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