We are All One

Some members are called upon to give talks in

front of AA groups or at conventions.

This does not make them more important than

any other members. ~ 12 Step literature

The concept of anonymity in Tradition #12 directs us to see each other as one. We are one in the unity, recovery and service of the 12 step program. We hold in common not just the dis-ease of addiction, but we hold in common the goal of recovery. This is a WE program. Today, I had to let go of the board position I held for 2 years. I had to trust that someone else would pick up the slack. When I woke up this morning, I asked my HP for the right words and the right attitude for the final meeting. When I let go of the outcomes, the right things come to be. Until I got to the meeting, I had no idea who would replace me or how it would all shake out. Guess what? A relatively new person in my life stepped up to service! She is younger and more gung-ho than I am these days. The board needs fresh blood and fresh ideas. No one person is in charge, no matter how I try to be! ha ha.

So, AA practices this thing called rotation of service. That means, with the exception of General Service work, most service terms are 1 year for group representatives and committee members, and 2 years for board members. This is most effective, as no one holds sway over a service board or meeting, no one roots in and thinks that this is their career for life, and no one works solo. We work as a team, so that the decisions don’t fall upon one person. We make decisions based on group consensus. That consensus is held until a new group of board members comes along and decides what their group consensus might be. It is suggested that board members have at least 5 years of sobriety, and group reps and committee members should have at least one year of sobriety.  It is easier to make commitments to the groups and to service when our brains are cleared of alcohol. Be of service, but remember to let go gently.

 

I Will be Happy

Just for today, I will be happy This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  ~ 12 Step Literature

My life is topsy turvy this week. I am working most days by 6 AM, and there is no WiFi there. So, you get my evening thoughts. Hopefully, they will make sense. Today, I decided that I can be as happy as I make up my mind to be. I had the opportunity to work with a few people who have made other decisions. I learn from working with others how good I have it. I am no better than they are. But with sobriety, I have been a better class of problems. I do not have to worry about being found out in secret drinking. I am not worried if a I see a cop following me. I no longer feel as if the world is handing me a raw deal or plotting to make me miserable.

Today’s problems are more like unsafe drivers, tailgaters, cat puke on the floor, my favorite TV program being preempted by news or weather warnings. Electricity going out during storms, etc. These are pretty doable and manageable. Right? Thank goodness for sobriety and AA. Life is good if we will have it. We “can have peace if we will have it,” ~John Lennon. I hope that you all find some peace and happiness today. Practice being happy. It beats the alternative. My worst day sober is still much better than my best days drunk. Breathe peace.

A Pathway to Peace

The long version of the Serenity Prayer has a great phrase: “accepting hardship as a pathway to peace”. After a long life of taking care of others, single parenting, and a dealing with a large family enslaved in addictions; I am ready for some peace and quiet. Often, I am perfectly happy to be alone. I have gone as long as 4 days without speaking a word to anyone; even to myself. I like to practice quiet. Have you ever been to a silent retreat? One of my old friends in program practices silent retreats in her own home for whole weekends. I am still working on being that disciplined. The closest I have come is in not speaking. Somehow, the TV or radio keeps me company. I am a work in progress.

The AA 12 Step program attempts to teach us to be serene and at peace no matter how much crisis and confusion is going on. I will let you know when I achieve that. 😊 On most days and on most occasions, I can cope well. I am like the proverbial duck on water. I look like I am swimming along peacefully, but under the water, I am peddling like all get out. Serenity s all about radical acceptance. To radically accept everything, with no exceptions as it is in G.O.D.’s time and in harmony with the universe is the objective. Serenity is an action. Not reacting and waiting are very powerful verbs. I was told to wait 24 hours before responding to anything that threatens my peace. This allows me a chance to hand things over, and it allows enough time for the solutions to come. It is worth the wait.

What Freedom Means

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.

~ Anne Frank

As we celebrate our collective freedom, it only makes sense to sit down and make note of just how free it is to be sober and completely at ease with oneself and the universe at last.  I am still pretty much a loner. I do love people, but I prize solitude more. As others clamor for more food, more fun, and more of whatever; I retreat into the quiet and peace that I craved for so many years.

What a relief to be able to wake up post holidays to know where I went, who I was with, what I said, and what I did; and not be ashamed of any of it. That to me, is true freedom. I did not have to impress, dress, or stress for anyone or anything. What a joy of freedom I feel to know that all days are of equal value. There are no special days, holidays or vacations from this disease. No amount of alcohol or anything will bring me greater joy than to be alive, to be connected to the universe, and to be truly free. I will toast my lemonade to that!

Act as If

My daily reading was about acceptance and acting as if. The questions were: “What person, place or thing do you have trouble accepting today?” Can you act as if you are in acceptance? Wow, I found myself struggling to accept a rainy drive in heavy traffic this morning. I had trouble accepting the truckers who seem to dominate and intimidate drivers in mid and mini sized cars such as mine. And, I am struggling to accept the choices people are making this week that will effect millions adversely in the long run.

When I have that many things eating my lunch, there is something wrong in my life and head. One wise woman in this program used to say, “When you cannot afford to pay your rent, why are you letting people live rent free in your head!” She also advised that any time I let people get to me, I am in actuality handing them my serenity and peace on a platter. So, my decision is to let these things hang in my head and heart, spoil my day, and distract me from living the moment, or I can act as if all things will go as they will go and according to Hp’s timing and planning. Life is so much better when I choose the latter. How can you act as if today?

Daily Affirmations

I for one need to remind myself that I am enough, all is good in the universe, and that I am doing the best I can with what I have. So much of life reminds of how we are either too much of something or not enough of another. We hear hourly how bad things are going in our world and country. And, there is plenty of pressure to be the best, biggest, strongest, and toughest winner in our world. How do we remain serene and sane in a culture that does it’s level best to knock us down and keep us feeling as if we are coming up short?

Two decades ago, I decided I needed to be reminded daily that I am enough, the world is a good place, and that I have assets to offer my loved ones. I began to write 5 daily affirmations starting each one with ‘I am absolutely’. Then I write 10 good/proactive things I did the day before that support my sobriety (like reading, writing, exercise, etc.). And, I also write 5 things that I am grateful for (starting out with the phrase ‘I am absolutely grateful for/that’). This daily ritual centers me, and and I find it to be most valuable in my mood and sobriety. When the storms of life toss me about, I know I have done my best to right my ship. Stay in the boat, keep rowing, and stay in harmony and balance with life.

Acceptance is the Key

One of my favorite readings from the Big Book is on pages 449-452 (yes, I am old school, and still use the 3rd edition) on acceptance. Anytime I find some person, place or thing unacceptable to me, when I hear in my head the “F” word being uttered, and when nothing seems to sit right with me and my ways; I surely need a refresher course on acceptance.

Does that mean we must all be nice and compliant no matter what? No, but I can speak my truth peacefully and quietly. Consider this: no one can hear you when you are shouting nonsense. And most folks will put up their guard and get defensive when they think they are being attacked. Using “I” statements and speaking about feelings will cause fewer arguments and may just result in being heard. Isn’t that what we all want anyway? Acceptance is the key to my serenity.