The only Big Book some will ever see

I confess that I pull these topics off the top of my head most days. Sometimes, I am able to tie them to other topics I have shared on, usually, it is just random thoughts. This is another one of those random thoughts.

I heard, when I first came to AA that I needed to behave as I could be truly the only Big Book that someone would ever see. I’m still confused by this, especially since most people do not know that I am an alcoholic, let alone in recovery. Yes, close family and friends know, as does my medical team. Yet the broad public does not know and does not need to know.

So breaking down this phrase a little bit more, I take it as if I am supposed to behave as if God is my new Employer. I am to behave as if God is my director. I am to be helpful to others if I am able, and to pray for those that I am not able to help.

If I am requested, on those rare occasions that it happens, to help another alcoholic outside of the rooms, I am to give the information and to share my experience strength and hope with others, especially alcoholics.

I try, when working with strangers, to keep my alcoholism off the topic list, and yet to act with the best manners I can. This is a huge change from years ago. I was an entitled brat. The world owed me, or so I thought, and I was to be catered to.

Ironically, as the daughter of a hard-working man and woman, I was owed nothing. I had contributed nothing to society, and yet…

By working the steps, especially step 3, and changing my will and life, I don’t believe that anymore.

Today, I am just grateful to be alive.

That’s all I have for now, may God be with you in the fellowship of the Spirit.

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Problems other than alcoholism and the fellowship

I’m one of those alcoholics with problems other than alcohol. I qualify under Tradition 3 to attend more than one fellowship for recovery. For the most part, I attend only AA.

Here is what I do.

In meetings, 90% of the time, I identify only as an Alcoholic. I speak only about alcoholism, or alcoholic thinking or actions.

Outside of meetings, in my own step work, I bring up all of my problems other than alcoholism. I work as hard as I can and do the best I can with what God has given me. I try to maintain fit spiritual condition. I pray and keep praying that God gives me the grace and strength to get through each day clean and sober.

With problems other than alcohol, the first step is the same. Just substitute the words for alcohol. I covered all my problems in step one.

As far as sponsoring others in recovery? I just do the best I can. I am not an expert. And these articles and essays are not written by an expert by any means.

My apologies for a short post. It is about 4:30AM and I’m feeling a little ragged. Take care, may God be with you in the fellowship of the spirit.

Surviving without meetings

Now that I have braved the battlefront of surviving without a sponsor, it is time to talk about surviving without a meeting.

I know a couple of alcoholics in sobriety who do not attend AA. They are former members, not current members of AA.

How do they do it? Why do they do it? Huh?

Let’s break down the reasons why these two former AA’s do not attned meetings. For reasons of their own, after working the program and being heavily in service, their attendance dropped off slowly. One of them went to out of state meetings only for awhile, then finally quite going to meetings at all. The other popped a resentment, had had enough, and walked away.

Both are excellent members of society, and they work very hard. They are generous, very kind people. They are a joy to be around.

Wait a minute? What about the 90 in 90 I talked about in the last post? What about keep coming back it works? What about …..?

Breathe. Both of these individuals had over 10 years of sobriety when they walked away from AA meetings. Both of these individuals work the program. Both of these individuals had successfully worked all 12 steps several times before walking away.

There are times in my own history, when I could not physically attend meetings for months. I was stuck in bed and very ill. Here is how I survived.

I joined some online email meetings. I worked the steps, and I did a 5th step with my priest. When I was able to get out of bed, I tried attending meetings to the best of my ability. I also kept in touch with my sponsors and worked as hard as I could.

I was miserable, and lonely.

Again, I do not recommend this for anyone. It is not easy being in recovery, but not getting support and reinforced by other alcoholics. I sunk into a deep depression.

Now, just to let you know, I do attend at least 3 meetings per week. Some times, I attend 3 meetings per day. Most of those are online, due to finances and geography. I do the best I can to get to AA on a face to face level.

That’s all I have for now. May God be with you today and every day.

Going solo without a sponsor

Considering what I have been writing lately, it is time to discuss whether or not it is possible to go without a sponsor in recovery.

I do not recommend this, on any level. The few times I have done it, I have had more problems than I ever had before.

Is it possible? Absolutely. I know several members who have considerable experience and time who have survived the death or drinking of a sponsor and stayed sober. I also know one or two people who have never had a sponsor, who survived sobriety. They eventually fell away from meetings, and I have not seen them since.

Now, how to go about it?

I would recommend hitting both the books and meetings as hard as you can. 90 meetings in 90 days is not a joke. In other words, averaging at least one meeting per day when you do not have a sponsor is ideal.  If for example there are only two meetings per week in your area, then supplemental meetings will be necessary. If nothing else is available, I would hit online meetings as hard as I could in addition to face to face meetings.

Hit the books, work the steps, and live the program. By hitting the books, I mean studying every aspect of the program. I mean putting everything you can on paper, and learning as much as you can. Study meetings can fill in some of the blanks of your education.

I will repeat, it is possible to survive without a sponsor. It is possible to stay sober without a sponsor. Yet, again, it is so difficult to do so, that I cannot suggest any other means of staying sober.

Why can I say this? I have survived without a sponsor at times in the last 20 years. It was pure unmitigated torture. I did not grow, and I did not thrive. However, it is what it is. That’s all I have for you, may God be with you in the fellowship of the spirit.

 

Working on it

Admin Note: I will post study notes on Wednesdays, 6 AM Central Time US.

I have been plugging away at my notes, and I have been trying to survive the heat wave that has hit. It is one of those, it must be July in the Midwest deals that my Dad is always talking about. Today is going to be a scorcher. We are doing the summer time schedule, a siesta in the afternoon, and awake till about 2 or 3 in the morning.

The afternoon siesta gives me time to read. I am an avid reader, and have discovered recently that I have almost 4000 books in my e-books library. I wish I could say that most of those books were about recovery, but sadly, they are not.

I do have a kindle wish list, and the other day I bought a 99 cent booklet on working the traditions at home. I owned it for about 5 minutes.

Why only five minutes? It was only ten pages, and contained information I could have googled instead. I actually could have found the same information in my own website. Sighs. I wrote a customer review, and asked for a refund. Thankfully, Amazon’s refund site is a bit easier than most.

Why did I bother writing a review? I wanted to warn others of exactly what they were purchasing. There are many free versions of that exact same information available. Actually, the same information is available in the twelve steps and twelve traditions book. I’d rather put that same buck in the basket at a meeting, and not bother with the booklet. I made sure to keep my words to a minimum, and to not trash the author of the book. I also did not report the book to Amazon.

Why not? While the information did not help me, it may help someone else.

I still have to work the program online behind an anonymous computer screen. I still have to behave myself. I still have to live as if God is my Employer.

That’s all.

May God be with you as you trudge the road to Happy Destiny today.

 

 

 

Elementary my dear sponsor

One of my favorite characters in literature is a certain consulting detective. My private library carries more Holmesian stories than I have recovery books. Whether e-book, magazine, or paper book, Watson’s narratives bring me through rough times.

When I sit down to write, often I have an audiobook or podcast running in the background, with Mr. Holmes as the topic. Once in awhile, Watson’s words sweep over me, while I work on a post or two.

I write several posts for the week in rapid succession, scheduling posts a few days ahead in case I have a sick day. Earlier this month, I hadn’t planned ahead as well as I like to, and there was a lack of Essays. My apologies for the lapse.

  1. As a sponsor, and as a writer, sometimes my Idols slip into my recovery and my writing. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about the famous cocaine addict who solved crimes. Sometimes, being a person in recovery requires the intellect of the famous detective.

For example. I have recently started posting my study notes for the Big Book. Currently, I am getting ready to write the forward to the second edition. In writing the forward to the first, I realized that several things showed up in the Big Book as foreshadowing. I know for a fact that there is quite a bit of cross referencing later on in the book. I intend to provide the cross-references as well so that perhaps my work can help others.

Holmes called these types of studies that were published, monographs. A monograph is a detailed study. Where I am crippled is in the direct quotes sections I usually include in my notes.

However, I will soldier on. I will rummage through my brain attic, and provide the information. My sponsor expects no less from me.

Have a great afternoon, and I pray that your Higher Power is with you in your recovery today.

What is my duty in recovery?

The newcomer is the most important person in any meeting, as we can only keep what we have by giving it away.

That said, what is my duty as an AA member?

I am to learn the program, and to be able to break it down for others to understand. I work hard to do so here in these simple essays for others. I also try my best to keep studying the program, because every time I read the book, I learn something new.

I am to attend meetings, and when I can not make it to a face to face meeting, I am to attend online meetings.  When I attend, I am to arrive early, stay late, and be available and of service to the others in the rooms.

I am to work the program myself, and to share what I learn with others. I do this here on this website, and in sharing with other alcoholics.

I am to share my story, which I do at a treatment center a about an hour away down the road.

I do the best I can with this website, and with the program itself. I hope that others do the same with you as you work the program, and work with still others.

May God be with you in the fellowship of the spirit.