Friday, July 25, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism - "Fast Forgetters"

....on the Road to Recovery

                                                       " Fast Forgetters"

I have attended AA meetings for over 24 years.  I'm guessing I have averaged four meetings a week during that time. I just did the math - that equals 35,040 meetings.

I'm also guessing that I have read/ heard the majority of slogans, principles, suggestions, key points of the Big Book, etc.

So one theory would have it that I have heard it all and all I need to do is implement these things on a daily basis. In other words, why would I continue to need to hear the same things over and over?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism- "Who have thoroughly followed our path"

...on the Road to Recovery
                                ...."Who have thoroughly followed our path"

The opening sentence of "How it Works" from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, "Rarely have we seen a person who has thoroughly followed our path."

My understanding is that, in the original manuscript, the sentence stated "Never have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."

My thoughts lately on this sentence involve the phrase "followed our path."

My question: followed what path?

My belief is the path they are referring to involves the full program of Alcoholics Anonymous that has evolved for over 75 years.

I have been talking about this theme in the meetings I attend often as it becomes clearer and clearer to me that....We are going to stay sober (sober defined as abstinence from alcohol and soundness of mind)  if we put in the necessary work. In many places in the Big Book and the Bible there are wonderful promises of  good things for us.  Many of these end in clauses like "if we work for them"... "who have thoroughly followed our path," "I will blanket My protection over all who trust in me" (Psalm 5:11).

So in each of these, in order to get the promise, we are asked to do something...

Here are some of the simple (I didn't say easy!) things I was taught to do in order to receive the full benefits of the AA program:

1. Go to meetings regularly
2. Get a sponsor
3. Read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
4. Find a Higher Power and build a personal relationship with that Power
5. Ask your God for help each morning and thank Him at night
6. Work the 12 steps (all of them!)
7. Engage in fellowship (e.g., socialize before and after the meetings)
8. Help others new to the program
9. Help others members who are hurting in the program
10. Volunteer for service work (e.g., set-up,  chair and speak at meetings)

These are some of the areas I will be addressing in detail in my upcoming book AA Bootcamp.

I would be interested in any other things you would add to the definition of "thoroughly followed our path."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism- Coincidences?

...on the Road to Recovery

                                                        God Coincidences

God Coincidences

As I have gone through recovery discovery, the fullness of a Higher Power has been a major cornerstone of my life. It's not just about defining the nature of my Higher Power (God); it's about getting to know Him on a personal level. I know that may sound strange to some... i.e., "What do you mean a personal relationship with something you can't feel, see or touch?" 

Yep, it’s not a human concept; it’s a spiritual one. Can't analyze it; just need to experience it.

It's hard for me to have faith in something that is not tangible. However, God knows me personally and knows that, like the disciple Thomas, I need real evidence of His existence.

So He has given me proof of His love and care over and over again in the last 24 years, especially the times when I needed it most.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous speaks about a 4th dimension where we experience a spiritual awakening that allows us to view the world with spiritual insight. This idea has allowed me to change my beliefs from the idea of luck and coincidence to one of faith, humility, and the power of God.  

But I still haven't gotten to the specific message of this article, which is about specific, identifiable events that happen in my life, sometimes, but not always, on a daily basis... which I know deep in my heart are evidence of God helping me and more importantly continually demonstrating to me that He exists.

It goes back to the beginning of my sobriety...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism- What are you thinking?

....on the Road to Recovery

                                                 What are you thinking about?

Many people with addiction problems talk about their "default" to negative thinking and obsessing over troubles and worries of the past or future.

We can't make much progress in changing this type of thinking until we know we are engaging in it.

So here is a great tool to help with that:

Implement a discipline where you stop 4 times during the day and think about what you are thinking about!

Once you capture negative thinking you can start changing. You can ask your Higher Power to remove the thought.... You can focus on what you are grateful for and the positive things that are happening in your can say the third step prayer and/or the serenity prayer.

The essence of this idea is ...we can't get better until we know where we are at the moment.

Thoughts on this?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Reflections on the Road to Recovery from Alcoholism- Cash or Credit?

..on the Road to Recovery

                                                  Cash or Credit?

Yesterday is like a cancelled check...

Tomorrow is like a promissory note...

Today is like cash!

Are you spending it wisely?