Review the Growth

Obviously, we cannot give what we do not have. ~ Big Book

In Step #12, it is important to review the growth we have had or need to have in the prior 11 steps. Here is a guideline that may be of help.

Step #1: Key word is honesty, The freedom is from the obsession with alcohol. We must be completely willing and admit completely powerless over alcohol.

Step #2: Key word is: hope. The freedom is from insanity and hopelessness. We must willing to believe in a power great than ourselves and that we can have our sanity restored.

Step #3: Key word: Faith. Freedom from the bondage to self. We must willing to turn our whole lives/selves over to a power greater than ourselves.

Step #4: Key word: courage. Freedom from dishonesty. We must be willing to do a searching and fearless personal inventory.

Step #5: Key word: integrity. Freedom from isolation. We must be willing to tell another human being and HP the results of our inventory.

Step #6: Key word: willingness. Freedom from running the show. We must be willing to become entirely ready to have HP remove our character flaws.

This is enough for today. It is important that we review where we came from, where we are right now, and where we are heading. If we are to be of service to others, we first need to make sure we have a good strong foundation of sobriety on which to build a sturdy temple (body/mind/soul). I hope you will take the time today to do this necessary work.

Freedoms

Taint worthwhile to wear a day all out before it comes.

~ Sarah Orne Jewett

There are many benefits of Step #10. We no longer have to rue the day. We don’t have to wake up thinking, “Oh, no! Now what will I have to face?” We do not have to worry about running into that guy we owe, the banker, or the creditor. We do not have to screen calls. We do not have to dodge the ex or the relatives for fear we will be accused of things we do not even remember doing. And, the biggest one is that we no longer have to run around saying “I’m sorry!” without really meaning it. After all, we were only sorry we got caught or we had to face the accuser. If we were really sorry, we would have stopped doing the same thing over and over again; like drinking.

AA offers us a whole new life; a life of freedom, joy, choice, and peace. Why would anyone want anything less or more? When we treat others as if they have the right to the same things, those things are afforded to us. It’s called Karma, baby! We get that which we give. It’s called natural consequences. I do not believe in hell because I know most of us have already been there here on earth. It was a hell of our own making. The hell of alcoholism kept us imprisoned and burdened with regret, remorse, and pain day in and day out. We now can look people in the eye, and know we are equal in all senses. What a gift we have in AA. Let’s keep this thing AA alive and well for the millions of drunks who have yet to find us, but will surely need us one day.

Return of Sanity

For by this time, sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. ~ pg.84, Big Book 

It is assumed that by the time a person gets to step #10, that they are beyond the jitters, dt’s, and cravings. If not, perhaps a revisit to steps 1, 2, and 3 is needed. There is no shame in redoing things. A solid foundation is necessary in any building efforts. You don’t want to build on something shaky and weak. A thorough and fearless approach is best. As I said before, if there was black out drinking, perhaps the person does not even recall some of the harms done. This can trip you up. Take the time and effort to make sure of what you have:

Step #1: An admission of complete powerlessness and complete willingness.

Step #2: A belief that G.O.D. can restore us to sanity.

Step #3:  Complete reliance upon G.O.D. in all of our affairs.

That is the foundation that is needed. It is essential to long term sobriety. No exceptions. I have worked with many folks over the years. I can hear the words mumbled, but few have really acted as if they really were accepting of these basic tenets of sobriety. It eventually shows itself. The whole point of the AA program is to have no reason on this green earth to drink. In my experience, I am too busy and occupied; too hooked into AA to even think about adding alcohol to the mix. That is sobriety to me.

Cease Fire

We have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol.

~ Step 10 promises, pg. 84 Big Book

I am ready for October to begin and fall too! I love the crispier nip in the air and cooler nights to sleep. I think in a past life I might have been a bear because I sure love to hibernate! I slow down in the cooler seasons and sleep so much better. I suspect I am not the only one. One thing AA has taught me is that I am not unique. Dang. That shoots the ego all to heck. There is a list of promises and a prayer in most of the steps. I will go through these and how they apply to my life this month. They are on the bottom of page 84 if you want to read along. Feel free to comment and share your own experience, strength and hope.

The fight against alcohol was removed before I got here. I consider mine to be an “oh wow” spiritual experience. Some might consider it crazy. But, a voice said to me which sounded like my brother’s voice, “don’t you think you have had enough?” And, I heard it loud and clear. For the first time in my life, I did not drink the whole thing. I put it down. Actually it was 4 tumblers full of Peppermint Schnapps, on ice. The bar had announced  a last call for alcohol. That was always my cue to get a big supply before I had no more to get. I had no intention of walking away from alcohol that night, but I did. I don’t remember how I got back to the motel, whether or not I drove, who I was with, or what happened to my son that night, but I woke up and never looked back. I had had enough. I ceased fighting alcohol. The end was just a beginning.

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.

Wake Up

When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside of you as fear.

~ Carl Jung

“It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.” At least, that was what I was told umpteen times. I wanted to scream obscenities. How dare they say that to me? Don’t they know how smart I am? Who the heck do they think they are? It’s my life and my body! I can laugh at the little girl within me. She was very angry and scared. It took several weeks for me to calm down and stop fighting everyone in AA that was trying to help me. I had a bee in my bonnet, and nothing set quite right for me. So, I would stomp my feet, slam doors shut, slam my book shut, and sigh heavily when they talk too long and read too much.

And, those in AA would say, “keep coming back.” Or, “we love you”. Or,”we are glad you are here.” This thing called unconditional love and acceptance was scary and foreign to me. I only knew rage, incrimination, and me and the kids against the world. Who would have thought this scared little girl would stay long enough to be one of those pesky old timers who would be saying all those loving things to new people? Who would have thought I would stay long enough to learn anything? I had never stayed anywhere for any length of time be it a job, a house, a relationship, or a town. Thank goodness I listened and learned. I thank AA for that.

 

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.