Coming Home

All roads lead to Step $12. ~ AA Wisdom

Coming home is a hard transition for those of us who have been with family, even it it was only a few hours. I suggest you take some time to be alone with HP to reflect on what happened, what was said/done, how you are feeling about it, and what you learned We call this period “re-entry”. Many conventions and retreats offer a re-entry exercise or presentation, in order to let the participants know that they are not alone; not ever. It may feel like your family is the only one that is nuts, abnormal, or dysfunctional. Let me tell you, you were not raised in a cocoon or a vacuum. You are not unique. And, how you are feeling is completely human. Even in the best of families, there is dysfunction and craziness during the holidays. That is part of being human. The really good news is that we have HP, AA fellowship, AA meetings, and sponsors to depend on and to come home to.

AA is my new family of choice. I do have people who seem to care about me and do reach out. But, AA is my family of choice. We are all operating on a spiritual plane and working with a set of 12 steps and 12 traditions that guide for how we treat each other. Coming home to AA whether by train, car, plane or other means is a happy and joyous gift that you give yourself. It is the well-earned reward for getting through a bumpy time. I recommend random napping, calling people to see how their holidays went, getting to daily meetings, and making sure you are getting involved in service to others. Not everyone has family to visit, or perhaps they could not travel. They need to know they are thought of and cared for. This will take you out of self and make your discomfort seems trivial even for just a few hours. Welcome to AA, and welcome home.

The Spirit of Traditions

Never since it has began, has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major controversial issue. ~ AA 12 X 12.

Admittedly, I am one of those who would groan audibly whenever there was a traditions study at my home meeting. Oh my gosh, can we just get into the steps? What on earth is this for? Why do we have to keep talking about this stuff? OH MY GOSH!! I can laugh at myself now. I was an angry, stubborn young girl. The traditions represented the rules, the adults in the room, and the restrictions on my personal sharing. Heaven forbid, I be confronted with any such thing. It took the loving confrontation and gentle persuasion of others to teach me the benefits of following the traditions.

What I have come to appreciate is that the traditions kept me from being kicked out of AA.  The spirit of the traditions led the old timers to respect me and my feelings, but kept the traditions alive in the off chance that I would finally get what they were trying to teach me. I sure appreciate that they did what they did. Ironically, I am now one of those old timers that insist that the traditions be followed. What goes around, comes around.

Here are a couple more questions on Tradtion #10 to consider: 

6. Do I breach this or any of its supporting Traditions in subtle, perhaps unconscious,
7. How can I manifest the spirit of this Tradition in my personal life outside AA? Inside AA? Let me know what you discover.

There are no Mistakes

There are no mistakes; only learning opportunities. ~ Anon

I am off to get a new (to me) car. It has been nearly 20 years since I bought a car, so I am a bit rusty. I match my rusty old car! ha ha. What will make this different is I no longer just muddle through. I process and try to learn as I go. I am more interested in not having a debt load; than in fashion and style. Comfort over razzle dazzle appeals to me now. Simple things like a/c, auto windows, front wheel drive, etc. are far more important than rather or not I have the latest stereo system installed. It may be age, but I would like to think a stronger spiritual life is involved.

I thank AA and sponsorship for encouraging me to use tradition #7 in all of my personal affairs. Without that, I would not have most of the cash to pay for this newer car. I am still wondering how much to pay and rather or not to buy a warranty. That has all been handed to HP. “The answers will come, if our own house is in order.” Well, the promises in step #9 are evolving in my life. In my case, slowly, not quickly. But, they are surely coming to be. I look forward to having some secure wheels under me in the future. I may make a few mistakes in this deal, but I will learn from them. Perhaps in 20 years, I will be back at the dealership to practice these steps in all of my affairs. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. They will teach you.

Recovery is For Everyone

Can we help others in relapse? Love and prayer VS confrontation. Can I help you with food/steps to recovery? Can everybody recover? You don’t have to die this way. Attraction is not passive. ~ Anon

Recovery is for everyone, but not everyone is for recovery. I had to learn that the hard way. When I first got sober, it was like a new lease on life. I felt great. I had an appetite again! I loved all the new energy I discovered. My mind for the first time in years was clear and clean. I could actually wake up refreshed and ready for work each day. I knew where I was, who I was with, what I had done/said, and what I had consumed the night before. What a huge relief that there was no more walk of shame or guilt over anything. There were no surprises in the mail box or at my bank.

I started doing the AA 2 Step….you know: I got a problem, and I am going to fix yours! I wanted those around me (that I loved dearly) to find this program too! I wanted them to experience the joy, relief, and spiritual drive that I was going through. Wouldn’t everyone feel the same? Guess what: It fell flat. People started to shun me and find other people to go to bars and enjoy parties with. I was dazed and confused at first, then I got judgmental and angry.  At long last, I got real and learned that this AA program is for everybody that wants it, but not everybody will or does want it. This is a We program, but it is for self. Take what you like, and remember the rest. Eventually, it may be of help. If they like what they see in you and really want change, they will ask. Focus on those who did ask for help. Attraction is an action verb.

Celebrate the Good

Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but also raise the bar a little

higher for the next time you succeed. ~ Mia Hamm

Have you ever read the little yellow book called Living Sober? It is a quick read, but a real gem. I like to give it to sponsees. It is chock full of wisdom and practical advice. In the old days, long timers would give you practical advice and tips and clues on how to navigate soberly and happily in the moderate/social drinking world. Imagine that!

When I first got sober, it seemed like everyone was drinking, everyone was having  more fun, and booze was everywhere…even in my dreams. It used to scream at me in the stores and at parties, and it would try to jump into my grocery cart. Booze and I had such an intimate relationship, that it knew my mom’s maiden name! The smells made me dizzy and nauseous. So, I needed practical how-tos on what else to do instead of drinking. Avail yourself of the wisdom of the multitude of sober, healthy and happy AA people who have come and since gone. You don’t have to do this alone ever again. Welcome home!