Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tradition 3 Long Form vs. Short Form

This was from a post I just saw at SR entitled "Whatever happened to Tradition 3?" I'm gonna just post this whole sucker instead of linking to the PDF as the author is unknown... so I guess we can "borrow" it here for the sake of discussion... if you're so inspired.

Whatever Happened to Tradition Three?

Here are some thoughts on why Tradition Three is at the heart of the currently debated issue. AA used to work very well. It grew by leaps and bounds and had an astonishing recovery rate by any comparative standard. There has never in recorded history been anything as successful or as long lived as AA, and we weren't the first kid on the block.

In the first 16 years of it's history AA produced a recovery rate in excess of 75%. By 1975 it had declined to about 65%. Today all estimates put it at less than 10% (many as low as 2 or 3%) and overall membership has actually declined in the last couple of years.

By all accounts the "New and Improved AA" is "better" that the old more religious, more rigid, more dogmatic, more exclusive AA of the past. What happened? How can something that is said to be so much better work so much worse?

Could it be that the early members hit upon the keys to success and that subsequent "improvements" that were well intentioned were in reality the literal curse of death.

The founders were clear that they had a solution to the alcoholic dilemma and they were offering it freely to those who wanted it. If a prospective member didn't want what was being offered they went looking for someone else who did.

They didn't beg anybody to join and they didn't coddle the ones who balked at the rigor of their program. They figured the ones who didn't stick would drink some more and if they lived they would get them later. They expected the grave nature of alcoholism to force compliance with our spiritual principles.

They expected those who outright refused to follow the program to end up drinking their way to an open mind. Little did they know.

The long form of Tradition Three begins with the statement: "Our membership should include all who suffer from alcoholism." This statement implies that the potential member must be alcoholic. The more commonly stated short form:

"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking." Is not a substitute for the long form. It was never meant as a "loophole" for a non-alcoholic to gain membership. There were very good reasons for excluding non-alcoholics at closed meetings, and excluded they were.

Here are some examples of how the early groups interpreted this principle before Bill wrote in down as such.

Definition of an Alcoholic Anonymous:
An Alcoholic Anonymous is an alcoholic who through application of and adherence to rules laid down by the organization, has completely forsworn the use of any and all alcoholic beverages. The moment he wittingly drinks so much as a drop of beer, wine, spirits, or any other alcoholic drink he automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain completely sober for all time. A.A. is not interested in alcoholic who want to sober up merely to go on another bender, sober up because of fear for their jobs, their wives, their social standing, or to clear up some trouble either real or imaginary.

In other words, if a person is genuinely sincere in his desire for continued sobriety for his own good, is convinced in his heart that alcohol holds him in its power, and is willing to admit that he is an alcoholic, members of Alcoholics Anonymous will do all in their power, spend days of their time to guide him to a new, a happy, and a contented way of life.

It is utterly essential for the newcomer to say to himself sincerely and without any reservation, "I am doing this for myself and myself alone."

Experience has proved in hundreds of cases that unless an alcoholic is sobering up for a purely personal and selfish motive, he will not remain sober for any great length of time. He may remain sober for a few weeks or a few months, but the moment the motivating element, usually fear of some sort, disappears, so disappears sobriety.

TO THE NEWCOMER: It is your life. It is your choice. If you are not completely convinced to your own satisfaction that you are an alcoholic, that your life has become unmanageable; if you are not ready to part with alcohol forever, it would be better for all concerned if you discontinue reading this and give up the idea of becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

For if you are not convinced, it is not only wasting your own time, but the time of scores of men and women who are genuinely interested in helping you. (A Manual For Alcoholics Anonymous published by the Akron Group in the early 40's)

The pass key to the door of understanding of alcoholism, as we members of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS understand the problem, is the recognition and the admission on the part of the prospective member that he is an alcoholic.

If he is not alcoholic, our group has nothing to offer him.

If he is, an observance of our program will eliminate the alcoholic problem from his life. We have nothing to offer the controlled drinker. (page 2 Impressions Of AA published by Chicago Group in early 40's.)

MANY PEOPLE can "drink like gentleman," hold their liquor and feel no after-craving for a drink.

Alcoholics Anonymous has nothing to offer these drinkers. There exists no liquor problem for them, and we can only say, "More power to them; may they always be able to control their drinking."

This message is directed only to those too whom alcohol has become the BIGGEST problem in life…the true, heart-weary, egoinflated, defeated Alcoholic. (Who Me pamphlet published by Original Salt Lake Group in Early 40's)

You may ask what could be the problem with being a little more inclusive about our membership? Didn't Bill say that our way of life has it’s advantages for all? Why not let them all in. Bill addressed these questions in a Grapevine Article that was later reprinted into a pamphlet called Problems Other Than Alcohol. In it he states the following:

Now there are certain things that AA cannot do for anybody, regardless of what our several desires or sympathies may be.

Our first duty, as a Society, is to insure our own survival. Therefore we have to avoid distractions and multipurpose activity. An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of its members, let alone the problems of the whole world.  Sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group.

Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed. It has also been learned that there is no possible way to make nonalcoholic into AA members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics and we have to confine our AA groups to a single purpose. If we don't stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone.

To illustrate, let's review some typical experiences. Years ago, we hoped to give AA membership to our families and to certain nonalcoholic friends who had been greatly helpful. They had their problems, too, and we wanted them in our fold. Regretfully, we found that this was impossible.

They couldn't make straight AA talks; nor, save a few exceptions, could they identify with new AA members. Hence, they couldn't do continuous Twelfth Step work. Close to us as these good folks were, we had to deny them membership. We could only welcome them at our open meetings. That’s the problem with open membership. There is no identification .

As our book states on page 18:
But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

The problem is that they can't reach into our alcoholic world and make us believe they understand us and we can't hold drunken misery and death over their heads to entice them into practical application of our spiritual principles. It is a very inefficient system of mutual aid when none of the important motivational factors are shared.

The real tragedy of the situation is that only the alcoholics die. Why are they dying? They are dying because they aren't doing anything.

The first three chapters of our book and the Doctor's Opinion are summarized on page 43 as follows:

Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.

That’s what the promised spiritual awakening is for. It is the only thing ever in recorded history to reliably fix real alcoholics. It worked and kept working until it generally fell out of favor within the fellowship. How did this happen you ask? This slippery slope began in the mid-seventies with the proliferation of clinical treatment options for alcoholism and many of the less severe emotional

An alcoholic algebra developed where if you drink at all and it causes you problems you are a problem drinker and that's as good as alcoholic in a fellowship where all you need is a desire to stop drinking. They sent them in droves. Rehabs, courts, mental heath facilities, probation departments, concerned wives and parents, employers and many others sent us drinkers of all kinds and descriptions who were under the impression that they were alcoholics .

Some members I know personally stated that they were told by various outside agencies that they didn_t have to be alcoholics to attend meetings or become members under the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking clause. So we had a situation where a outside agencies send us their clients who erroneously informed us as to our traditions, and we welcomed them.

We welcomed them because AA worked and these people deserved to experience the same benefits as the existing membership had.  The problem occurred when these less-hopeless drinkers could not identify with the deadly drinking patterns described by the real alcoholics and opted out of working various parts of the program because they didn_t seem necessary to them.

Turned out they were right. Non-alcoholic drinkers learned to their satisfaction just what Bill had written on page 39:

That may be true of certain nonalcoholic people who, though drinking foolishly and heavily at the present time, are able to stop or moderate, because their brains and bodies have not been damaged as ours were. But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.

This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.

Well, they learned the first part anyway. That second part where self-knowledge wouldn_t fix the alcoholic problem, seemed to escape them. At least that is the impression that is conveyed by what they say at the meetings. I just don't drink and go to meetings is a program of will power and self knowledge.

Nothing else. The idea that I have frequently heard that "you can stay sober on Step One for the rest of your life and the other steps are for straightening out your life" is also based solely on self-knowledge as the cure.

The next time you have a headache see if goes away by telling yourself you have a headache. Sounds kind of ridiculous doesn't it?

Why would it be any different with alcoholism? That's a program that will only work on drinkers who are not alcoholic by definition.

When we allow them membership and they share their legitimate experience of not drinking and not working the program, they cannot help the real alcoholic who is the only one we are supposed to be concerned about.



  1. This is good stuff,
    I haven't been to SR in a long time, I can only imagine the uproar this has caused. Isn't it interesting that the only requirement for drinking according to the often misunderstood short form of the 3rd tradition is of absolutely no use to the real deal.

    Then we have the hard drinkers and fakers, can't recover from something we don't have. Just like the Washingtonians, we are spreading ourselves thin, we will do ourselves in by not adhering to the traditions, I suspect it may be too late.

  2. Fucking thing deleted my post too.

  3. I just sponsored a guy out of AA. He was 22 years of bullshitting himself, never quite fitting, never being able to really help an alcoholic. Now he is free to NOT go to meetings and try to convince himself that he belongs.

    I'll post the whole version tonight, not enough time now.

  4. We just batted this issue around at a meeting last Friday and the comments there were pretty much what's being said on SR. Nothing earth shaking. But some of the comments from that meeting were pretty good. They went along with what “Unknown” said here. A quick summary:

    There's always gonna be the problem of the problem drinking "alcoholics" trying to derail the program. And part of the problem with them being in the rooms to begin with is our confused message.

    First we tell them that only they can determine if they're alcoholics or not. Where the hell did that fucking rule come from, anyway?

    But since they're here in the meeting, and they want to stop drinking, they must be alcoholics, right? Let someone say that this is their first AA meeting and we'll be on them like white on rice.

    Shit, we go out of our way to convince these people that they really are alcoholics and will hammer them with this "denial" bullshit 'til they finally 'fess up and "accept" their alcoholism. And they're now members of the club 'cause they want to stop drinking. Then we tell them to join a home group, get a sponsor, and all that shit. So they do. Keep coming back...One day at a time...

    Now that they're full fledged members and "have been around a few 24 hours" they have credibility. They take over meetings. They decide that talk of the pain an alcoholic suffers is too "negative" a topic for discussion. Lets keep things positive and cheerful.

    They can then spout off about "meeting makers make it" and how they tailored the program to fit their needs. They know every fucking trite AA saying (Think, think, think) and can talk about H.A.L.T all night long.

    So that poor son of a bitch that's hurting so fucking bad that he's willing to do anything to stop this fucking insanity of drinking walks in the door. And he hears "It works if you work it" and all that bullshit we spout.

    He gets phone numbers and meeting schedules. Maybe if he's lucky he'll get a free Big Book. But does he get the help he needs? Fuck no! He gets "suggestions" from people who don't know the first fucking thing about being an alcoholic. He's out the door in no time and it's our fucking fault.

    It all started because we got too fucking lazy. We started to let people decide if they belonged in AA or not without giving them any fucking idea of what the program is all about.

    We decided that after we had gotten sober by working the steps as the Big Book tells us to, we could sit back and take an easier, softer way now. We forgot about this 12th step stuff.

    Read the long from of the Traditions? Takes too long. Study the traditions? Naw. Let's have a "Daily Reflections" meeting instead.

    So the issue of "The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking." comes up and we don't see any problem with that statement. Got a problem with alcohol? Sure, come in.

    I gotta go with Rob. It may be too late.

  5. This is exactly why blogs like Stinkin Thinkin are created. They are created on misinformation and haphazard practicing of the principles. They have no real experience with the severe affects of alcoholism nor do they want to.
    Jim I sponsored a few out of AA myself. My sponsor in Georgia just about freaked out on me. I de-sponsored him also...lol. Seriously he felt that I should have allowed the person the chance to be sponsored through the 164 pages. I told him I would have better results dragging a mule 50 miles.
    As I keep saying Treatment Centers and the Judicial System is teaching a different kind of AA. It is called reward and punishment. In some treatment centers you can't finish their program unless you do a certain number of steps.
    AA was not meant to be forced. It goes against the philosophical principles Bill and Bob were asking of us. It is called self help (a design for living) to be chosen freely.
    Yes we come in the rooms in sad shape willing to do anything so are current situation will change. But as time passes we realize if we are a alcoholic that we are will fellow sufferers and are helping each other willingly. Nobody has a gun at your head except yourself.

  6. Great piece Mc. Thanks!!!!

  7. That's what she said! Ha ha ha! In my best Michael Scott voice too.

    Thanks, H. I just found it on SR. Thought you guys might like it.

    Keith did and he's "one of us" in our A.A. approach.

    Joe, ain't that the truth!

    The anti/XAers say the same thing as we do with regards to the failing A.A. fellowship, but they give us no room or credit for our recognition of it and attempts to fix A.A. from within because they want the credit for bitching about the state of A.A. but don't want our solution to the problem to be heard either because they want to see A.A. go down in a firey crash and they dispess us as "militant".

    I say let the fucker crash. Let it the m-fer burn... burn m-fer burn. (bloodhound gang tune)

    I'm staying sober no matter what and I ain't cashing my A.A. book in neither. I know a few others folks with this attitude too.

    I think the truth of the matter is this... some folks don't need to do what we do for sobriety and that's that. They've hijacked A.A. and they're not going away. Why they stay is beyond me. I wouldn't do this stuff if I didn't have to... even though "once I live the way I'm supposed to, I get what I need and I realize that it's also what I wanted all along"... although I didn't thing so way back when. (That quote was by Paul Martin, btw)

    So the problem is, there are some alcoholics out there who will not get the help they need and will drink again and some will die. But too bad so sad. We can't save the world. The alcoholic has to find us. The ball is in their fucking court actually. Now, some of you will hate my mention of this, but isn't it the bottom line truth?

    We are like sheep and the center of that Closed A.A. Militant hard core fucking meeting is where the shepard is. Get in the center of this deal. If you're hungry, get the fuck up here and eat. Don't sit out there on the outer fringes. That's where the wolves are.

    Deep down, alkies know this... but do they want to do something about it? Most don't.

  8. <>

    Actually, with the guy I just sponsored out of A.A., I used the path of consideration with him. He was referred to A.A. by a shrink because he was an untreated bi-polar who drank a lot. So he goes to A.A. and they try to convince him he's alcoholic. He goes through sponsor after sponsor and always tries to validate his experience with the book, rather than letting his experience validate the book. In other words trying to convince himself and the sponsor he's alcoholic. But can never identify with either the Dr.'s Opinion nor with the examples given in Chapter Three. He just quit drinking because it was causing him trouble. And then he gets help for his bi-polar and is OK not drinking. Except that he is ill at ease trying to fit into a fellowship that he doesn't fit into. So I have him sit with the consideration "Maybe you're not alcoholic." He was here last night telling me he's made peace with that. He's not alcoholic. And now he's free of that lie.


    I did a Twelfth-Step call a while back. Guy had called A.A. because a counselor had assessed him as alcoholic, or as "alcohol dependent." He had to do this because he had got hurt at work and had surgery and got strung out on oxy-contin. When he tried to stop, he got dope sick and then went to detox. The doctor got him hooked on the shit but couldn't get him off. Because he went to detox, his work made him go to treatment. So not only was he assessed as alcohol dependent, he has tendacies towards "opiate abuse." No shit.

    Anyway, we were talking to him about alcoholism and he doesn't have it and we told him as much. He told us he used to drink a lot but cut back because it was causing him trouble. He says he is supposed to go to two "sober support" (meaning A.A./N.A. meetings a week. I told him to go to open meetings and get his slip signed but to mot let the nice people there try to talk him into being alcoholic. He asked about N.A. and I told him to steer clear of there.

    When I told a counselor at work about this, she was horrified. "How can you determine another's alcoholism after a short conversation?" she asked. I told her why not, she does it all the time and at least I have personal experience to draw from and don't do it by checking boxes on an form letter assessment. I did not make a friend that day.

  9. It amazes me that people want to join AA when they don't need to be there. They force themselves to fit into a program that won't work, and end up more fucked up than when they came in the door.

    And we encourage them to do it. We're so fucking lazy that it's easier to chant "Keep coming back, it works...." and all that bullshit than taking time to help them as Jim did.

    We convince these pseudo alkies that they really have a serious problem when they don't. Then we step back and let them hijack AA. Actually, they didn't hijack it, we gave them the program on a fucking platter.

    I think there are enough of us hard core "real" alkies out there, though, to circle the campfire and protect some of the sheep. If the program does self destruct, they'll find us like the Phoenix rising from the fucking ashes with the Big Books held high, saying "Bring it on, Mother Fucker!"

    They can call us The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Or words to that effect...

  10. Joe said, " like the Phoenix rising from the ashes with the Big Books held high".
    Right on!!!!! Showed my age there.
    Man I have a dream that there will be a day when alkies will rise above and reclaim their homegroups from these pseudos.
    We have been overrun with confusion and frankly some days (weeks,months and years) I can not stand it.
    What to do...pray. I do and I turn it over to God. I try to bring the message of AA to the one who suffers. There are still alcoholics suffering who do not know about AA.

  11. Effin' A. I just spoke with a guy today who I don't really know for sure if he's alky. He's 9 months sober... and has been going to a lot of meetings... oh, and he had me sign his meeting slip tonight and I didn't even chair the meeting. I thought to myself, "Why the hell not?" So I signed it.

    But this same guy asked me about this "Monday meeting" he overheard me and another A.A. talk about. I told him it's where this big guy named Gary goes. He then remembered going to that meeting (My homegroup) and he said he hates that meeting.

    I asked him why he hates that meeting and he said because he was there once and he was called on to share and he said, "I think I'll pass tonight." So Gary said, "There's no passing in this meeting. You must share here when you're called on."

    Yup. That's in our group conscience and it's part of our format.

    People know very well where we're at and what we're about. Either that or they've heard about us. Most don't have anything to do with us. Even the ones who say they love our meeting and our format... don't seem to show up for a second time.

    I guess we just don't have enough huggie-kissie in our meeting... no clapping... no chanting... no chips... no warm fuzzies...

  12. If you don't like the format, and don't want to do any thinking or work ion the program, then stay away from meetings like the Dog's.

    That type of meeting (and I go to one, it's a Closed Men's) requires you to think about the program and what you're doing to stay sober. At mine, Big Books aren't allowed to be opened. We know what the fucking book says. What do you say?

    It sort of separates the alcoholics from the pseudos. You can't get away with spouting what you heard at last night's meeting and God help you if you say the answer is found on page 449.

    We still get a crowd of about 30 guys, though. Guys who, like us, crawled through the doors in serious pain and are willing to cut off their left nut to get sober. Guys who are teachable.

    As for those who don't want to "share"? There's always a "Daily Reflections" or a "Grapevine" meeting on the schedule. Probably find some hugs there.

    We give out chips, though. But you earn the fuckers....

  13. We have people come to our meeting once and never come back. Some say the three minutes of silence at the beginning and end is too much for them. Others say it's the crossfire. We don't care, we never intended on appealing to the masses.

    Yesterday I had a talk with a detox patient at work, a young woman alcoholic. She asked me why she is so judgmental and I asked her why she thought she is judgmental. She said because she was sitting in the day room with some the young opiate addicts and their talk made her uncomfortable and that on Thursday night when N.A. brought their panel in, she attended and it made her uncomfortable. I told her that she wasn't being judgmental, that if she is an alkie it is natural for her to be uncomfortable in a room full of addicts and that she should pay heed to this experience when the counselors try to convince her that she is an addict and should go to N.A. as well as A.A.meetings. I told her that it is about identification, that I get uncomfortable in a room full of junkies myself because I don't have a common experience with them.

  14. Very Hobbit-like, Jim. I'm sure you're a big hit with the counselors. And there's no doubt that you saved this young woman's ass, too.

    Question for you guys. I'm had experience with a "hot seat" in AA meetings, but never this cross fire you guys talk about. I have an idea as to what it is, but some explanation would be appreciated.

  15. Joe, I love how you say you keep your books close during the meeting, saying you know what the fuckers say. Most of the folks in our mothership meeting in Denver don't go walking around with a fucking Big Book in their hand.

    Question of you, when the book says, "Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory"... what's your current experience with this?

  16. Fucking program just deleted me while I was still typing!!

    Anyway Patrick, we have a crowd around here that carry the Big Book like a Teddy Bear. Any topic comes up in a meeting and "Whap!", they open right to some page that has the "answer" for them.

    So if the topic is "How have you learned to deal with resentments?", it's right to 449 (or 417 in the 4th Edition as those with "a few 24 hours in the program" like to point out). If you press them to explain how they have personally learned to be able to accept things, you get a blank stare and more page turning.

    But to get to your question. Are you asking what do I hear for responses when I ask that question of others? Or are you asking my personal experience of "Leaving the drink aside..."?

  17. "Hot Seat" and "Cross Fire" old school. I am a member of a homegroup in Atlanta that when we gather in a certain town 2 times a year for a mens retreat on Saturday night 9pm. We have a marathon meeting that at times has gone on until 6am the next day.
    This meeting is not for the timid or meek we place a chair in the center of the ring of men and if you have been bullshitting with your program it is going to be a long night for you. Now I am not saying guys (who are in the chair) can't leave the room or tell you to fuck off but usually the peer pressure will keep you in check. Your sponsor and friends are usually with you in this meeting also.
    Many of men have testified that in was in this meeting at some point near dawn the light went off in their head, their life changed. That this weekend helped them break through the self destructive lifestyle they were trapped in.
    If any of you wish to go to this Mens Retreat in Georgia it meets twice a year and 400 men come from all over the country. Let me know and I will give you the website.

  18. Joe, Jim and Patrick my new brothers, I salute you.
    Thanks for making me feel comfortable here.

  19. Joe, I was giving you a piece of "crossfire".

    H, disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed.

  20. Ah, I see. "Crossfire" isn't something that I've come across around here. The type of question, yes, but in a one-on-one atmosphere.

    The Hot Seat, similar I think to the "Crossfire", was more confrontational in nature. I first ran across it in Rehab years ago. It was an assault from all sides that often turned into a personal attack on an individual. I never was a big fan of it for that reason.

    And as a quick response to the question, aside from the drink question, I had no life to judge unsatisfactory. The drink question was my life.

    Carry on.

  21. More crossfire:

    "So tell me what you are doing with the new found sixth-sense?"

    "Could it be that you are stuck in a place of delusion when it comes to this particular relationship?"

    From a few Mondays ago, directed at a long-time MOTR when we had the long form of Tradition Three as our meeting topic:

    "What makes you think that you are alcoholic?"

  22. Leaving aside the drink question... how are things ... now, currently? You know? Page 52 stuff...

    Having trouble with personal relationships? Self... I'm either a bit self indulgent or neglectful of myself at times... such as denying myself of needed recreation and exercise. With my wife... not being quick to consider her feelings like asking her how her day was when she gets home... assuming it's on one of the few days that I get to see her after work... not paying attention to her when I'm on the computer or engaged in watching something on the tube... like sports or a movie. With God... am I spending the time I should afford my loving Creator? With family and friends? With A.A. folks? With new drunks? Is this going as I'd intended? Could I use some Power in this area of my life? Could I do better?

    Could we control our emotional natures... when we're on our way to work and time's tight? When we're driving down the road, someone veers into our lane and as we come up to them we see they're texting and driving. When we're in a meeting and someone's phones goes off, they answer it, and they say, "Hello"? When we're at the movie and some folks come and sit down right in front of you... even though the theatre is half empty. Somebody calls you a "hippie" in a response to your spiritual expression? Somebody knocks your path to alcohol recovery and accuses you of being a racist and abusive to women? Somebody knocks your concept of God? You get your mail and notice that half of it belongs to someone else at some other address... then you wonder where they hell your mail might be? You noticed that you missed a bill? Your car insurance went up unexpectedly or your heat bill is over 200.00 for the month? Somebody smashed your mailbox? You fail an exam? She tells you that she's "late"? Now... some of these may not be a big deal to you. You don't drive. So... you avoid a lot of stress. But... at any given time, if you're not so spiritually fit... some of these things can make one go ape-shit.

    Prey to misery and depression, couldn't make a living, feeling of uselessness, full of fear, unhappy, etc.

    How are things? Could you use some help... in these areas? Some Power?

    Or are you doing fine... on your own power? Without God?

  23. Great topics, guys. I had to pull Jim's alcoholic question on a sponsee last night. He didn't like the question, I didn't like the answer.

    But your issues of emotional control, Patrick, point right to the core of one's spirituality. We don't always handle the shit that happens in our lives very well. But that's ok as we're imperfect human beings. I like Kurtz and Ketchamn's concept of the Spirituality of Imperfection.

    I do the best I can, recognizing that mistakes are inevitable. I need to consistently recognize and learn from these mistakes, though, or I'll fall victim to misery and depression.

    My serenity will disappear and my contact with God with it. A spiritual life that focuses on self is a contradiction.

    I also strongly believe in what I said in my blurb about spirituality - What others think of me is none of my business. If I cared what others thought, then I'd be leading my life to please them and not God.

    So if my beliefs in God or AA are attacked, or if I'm called a sexist or a bigot, that's not my problem. It's those who attack that have a problem.

    Yeah, shit happens every day. And I plod along, living the steps and doing the best I can. Some days I need help, others I don't. I always know where to turn for that help, though. He's with me all the time.

  24. you are invited to follow my blog

  25. Thanks for the invite Steve.

    I see you're Christian. I think that's cool.

    We're a bunch of sinners in here.

  26. Speak for yourself, Heathen!

  27. Whooooooooooooa, heathens work sometimes!!!!!
    Just think about that mother in-law. LOL