Labor Day Picnics

AA has a place for you to be, where things are free, dry, and happy. I hope you will join us:

Monday, September 4, 2017 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
Whitehouse 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue Des Moines, IA 50316-2258 Hamburgers & Hot Dogs Provided Bring a side dish or dessert to share. 50/50 raffle/must be present to win.
Monday, 9/4/2017 Ames Intergroup Labor Day Picnic Shagbark Shelter Inis Grove Park 2500 Duff Avenue Ames, Iowa 50010 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Fellowship/Grilling@ 11:00 a.m. Lunch @ Noon. Speaker @ 1:00 p.m. is  Sue C. from Marshalltown, IA.
Please bring meat to grill Bring a side dish or  dessert to share and your own yard chair. Families always welcome!

Being A Part Of

Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to G.O.D.

and the people about us. ~ Big Book

Being a part of something greater than myself (not apart from) is the essence of this thing called fellowship. I was asked just yesterday by my only “normy” friend why I go to AA if I have been sober for over 31 years. I said that this is a life long commitment. Beyond that, I do not think anyone who is not involved in this program would understand why we keep coming back, why we call ourselves alcoholic when we no longer drink, or what we do in our our meetings. I have to remember that AA is for those who want it, not those who need it.  If it were the prior, there would not be enough chairs in the building to occupy.

So, why do we old timers keep coming back? We give back freely what was freely given to us. Our appearance and sharing at meetings is a form of service. It is our primary purpose to be of service to HP and others.

G.O.D. does not call those who qualify; but does qualify those who are called. Sometimes, I do not know when I will be called, but I do know in my heart of hearts that the skills and words will be furnished. Sometimes, I just open my mouth and the words fall out. There are other times (like funerals) where I ask that the right words be given. It all works when we work it. And, we are worth it. Keep coming back, you just never know who will be there that needs to hear what you have to say.

Anger toward Dis-ease

Alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful. ~ Big Book

I would say that all addictions are cunning, baffling and powerful and extremely patient. Today, I am full on angry at this dis-ease that kills, destroys families, maims and harms those effected, and shows no misery whatsoever. Dang it all. Yet another family member is dying as a result of this dis-ease. He is my age. Heavens, I am just getting started. He had a whole life ahead if he had chosen differently. And, I am powerless over him, his choices, his dis-ease, and his consequences/early death. I want to be more powerful. I want the whole world to know that no good will come of harming one’s body with toxic chemicals. The answers to life’s problems are not in the bottom of a brown bag or brown bottle. That there is more to life than getting high or blitzed. That their lives and those of their loved ones matter more than a brief buzz.

I am powerless over all people, places, and things. The best I can do is express my sadness for his pain and stay sober. I can be the sober family member through this death too. It is not my business how others express their sorrow and grief. Whether they choose to be drunk or get high through this pain, is not my concern. I can be as angry as I want toward this dis-ease, but I do not have to express it in front of family members. I have a sponsor who will and can listen lovingly and direct me toward literature, etc. that will give death meaning and peace. So long as we live, we will have loss. It is our choice how will deal with this loss. Choose wisely.

We Will Love You

We will love you until you can love yourself. ~ AA slogan

How important that was to hear, when I first got to AA. Unconditional love and acceptance is what kept me coming back. I had never had that in my life, so at first, I was suspicious of what you people in AA wanted from me, or perhaps you were a crazy cult! Ha ha. The hugs hurt, the “keep coming back” frightened me. I did not want you to have my phone number lest you want to call me and interrupt my precious life or ask for money. I know. Pretty crazy, huh!?  That is what the dis=ease of alcoholism does to us. It is a isolating condition. It tells us we are not good enough, that no one will understand, and that we are not lovable.

When I first started drinking, it made me feel more social and glib… the life of the party per se. As the dis-ease progressed, I had lost most of my moderate drinking friends, as they were too boring. It was more expedient and more affordable to just load up for the weekend and drink at home. Or, so I thought. Thank G.O.D. that I stopped listening to the dis-ease and started listening to you folks in AA. That was the saner and healthier decision. It has paid off, I keep coming back because I know there are millions of young folks you need to hear, “keep coming back”, “we love you” and “we understand”. What a gift we have in the fellowship of AA.

About Turning 31

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there is going to be

somebody who hates peaches. ~ Engine 2 Diet

You got to love AA. We celebrate birthdays! We celebrate that others saved their own butts by getting and staying sober. Now, isn’t that ironic? Today is my 31st AA birthday. My first thought this morning is that I am glad that I lived long enough to see 31 years of sobriety. Then I thought of all the wonderful people that I have met in AA here in the metro area. AA is alive and thriving in the Des Moines area. For that, we can all breathe some in gratitude. We have a growing and sober community of support for the still suffering alcoholics who may want us some day. How sweet is that?

So, 31 means I have been sober longer than I drank, for certain. Much of my drinking life feels like a nightmare that I once witnessed someone else going through in slow motion. Due to black out drinking, I don’t remember most of the gory details. Back then, I could never imagine living without alcohol as my main beverage. Now, I cannot imagine alcohol in my life. There would be no space or room for it. I have too much going on and too many things to accomplish to let it back in my door. I tell people if they want long term sobriety, all they have to do is not drink and stay alive! So, I will leave it right there. Stay sober and stay alive. Thank G.O.D. we found AA.


Agnostic as to Application

The devout active alcoholic, unable to apply their religious truths,

are agnostic by application. ~ Anon

The single greatest chapter in the Big Book to aid my recovery is We Agnostics. This helped to explain that AA is not a religious program, and that sobriety is not just for the Christians among us. What a relief! This is a spiritual recovery program open to everyone. When we use the words G.O.D. or Higher Power, etc.; how we envision this is very personal and unique to each of us. We are all inclusive and accepting of all persons no matter what they choose to believe or not believe in. To me, that is so freeing and liberating. We do not have to accept cultural norms that limit who we associate with.

We get this chance to do things all over again. Our sobriety allows for a fresh perspective on life and other humans. In sobriety we see the souls of others and regale in their beauty. We learn that so long as we were drinking, we may have been very devout in our beliefs, but in practice, we were agnostic. So long as we continued to drink, we had no trust in a HP. Our HP was booze. That was the only thing we believed in. E.G.O = Edging G.O.D. Out. Thus, alcoholism was the great equalizer. We all came in agnostic. It is sobriety that gives each of us the opportunity to find our own HP concept. Now, that is true freedom. Wouldn’t you wish that for everyone?

Home Group

We have two things in common: the dis-ease of alcoholism and sobriety. Looks for the similarities; not the differences. ~ Anon

The concept of having a home group in AA is a valuable one to embrace. I have lived in  few different states and cities over the  years, so setting up and keeping a home group on my weekly schedule has helped me get to know people in AA and my community much easier. As I have mentioned before, I am a bit socially anxious and a loner, so this is as necessary to me as unpacking my boxes after a move. Home groups offer a sense of home, where we have our elders, youngsters, a common bond (sobriety), we have chores to do, and we celebrate birthdays! Ergo, “home” group. For some of us, this is the only family we have in life. I like to call it “my tribe”.

I have moms, aunts,and grandmas in AA that have been my role models and have seen me through life’s ups and downs as a blood relative might have done in past generations. I got to learn how to age gracefully and go through changes in my body and life; that I would have had no clue of what to expect. Over the years, we have shared parenthood, grand parenting, aging, health concerns, deaths, and births, jobs, and retirement. When people wonder aloud how I can live alone, I need only remember the tribe I have around me, to realize that I am never ever alone. They are just a phone call or meeting away. That is the fellowship of AA promised in tradition #8.

Beautiful Spirit of Caring Service

When we keep tradition #8’s spirit of fellowship, we discover a beautiful spirit of caring service which becomes a powerful factor in our healing. ~ Anon

Some new members wonder why we bother to send money to district, intergroup, and the General Service Office. We do so to help deliver the message of recovery. We need special workers who are sometimes paid to run the offices, maintain the call-in centers, type up meeting lists, answer calls/emails, read the mail, do the accounting, manage the websites, set up and advertise the events, etc. The work of AA is 24/7, 365 days a year. This dis-ease does not rest or take vacations, and neither do the dedicated recovering folks in AA. We take our recovery wherever we go. We deliver the message of recovery in all four corners of this earth. We must, or we die.

The mainstay of my program is service. I have been consistently involved in some way or fashion for many years. I find the challenge of learning new things, watching others recover, and being involved in AA’s growth and prosperity a healing factor in my recovery process. Each day, I wake up wondering how can I be of service, not how I can feed my own wants and desires. I wake up saying, “thank G.O.D., it is morning!” Before AA, I would proclaim, “good G.O.D.! It’s morning!” Thank goodness for AA, and thank goodness there is AA service work to be done that I can help with.  Pitch in. It will make all the difference in the world.

Human Beings

We are human beings, not human doings. ~ Anon

As humans, we have limits. There is just so much we can do and nothing more. We know that to be true when we hit that wall of fatigue and exhaustion. Those of us in service to AA recognize the need to stay in our own lane, do that which we can do and no more, and to share the load when it comes to AA service projects. Most healthy meetings know and practice the wisdom of sharing service responsibilities. Yes, chairs and literature need to be set out. Yes, someone needs to lead, make coffee, get supplies/medallions, represent the group at the intergroup level, be the contact/secretary/treasurer, etc.

How long should we do service work? According to tradition #8, it is customary that most group level jobs are  for one year only. This keeps the work from becoming one person’s burden. It also helps the group stay strong, as new people will have a chance to do service, and there will be fresh eyes/minds that may bring new life into the situation. There is plenty to do. Invite new people into service work. Invite them to join you at intergroup meetings, and take them to retreats and workshops. The more they become involved in AA and have things to keep them responsible to their recovery community, the less time they will have to fight this dis-ease. Nice plan, right?