2015 AA International Convention

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OH MY GOD I MADE IT!

When I got sober in 2009, I heard about AA’s International Convention coming to Atlanta in 2015 and thought, I wonder if I’ll stay sober that long.  I am grateful, blessed, and thoroughly excited to report that I am still sober and I have a ticket to the convention starting tonight!!

I will want to remember every moment, which is much easier to do these days now that I am sober.  I will try to write a little about the experience, but no promises as these days I have a BIG FAT LIFE!

God bless you all and see you in Atlanta!!

News stories from Atlanta:

AA convention adds to active July 4th weekend downtown 

AA Celebrates 80 Years Of Helping Alcoholics Stop Drinking

July 3, 2015

My husband and I traveled down to the city on Marta from our home north of Atlanta.  We arrived at the World Congress Center and were greeted by some excited volunteers who said, Hi!  You made it!  We’ve been waiting for you!, which I thought was cute.  Certainly they are aware of the alcoholic’s large ego!  The congress center is huge and sprawling.  There were so many people, but you are just going to have to trust me on that because it’s important that we don’t post pictures of peoples faces in order to protect their anonymity.

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We followed the maze of people into a large – really large – room with long lines of folks picking up their badge holders.  Luckily, we managed to reach the end of the line before they closed and were able to pick up our packet, which included a Program of Events, an order form to purchase CDs of the convention meetings, a reminder to purchase a panoramic convention photo, and a bookmark listing all of the convention cities going back to 1950.

Next, we found the volunteer room, where my husband was happy to see some friends from his old home group.  We picked up our lime green volunteer shirts with the emblem you see above – pretty!  We will volunteer on Saturday before the big meeting as greeters.

By then, we were both ready to find some coffee and a smoking section.  We found both!  We also found an old sponsee of mine and had a great time catching up.  All along this journey we met people from Canada, Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, and some more places I have forgotten.  People were friendly and happy to be there.

I am really looking forward to today when the meetings start.  I’ve picked out three for every time slot and will have to decide on one!  After last night’s two-hour journey to get home on Marta, I’ve decided to sport tennis shoes today.  If you are out there, please say hello.  I’ll be wearing my turquoise “We are not saints” shirt!

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July 4, 2015

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“…I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo…WTH am I doing here? I don’t belong here…”

This is not an idea that is explicitly stated in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, although many passages point to it, and the following should be taken as one member’s opinion only. I’ve discussed it with a few people in recovery and they agree, so I’m not alone.

How many times have you heard someone share from the podium that they never felt like they fit in or belonged? What if, as alcoholics, that sensitivity the literature tells us we have isn’t always a bad thing? What if it is the very thing that allowed us the awareness on some level that we really DON’T belong here?

If we are truly spiritual beings having a human experience, then nobody really belongs here. What if that’s why we drank: a thirst for the spirit or “spirits”, as Carl Jung told Bill W. in his reply to Bill’s letter? We thirst to get back home with God, where we know we belong.

The beauty of AA, the 12 steps, and continued sobriety has been this: I’ve learned that I can “call home” as often as I like. I DO belong with the other misfits in AA – they are my people, my tribe. They are the ones who have been cracked open by heartbreak so that the light of God can be let in. They are the ones who have an opportunity to truly connect with a loving, generous power in the universe that I choose to call God. I’ve learned that the soul of me doesn’t belong here in this world, and rather than that making me feel separate from the rest, the steps have made me feel more compassion for others who haven’t yet realized they don’t belong here.

https://www.learning-mind.com/feel-like-dont-belong-here/

 

 

2015 AA International Convention

60,000 pack the Georgia Dome for what might be the biggest AA meeting in history.

 

whoopeeparty

Capture

OH MY GOD I MADE IT!

When I got sober in 2009, I heard about AA’s International Convention coming to Atlanta in 2015 and thought, I wonder if I’ll stay sober that long.  I am grateful, blessed, and thoroughly excited to report that I am still sober and I have a ticket to the convention starting tonight!!

I will want to remember every moment, which is much easier to do these days now that I am sober.  I will try to write a little about the experience, but no promises as these days I have a BIG FAT LIFE!

God bless you all and see you in Atlanta!!

News stories from Atlanta:

AA convention adds to active July 4th weekend downtown 

AA Celebrates 80 Years Of Helping Alcoholics Stop Drinking

July 3, 2015

My husband and I traveled down to the city on Marta from our home north of…

View original post 334 more words

The Onion

 the onion
I’ve been hearing that in recovery, we remove layers as we do inventory.  I have had some new insights into my family lately and I am in a lot of pain.  Coming up on 5 years in December.  Your prayers are welcome because this is the first time I have really felt like drinking!

Sandy B.’s Prayer From An Ego

Sandy B. Alexandria 2007, Downloaded from www.xa-speakers.org

“This is what makes AA so wonderful because it forces us to have a life transforming experience that we never would have gone after voluntarily.  We were forced into heaven and outta hell.

Forced!  You know what I’m saying?  Do you know how lucky that is?

In order for any human being to get beyond themselves they have to go against their own ego.  They have to suddenly raise up a flag and go, “Why doesn’t somebody else make all the decisions for me?”  That’s a hard thing to give up: the final say on your own life.  That does not come up easily but that’s what total surrender is…

…and we feel better and we feel better and we are more grateful…for the sponsor for pushing us to this new level.

The problem is at this new level, things look different.  And the ego steps in.

And I’ll close with this.  It’s the prayer from an Ego.

Prayer From An Ego

“God, I’m here tonight to thank you for what you’ve done in my life.  You’ve taken a hopeless person, restored him to a place in society, restored him to his family, restored his dignity and his self-respect, his health – excitement in his life.

You and you alone have placed me in a position

Where I no longer need

Your sorry ass.

(But I am grateful.)”

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Step 2

Atheist – denies the existence of God

Agnostic – does not rely on or know if there is a God that will work in personal life

“If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago.  But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried.  We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn’t there.  Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.  Lack of power, that was our dilemma.  We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves.  Obviously.  But where and how were we to find this Power?  Well, that’s exactly what this book is about.  Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.” – BB, p. 44-45, We Agnostics

I must see my own powerlessness and insanity before I can buy Step 2.  “If I have difficulty with the HP concept or a belief in some kind of God in step 2, it may be because I am still clinging to the idea that I have power…I might need to go back to Step 1 and make sure I haven’t overlooked something critical.

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Some of our alcoholic readers may think they can do without spiritual help.  Let us tell you the rest of the conversation our friend had with his doctor. – BB, p. 27

Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not. – BB, p. 34

The Missing Piece: The Spiritual Malady
by Mike L., West Orange, NJ
We often hear people say something like, “I have a three-fold disease: body, mind, and spirit.”
 
“an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind” – that once I put any alcohol in my system whatsoever it sets off a craving for more alcohol.
 
It is agreed that the “mental obsession” is the part of our “disease” which leads to the first drink; and it’s the first drink that triggers the “phenomenon of craving.”
But, what about the part of my “disease” that triggers the mental obsession in the first place?
 
Why is it that people who have remained abstinent from drinking in Alcoholics Anonymous for 1 year… 2 years… 5 years… 10 years… and in some cases even 20 years or more, go back to drinking?
 
We know the physical craving does not cause these people to drink because it’s been medically proven that after a few days of not drinking the alcohol is processed out of the body. And, if you’ve been in the AA Fellowship for a while, for most people, the mental obsession dissipates. So why is it that after a long period of sobriety many people in our fellowship return to drinking – EVEN WHEN THEY DON’T WANT TO? What is the third fold of our illness that triggers the mental obsession – WHEN NOT DRINKING – HAVING BEEN SEPARATED FROM ALCOHOL FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME?
 
Through closely examining our Big Book, along with much experience and practice with our Twelve Steps, as well as vigorous work with other alcoholics, the “missing piece” of Step 1 appears to be what is referred to on page 64 as the “spiritual malady.”
Now, let me attempt to discuss the second half of Step 1: ” – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
 
For a long time I thought my life was unmanageable because of all the crazy insane things I did while drinking – like the car accidents, hurting people when I didn’t mean to, failed relationships, loss of jobs, family dysfunction, jails, asylums, etc.
Finally, someone explained to me that those things are not the insanity that the Big Book talks about; nor are those things why the alcoholic’s life becomes unmanageable.
 
Of course those things can be classified as “unmanageability” – but they are external unmanageability. The unmanageability that the 1st Step is pointing to is the INWARD unmanageability of our lives – the restlessness, irritability, and discontentment that most alcoholics have even BEFORE they ever picked up their first drink. There are many names for this “inward unmanageability”. Some refer to it as “untreated alcoholism.” Others use the term “bedevilments”, which comes from page 52 of the Big Book (which I’ll be discussing in a moment). Page 64 simply refers to this “inward unmanageability” as “the spiritual malady.”
 
Our book promises us that “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” The mental and physical factors of alcoholism are put into remission AFTER the “spiritual malady” is overcome – which means I’m still in danger of drinking until I have a spiritual awakening – whether I think so or not.
Two key points I’d like to focus on from this point forward:
 
  • What really is this “spiritual malady” and how, if left untreated, can it drive an alcoholic back to drinking? 
  • What is the remedy for it?
 
 
(By the way, our Big Book answers both of those questions in masterly detail in Chapters 4 – 11.) What is this “spiritual malady” we alcoholics suffer from and how can “untreated alcoholism” cause an alcoholic to return to drinking – EVEN WHEN HE/SHE DOESN’T WANT TO?
 
Imagine three layers. The first layer is our bodily reaction to alcohol when we ingest it – the physical craving. Under that is the second layer: the insanity of the mind just before the first drink – the mental obsession. Under that is the third layer: the inward condition that triggers the second layer, which in turn triggers the first – the “spiritual malady.” Symptoms of this “third layer” as described in the Big Book include:
  1. being restless, irritable, and discontented (page xxvi),
  2. having trouble with personal relationships,
  3. not being able to control our emotional natures,
  4. being a prey to (or suffering from) misery and depression,
  5. not being able to make a living (or a happy and successful life),
  6. having feelings of uselessness,
  7. being full of fear,
  8. unhappiness,
  9. inability to be of real help to other people (page 52),
  10. being like "the actor who wants to run the whole show" (pages 60-61),
  11. being "driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity" (page 62),
  12. self-will run riot (page 62),
  13. leading a double life (page 73),
  14. living like a tornado running through the lives of others (page 82), and
  15. exhibiting selfish and inconsiderate habits.
Page 25 tells us, “There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings, which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at out feet. We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.”
 
This “fourth dimension”, which we find out in the 10th Step is the “world of the Spirit”, takes us beyond the physically, mental, and emotional dimensions of life – and eliminates the selfishness (ego) of the “spiritual malady.” The term “spiritual malady” does not mean that our “spirit” is sick. It simply means we are spiritually blocked off from the Power of God, which enables us to remain sober, happy, joyous, and free.
To conclude, it’s not my body – my allergic reaction to alcohol – that’s going to take me back to drinking. It’s really not my mind – the mental obsession – that is the underlying root of what will take me back to drinking. It’s the “spiritual malady”, as manifested by my EGO (selfishness-self-centeredness), that can eventually lead me back to drinking or sometimes even suicide.
 
On pages 14 and 15 Bill W. writes, “For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed. With us it is just like that.”
 
Thankfully, the “spiritual malady” is no longer a “missing piece” of Step One for me. It is a reality of my powerlessness and unmanageability and enables me to see why I so desperately need to seek a Power Greater than myself. And unless this malady is recognized, and a course of action (the Twelve Steps) is taken to enable God to remove it, the root of our alcoholic illness can lie dormant and burn us when we least expect it.
 
www.Barefootsworld.net

Questions for Journal/Working step 2

Starting with page 44 – 1. What does living life on a spiritual basis look like to you today? How has it changed from before you were sober and how has it changed while you have been sober? p.45&46

Look at areas you might not be comfortable admitting (agnosticism).

2. Do you have any honest doubts and prejudices about God or spiritual terms?

3. Do you have a particular idea of God that was impressed upon you in childhood? Did it help or hinder your belief system? Do you apply it today in your relationship with God, or did you have to abandon the idea for a new one?

p.47 – 4. What is your conception of God today? Is this different from where you started out when you got sober? Were there old ideas or prejudices you had to lay aside?

5. Have you been handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, or unreasoning prejudice when it comes to God?

p.51 – 6. Has your spiritual beliefs been fettered (hindered/held back) by superstition, tradition, or fixed ideas? (Now or in the past).

p.52 – 7. Have you relied on self sufficiency to solve your problems in the past? How did that work? How does it work relying on God to solve your problems? Are there any problems you still try to solve on your own? Are there any problems in your life you feel God cannot solve?

p.53 – 8. God either is or He isn’t. What is your choice?

p.55 – 9. How has your relationship or access to God been limited by calamity (chaos), pomp (ego), and worship of other things?

p. 55 The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you & p. 57 He has come to all who have honestly sought Him

10. How has God revealed himself to you and how have you honestly sought him? (What is your step 2 experience)

we agnostics 4

What if God is nothing?

What if that voice in the back of your head that tells you there is no God is right?  The only thing you will ever have to help you through life is whatever power, knowledge, experience, will, etc. that you can muster up on your own.  No God.  No AA.  No power to move you beyond where you are right now except you.

What if God is everything?

What if God is everything and you miss an opportunity to tap in to an immense power that will help you with everything in your life?

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In the 1930’s, NAPOLEON HILL wrote a book called THINK AND GROW RICH.  In it, he talks about something he calls the sixth sense and he says:

“Understanding of the sixth sense comes only by meditation through mind development from within. The sixth sense probably is the medium of contact between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence, and for this reason, it is a mixture of both the mental and the spiritual.  It is believed to be the point at which the mind of man contacts the Universal Mind.

Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impending dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.  There comes to your aid, and to do your bidding, with the development of the sixth sense, a “guardian angel” who will open to you at all times the door to the Temple of Wisdom.

Whether or not this is a statement of truth, you will never know, except by following the instructions described in the pages of this book, or some similar method of procedure. [Whoopeeparty suggests the Big Book of AA’s 12 steps!]

This much the author does know-that there is a power, or a First Cause, or an Intelligence, which permeates every atom of matter, and embraces every unit of energy perceptible to man-that this Infinite Intelligence converts acorns into oak trees, causes water to flow down hill in response to the law of gravity, follows night with day, and winter with summer, each maintaining its proper place and relationship to the other. This Intelligence may, through the principles of this philosophy, be induced to aid in transmuting DESIRES into concrete, or material form. The author has this knowledge, because he has experimented with it- and has EXPERIENCED IT.”

I had to stop fighting, step off the cliff into the unknown and CHOOSE to believe there was a God.  Every time a little fear came into my head and said, there won’t be enough, you won’t make it through, you will die alone, etc…I pushed it out of my mind and said something like, “I choose to believe that God is everything.”

This was like what you hear in meetings “Fake it ’til you make it.”  I really felt like I was having to fake a belief that God is everything until eventually I really believed God was everything!

If I can tell you who and what God is, then it is not big enough to help me.  I like the description given in a book called The Shack.  Like a mother would do her child, God wants to get down on the floor and color in the coloring book with me as I babble nonsense.  God wants to experience life with me.  God nods and says “Yes!  Very Good!” every now and then to build me up and encourage the relationship.

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Miracles!

Three parts of step 3

p. 26  First, AA does not demand that you believe anything.  All of its 12 steps are but suggestions.

Second, to get sober and to stay sober, you don’t have to swallow all of step 2 right now.  Looking back, I find that I took it piecemeal myself.

Third, all you really need is a truly open mind.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2015 International Convention

Whoopee! I just got excited thinking about the International Convention!!! So much for staying in today right!

Georgia Prepaid 2012

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The Bondage of Self

In the 7th step prayer, I ask God to relieve me of the bondage of self, so that I may better do His will. Over time working the steps, and through study of the 12 and 12 and Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have identified many of the parts of self that hang me up and keep me in bondage. The list so far:

Self-centeredness
Self-seeking
Self-pity
Inaccurate self-appraisal
Self-centered fear
Selfishness
Self-deception
Self-delusion
Self-destruction
Self-determined objectives
Self-importance
Self-justification
Self-loathing
Self-propulsion
Self-reliance
Self-righteousness
Self-sufficiency

It helps me to remember that “any life run on self-will can hardly be a success” (BB p. 60), and any review of my life shows me that is the case! I am here to play the hand God dealt me and no amount of wishing it was any other way is going to change that. I am not in charge and I don’t make the rules. I don’t get to decide what is best for anyone else either! “It’s all in Divine Order” my sponsor tells me. So when I get tied up in any of the parts of self listed, I again have to make a choice like I did in Step 2: “…either God is everything or else He is nothing.” (BB p. 53)

God, help me to submit to Your will today!

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