Hi all, Claudia here, an alcoholic.
A great deal of my time in early recovery was anything but living serenely. I didn’t know it at the time but the emotional baggage of my past was eating me alive from the inside out. All of the secrets, regrets, fears and false reality that I had been numbing with alcohol were screaming in my mind and soul — my emotional hangovers. Without any tools to effectively meet them head-on, serenity was as far from me as the East from the West. It was the distance between heaven on earth and a living hell.
In the beginning, I went to three meetings a day every single day because I was scared, clueless and totally without hope. I listened a lot and I confess, I cried a lot. I was raw and vulnerable,
and serenity was a word totally foreign to my world of insanity.
Things didn’t begin to turn around for me until I had been away from the drink for a few 24 hours. I’d been to tons of meetings and was finally ready to not only listen, but to act. I had been hearing a lot about the Steps of AA, and in short time I was able to embrace and accept the first three Steps.
Once I got serious, I knew I was powerless over alcohol, that my life was unmanageable. I already knew about God, but I started to believe in Him and then to know Him. I eventually made the decision to turn my life and my will over to His care. Though I still had more Step work to do I started to experience seasons of that serenity I had so yearned to know.
The longer I continued to work my program the more serenity became the more powerful emotion in my daily life. As long as I continue to do the things I need to do to treat my alcoholism, there is no doubt in my mind that living serenely will be my reward, and for that I am eternally grateful and greatly humbled.
Word for the day is TOLERANCE…. “During nine years in A.A., I have observed that those who follow the Alcoholics Anonymous program with the greatest earnestness and zeal not only maintain sobriety but often acquire finer characteristics and attitudes as well. One of these is tolerance.
Tolerance expresses itself in a variety of ways: in kindness and consideration toward the man or woman who is just beginning the march along the spiritual path; in the understanding of those who perhaps have been less fortunate in educational advantages; and in sympathy toward those whose religious ideas may seem to be at great variance with our own.
I am reminded in this connection of the picture of a hub with its radiating spokes. We all start at the outer circumference and approach our destination by one of many routes. To say that one spoke is much better than all the other spokes is true only in the sense of its being best suited to you as an individual. Human nature is such that without some degree of tolerance, each one of us might be inclined to believe that we have found the best or perhaps the shortest spoke. Without some tolerance, we might tend to become a bit smug or superior–which, of course, is not helpful to the person we are trying to help and may be quite painful or obnoxious to others. No one of us wishes to do anything that might act as a deterrent to the advancement of another–and a patronizing attitude can readily slow up this process.
Tolerance furnishes, as a by-product, a greater freedom from the tendency to cling to preconceived ideas and stubbornly adhered-to opinions. In other words, it often promotes an open mindedness that is vastly important–is, in fact, a prerequisite to the successful termination of any line of search, whether it be scientific or spiritual.
These, then, are a few of the reasons why an attempt to acquire tolerance should be made by each one of us.” By Dr. Bob, July 1944 “BEST OF THE GRAPEVINE, PP. 49-50
You need the program, and it needs you.
Traveling in an airplane one time, I noticed all was quiet and everyone was minding his or her own business. Suddenly there was severe turbulence, and the plane was tossed about. People began talking to one another, some seasoned flyers trying to reassure the less experienced while others made light of the danger with gallows humour.
The isolation that had prevailed in tranquility was replaced by group activity in time of peril.
At a particular treatment centre, one session was referred to as “bus stop”. A bus stop is where many people congregate, each person going his or her own way, without a common goal. This session focused on whether people in recovery are isolated individuals, or a group that can share a common goal.
When people share strength, courage and hope, their recovery becomes easier. The more people there are at a meeting, the greater is the group support. If you can make recovery just a bit easier for someone, why not do it?
We all need meetings; if you think that you do not, you should nevertheless be there for others.