Jan 10

Returning to the Rooms

Episode #55:  after a two month long hiatus, the HMR internet radio show is up and running again…Oliver V. is your host tonight…we will be talking about relapse…going back out again has always been a talking point on this show, and tonight we will explore and discuss what it is like coming back in to the program

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Dec 18

back in action

i want to personally thank all of my readers and listeners for bearing with me over the past couple of months…  being away from this website and the radio show has bummed me out considerably, and i am so glad to be getting back to what i love to do on the internet:  carry the message of 12 step recovery

life has not slowed down for me, but my financial situation has improved…i start a new job in January, which is truly a blessing…i have acquired my drivers license, after being suspended a year (speeding tickets/invalid license)…i’m now working on a vehicle, so that i can commute back and forth to my new job

life is good and getting better all the time…i had a rough patch there for several months, but have held through with the help of God and those of you in the program who have shared His message with me…i celebrated 5 years of sobriety on December 3, 2007 and for that i am truly grateful!…none of this could have been possible without the fellowship and a power greater than myself, which i have found in the rooms

i still have a lot of work to do…i am still a very busy person with a lot on his plate…but, my resources are plentiful right now, so i will always make time to blog and conduct the radio show…next step is to get the blogtalkradio.com account back up and running again, which i plan to do today…i will look at my schedule and post an ad for the next show on the facebook profile for HMR

also, i am still working on the devotional books of archival blog material from Half Measures Room…there is still a lot of editing to be done before Alcoholics Anonymous GSO will give it their stamp of approval…as soon as that is done and receive the correspondence letter approving reprinting the copyrighted material, i will start looking at self-publishing over the internet…if any of you are familiar with doing this type of publishing, i would love to hear from you…just email me here at oliver@halfmeasuresroom.com

thanks again for all of your patience…God bless and i will be talking to you soon on the radio!

Oct 10

The Pride Barrier

Episode #54:  Actually, what is a bar against all information and never ceases to keep a person in everlasting ignorance is a person’s pride.  The most glaring and dangerous of all manifestations of self, pride is what kept us from accepting a solution to our problems.  Whether it be drugs, alcohol, money, or relationships, pride is what has stood in our way.  In order to finally recover from a disease of the mind, body and spirit, we had to swallow our pride and get honest with ourselves.

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Oct 10

idk…

i think that “i don’t know” is an acceptable answer…my mother used to ask me things like, “what the hell is your problem?”…or, “what is a matter with you”…i would tell her that i didn’t rightly know, and she would say, “yes you do”…or she would tell me that i just didn’t care…this really hurt me, but i think it had more to do with how i felt about myself…i did love her, but getting loaded was my number one priority…it was more important to me than anything else…and it came first in my life

 

“If hundreds of experiences have shown him that one drink means another debacle with all its attendant  suffering and humiliation, why is it he takes that one drink?…If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis.  Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc a drinking bout creates.” – Alcoholics Anonymous p. 22-23

 

all i knew was that booze and dope made me feel better…getting loaded made me feel good, and i didn’t know of any other way to treat my disease…on the outside people would say that i looked miserable, and i’m sure i did…extremely drunk or high people do not look healthy, by any means…they could point and say, “look at that miserable drunk and fucked up loser”

 

it doesn’t really matter how much i drank, or how often…however, what i do have in common with every real alcoholic and addict is that ‘utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish’...there were times when i drank way more than i had intended to…sometimes i would attempt to predict how much i needed to drink in order to get me where i wanted to be…but, more often than not i would finish that, and then go back to the store for more…it is a progressive disease…we get worse and never better

 

all the things i did to feel better about myself and get comfortable were extremely damaging to my mind, body and soul…and the steps on the wall did not look so attractive to me…why would i want to reveal my true feelings to somebody?…why would i want to repair the past and be accountable for the bad things i had done?…no, i wasn’t interested in any of that…i just wanted to forget and move on

 

paradoxically, that was the stuff that was going to heal me…it was truly spirituality i was seeking all along…i was looking for these experiences everytime i got loaded…only, those periods of serenity while i was high were short lived…i needed a permanent solution to my living problem…and the 12 step program is designed to treat that spiritual sickness…i suffered mostly from an illness of the soul…it was only when i was desperate enough to accept these drastic proposals that i honestly saw the terrible destructiveness of my own behavior…when working the program became the answer to save my life, i finally began to recover.

Oct 07

A Picture of Normalcy

Episode #52:  Before approaching a prospect for this program with the 12 steps, we must be armed with facts about ourselves.  What makes us alcoholics and drug addicts?  What is it that seperates us from the average, temperate drinker?  What does a normal drug user/drinker look like?  We explore these issues and more tonight as we discuss and describe our own experiences with this important topic.

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Oct 03

AA BB Prayer Index

Big Book Prayer Index

Understand that this index is meant to be for reference only.  There are numerous places in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous where it asks us to stop and pray.  This is an attempt to compile all those instances into one document.  You may say to yourself while reading some of these, “Well, that doesn’t apply to my specific situation.”  Let me assure you that if you substituted some of the verbage to fit your own life, it will fit perfectly.  This was meant to take passages directly from the source, rather than create new prayers for the steps or the principles behind them.  Remember, we shouldn’t let our prejudices deter us from asking ourselves what they really mean for us.

Bill W’s bedside prayer – “There 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 have not had a drink since.” – (p.13 Bill’s Story)

 

Bill W’s 8th Step prayer – “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 as He would have me.  Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others.  The only might I expect to receive.  But that would be in great measure.” – (p.13 Bill’s Story)

 

2nd Step Question – “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” – (p.47 We Agnostics)

 

3rd Step Prayer – “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.  May I do Thy will always!” – (p. 63 How It Works)

 

Anger Prayer – “This was our course:  We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.  Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.  We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.  Thy will be done.’

We avoid retaliation or argument.  We wouldn’t treat sick people that way.  If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful.  We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.” – (p.66-67 How It Works)

 

Fear Prayer – “We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator.  We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness.  Paradoxically, it is the way of strength.  The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage.  All men of faith have courage.  They trust their God.  We never apologize for God.  Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do.  We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.  At once, we commence to outgrow fear.” – (p. 68 How It Works)

 

Sex Prayer – “In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life.  We subjected each relation to this test – was it selfish or not?  We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.  We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.

Whatever our ideals turned out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it.  We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing.  In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem.  In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter.  The right answer will come, if we want it.

We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.  If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others.  We think of their needs and work for them.  It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.” – (p. 69-70 How It Works)

 

After Step Five Prayer – Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done.  We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better.  Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page (p. 59) which contains the twelve steps.  Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last.  Is our work solid so far?  Are the stones properly in place?  Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation?  Have we tried to make mortar without sand?” – (p.75 Into Action)

 

7th Step Prayer – “When ready, we say something like this:  ‘My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.  Amen.” – (p.76 Into Action)

 

8th Step Prayer – “Before taking drastic action which might implicate other people we secure their consent.  If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we must not shrink.” – (p.80 Into Action)

 

9th Step Prayer – “Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead.  We must take the lead.  A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fill the bill at all.  We ought to sit down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, being very careful not to criticize them.  Their defects may be glaring, but the chances are that our own actions are partly responsible.  So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.” – (p.83 Into Action)

 

10th Step Prayer – “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.  Love and tolerance of others is our code.” – (p.84 Into Action)

 

Spiritual Maintenance Prayer – “Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.  ‘How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.’  These are thoughts which must go with us constantly.  We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish.  It is the proper use of the will.” – (p.85 Into Action)

 

Step 11 (Evening Review Prayer) – “After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.” – (p.86 Into Action)

 

Step 11 (On Awakening) – “We consider our plans for the day.  Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use.  Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.” – (p.86 Into Action)

 

Step 11 (Throughout the Day) – “In thinking about our day we may face indecision.  We may not be able to determine which course to take.  Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision.  We relax and take it easy.  We don’t struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.  What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.  Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times.  We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas.  Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration.  We come to rely upon it.” – (p.86-87 Into Action)

 

Meditation Prayer – “We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.  We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only.  We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped.  We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.  Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work.  You can easily see why.” – (p.87 Into Action)

 

Agitated or Doubtful Prayer – “As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.  We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many time each day ‘Thy will be done.’  We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.  We become much more efficient.  We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works – it really does.

We alcoholics are undisciplined.  So we let god discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.” – (p.87-88 Into Action)

 

12th Step Prayer – “God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will come, if your own house is in order.  But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.  See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others.  This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows.  Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us.  We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you – until then.” – (p.164 A Vision for You)

Why is it, you think, that the authors of the Big Book capitalized certain phrases and words?  (i.e. Great Reality, Road to Happy Destiny, etc…)  Could it be that these words and phrases have to something to do with God? 

Here are a few other prayers commonly used in our program and at our meetings:

 

St. Francis Prayer

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace.  That where there is hatred, I may bring love;  That where there is wrong, I may bring the Spirit of forgiveness;  That where there is discord, I may bring harmony;  That where there is error, I may bring truth;  That where there is doubt, I may bring faith;   That where there is despair, I may bring hope;  That where there are shadows, I may bring light;  That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.  Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;  To understand, than to be understood;  To love, than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.  It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.  It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.  Amen.

 

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;  The courage to change the things I can;  And the wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time;  Enjoying one moment at a time;  Accepting hardships as the Pathways to Peace;  Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;  Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;  That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.  Amen.

 

Set-Aside Prayer

Dear God, please set aside anything I think I may know about myself, my disease, the Big Book, the 12 steps, the Program, the Fellowship, the people in it, all spiritual terms and especially you God;  So that I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things.  Please help me to see Your Truth.  Amen.

Sep 24

New!! Half Measures Room App for your smartphone!!

the Half Measures Room app has launched and is now live!!!…it is a free app, so no cost on your part…please browse the example below…it should work just as the real app will

http://www.appsbar.com/WebApp/Facebook/?AppID=193456&Device=Embed&Style=app

Sep 15

Kenney Y. With God’s Help

Episode #50  To celebrate our 50th episode we will have a special guest on the show with us tonight.  Kenney was there for the beginning of the HMR social media profile in July of 2008.  He participated in the blog’s and made valuable contributions that helped kick it all off.  “Top Hat” Kenney is also a personal friend of mine who has many talents, some of which he is willing to share with us on the radio.  So tune in for some live music, poetry reading and solid experience, strength and hope as we celebrate sobriety and friendship on tonight’s special show.

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Sep 15

fear…

“This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives.  It was an evil and corroding thread;  the fabric of our existence was shot through with it.  It set in motion trains of circumstance which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve.  But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling?  Sometimes we think fear ought to be classes with stealing.  It seems to cause more trouble.”  AA BB p. 67-68

the topics of the meeting tonight were fear and utter defeat…i began thinking back to 1994, before i had come into the rooms…i was virtually unemployable…i had pretty much worked everywhere in the town i had lived in…so, i became somewhat homeless, by choice…i didn’t want to live at home…i wanted the freedom to avoid personal responsiblity and didn’t want to have to account to anyone…i slept outside and in cars a few times, roaming the streets…but, mostly i surfed couches…that quickly lead to me ruining many relationships with friends…some of whom i’ve never been able to mend relations with…i used copious amounts of drugs and alcohol…i ate very little…i stank because i never showered…i stole, cheated and lied to get away with it…i lived to get high…the dope and booze dictated my every move…in the pursuit of the continuing high, i committed a crime with a few of my running buddies

after the drugs and alcohol ran out, i was left with this impending feeling of doom…i experienced that paralyzing fear it talks about in the literature, gripping me…i continued to use as much as i could, to shroud the fear, but it rarely worked…this went on for a week, running as far as i could from the unavoidable problem…then, finally i was arrested…the first sense of real ease and comfort came upon me…i was actually relieved to be caught…the realization came upon me that i would never had committed this crime, had i been sober and in my right me…it was an amazing revelation for me, and probably the first time i had attempted to be rigorously honest with myself…i was ready to accept whatever consequences faced me…i was probably the most comfortable person in that jail…i knew i belonged there, and it was the safest place for me, to be locked away

i really dodged a bullet when my conviction came around…i was able to cop a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 10 years probation, instead of 15 years in prison…some of those years were spent in sobriety, some of them returning to active addiciton/alcoholism…i even faced revocation, at one point, but was able to pull it together for the remainder of my probation term…it wasn’t but two weeks after my completion of probation that i began drinking again…three years went by as i drank more and more heavily, trying my best to avoid the invevitable…eventually the life i had managed to build over those years became unbearably impossible…the old familiar fear began to creep in and invade my life once again…i was scared to lose everything i had worked for…my wife, my daughter, the nicest home i had ever lived in, the car, and more importantly, my self-respect…i was beaten once again

but, i didn’t really want to stop…i came back to the rooms, reluctantly…i didn’t know what else i could do to salvage the wreckage i had caused…i had my doubts i would even succeed this time…but, the fear of losing everything was so great. i figured i better at least try…so, i acted as if it were going to work…i trudged through the step work…then, at 2 months sobriety, i lost everything anyway…my wife of six and half years asked for seperation, and ultimately divorce…panic had stricken me…i didn’t know where i was going to live…i was afraid for my 4 year-old daughter, and how she would cope with the loss…i hadn’t a clue how i was going to manage without a family…she took the car…the furniture…my whole world crumbled around me, slowly over the next few months

i never would have made it through that time without building a relationship with God, and the Fellowship of the program…He was with me when i cried out for help and asked for the obsession, fear, and anger to be removed…my friends in the program listened to me cry, bitch, and moan when i was hurting…my sponsor and other mentors walked me through the tough decisions that had to be made and supported me as i searched for the right answers…i fulfilled the lease agreement in the luxurious townhome we had lived…because i couldn’t afford the rent, i moved into a smaller 2 bedroom apartment, where my daughter could visit me every weekend…my ex-wife and i came to agreements in the divorce settlement, and i am fortunate she only asked for what was fair…we actually have a much better relationship today than we ever had before

my fears had in fact come true, but not in the sense i had expected…fear is really merely a manifestation of selfishness…i was so concerned about myself initially, i couldn’t see the other side of the coin…i had to put her shoes on my feet, and walk through what my ex-wife had dealt with over the past 3 years…she must have gone on as long as she could, and just couldn’t handle it any more…can i blame her?…things have gone smoother than anything i could have planned…my daughter has adjusted well, and my life is infinitely greater than anything i could have imagined…that selfish concern for myself quickly turned to concern for my daughter…and i did my best (along with my ex-wife’s help) to make that life transition as easy as i could for her…i’m so grateful she never saw us fighting, or remembers Daddy’s drunken episodes

just because i stopped drinking and drugging doesn’t mean fear, anger, and depression can’t still sink into my life today…working the steps of the program and remaining open and honest with others about my life is how i cope with those feelings…i pray to my Higher Power, and he provides the tools i use to cope with calamity…they may come in the form of an understanding friend, a loving family member or spouse, or sometimes a total stranger…i remember sitting in a meeting in Galveston, Texas the day after my ex-wife asked me to leave…i had spent most of the day on the phone, pleading with her to change her mind, to no avail…i wailed to my sponsor and sponsor’s sponsor on the phone, on my way to the group…i sat in a chair against the wall, my head in my hands, shaking, crying, miserable…a lady approached me and sat down next to me, held me, and pulled a piece of paper out from her Big Book…she read a prayer to me, and then asked me to recite it…it was a forgiveness prayer, asking God to help me accept my current situation and bless the person whom i thought had offended me…then she held me as i cried and hurt in her arms…i will never forget that moment…she was there when i needed her…in the right place at the right time, and just so happened to have something valuable to pass on to another still suffering drunk and addict…God finds ways to love us when we no longer can love for ourselves

Sep 09

Irresistible Strength of Purpose and Action

Episode #49:  Like the 12 Steps, the 12 Traditions were born out of bitter experience, strength and hope.  Our history has shown it necessary that the fellowship follow guidelines, much like the individual member does.  For, without the group the individual would be on their own.  Without the group the individual would surely die.  Tonight we look at the importance of the group in the lives of the individuals who make it.

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