May 03

the Root of Our Troubles

After quitting drinking and drugging, what do we have left to do?  Some fall under the delusion that alcohol and drug abuse are their only problem.  That life will be restored to normal, if they can just leave the booze and dope alone.  However, after working through the 12 Steps we find a much deeper reason for our troubles.  In this episode we explore and discuss what drove us to get loaded in the first place.  We are talking about the Manifestations of Self

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May 03

what we have to offer

“On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything necessary.  His wife came, scarcely daring to be hopeful, though she thought she saw something different about her husband already.  He had begun to have a spiritual experience.

 

“That afternoon he put on his clothes and walked from the hospital a free man.  He entered a political campaign, making speeches, frequenting men’s gathering places of all sorts, often staying up all night.  He lost the race by only a narrow margin.  But he had found God–and in finding God had found himself.

 

“That was in June, 1935.  He never drank again.  He too, has become a respected and useful member of his community.  He has helped other men recover, and is a  power in the church from which he was long absent.”  AA BB  p. 158

 

we read this passage in the Big Book study tonight at the meeting…this part of ‘A Vision for You’ is describing the experience of AA #3, and is one of my favorite stories in the Big Book…it starts off with Bill Wilson in the Mayflower hotel lobby, between the bar full of ‘gay chatter’ and the phone booth, with the church directory…he chose the phone booth and dialed many numbers, before reaching a connection that lead him to that fateful meeting with Dr. Bob…after Bob sobered up, they went to a hospital together to find another drunk to accept their treatment, hence AA #3

 

hearing this story tonight, i realized how fortunate i am to be a recovered alcoholic/addict in AA in the year 2010…in the Thirties, many people died from our disease…those that were lucky, were admitted into hospitals and sanitariums…there were no drug treatment facilities back then…Doctor’s pretty much threw their hands up at people like us, and deemed us hopeless, or doomed…all they could do was treat us, detoxify our bodies, and strongly stress that we could no longer use alcohol and drugs safely…but, after being dicharged, mostly all returned to the booze and dope, only to end up back in the hospital or nut house, after a short time

 

when Bill Wilson began to apply the principles he learned from the Oxford Groups, and ultimately had his bright light, spiritual experience in Townes hospital, he knew he had to carry his experience as a message to other suffering drunks, if he were to stay alive himself…after some time trying this, he began to feel disheartened and discouraged…noone he approached wanted to hear his story…none he attempted to work with stayed sober…he began to feel his efforts were in vain…then, his wife Lois told him that he had in fact been successful…Bill W. had six months sober that historic night when he happened upon Dr. Bob…Bill knew that if he didn’t help someone else stay sober, he would be drunk himself…so he chose the telephone over the bar…the insane idea failed to win him over that night, thank God…for our fate as hopeless drunks and addicts hang in the balance right then…can you imagine what life would be like without this program?

 

that is how this thing works so well, i believe…the therapy, the indentification of one recovered drunk/addict working with another…plenty of people approached me before i came to the program…parents, teachers, even friends attempted to persuade me to stop using, or drink moderately…i always felt persecuted and threatened by their pleas…until a sober drunk sat me down and read descriptions of alcholism out of the Big Book, and described his own affliction to me…after telling him that i could relate, he recommended i attend some AA meetings…i have been coming back ever since…so it is true…once the seed has been planted…once a drugee/alkie has full knowledge of his condition, and where the solution lies, he will never be the same again…and that is the hope we hold when we share our ESH with another sufferer…that something will click…that we can reach them where others have failed…for once we have heard how others have discovered themselves, we have an oppurtunity to seek that power they have tapped into…and once we have relied upon God to keep us sober a day a time, we soon discover who we really are…and then we can share that with still others

Apr 20

the Evil and Corroding Thread

This is a show we ran on 4/3/2012.  Never have used the topic of fear, but I think the show turned out nicely.  Joseph G always has good ESH to share, and fear still is a big part of  my problems in daily life.  In fact, fear still stands in the way of me turning my will and life over to the care of my Higher Power.

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Apr 20

the new order of things

“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 problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to recieve. But that would be in great measure.

“when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility…Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centerdness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.” p. 13-14 AA BB
i have always had a hard time making friends…i just wasn’t that popular in school…i was picked on, made fun of, and outcast from the general society there…the few freinds i did make, i would like to think of as the genuine article…it’s all i really needed…i was liked for who i was…but, it was never enough…i began getting loud to attract attention…i wore the loudest clothes, listened to the loudest music…then i discovered drugs and alcohol, and with that comes many, many fair-weather friends

when i first came to the program, i was the youngest person at my group…that didn’t really matter…it was the message that gripped me…the stories each member told…it all said to me that these people understood what others in my life could never understand…that i was sick…i had a disease, a mental illness…that i was spiritually sick and needed some sort of moral psychology outside the synthetic knowledge of doctors and psychiatrists…it was going to take a miracle in order for me to recover, which meant a spiritual type of treatment

after working through the steps, i was introduced to young people’s AA…it seemed the best direction for me to go in, for i was interested in meeting kids my age in the program…we held our own meetings…we sponsored each other…we even collaborated with some older members and kids from another town to throw a state young people’s conference…it was an exhilerating and exciting time in my sober life

however, the sustenance was not there…mostly due to inactivity on my part…i had many acquaintances, but no real friends…those that i did hang out with on a daily basis, we were only concerned with wordly things…i thought the Fellowship was going to dances, camping out, bowling, and live music events…i began attending meetings to purely see certain people (particularly women)…i noticed cliques breaking out, and again i felt that old sensation of being outcast…i no longer recieved what i craved from the group…so i turned to booze and dope

this is by no means a comprehensive picture of young recovery…i’m sure there are lot’s of good program in the young minds of our program…this is just one person’s experience…and these are mistakes i never want to make again…i realized last night that i must keep that depth and weight the message holds for us that suffer from alcoholism and addiction…life is about more than worldly clamors and material wealth…there is a treasure of spiritual nourishment for us in the heart of the real Fellowship…no longer am i resigned to a life where my own concerns and inadequacies dictate my actions and attitudes…the direction my life must take today is one of selflessness and spiritual centerdness…i maintain that by constant communication with God and others who walk with Him…we never have to be alone, whether we are attending meetings or sitting at home wondering if life is ever going to get better…how many times have i visited the group and seen the same old people there, only to leave without saying a substantive statement to a solitary soul?

i am in the practice of reaching out and making connections with members of the program today…the selfishness and self-centerdness that ultimately leads to my demise is only removed by God…a Higher Power that speaks and interacts with me through other people in this world…turning things over and letting them go is the only way to achieve true freedom…i should not beat myself up for falling short of these ideals…every day sober is a successful day indeed…but falling back into my old ways of thinking and acting is taking two steps back…having that core group of companions or fellow travelers is a way to stay afloat in that life-boat…i know many people in the program…some i still stay in contact with from my days in the young people’s crowd…the question i find myself asking last night was, “do these relationships hold the depth and weight my soul earnestly craves?”…i reapply my resolve to establish those friendships to the real thing again…otherwise i am just walking about aimlessly, trying to do this thing on my own

Jan 19

Steel on Steel

Show #24:  Tonight some very special guests share their experience, strength and hope about one of the most important parts of our program…Steel on Steel is much like a 12 step small group…but, much more than that…it is an accountability group, a fellowship and an intimate relationship with close friends in the program whom we trust with our innermost secrets…we will also be listening to a speaker tape from the people who made Steel on Steel possible

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Jan 19

Regretting the Past (a re-post)

Maybe it’s not a good topic for recovery but I’d like to see your stance on karma; do we suffer for our past mistakes? It may sound like nonsense but I look back at all the bad things i did to people for dope and then I look at how cruel fate has been on me since i have gotten clean and i can’t help but think of that saying ‘what comes around goes around’                 Anonymous blog reader

here is a quote from the Big Book of AA that came directly to my mind:

“Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.  Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later place us in a position to be hurt.”  p. 62

this passage comes directly after the literature names our true problem:  selfishness and self-centeredness…alcohol is but one symptom of my disease…i turned to alcohol and drugs because it was in my selfish nature to feel good…once developing the habit, and found i could not break it…once my human means failed me, and my life became unmanageable…these substances failed to provide me with the satisfaction and euphoric feelings they did in the beginning…but, by then it was too late…i developed a dependence and used them primarily for relief from the physical
craving and mental obsession the disease had inflicted upon me

the spiritual malady had also stricken me by this point…continuing to fuel my unquenchable thirst and undying compulsion, i exhausted every resource to obtain more alcohol and drugs…no matter what the cost…i simply had to feel better, and at times that meant stealing, lying, and manipulating…unfortunately, those easiest to take advantage of were those closest to me and who cared about me very much…through this type of behavior pattern i became untrustworthy, unbelievable, and unreliable…these are traits i brought with me into sobriety…character defects that must be removed

thus comes the rest of the chapter in which above said passage rests…directly after that quote comes the 3rd step prayer…i offer myself to God (as i understand him) and ask him to remove my difficulties so that his will may become more clear to me…then, through taking the 4th step, i discover what said gross traits are, specifically…then 5…then 6…then 7…then 8…then i make amends for harms done

amends for me was trying my utmost to change the past…trying to make things right i had done wrong before getting sober…that is what i think of when i read the word ‘karma’ today…less of a damning type of process…more of like a healing and reparation process

Dec 05

Carrying the Message

Episode 17:  tonight we talk about sharing experience, strength and hope with others…how should we share in meetings?…what do we share?…when?…why?…how should we approach newcomers?…coworkers?…close freinds and family?…as sober alcoholics and drug addicts, we have the unique qualification to reach others who are suffering from this disease…what is the best way to reach these people, grasp their attention and encourage them to start talking about their own problem?

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Dec 05

Primary Purpose

I have the honor and privilege of writing exclusive blogs for a recovery-related online business.  Twelve Beads sells prayer beads and other sober jewelry online.  In addition to the online store, there is also an email newsletter that can be sent to your inbox once a month.  It is very easy to subscribe, and it doesn’t cost a dime.  The Modem 2 Modem email newsletter has various links to other recovery sites and sober bloggers, like myself.  Click on the Twelve Beads icon to the left here to read my latest blog for Modem 2 Modem.  Since we have entered the month of December, the topic for this 12th month of our calendar year is the 12th step.

Nov 30

A Central Theme of Preservation (a re-post)

“Just as firmly bound by obligation are the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who have
demonstrated that they can help problem drinkers as others seldom can.
The unique ability of each A.A. to identify himself with, and bring recovery
to, the newcomer in no way depends upon his learning, eloquence, or on any
special individual skills.  The only thing that matters is that he is an
alcoholic who has found a key to sobriety.  These legacies of suffering
and of recovery are easily passed among alcoholics, one to the other.
This is our gift from God, and its bestowal upon others like us is the one aim
that today animates A.A.’s all around the globe…

“…It is the great paradox of A.A. that we know we can seldom keep the
precious gift of sobriety unless we give it away.  If a group of doctors
possessed a cancer cure, they might be conscience-stricken if they failed their
mission through self-seeking.  Yet such a failure wouldn’t jeopardize
their personal survival.  For us, if we neglect those who are still sick,
there is unremitting danger to our own lives and sanity.” 
p. 150-151  AA
12&12

responsibility is not something i learned in the program, but something i was
re-taught…it all began with sponsorship…being held accountable for
meetings, step-work, and service…people in AA encouraged me to become a
regular, once they saw how serious i was about staying sober…they asked me to
work the coffee bar…involve myself in Group Conscience…clean up on
Saturdays at the group…attend special functions…find speakers…form
workshops…i was expected to be somewhere when i said i was going to be
there…people looked forward to me walking through the doors…and they
noticed when i wasn’t there

Hank P., the author of the chapter ‘To the Employers’ is a good example of what
the quotes at the top of the page are talking about…in the beginning of that
chapter he mentions a few men he had employed that were drunks of the hopeless
variety…he ultimately terminated their employment…at the time (because he
wasn’t knowledgeable of alcoholism as a disease) Hank voiced that he felt
somewhat liable for these men losing their lives…Hank P. eventually
discovered he was an alcoholic himself and joined the program…it is believed
that if it weren’t for him the Big Book would never have been
written…unfortunately, this man did not stay sober, and died drunk

there is a powerful message in that story…we are responsible…we
have to be…otherwise, we risk sabotaging our own sobriety…it is not
a selfish program…quite the contrary…the Twelve Steps teach me how to be
selfless…continuing to not only be accountable, but hold myself
in account for my own sobriety is paramount…helping others and being of
service is simply a beginning…no matter how small or large of a task i think
it may be…it could mean a world of difference to somebody else…i never know
how much or how little my effectiveness in carrying the message will hold…i
never know what i say or when i say it will make a difference…it is less of
my words and more of the meaning behind them, and the experience from which
they were born that makes them effective…we truly speak the Language of the
Heart to those that suffer from the same disease of which were are
afflicted…that is our common bond, wherein lies our primary purpose

Nov 30

The Spiritual Malady

Show #4: To seal up the discussion we started in Show # 2, tonight we will talk about what it means to be spiritually sick. How has the disease affected us spiritually? What do the 12 steps do to heal our souls and relieve our suffering? When do the promises we hear about in meetings finally come true for us?

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