Celebrating Thirty One Years of Recovery in Al-Anon! One Day at a Time!

letitbeginwithmealanon

I can hardly believe that it has been thirty one years ago today, that I began my road to happy destiny in Al-Anon. I dragged into my first meeting depressed, pissed, suicidal, homicidal, full of self pity and resentments toward others. I came to “get him sober” yet I found out that I had no power over him, and that I was the only one that I had any power over. Of course, I did not believe them. I thought, “But you don’t know me”. He will stop for me. I am younger than him, sexy, and he really loves me.

JUST FOR TODAY - AL-ANON

Long story short, he did not stop for me, but I found what I needed for me…serenity, peace, and love. I found people that “loved me, wanted me, and needed me” for free.

Nine months going to Al-Anon and still being miserable and doing all of the DON’Ts instead of the DO’s, my sponsor recommended that I go to AA, and find out more about alcoholism. I continued to drink at my husband, because I thought, “I am not the alcoholic…he is”.  I agreed that I might check it out. 

After three years of my attending meetings and working my steps with my sponsor, I finally had had enough of his drunkenness and chaos. So, I chose to divorce him, because I could not live in the insanity anymore. I was beginning to feel better and I decided that I wanted recovery even if he did not. I had spent my whole life thinking of others, trying to help others, and in the process, I did not lose me, because you have to have an “identity” in order to lose one, and I had never had one. I found out that I was Co-Dependent. I read up on Co-Dependency and I went to therapy too.

Let it begin with me.When anyone anywhere reaches out for help, we want the hand of Al-Anon and Ala-Teen to be there.

I celebrated thirty years of sobriety and serenity in January 2017.  God has used me for thirty years to “carry the message of recovery” to many others.  I share my recovery to those that “want” it, because we can only help those that “want” recovery and are “willing to go to any lengths” to achieve sobriety and serenity.  Very few have chosen to stay sober come hell or high water, no matter what, because we have “free will”, and they are looking for an “easier, softer way”.  I chose the “harder, right way”.

Bill and Lois Wilson

 

Let Go And Let GOD Be God

“O our God, will You not exercise judgement upon them? For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” ~~2 Chronicles 20:12

Here Jehoshaphat admits to God openly his total inability to deal with the problem. For years I tried very hard to change myself without success. I tried so hard and so long to break bad habits only to fail time and time again. I tried to alter different things in my life, to get prosperity, to make my ministry grow, and to be healed. I remember wanting to give up because I was so exhausted from trying to fight my own battles. I went through all that on a regular basis until I was being really kind of melodramatic about it, trying to impress God with how miserable I was. I said something like, “God, I’ve had it. This is it. I’m through. Nothing I’m doing is working. I give up. I’m not going to do this anymore. Just then, deep inside me, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Really?” There was real excitement in His voice. That happens because the only time He gets to work in us is when we become so exhausted that we finally decide,  “Instead of trying to do this myself, I’m going to let go and let God be God.” Trying to be God will wear you out fast. Why not give up your own effort and do what Jehoshaphat did in verse 12? Admit to God that you have no might to stand against your enemies and that you don’t know what to do, but you’re looking to Him for direction and deliverance. source: New Day, NEW YOU, Joyce Meyers, 2007

I always have had problems with setting, and keeping boundaries. As a child, I had only two choices: comply or get a beating. In school we had NO choices, it was their way or the highway.  I was NOT allowed to define my own boundaries or to be myself. I was NOT expected to defend myself, because in those days, the teachers and doctors were god and were never wrong. And…whatever they said was the law.

I believe my addictions began about the age of twelve. I used to escape a critical, confining, and controlling environment through my addictions. I did not believe there was a god, or else I was such a horrible child that I deserved to treated the way that I was, so I wanted no part of him or established religion.

In my recovery, I found God, because I had tried living my life my way, and I had hit bottom in order to be desperate enough to give into something that I thought was make-believe and not real. I was allowed choices. I could go on to the bitter end, or try this god-thing.

I was allowed to choose the “higher power” that I needed for me. I chose one that was not a hateful, abusive, critical, condemning, controlling God, but a loving and forgiving one. I had to stop “playing god”.  I am NOT God, so it is NOT my job but God’s job.

Through the years, I have learned to let go a lot sooner, and stop playing God. I asked for help, instead of suffering alone. I was taught that all I have to do is to do the best that I can, and leave the results up to God. We have to do the “footwork” or the next “right thing”.

I make a lot better decisions today and I have a lot more peace and serenity as a by product of “right living”.  No, I am not perfect because I am human. I am a Human Being, not a Human Doing. I almost died trying to be perfect, and still today I have “defects of character” that I am working with God on. 

GOD MADE ME NOT JUST A SURVIVOR BUT A THRIVER!!

SURVIVOR VS VICTIM

Today, Sally, we believe God wants you to know that …you were created to be alive.
You weren’t made to simply survive until you die. Live it up, embrace life.

This entire planet exists for all God’s creatures, – and that includes you. Don’t wait to start living, begin right now, with your very next breath. There are many wonderful experiences waiting for you, so get going.

I BELIEVE THAT GOD MADE ME NOT JUST A SURVIVOR BUT A THRIVER!!

In my recovery, I found out that I had a choice whether I wanted to continue to live in the anger and resentments, or did I want to get help and get better. AA = Attitude Adjustment.

I just told a friend last night, that “Why would anyone choose to stay miserable and angry, and die drunk?? And…not take what was so freely given to us and countless others.

I wanted it ALL, so I had to do as I was told to, and I attended meetings, got a sponsor, read the literature, and WORKED the steps, ALL twelve of them in order. We offer to cheerfully refund your misery if you do not want to get help or change. 

I have heard people say, “Oh, AA does not work, I got drunk again.” I say, “No, you chose to continue to run your own life instead of doing God’s will, and if you don’t do the footwork = work the steps, then, yes, many do drink again and die a slow painful death.”

In recovery:

1. I went back to college and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree.

2. God gave me the love of my life.

3. God and my parents gave me a home.

4. I have learned to be content in whatsoever state I am in.

5. I no longer choose to do things that cause me pain and chaos and consequences. 

6. I do NOT want to continue to pay the consequences! I chose sobriety and serenity.

I have learned that if people continue to ENABLE and cover up for an alcoholic/addict, then they may never recover or change, and many die that way. Please, STOP enabling them and allow them to hit their bottom. Give them to God!  

One Day At A Time

One Day at a Time - RosesOne Day at a Time, is one of our slogans in the twelve step program that I belong to. It is one of my favorite, but it was the hardest for me to learn to live by.

I spent thirty years living in yesterday, and tomorrow, but never today. Either I was living in the past whining and complaining about what all others had done to me, therefore living in my resentments and miserable; or I was living in the future, terrified of what could or would happen. I had no faith, so I lived in fear.  I existed from crisis to crisis. 

It took years of practice in recovery to really….know the meaning of it. The Serenity Prayer helped me to know what to focus on that I could change, and what things that I could not change. 

It does not mean that we do not plan for the future or prepare for tomorrow. We just do our best to know God’s will, so that we can do God’s will. We take it a step at a time, one day at a time.  We must do the “footwork”.  We grow, one day at a time in our recovery too. We do not get well overnight.

If you want a job, then you must prepare and educate yourself, then follow through by creating a resume and applying for the jobs that you qualify for.  Pray for God to direct you to the job that He wants you to have.  

I make a list of what I need to do for the day, and I arrange them in order of priority, the most important first.  I pay what bills that I can, like our water bill, so that we have water to drink, clean, and bathe with.  I consider that a priority for me.

Everyone is different, so some may choose to spend their money on junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gambling, or crap that they do not need. But…if you are one of those people…be prepared to do without other things…and don’t expect others to pay you bills…or allow you to live rent free.

I used to manage apartments, and you would not believe how many people would spend their money on getting drunk or high, and not pay their rent or utilities. For me, that is a priority, I pay my living expenses first, then if there is any left I buy groceries or gas.

I knew a woman that did not pay her water bill for six months, while she used another woman’s water.  Then, when they decided to cut off her water, she was pissed. What? It is not someone else’s job to pay your bills!

I told her that she should be grateful that the woman was nice enough to allow her to use her water at all, and that it was not her job to pay your water bill.  She did not see anything wrong with using the other woman . I did.

Of course, she made excuses! Oh, she had to pay other bills. No, she did not have to pay other bills, if there was not enough income for the internet, cable, junk food, and cigarettes, then she should do without others do.

I offered to help her with a budget, to no avail. Ten years later, she is whining about not being able to pay her cable bill and internet. It is sad, but some people never grow up.

I thank God everyday, that I had responsible parents who paid their living expenses first, fed and clothed their six children before the non essential things. My Daddy made very little money, and Mother was a stay at home Mother. We were taught that if we could not afford it, then we did not need it, and could live without it. We ate beans and cornbread and cheap meals a lot.

My childhood has prepared me to “Live life on life’s terms” not mine. My Big Book stated the same thing. We may be broke as hell, but we will have water and a roof over our heads.  I love the quote by Saint Paul, “I have learned in whatsoever state that I am in, therewith to be content.”

 

NOT Self-Confidence, God-Confidence!

“Put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearance.”–Philippians 3:3

Everyone talks about self-confidence.

All kinds of seminars are available on confidence, both in the secular world and the church world.

Confidence is usually referred to as “self-confidence”, because we all know that we need self-confidence to feel good about ourselves if we are ever to accomplish anything in life.  

We have been taught  that all people have a basic need to believe in themselves.

However this is a misconception. 

Actually we do not need to believe in ourselves–we need to believe in Jesus in us.

We do not dare feel good about ourselves apart from Him. When the apostle Paul instructs us to “put no confidence…in the flesh,” he means just what he says—do not put confidence in yourself or in anything you can do apart from Jesus. 

We do not need self confidence; we need God-confidence!

Many people spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find that when they get to the top, their ladder was leaning against the wrong building.  

Others struggle, trying to behave well enough to develop a measure of confidence in themselves, only to endure repeated failures. 

Both of these activities produce the same results: emptiness.

I have found that most people fall into one of two categories:

1. they never accomplish anything, no matter how hard they try, and end up hating themselves because of their lack of achievement; or

2. they have enough natural talent to accomplish great things, but take all the credit for their achievements, which fill them with pride.

Either way, they are a failure—in the eyes of God.

The only truly successful person in God’s eyes is the individual who knows he is nothing in himself, but everything in Christ. Our pride and boasting are to be in Jesus alone, and He is to have all the glory (credit due) for whatever accomplishments we may achieve.–source: New Day New You, Joyce Meyer, 2007

The thought for the day was just what God knew I needed to read. With my depression, I was always insecure and I did not believe that I could ever do enough to please people.

Today, because of my recovery, I know that I do not have to please other people, just God.

Your Needs Are Important Too!

YOUR NEEDS ARE IMPORTANT TOO

I have used this analogy before. I have had to remind myself of the concept many times. If I don’t take care of me, then I have nothing to offer others. If I volunteer myself to be used or abused, then my self esteem must be low.

Healthy people do not have to worry about what to do to keep others from taking advantage of them, they instinctively know what they must do. Healthy people know that they must take care of themselves first, then help others, if they are capable of helping them without causing harm to themselves and family.

The Bible also tells us to take care of our families first, then help others if we are able.

The Serenity Prayer teaches me to accept the things that I cannot change, and to change what I can, and my program helps me to learn the wisdom to know the difference.

The 12 Steps teach me that I am powerless over people, places, and things.  I am only responsible for my own thoughts, feelings, and actions….no one elses. Knowing that helps me to keep my sobriety and serenity.

Recovery and working the steps, have taught me that… I have a choice….and I never have to give up me to be loved by you! God loves me…just as I am…He loves me…and He wants me to take care of me…then if He wants me to help others…He will provide me the means to do it.   

My Husband, The Light of my Life

My husband, “the light of my life.”

He is 58 and I am 60. God really does know what He is doing. We are able to be at home together with my “forced retirement”.

At first, I felt guilty, because I had always worked since I was 12. I was brought up to believe, that if I wanted something that I had to work for it.

Now, God wants me to care for my husband, obviously because that is where I am, for now, and I love it. Not the part about him being sick but the part about having him to share my life. In my program for living, and the twelve steps, I have learned to “accept life on life’s terms”, and so I am content with whatever God has given me. 

I am so grateful for what God has given me, and for what He has taken away too–the chaos, insanity, and the loneliness. In its place God has given me serenity, peace, strength, and solace.  

I thank God everyday for my 27 years in recovery, because without it I would not be doing as well on this “acceptance” thing. I accept the fact that I am NOT God, and that my husband is in God’s hands.  I am grateful for every minute that He gives me with him until God calls him home.

The old me would be living in “self pity” and crying and whining around about how God made me wait so long for my hubby, and the fact that he is sick. I only saw the “bad” in my life.

Someone coined it, a “New Pair of Glasses”, they wrote a book about it. I have not thought about that book in a long while. I will have to get it out and look at it again.

I am looking through a new pair of glasses, and I am seeing what is “right” with my life instead of always looking for what is “wrong” in my life. It makes for a lot more peace and serenity.

Excellent book for anyone, even if you are not in Recovery. 

Your An Overcomer!~~Mandisa~~This Too Shall Pass!

This song has been running through my head, over and over. God is reminding me that “I am an Overcomer”. I am a Survivor. It reminds me not to give up hope! I heard it on KSBJ a few months ago, and I have been singing it ever since.

It is appropriate for the things that I have been going through for the last year and a half. My mother passed away, no job, no money, can’t pay taxes on house, and then a girl texting on her cellular phone wrecked our truck, our one and only automobile. And…my husband has been real ill, and I cannot afford to repair our home like I need to with no money and no job. It has been one thing after another. Sometimes I wonder if God is testing me.  I cannot do anymore than I am doing. I worked my butt off all summer long trying to clean up mother’s yard. I am not as young as I used to be, and I am overloaded being the full time caretaker for my husband. All I can do is pray. I cannot give up hope that soon I will get a job and have some income to take care of my family. 

And…reminds me of “This Too Shall Pass“. Thank God for our Christian singers who remind us that we should never give up hope and inspire us to hang on because tomorrow is another day. 

Am I Acting Or Reacting? Just Because They Are Angry Must I Be?

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Am I Acting Or Reacting?  “Just Because They Are Angry Must I Be?”

This is taken from the Al-Anon book, Courage to Change;
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Many of us come to Al-Anon confused. We are so focused on our alcoholic loved ones that may not be able to see where they leave off and we begin. We’ve lost our sense of what is appropriate. How can we distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior when we don’t even know what we want or need?

[It talks about Step 4 here, about an inventory, and what our values are or need to be and my new values of what I will accept and not accept]

Where in the past I have allowed unacceptable behavior, I now can choose a different response. I must consistently do what I say I am going to do. Today I have the courage and faith to be true to myself. whether or not others like or agree with me. I must remember that announcing my new ways to others is not nearly as important as knowing what my own limits are and act accordingly.

Today’s Reminder
I will remember that knowing my boundaries does not mean forcing others to change; it means that I know my own limits and take care of myself by respecting them. The focus, today, is on me.”

Before recovery, the answer would be yes, but today I have the freedom to choose whether I want to allow others to suck me into their shit or not, so the answer is no.

Remember we DO have a choice! Sometimes I have to physically remove myself to not react. The other person usually gets pissed off if I don’t react and get angry with them. If I want serenity, I must accept the fact that I have no power over others and cannot change them, but I do not have to react to them or get angry too. I pray for them and turn them over to God. 

Today, I choose serenity over chaos. I do NOT have to accept unacceptable behavior. I am God’s child, and I do have a choice. 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” ~~Proverbs 15:1-2

ONE DAY AT A TIME~My Will or God’s Will?

God gave me the reminder to take my life “One Day at a Time”. With all the craziness of our world and all the problems of life, it is hard to “stay in the now”.

 So, I decided to write about it, and share my experience, strength, and hope.  It has been one of the hardest things for me to learn since my recovery began twenty six years ago. I always lived in “regret” about the past, or “fear” of the future. I never lived in today.  I either allowed others to make my decisions for me, and then blamed them when things went wrong or tried to control others decisions for them. Yes, I started out doing it out of love, but then it became an “obsession”. It was as though if I focused on you, then I did not have to look at me. I have found that I have the choice to be “God-centered”, “Self-centered”, or “Other-centered”. I have lived them all! The only choice that I want today is “God-centered”. This subject kind of ties into the Step 11 post that I wrote.

Oh, by the way everyone has problems. I did not know that. I thought that a lot of other people had life a lot easier than me. Today, I break up my problems into steps. I use the twelve steps to help me find a “solution” to my “problem”. There are some things that I have no control over! We live in a sinful world, that is a Reality! We are in a “Spiritual Warfare” for our lives and our souls. I do believe that there is good and evil in this world, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. Yes, sometimes Reality sucks!

As a little girl, I was a free spirit and yearned for a world where everyone was good, nice, kind, and the world was at peace. There were no wars, or abuse, or the devil in my “dream world”. Everyone loved everyone else. As an adult, I have accepted the fact that I cannot have my way, and that life is not like that.

Today, I live in Reality! I apply the steps to any problem that I have. Step 1: What is the problem? Step 2: What are some solutions? Step 3: What are the consequences of those solutions? Step 4: Which do I choose? Step 5: What if the solution does not solve the problem? Step 6: I can choose to be angry or accept reality, and get on with my life. 

Today, I take life “One Day at a Time”, one problem at  a time, one solution at a time. I choose not to be a “martyr” and allow others to “abuse” me or “use” me, because then I get “resentments” and it messes with my serenity, besides the fact that I do not believe that is God’s will for me. Some things we are “powerless” over, but some things God wants us to do. God works through people, as well as the devil does. 

Step 10~Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

AA Big Book
AA Big Book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cover of
Cover of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Step 10 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

“As we work the first nine Steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions?

A continuous look at our assets and liabilities, and a real desire to learn and grow by this means, are necessities for us. We alcoholics have learned this the hard way. More experienced people, of course, in all times and places have practiced unsparing self-survey and criticism. For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong. “

-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p.88

How It Works = HOW = Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willing.

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past.

We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.

This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.

When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. 

-A.A. Big Book p.84 

More about Step 10 in the Big Book

A 10th Step prayer for Growth and Effectiveness:

“God, please help me Watch for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment and Fear. When these crop up in me, help me to immediately ask you to remove them from me and help me discuss these feelings with someone. Father, help me to quickly make amends if I have harmed anyone and help me to resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can Help. Help me to be Loving and Tolerant of everyone today. Amen” (84:2)

Tenth Step Prayer

My Higher Power, My daily prayer is to best serve you,
I pray I may continue to grow in understanding & effectiveness;
Help me to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear;
Help me to be willing to have You remove them at once;
I must be willing to discuss them with someone immediately;
I will make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone;
And then I will turn my thoughts toward helping someone else;
Please help me to remember to practice love and tolerance of others. (84:2)

Tenth Step Amends Prayer

“God, please forgive me for my failings today. I know that because of my failings, I was not able to be as effective as I could have been for you. Please forgive me and help me live thy will better today.  I ask you now to show me how to correct the errors I have just outlined. Guide me and direct me. Please remove my arrogance and my fear. Show me how to make my relationships right and grant me the humility and strength to do thy will.”(86:1)

The emphasis on inventory is heavy only because a great many of us have never really acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal. Once this healthy practice has been groomed, it will be so interesting and profitable that the time it takes won’t be missed. For these minutes and sometimes hours spent in self-examination are bound to make all the other hours of our day better and happier. And at length our inventories become a regular part of everyday living, rather than unusual or set apart.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 89-90 

The Tenth Step can be a pressure relief valve. We work this step while the day’s ups and downs are still fresh in our minds. We list what we have done and try not to rationalize our actions. This may be done in writing at the end of the day. The first thing we do is stop! Then we take the time to allow ourselves the privilege of thinking. We examine our actions, our reactions, and our motives. We often find that we’ve been “doing” better than we’ve been “feeling”. This allows us to find out where we have gone wrong and admit fault before things get any worse. We need to avoid rationalizing. We promptly admit our faults, not explain them.

We work this step continuously. This is a prevention, and the more we do it, the less we will need the corrective part of this step. This is really a great tool. It gives us a way of avoiding grief before we bring it on ourselves. We monitor our feelings, our emotions, our fantasies, and our actions. By constantly looking at these things we may be able to avoid repeating the actions that make us feel bad. 
Narcotics Anonymous, Basic Text, Step 10 

Step 9~Made Direct Amends To Such People Wherever Possible, Except When To Do So Would Injure Them Or Others

Step 9

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.

Now it is time to act on what we learned about ourselves in step 8. We need to go and apologize. You can hold on to pride and stay stuck, or let go and move on.

If apologizing were easy, it wouldn’t have to be listed as a step, would it? It’s hard either because of pride, or because we don’t want to be sincere or we want to avoid conflict or reality. All of those things got us here in the first place.

If people like you and me liked apologizing, we wouldn’t be here, would we? I used to like the idea of getting away with my mistakes, and that was self-deception.

We are here, and we need to do this for ourselves. Just for today.

One reason we don’t want to make amends, is fear of them slugging us.

Another is pride, our egos don’t really want to admit our errors and bad ways. Ignorance seems to be bliss at times like this. I’d rather forget some things I did, and hope that everyone came out okay, and I don’t want to check up on them! There’s the shame and guilt of what has been done. There’s also the development of character that says its time to take care of things.

Fear, Pride, Shame and Guilt. All four are focused on us, and all four drove us to our “drug of choice” in the first place. Anything that breaks the hold these four have on us is a good idea, so let’s get on with the apologies.

Another reason to go apologize and seek forgiveness, is that we may end up forgiving someone whom we do want to forgive! You may be so angry at someone, and in denial of it, that you don’t want to even think about forgiveness.

Ah, well. Do it anyway.

Apologize, then listen. If they are verbally abusive, remember you ‘earned’ the abuse, they have a right to be angry, and just let it pass. Don’t give in to the old way of doing business, don’t defend yourself,  you know where that leads! Besides, you may be surprised, they may be more humane than you and I deserve. Most folks will be somewhere in between. Remember that their reaction or response is not what matters here, it’s you letting go of the consequences and doing the right thing.

It’s your courage, your determination to escape your drug of choice!

There is a good reason to not put somebody on this list. If going to them would be bad FOR THEM, don’t go. We don’t want to injure people, we want to provide opportunities for healing.

An example could be the husband/wife of someone you had a one-night stand with a long time ago! It may damage their current marriage too much, so just eat crow about it and take it to your Higher Power instead. Take them all to your Higher Power, otherwise leave some alone!

You are not out to do harm, but to enable healing.

* The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.

The Complete Serenity Prayer!

God,
Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Amen. 

The Ninth Step Promises

(page 83-84 from the Book, Alcoholics Anonymous)

                    

          “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

         Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”

You Are Exactly Where You Are Meant To Be

Today we believe God wants you to know that … you are exactly where you are meant to be.

Trust in God that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be.

Just as a child has to pass through a tiny channel on its way from the womb into life, so are you on your way to God.

All my life I never thought that I was where God wanted me to be, or what He wanted me to be. I lived in fear and doubt. I never thought that I was good “enough”. I never felt like I “fit in” or was “as good as” others. I became a “people pleaser”. I lived my life for others and tried be what they wanted me to be. I never had my own identity outside others. I was never happy. I reached the brink of suicide before I reached out for help and began my “recovery”. 

I began my “New Life” or Recovery on January 1, 1987, and now that I am in recovery I now have faith in God, and I know without a doubt that I am exactly where God wants me to be, doing exactly what I am doing. I am no longer living in fear and depression. I am “happy, joyous, and free”.

Still life with Bible, by Vincent Van Gogh
Still life with Bible, by Vincent Van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake”. ~~source: AA, p. 417

Step 4~~Alcoholics Anonymous -The Big Book Comes Alive ! Steps 4, 5, 6 With Joe and Charlie

Step Four~~Made a Searching and Fearless Inventory of Ourselves

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

 

How It Works

A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Taking commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.

We did exactly the same thing with our lives. We took stock honestly. First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations. 
-A.A. Big Book p.64 

More about Step 4 in the Big Book

 

Comments from Web Sites and Publications

During the first three steps I have turned my attention from my addiction and the wreckage that it has done to my life to the God that I have come to realize can deliver me from my addiction. I have faced the truth of my situation and turned this situation over to the God who can help me. Now it is time to start seeing things as they truly are rather than through the glass of my addicted mind and heart. The first step in this process of “getting real” is to take an honest inventory of my life. Exactly where have I been, what have I done and how far did I go in my addictive behaviors? When and where did they start and where have they led me? This is a vital step away from my addicted life filled with chaos and insane behaviors towards a conscious life filled with more personal power and serenity. 
– From 12Step.org


We want to find out exactly how, when and where our natural desires have warped us. We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves. By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move towards their correction. Without a willing and persistent effort to do this, there can be little sobriety or contentment for us. Without a searching and fearless moral inventory, most of us have found that the faith which really works in daily living is out of reach. 
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 43 


In Step Four we call it a “moral” inventory because we compile a list of traits and behaviors that have transgressed our highest, or moral, values. We also inventory our “good” traits and the behaviors that represent them. In our life’s moral inventory the defects or dysfunctional behaviors might include some that once worked; some dysfunctional behaviors may have saved our lives as children, but they are now out-of-date, self-defeating, and cause us a great deal of trouble when we use them as adults. 
A Hunger for Healing, p. 61 


The purpose of a searching and fearless moral inventory is to sort through the confusion and the contradiction of our lives so that we can find out who we really are. We are starting a new way of life and need to be rid of the burdens and traps which have controlled us and prevented our growth.

As we approach this step, most of us are afraid that there is a monster inside us that, if released, will destroy us. This fear can cause us to put off our inventory or may even prevent us from taking this crucial step at all. We have found that fear is lack of faith, and we have found a loving, personal God to whom we can turn. We no longer need to be afraid.

… Step Four will help us toward our recovery more than we imagine. Most of us find that we were neither as terrible, nor as wonderful, as we supposed. We are surprised to find that we have good points in our inventory. Anyone who has some time in the Program and has worked this step will tell you that the Fourth Step was a turning point in their life. Some of us make the mistake of approaching the Fourth Step as if it were a confession of how horrible we are-what a bad person we have been. In this new way of life, a binge of emotional sorrow can be dangerous. This is not the purpose of the Fourth Step. We are trying to free ourselves of living in old, useless patterns. We take the Fourth Step to gain the necessary strength and insight which enables us to grow. We may approach the Fourth Step in a number of ways.

It is advisable that before we start, we go over the first three steps with a sponsor. 
Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 4


A personal inventory is crucial to understanding the new direction of our spiritual growth. What aspects of our character do we need to retain and emphasize, and what should be modified or discarded? Six components that might go into such an inventory are described in the following paragraphs.

First, we may need to “tell our stories.” This can be accomplished by journaling, that is, by writing out our stories, and by sharing them with others in recovery meetings or private dialogue…

A second component in our inventory is discovering the roots of our addictions and codependencies. In most cases, this means we have to examine our childhoods. What needs were not met there? What negative experiences or messages about ourselves did we absorb in the dysfunctional family of origin? …

Third, we must confront and assess the full extent of our dependencies. Doing so, we will learn more about the severity of our primary addictions, and we may uncover other peripheral addictions we had not previously recognized. We should inventory and identify all of these codependent symptoms and addictions, which have manifested themselves in our adolescent and adult lives….

Fourth, we need to look back at our relationship history with the people who have been significant in our lives – parents, teachers, mentors, friends, romantic interests. We need to inventory all the ways we have hurt them and hurt ourselves by practicing our adult addictions and codependencies…

Fifth, we must address our guilt feelings. We realize that most addictions are shame-based and shame-propelled. To move beyond this shame-base, we need to distinguish between two major forms of guilt: 1) False shame, or carried shame… 2) Authentic guilt

Sixth, we must “look for the good”. An important counterbalancing dimension is that a Step 4 inventory should include the positive, as well as the negative, things about us… 
– Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 38-42

JUST AS I AM, LORD

I don’t have to give up me, to be loved by you.  I think we should celebrate being white or whatever race that we are. We should not allow others to play the race card with us. I am proud to be white, never wanted to be any other race. I am not ashamed of it, like some would like me to be. God made us all. We are each children of God. To deny what we are is Shaming and Wrong! God made me and I will be proud of how beautiful God made me. I wasted a lot of years trying to please others, and be something else than what I was, and I tried to fit in.

Years ago, God told me, “Why do you keep trying to fit in, when I made you to stand out?” One of the greatest blessings that recovery has given me, is to know that God loves me ‘JUST AS I AM’.

Wow, this little girl has a powerful message. Beautiful voice.

12 Steps to a Spiritual Awakening

My Spiritual Awakening came gradually, not all of a sudden. Through God’s grace and the 12 Steps, God gave me a nudge toward sobriety and serenity. I received serenity and sobriety as a gift, not as something that I deserved but something that I have been eternally grateful for. I was so miserable, that I was willing to go to any lengths to feel better.

I had to be willing to work for it though. And it has not been easy “living life on life’s terms”.
At first I was angry at God, for giving me such an awful life, and making me unable to have a baby.
Through my work on myself and gradually learning to believe that God was not mad at me, and He did not make these bad things happen to me, but that I was suffering the consequences of my own bad decisions.
I was able to learn that I was not a bad person trying to get good, but a sick person trying to get well.

Are You Part of the Problem or a part of the Solution?


You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. You cannot be both. Just like I posted in an earlier article, you can choose to be a blessing or a burden. I choose to be a part of the solution, and to be a blessing and be happy. I love helping others. It is in my genes. My Mother told me that I was always trying to help others when I was a little girl. I was taught to share with others. If I had a piece of candy, I shared it with my best friend. I was more fortunate than her in some ways. Her father died when she was four, and her mother had to raise five children alone. They lived across the street from us in Jacinto City, TX. They were happy even though they had very little materially, they had a lot of love. Her mother spent a lot of time with us children on the block playing cards, cooking us dinner, and had very little but she gave what she had to anyone who needed it. She was a true example of helping others.

In my adulthood and recovery, I had to learn that you could “help” too much, or enable them, and that “doing for someone else what God wanted them to do for themselves is no good, and just serves to keep them dependent and they will never grow up. They are not fulfilling God’s full purpose for their life’s. God wants us to be dependent on Him not people! He wants everything good for us.

I have been told that I was not Christian, because I don’t believe in giving ALL our money to charity, and feeding the rest of the world. I believe that God wants us to “bloom where we are planted”! He wants me to help others when I can, but if I don’t take care of me first, then I will have nothing to give anyone else.

Some people hate rich people, because they are JEALOUS of them. If God did not want them to have it, then they would not have it. It takes money to help others. Yes, some rich are addicted to money and greedy, but God will deal with them in the end. Besides the fact, that being “Greedy” or “Jealous” helps no one. It keeps the person miserable. I love what St. Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content.” I have been happy with much, and I have been happy with little. The more that I accept things as they are, not as I would have them, the happier and more serene I am.

Thank God, we are judged by our insides NOT our outsides! God knows what you think, what you do, and He will give us the power to do what we are supposed to do. But we do have a choice, we can choose to serve God or we can choose to serve man. Man will ALWAYS fail you!

Thomas Merton said, “If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.” If each of us works towards peace within ourselves, we actively become part of the solution to the problems of the world.

Home > Library > Religion & Spirituality > Proverbs
What we’re saying today is that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.
[1968 E. Cleaver Speech (in R. Scheer, Eldridge Cleaver (1969) 32)]

‘If you’re not the solution,’ says Peter Madden, ‘you’re part of the problem.’ ‘It would be terribly arrogant of me to believe I was the solution to anything.’

[1975 M. Bradbury History Man v.]
Listen, don’t you realize if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

[1977 C. Mcfadden Serial xxvi.]
MTV used to broadcast environmental messages featuring the punchline ‘if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem’. Indeed.

Self Worth

My Self Worth is NOT tied up in other people, or what they think of me. I am “God centered”, whereas I used to be “other centered”.

I had no Self Worth. I used to be “other centered”, and I lived my life to try and please everyone else. It never worked, invariably they would piss me off, or I would piss them off. People cannot be my “higher power”. People will always fail you, because they are human just like you are.

In my recovery, I had to learn to put God #1 and be “God centered”. I put God first, #2 myself, and #3 others. It may sound strange to some, but as long as I was living for everyone else-I was not happy. I had to learn to take care of me and be good to me, before I could help others.

I have been called “cold hearted” and “selfish”, when I stood up for my needs and stopped allowing others to hurt me or drag me down. I had to learn to set boundaries and not enable others. I was taught that I should not do something for someone else that they could do for themselves. Hence, not enable them to stay sick and selfish.
I have learned to steer clear of “toxic” people who are negative and angry, and would drag me down to their level.
I was told by my mentor, that I would be known by the company I keep. If I hang with angry, or hateful people, or women who were living immoral life’s, then that was who I would be judged to be. Right or wrong–it is reality.

When I put God #1 and worked on myself #2, then I had good things to teach to others. I learned to have self worth. I focus on the Solution instead of the Problem.

Day by day, my Self Worth has increased and I am healthier, the more serene and capable of helping others, I have become. It all boils down to the fact that God loves me, and therefore I am Worthy of good things.

Just For Today

“Take my will and my life, Guide me in my recovery, and Show me how to live.” source~~NA

The Just For Today Prayer
JUST FOR TODAY my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have faith in someone in N.A. who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.
JUST FOR TODAY through N.A. I will try to get a better perspective on my life.
JUST FOR TODAY I will be unafraid, my thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear.