seen him in over ten years…it was so good to exchange phone numbers and get caught up in a long talk a couple of days later…after telling him about my present problems and how i’ve done in combatting them, he said, “Oliver…meetings will not keep you sober”…and i agree…meetings alone…meetings themselves are not the solution to treating alcoholism and drug addiction…they are merely a means for spreading the word of what the program has done for it’s members…but, the meeting place itself is the fiber…the backbone of our society…where we come together to greet one another to combine our experiences and pass on what has worked for us in sobriety…without this central marketplace, we might never have been joined as we are now…i need a central venue to go when my problems become to much for me to handle…when i want to drink or use or do something else horrible and destructive to myself and loved ones who care for me, i need the meeting place as a hub for meeting with others like me…it is essential to my recovery…but, it isn’t the exact means for keeping me sober…that depends upon my relations with a Higher Power and committing effort into completing the 12 step process…this is an activity i must continue throughout my lifetime…for alcoholism and drug addiction are a chronic disease…and progressive…meaning it gets worse and never better…this program is the only means i have seen to fully arrest it so that i may continue with a productive and useful life

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these are images i found posted on a recovery page at Facebook that i thought i should share..the internet has been a great place for meto share in the message of 12 step recovery…i’ve just been very careful about how i’ve gone about doing it…doing my best to avoid breaking anonymity…it’s why i’ve chosen Half Measures Room as my name, and used the golden revolving door as a default icon…although, just as my first sponsor had said, so i feel the same way about social web activity…it will not keep me sober…i must use the Steps in the real world in order to fight my ever-ending disease…this is why i’ve spent so much time away from this page as i used to spend…there is so much more for me to do outside my computer…i have a job…a wife…kids…school…friends…sponsor…family…it’s all critical for me to keep a close contact with if i want my life to change for the better

 

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staying sober has never been easy for me…but it is simple…clean house…trust God…and help others…doing what i must to remove my selfishness is what has removed the inferior feelings and thoughts that plague my psyche and lead to more drinking and drugging…when i’ve placed myself in a position to be of help to others, whether they are in the program, or not…this is what has created the pure usefulness for my life…and i’m not in a place of sponsorship right now…however, there are plenty of other things i can do the carry the message, for those that honestly want it…i read from devotionals daily, and send photos of those to a couple of friends i have that are dealing with sobriety like i am…when something really catches our eye in what we are confronted with currently, we talk about it amongst one another…like i had friends whom i drank and got high with…so i have pals who stay sober that i relate to on a consistent basis…sobriety is something i can never face alone…it is much the opposite of how i was when getting loaded…and much easier when sharing it with like-minded individuals

May 04

A Lifetime of Spiritual Serenity Built by the Roots of Reality

IMG_0007this quote came from the April 22nd devotional of the AA book Daily Reflections, as did the title for this blog…it touched a lot of what I’m going through right now, so i thought i would include it in my writing…devotionals are something i’ve included in my morning meditation and prayer…i will read from this book and the Hazelden 24-Hours A Day…then take photo’s of the pages and send them to my sponsor, and another guy who has about the same time as i do…it’s a great way to start my day…not only do i get an inspirational read and helpful advice on my recovery, but also given the chance to share a message to those that suffer from the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction like i do

I also chair meetings as a way to commit myself to service work…the meetings i’m chairing right now are the book study’s…this is the best way for me to chair right now, because i don’t have to come up with a topic off the top of my head every week…it’s been hard enough for me to get back into my blogging…that’s why i’ve only posted like one or two a month…i wait until i have something to say before diving into carrying a message i’ve learned…since my head trauma accident a lot has changed in my attitude, perception and personality…i haven’t come a completely different person, but some significant changes have occurred…my memory isn’t as good as it used to be…i see things and express emotions quickly over them…learning has become quite a tool for me…i started back at school over a month ago, and it isn’t as easy as it used to be…i’m having to study more, spend more time doing assignments…what has helped me most is placing my dependence upon others that love and care about me…that also means my Higher Power…i can’t make many wise decisions on my own…i’ve found that out the hard way…i must disclose my ideas to those of most help to me first before taking any actions that will affect me or othersIMG_0006

in one of the Big Book studies i chaired we had read all the way through A Vision For You, which is pretty much the last chapter in the book…so, i asked the members if it was okay to read a story in the back…the day before I had been talking to a friend of mine who has been sober a long time about the stories…i haven’t read too many of them over the years…i’ve always stuck to the main textbook, that has all the instructions on how to work the program and stay sober…the stories in the back are important, however…they have changed over the years…new ones being added and old ones removed…but, you can buy all the stories that used to be in there in a book that AA publishes now

the most important thing i understand about sober alcoholic stories is telling people what it was like when drinking, what happened when they decided to stop, and what it’s like now that they have stopped…this is why we have speaker meetings at our groups regularly…the members at my book study were okay with us reading a story from the back, so i flipped open the title page and pointed out the first one that caught my eye…it’s titled Student of Life, and starts on page 319 in the 4th edition, if you want to read it yourself…to tell you the truth, i couldn’t really relate to the story that well…her folks did not drink…my family is full of drinkers, all of which aren’t in the program…she didn’t hit low bottoms like i did…and she didn’t start drinking until she was 18 years old…by then, i had already gone to jail because of my problem…i started drinking when i was 10 years old

what caught me most in her story were the similarities…we both had a lot of the same problems with our drinking habits…for the longest time she didn’t see a need to stop, but she wanted her management with life to change…i could totally identify with that…she also found the program similar to how i did…through another sober alcoholic in the program…i had been to three different treatment centers, which gave me some information on alcoholism and drug addiction, but nothing that would stick to me right away…it wasn’t until a member of AA came to me and told me some of his own story, then read stuff out of the BB to me…that’s when it clicked…this man was just like me…what i have is a disease…and no treatment center or individual person could stop it for me…i had to have God’s help

this is what led me into the program…working with others like me is how i’ve able to understand my problems and find solutions for them…my Higher Power works through these people…and i didn’t have a relationship with God until i came into the rooms

“I was so certain I had found the answer in alcohol.  I could clearly see now that had been a lie.” - p. 326 AA BB

the best definition for insanity i have heard came from my Sunday School class in church…insanity is believing a lie is the truth…honesty…open-mindedness…willingness…these are the keys to success in our sobriety program…without these tools, the 12 steps mean nothing…for the longest time i relied upon myself, my own intuition to lead me through life…the more i drank, the more this developed into a life of lies…i’ve never been one to appreciate what other people say about me…neither have i been one to take another persons advice on how to live my life…until i became completely hopeless and defeated…sitting in jail, awaiting movement to prison…that is what was the end for me…i could see no other way out…no human could have saved me from that abyss…it had to be a Higher Power…one that i found in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous…it is the similarities in other sober drunks and druggies that i need to look for…not the differences…although some peoples stories and statements in meetings may get on my nerves…i may think they are full of shit, or not working a solid program themselves…that doesn’t matter…i need to disregard that thought and look for the similar characteristics in them…we are pretty much all in the rooms for the same reasons, and suffer from the same disease…during that moment of silence before the serenity prayer at the beginning of a meeting, i spend that time asking my Higher Power to ‘remove my judgements against other people so i can hear the message’…i’ve never heard God’s voice and direction from the clouds above me in heaven…they have always come from people here that walk the Earth

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Apr 13

Not allowing special convictions or prejudices

“Surely, we can be grateful for every agency or method that tries to solve the problem of alcoholism – whether of medicine, religion, education, or research.  We can be open-minded toward all such efforts, and we can be sympathetic when the ill-advised ones fail.” - (AA pamphlet) Let’s Be Friendly With Our Friends

IMG_0001after about a month of sobriety, my sponsor suggested i begin picking up some sort of service work at my home group…so, i decided to start with the coffee bar…it’s a very easy way getting to know people…making people coffee, water, or other snacks helped in talking to members I hadn’t really spoken with yet…occasionally a particular question would arise, on meetings or AA itself…this gave me the opportunity to direct them towards our pamphlets, or other postings about meetings and groups in the area that would help meet their needs…also, i would be answering the phone, giving callers directions to the group, or info about when meetings were held

once having the suggested sobriety time, at ninety days i began work as a chairperson…chairing literature meetings is my favorite, because i don’t have to come up with a topic for people to share on…we read from the book and stick to the material presented there…it’s also an excellent way to introduce those to our textbooks that provide instructions on how to work the steps…very easy thing to do, chairing meetings…all of the directions on how to do so are printed inside the folder on the desk…reading from our texts is helpful in leading the meeting, because of my experience as an alcoholic/drug addict…so much in our literature i can liken myself to, and identify with

something that bothered me though, is that certain members who talked shared anger and frustration with certain medical, legal and religious entities that had dealt (or mis-dealt) their problems with booze and drugs…it doesn’t happen a whole lot, but occasionally someone will gripe about people and organizations that tried to help them solve their alcohol/dope addictions, but failed…they would talk about how AA had been the only solution they had found, and that these other places didn’t know the extent of their disease, or how to fix it right

“We are glad of any kind of education that accurately informs the public and changes its age-old attitude toward the drunk.  More and more, we regard all who labor in the total field of alcoholism as our companions on a march from darkness into light.  We see that we can accomplish together what we could never accomplish in separation and rivalry.” - (AA pamphlet) Let’s Be Friendly With Our Friends

what some may not know or realize about our fellowship, is that it all started with medical, religious and psychiatric help…Roland Hazard (the man who helped Ebby Thatcher get sober) got his first advice on his disease of alcoholism from the great psychiatrist Carl Jung…Dr. Jung’s methodology included spiritual means of combatting traumas in the mind…Hazard went on to join the Oxford Group, a religious ministry with 4 Absolutes on treating alcoholics…this is the basis of the principles behind the 12 Steps of AA

IMG_0002Ebby Thatcher went on to carry this message to Bill Wilson…Wilson had been in and out of Townes Hospital, where William D. Silkworth M.D. worked…his discovery of alcoholism as a disease had a huge impact on Bill, but knew that he hadn’t the power to grant Mr. Wilson any sobriety…as in the Big Book chapter, The Doctor’s Opinion, Dr. Silkworth writes, “It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated.  The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.” 

i have had my own issues with doctor’s, psychiatrist’s, and religious folk…the first drug treatment center i went to was ran primarily by counselors educated in the field of addiction…i remember getting information on the disease, and how it effects the mind…however, i do not recall getting solid suggestions on tackling the problem…a former patient came to visit one day, and read me my first sight of the AA Big Book to me…what i heard sparked a lot of interest in me…i could easily relate to the passages shared

later on i was placed in another treatment program…this one was ran by primarily sober alcoholics and addicts…the material we covered in class was centered around the 12 step program…it was much easier to understand and identify what they were attempting to convey to me…although, i’m sure they also had been educated and licensed in addiction treatment

being raised by a mother who is athiest, i didn’t grow up attending church…my mom is a very spiritual woman, however…she has always taught and lead me towards positive, right-and-wrong, and selfless directions in my life…never has she directed me to accept her beliefs of the world…in fact, when i was about six years old, some neighbors of ours invited to take me to their church…my mother was fine with that, and encouraged me to go…that was my first made impression with religion as a belief of life

IMG_0003coming into the program, i did have some conflict with the spiritual angle of the Steps…it wasn’t easy for me to conceive of my own conception of God, or a Higher Power…my sponsor did the best he could at mediating me through it…being someone who could only perceive with things i could touch, see and feel…i started with nature…never could i imagine this planet and it’s inhabitants as one giant mistake, like the Big Bang Theory…with the colorful and ornate designs of plants…beautiful songs of birds…explicit tastes and handling of vegetables, or fruits…it all seemed like such a specific creation, serving particular purpose for us humans (who have quite elaborate features and elaborations in their bodies themselves)

listening to others who have grown up in a religious household share in meetings, i have found they have had much more difficulty accepting the spiritual nature of the 12 step program…i think it must have to do with the way they were raised…being told they were going to hell, or were damned because of their actions…i think this is why they AA Big Book is mostly filled with simple and generic references to HP’s, and not composed of mostly Christian values…the founders of the 12 Step program wanted to include everyone into the fellowship…whether they were Jews, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims or athiests

much more can be said about this matter than i have written in this blog…but, i think this is a good place to stop…i wanted to go on more about the medical contributors to the answers of alcoholism and drug addiction…before stopping here, i must say that i am also stricken with another chronic/progressive illness…Crohn’s disease is also something that doctors do not have all the answers to…but, i have been given a lot of good help from a team of GI professionals in treating it…also, i have looked into other natural vitamins and foods to assist in my remission from Crohn’s…it’s been best for me to find alternatives and suggestions that have helped others with the same problem, and not stand in denial or refute over that i deem unacceptable

staying sober through working the steps has always began with my honesty and open-mindedness…it’s never been easy, and i still have problems with these primary traits in successful members of the program…something i stay strong in my morning prayers (and even during the moments of silence at the beginning of meetings) is asking God to remove my judgements against others, so that i can hear His message through them…as a human, i’ve never heard the voice of God coming down from the clouds above in heaven…but, what i have heard that has caught my utmost attention, is that from other people who walk this earth…that is where i think the speech of my Higher Power comes from on this planet

 

Mar 12

Severing connections with the material world

“I wish to hold communion with the Great Spirit of the universe.  I have to hush my mind and bid all my senses be still, before I can become attuned to receive the music of the heavenly spheres.” - March 10, Hazelden’s Twenty-Four Hours A Day devotional bookBill & Bob wall

in early sobriety again, things have gotten quite full…i’m back at work full-time…started school again…part-time dad on weekends…still make as many meetings as i can…now putting in service work at my home group…keeping in touch with this page isn’t so hard…i check in a few times a week to check emails, comments and visitations…however, writing the blog is not something that comes to me very easy, yet…i want to make sure i have enough experience to pass on with the message that holds the program true for those of us that struggle with staying sober and practicing the 12 step program

my mornings in the previous period of staying sober were very quick…i was always someone who woke up, got dressed, and left the house within fifteen minutes to head on to work…this eventually led to me hitting my knees and reciting the 3rd and 7th step prayers…but, i still left out in quite the hurry…this all has had to change this time around…my sponsor encouraged me to invite meditation into the beginning of my day…so now i wake up an hour earlier…read my devotionals…invite instrumental music into my quiet mediation time…then go into prayer duties…only asking God for removal of my character defects…never asking for anything else for myself, except directions on how to live my life, and help others that are struggling with theirs

the meditation was a mystery to me, at first…the Higher Power concept of this program has always been a difficult and foggy thing for me to comprehend and integrate into my living…at first i thought that meditation meant inviting God’s instructions, or messages sent directly to me…so, i kept waiting to hear His voice and lines of directions from above…although, i am not Moses…i never have (nor probably ever will) heard the voice of my Higher Power…after speaking with members of my home group about this, i was told that meditation is actually a quiet time reserved to release and get rid of the horrible, destructive thoughts and feelings that plague my mind on a daily basis…even if it only stands for a few minutes at a time, meditation is spent in quietness, asking God to silence my mind…this is why the music is good for me in doing this…i am more focused on the instruments, percussion beats, and altering tones presented to me in that fashion

since alcoholism and drug addiction center primarily in the mind, these actions for preparing myself for the day at the start in my mornings is ideal…i leave the house in better serenity and a brighter outlook for what is ahead…what is next for me is to spend more time throughout my day for a conscious contact with my HP…so many occasions arise that bring out the negative responses engraved in my mind…i still have trouble in accepting difficulties, especially when it comes to others involved in this life…it is so easy for me to make judgements…and what i’ve come to realize…what is so hard for me to come to when facing adversity with different people…is the fact that not only do i not have the power to change myself…i haven’t the ability to change othersAA mirror (2)

“In the past I had always blamed others, either God or other people, for my circumstances.  I never felt that I had a choice in altering my life.  My decisions had been based on fear, pride, or ego.  As a result, those decisions led me down a path of self-destruction.” – p.78 AA Daily Reflections

at a time in High School i was deserted by some of my friends…grunge and alternative music had become very popular, and these buddies of mine ditched me constantly to go to concerts, not inviting me along…i had become introduced to a guy named Chad, and we became very close…he understood what i was going through, because he was experiencing much the same thing from the same people…we banded together and decided to create our own club of popularity

it was at this period in my life that drugs and alcohol had become a very important part in my being…Chad and i used very hard together…but, being the kind of person i was becoming, my usage and abuse took it’s own toll on our relationship…a couple of instances sparked anger and disgust in Chad over my behaviors…after a few months of this unsavory activity, Chad had enough and left me to my own devices…it was a hard blow for me to realize, but i kept on the way i was going…dope and booze were just more important to me that true friendship

recently Chad had a severe heart attack…this landed him in the hospital, awaiting an important, yet very serious surgical operation…although, because of his condition, Chad accumulated illness, including pneumonia…a tube was inserted into his throat, down into his lungs, and Chad was put to sleep for a few days…it was over last weekend that i chose to drive out of town to go and visit him…i hadn’t seen Chad since High School, although we have been active with each others profiles on facebook

the next morning after leaving the hotel, my wife and i visited Chad in the hospital…and he was awake!…the doctors had decided to have the tube removed because he was getting better…he wasn’t able to talk to me yet, but heard everything i had to say to him…i thanked Chad for his devotion to me as a teenager…and what it really meant to me today that he had no other choice but to leave, due to the disease of drug addiction and alcoholism…although it didn’t cause me to want to stop at the time…i did have thoughts of my problems with getting high because of the effects it was having on my personal life and actions

after seeing Chad, my wife and i went to a meeting in Sherman, TX…this is where the photos i have posted in this blog have come from…after the meeting we started back home, driving through the countryside, aiming to make a day of the trip back…i had come to a stop on this highway, for a line of cars were waiting for someone to turn…i looked up into my rearview mirror, and suddenly i saw a truck barrelling down the road at me from behind…immediately i started to move, and turn my wheel to the right and get out of the way…but, it was too late…the Chevy Suburban slammed into me, probably going near 50 mph…it smashed the trunk of my Volvo into the backseat, and spun us around, sliding down the ditch on the side of the road

thank God we weren’t severely hurt…i’m pretty sure my car is totaled, but my wife and i are okay…Chad’s wife felt really bad about the accident…that we had driven so far to see her husband, and now lost our vehicle in a car crash on the way home…it didn’t bother me one bit…i told her i did not even regret making the long trip to see a good friend of mine, who is partly responsible for my own sobriety…i said to Chad’s wife, “vehicles can be replaced…you cannot replace the meaningful relationship between two people that sparked importance in each others lives”AA stones

Feb 21

Faith Alone is Insufficient…

“To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.” - p. 93 AA BB

 

starting over in sobriety again i have had to approach things differently…my sponsor first asked to give some of my morning devotional time to meditation…this has made me wake up earlier before going to work, which is good…i read from the ‘Daily Reflections’ AA book, and the Hazelden ’24-Hours A Day’…these are great additions to directing my mind toward the program at the beginning of the day…meditation has been tougher for me…listening to music from my iPhone is helping with that…i have found some instrumental songs to hear, from such bands like ‘Explosions In The Sky’ and ‘God Is An Astronaut’…it gives 5-10 minutes to silence my mind…at first i thought i would begin to hear my Higher Powers directions, but that hasn’t happened yet…after sharing with others at my home group about this, i have been told that meditation is more devoted to silencing the mind from all destructive thought, which has been helpful…after the meditation and devotional, i pray the 3rd and 7th step prayers…then ask for removal of my obsessions and desires…and direct my thinking towards how i can be of service to others

 

there are many in my life that struggle with sobriety…i have known alot of them for years, and include them in my prayers in the morning…trying not to be so specific in my requests (seeing as i don’t know what is the best job for God to do) i simply ask Him to give directions to those willing enough to look to their HP for help…an issue that has been a big problem for me lately is having the knowledge that not only can i not change myself, but i haven’t the power to change others, either…this has been difficult for me to swallow…but the truth is, if i have taken the First Step 100%, this idea should not be a hard one to understand…this may have to do with the fact that when i see the wrongs in others it hurts me, because i see the things that i have within myself, as well…my mornings are spent well in asking God to remove my selfishness, so that i can be of better service to others who need my help

 

“You will be most successful with alcoholics if you do not exhibit any passion for crusade or reform.  Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection.  Show him how they worked with you.  Offer him friendship and fellowship.  Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help.” – p. 95 AA BB

 

after getting about a month of sobriety this time, my sponsor asked me to begin adding service to my program…at first i started working the coffee bar…i signed up to do this once a week, and to this day if the bar needs cleaning after a meeting, i do that also…or, if noone is working the bar, and coffee needs to be brewed before the meeting, i do that…now that i have over 90 days sober, i have begun chairing meetings…the day of the week i have chosen to do that is for a Big Book study…i love literature meetings, because we get to read through the instructions and share our own experience, strength and hope with that, instead of focusing on one particular topic of discussion

 

recently we have begun reading through ‘Working With Others’, which is the chapter completely devoted to the 12 step work with other alcoholics…i am not in a place to sponsor yet, but i do not see where i cannot be of help…someone with a few days without a drink has an easier time listening to a person with a few more days, weeks or even months…sponsors are detrimental to 12 step sobriety, i believe…but, it also important to find a group of fellows who share in the same amount of sobriety as i do…it is sometimes easier to watch what others go through who have the same time, than someone with many years who may not have walked through it since the beginning of their own sobriety

 

Christmas night this year my wife and i went to eat dinner before going to a meeting to pick up our sixty day chips…i received a phone call from a friend of mine who was drunk and contemplated committing suicide…i told him to hold on, that we were coming over to take him to the meeting with us…since i’m still early in sobriety, this isn’t something i would have been comfortable with doing alone…i have to take someone in the program with me…i’ve never been on a 12-step call before, and neither has my wife…my friend wanted help cleaning his room…empty beer cans and vodka bottles everywhere…he was crying and asking for help in staying sober, smoking a bowl of weed…on the way to the meeting he came out of a blackout, or something…immediately upset once learning we were going to a meeting…but, it went well, and he got to meet some people up there who offered help in getting sober

 

my friend is still struggling with sobriety…but, i know that there is very little i can do for him…instead, i describe what i have done and are doing today to keep sober myself…i refrain from lining out a plan of action for him, unless he asks me questions…i am not one to hand directions to people…instead, i give him descriptions of my own way of life, and how it is helping me keep away from the drink and drug…i know there is nothing i can do to save my friend…so, i look to God for that…what strikes me accordingly is that i believe my help towards my friend is more of a help towards me…it takes me out of myself…my bad thoughts and feelings are replaced with a genuine concern for another suffering alcoholic, like myself…although my friend may not have enough willingness yet to give himself completely to the program, and a God of his own understanding that will help solve his problems…his difficulty in life and this horrible disease has gathered my attention, which guides me to looking to my own Higher Power, whom i ask for help in my friends addiction

Feb 17

Experience in an Instance of Change

“I had fallen under the care of a physician – a Dr. William D. Silkworth – who was wonderfully capable of understanding alcoholics…It was his theory that alcoholism had two components – an obsession that compelled the sufferer to drink against his will and interest, and some sort of metabolism difficulty which he then called an allergy. The alcoholic’s compulsion guaranteed that the alcoholic’s drinking would go on, and the allergy made sure that the sufferer would finally deteriorate, go insane, or die…most conversion experiences, whatever their variety, do have a common denominator of ego collapse at depth. The individual faces an impossible dilemma. In my case the dilemma had been created by my compulsive drinking and the deep feeling of hopelessness had been vastly deepened by my doctor.” – letter written by Bill Wilson to Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, dated 1/23/1961

 

it’s been a few weeks since i’ve contributed to the blogging of this page…things are taking awhile to return back the way they used to be in my life…alot has changed for me since August 6th of 2013…the head injury that occured and caused brain trauma in my head has altered my thought processes and emotional states…this mostly lead back to me drinking again…although, after i have reviewed what my life was like before the accident, i realized there where some aspects of my previous period of sobriety that were lacking in tools given to me by the 12-step program…the biggest thing was honesty…i wasn’t disclosing myself in secret to people like my sponsor, whom i trusted in giving the upmost sure advice on staying sober and living a healthy life…i also went back to ‘playing God’…although i kept to prayer in the morning and evening times, the decisions i made in life where left of my own devices…so, had i not injured myself like i have, i do think it would have been only a matter of time before i picked up the drink again, had i not changed anything about the way i was living life

 

this has been a major guiding force in my new way of living this time…i’m attending meetings more often…i’m listening to my sponsor, my wife, and other people whom i trust care about me enough to give me the right answers…i look to God for direction and release from the manifestations of self that plague my everyday living…i ask for help in discovering what i can do to be of service to other people…alot of this depends upon my distinction of what is right and wrong for a person like myself who is suffering from a mind-altering and allergic-body illness that is chronic…what i think i know is best may only mean what i want out of life…that is not the answer to my problems today…no matter how i am feeling about something or someone, i must carry forward in what is a good decision i can make in this world…even though it may bother me at the time, in the future i can look back and be grateful that i had a place to be of service, and help somebody else out for a change…God is doing for me what i cannot do for myself…i’m lucky i’m still alive and have a chance to make another sober living inside this world

 

aside from being a member of my home group, it is also important for me to get out and visit other meetings for a change…one of these is a group that gathers at my sponsor’s house on Wendsday nights…we had read through the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and shared with each other what we had ascertained from the chapters…there was also a copy of the original manuscript present, which was important to me, because alot of changes and deletions were made to publish the textbook we read from today in AA…after finishing the last chapter, ‘A Vision For You’, it was decided we meet to discuss where to take the meetings from there…last night we came to the decision to begin the ’12 Steps & 12 Traditions’ book in the same manner, which was exciting to me…i’ve read through that book many times, but the Traditions part is something i’ve rarely walked through

 

since the meeting last night was short, my sponsor offered to read through the letter i’ve quoted from at the beginning of this blog…i really enjoyed that piece, and never heard about Bill W. writing the doctor Rowland Hazard had seen to solve his drinking problem…for those of you that don’t know, Hazard was support in getting Ebby Thatcher sober, who met Bill Wilson at his kitchen table to reveal his solution to alcoholism…thus was AA born…below I have provided the links to this letter and the response Dr. Jung had replied to Bill…someone who attended the meeting last night at my sponsor’s house mentioned that Dr. Carl Jung passed away that same year…so it is apparent that Bill made a wise decision to thank him for his contribution to an association that has helped millions stay sober for over 75 years now

 

“…craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in mediaeval language:  the union with God…The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is, that it happens to you in reality and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path, which leads you to higher understanding…You see, Alcohol in Latin is “spiritus” and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison.”  – reply from Dr. Carl Gustav Jung to Bill Wilson, dated 1/30/1961 

 

 

 

link to Bill W. letter to Dr. Jung

http://www.barefootsworld.net/wilsonletter.html

 

 

link to Dr. Jung reply to Bill W. letter

http://www.barefootsworld.net/jungletter.html 

Feb 17

Loneliness and Despair Found in that Bitter Morass of Self-Pity

“How dark it is before the dawn!  In reality that was the beginning of my last debauch.  I was soon to be catapulted into what I like to call the fourth dimension of existence.  I was to know happiness, peace, and usefullness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes.” - p.8  AA BB

 

this is how i used to start my blogs off…with excerpts from our recovery literature…it describes the problems we have as alcoholics and addicts…and it also explains solutions and directions on recovery, and a new way of life…for the longest time i thought that selfishness was outlined in the chapter How It Works…where it talks about the Third Step and leads into instructions on how to go about making a personal inventory…but, i have been reading into the beginning of the book alot lately…selfishness is mentioned in the first few chapter of the book, as well…in the Doctors Opinion…Bills Story…There is a Solution…so much is this issue talked about…no wonder it is labeled as the ‘root of our troubles’…now that i have quit drinking and using again…now that the obsession and desire has been lifted from me…i’m seeing so many other problems that plague my being…quitting getting loaded is just the beginning of this new life of mine…a more important demonstration lies before me in my respective home, occupation and affairs.

 

“Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough…I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would.  I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction.  I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost.  I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing  to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch.  I had not had a drink since.”  – p.12-13 AA BB

 

the first hundred members of Alcoholics Anonymous were low-bottom drunks…something else i have noticed this time in sobriety is that alot of us come into the program broken…facing a laundry list of baggage, we see no way of combatting these problems alone…faced with such a tumultuous life we havent any trouble admitting the principle of Step One into our life 100%…i have to take this First Step every day…i understand that i have lost the power to control my drinking and drug use…my friends could not get me sober…my wife couldn’t…my folks…probation officer…people in the program…at church…it easily became evident to me that quitting getting high was humanly impossible for an alcoholic and drug addict like me

 

moving on to the 2nd Step was harder…being an agnostic, it was alot to ask of me…but, i had a sponsor that walked me through this, and gave me an opportunity to develop my own conception of a Higher Power, no matter how basic and simple it might be…for me this meant finding something that i could see, touch and feel…so, i looked into nature…i admired the birds with colorful feathers and innate song…plants that boor fruit and nuts i could eat, adorned with designs and bright colors…flowers that bloomed, centered with pollen that insects such as bees consumed…it all seemed like such an intricate design…nothing that a Big Bang theory could have produced on accident…large bodies in the universe colliding with one another…it all appeared too specific than that…like they were created and placed on this planet for a purpose

 

as low-bottom drunks and addicts we become as willing as the dying can be to take a new direction in our life…for me this meant discarding my old ideas and replacing them with new instructions from those that have gone on before me…placing the powerlessness and unmanageability first, this doesn’t seem like a novel idea for one who feels as doomed as i have…placing my thoughts, feelings and motives under the care of those that have overcome the same difficulties as me has placed me in a position to be more acceptable of the things to come

 

“I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within.  Common sense would thus become uncommon sense.  I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my prolems as He would have me.  Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefullness to others.  Then only might i expect to recieve.  But that would be in great measure.” – p.13 AA BB

 

placed in this kind of care, i have found a way out of the life i have incorrectly built for myself…no longer looking to the drink and drug for answers to the problems of my being, i spend quiet time alone asking my HP for help…today i see that i have other issues besides getting loaded…there are ideas that compact in my mind that lead to the insane idea of getting high to quiet them…these are all manifestations of self…since i haven’t the power alone to combat booze and dope, i look to a Higher Power for help in this…asking Him to remove these horrible thoughts and feelings from my mind, i then resolutely look for direction in helping those i can…any decisions i think must be made in my life, i run by those that care and love me the most…those that understand my inability to face life alone sober…those that look after my own well-being…alone i cannot do it…i look to others for the help

 

Oliver V.

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