Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tradition 1, Unity

Just got back from my homegroup meeting and the topic was Tradition 1.

1. Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole.  A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die.  Hence our common welfare comes first.  But individual welfare follows close afterward.

Gary chaired the meeting tonight and proposed this topic, as it's our new group conscience to bring the topic of the tradition of that month to our last meeting of that month.  Plus we hold our group conscience after the meeting on the last Monday of the month.

So in Gary's sharing of the topic, he discussed the importance of taking care of your group.  Now, several years ago, our group was getting pretty big.  Maybe 18-20 people and it was growing.  But our group become split on philosophy and there seemed to be split politics as well.  We started meeting with active and passive resistance.  Every group conscience became a struggle to change the thing into something else and some of us stood firm on the original group conscience.  So eventually, the group split.  The split was good for them and it was good for us.  We became a very small group... but a very focussed group and the fighting stopped.  The splinter group grew and flourishes today.  They have close to 30 folks.  But our group is about 4.  We had a new guy show up tonight and he likes our format... even the crossfire.

We don't have a GSR.  We don't contribute to area, the region, nor New York.  We do contribute some to the local CSO, but only to get our name listed in the area meeting list.  We give the rest of the money to the church we meet in.  We are dedicated to showing up, doing steps yearly, chairing meetings, participating in meetings and group consciences and if we get a 12 step call, we jump on that.  As a group, we don't do anything else at this time. 

Unconventional?  Probably.  Effective?  I'd say so.

To us, the still suffering alcoholic starts with the folks right there in our own group.  Anybody who is new to A.A. or to our group can become a part of that if they can maybe suggest they drank a little something... aka that they might be the Real McCoy, and that they want to do something about it.

I discussed my last year and the lack of meetings and how I couldn't make my homegroup commitment due to my work schedule and how I attempted to find a new home... to land elsewhere... and how that ultimately didn't work and how I got back to my homegroup.  Someone in the group crosstalked my share with the notion that "we shouldn't judge others" and stuff like that.  I brought the question up in crossfire, "Is it ever right to judge another person or group with respect to A.A. and if so, how should it be done.  But I asked Gary instead of the person the question was really directed at.  This indirect approach sometimes works best. 

What do you all think about that issue?  Is it ever right to judge another?  Specifically with regards to those we are doing spiritual work with?  "Judge not lest ye be judged."  What does that mean?  Is there a caveat that comes with that?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sanity... and how we get there.

So I got to chair my first meeting in probably over half a year.  I read some pages out of the book pertaining to sanity, specifically from pages 56 and 57, 70, and page 84;

Pg 56 and 57:
Thus was our friend's cornerstone fixed in place. No later vicissitude has shaken it. His alcoholic problem was taken away. That very night, years ago, it disappeared. Save for a few brief moments of temptation the though of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity. .

What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker then he knew


Pg 70:
To sum up about sex: 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. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.

Pg 84:
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

Then I added a final bit from the end of chapter 6 from page 88;
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.   
We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works is dead." The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve.

So I shared my recent experience with what sanity is to me and how I've used or attempted to use discipline to remain in that state.

A pretty good discussion ensued and a pretty good crossfire discussion as well.  Considerations were brought up such as;

"Do you feel you can be restored to sanity if you seemingly never knew sanity in the first place?"

"Have you ever worked with "God is my employer and if so, how so?"

"Can you engage in foolish decisions now and if so, will this mean you will wind up drunk?"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What if... I/We walked away from A.A.?

Here you go Rob. Let's talk about this in all of its forms, shall we?

The only real experience I have with this is when I ... unknowingly at the time... picked a road out and went and drank booze.

But heck, I didn't need A.A. to blame for this because I did the same kind of thing when I "got sober" without A.A. in the past. I've gotten sober with and without A.A. with the full intent to never drink again, and went some time without booze and seemingly happy, content, etc. But the time came eventually where I drank for some seemingly trivial reason, a case of the fuck-its, the poor me's, etc.

I drank again because, I wanted to get laid and was nervous, because she left me, because I was offered a drink and somehow just said yes, because somebody stole my sale, because I was in California, because I was in Texas, because I "accidently" mistook rum and coke for coke, etc.

But what we're talking about here... is folks who do A.A. ... are sober and recovered in A.A. ... and just fed up with the goings on in the fellowship... or at whatever level they're fed up. Or maybe it's an internal thing.

But as RobB talks about, it's a matter of staying sober and continuing on a God-Centered path.

I brought up this notion... of "What if someone left A.A. and lead a God-centered life and stayed sober despite leaving A.A.?" at an after-A.A. diner get-together... and you'd a thought I ripped a fart during the wedding vows.

"WELL... I KNOW PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO LEFT A.A. ALL THE ONE'S I KNOW OF ARE DRUNK, DEAD, OR LOCKED UP!" Pretty much something to that effect. One gal said she knew some who did that and either drank or she just don't see them anymore... despite the fact she relocated to a town 120 miles south of where she got sober.

I credit you folks... my colleagues I've met in cyber-recovery... and the anti/XAers... who opened my eyes to some of the head-knodding-droolery and hypnosis that we can choose into and hopefully out of.