Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
1. Before (or during) your next meeting, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5" x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.
I Won't change
But....don't you think
Searching (as in, "for answers")
Gonna (sometimes prefaced with, "I'm")
Been thinking (sometimes prefaced with, "I've")
We Addicts are sicker than alkies
These medications I have to take....
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
"It is difficult to pray if you don't know how to pray, be we must help
ourselves to pray. The first means to use is silence. We cannot put
ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence. The interior silence is very difficult, but we must make the effort. In silence we will find new energy and true unity. The
energy of God will be ours to do all things well, and so will the unity of our thoughts with His thoughts, the unity of our prayers with His prayers, the unityof our actions with His actions, of our life with His life. Unity is the fruit of prayer, of humility, of love. In the slence of the heart, God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. Silence gives us a new outlook on everything. We need slience to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say but what God says to us and through us. In that silence, He will listen to us; he will speak to our souls, and there we will hear His voice." pg 7
" Prayer is not a request for God's favors. True, it has been used to obtain the satisfaction of personal desires. It has even been adopted to reinforceprejudices, justify violence, and create barriers between people and countries. But genuine prayer is based on recognizing the Origin of all that exists, and opening ourselves to it....In prayer we acknowledge God as the supreme source from which flows all strength, all goodness, all existence, acknowledging that we have our being, life itself from this supreme Power. One can then communicate with this Source, worship it, and ultimately place one's very center in it."
This is the stuff that is making sense to me as I go through the steps and begin to pracitce these principles in all my affairs. Pretty cool. I am very grateful to Alocholics Annoymouse for leading me to the beginnings of my spriritual foundation. Never thought I would get here.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
"No one ought to say the A.A. program requires no willpower; here is one place you may require all you've got. Happily, though, the chances are that you will be in for a very pleasant surprise. When your mission is carefully explained, and it is seen by the recipient of your confidence how helpful he can really be, the conversation will start easily and will soon become eager. Before long, your listener may well tell a story or two about himself which will place you even more at ease. Provided you hold back nothing, your sense of relief will mount from minute to minute. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed. As the pain subsides, a healing tranquillity takes its place. And when humility and serenity are so combined, something else of great moment is apt to occur. Many an A.A., once agnostic or atheistic, tells us that it was during this stage of Step Five that he first actually felt the presence of God. And even those who had faith already often become conscious of God as they never were before."
Even as I read I could feel the sense of relief wash over me. My sponser and I had met an hour before the meeting as we usually do and I put on my Big Girl shoes as advised and asked her if she would hear my fifth step. She was delighted. She has been a wonderful sponser. Allowing me to feel my way with gentle guidance. She had said that as the Big Book says, I didn't have to do my fifth step with her. Which of course my alcoholic mind took to mean she didn't want to hear it. Bad Kathy. But thankfully, I asked her, because really who else and she was basically waiting for me. Damn you sponsers making us do the work!! So..we just have to coordinate schedules and find the time.
You know what I found amazing about the Serenity Prayer as well. Sometimes when I am caught up in my own sh*t, I can pray it but I'm not sure I believe it. For instance yesterday morning, I had stuff going on with my husband and I just couldn't get out of my own way and even worse he wouldn't get out of my way, LOL. I tried the serenity prayer and I was just not feeling it. I was just crabby as all hell. But you know what, as soon as I picked up another alcoholic to go the meeting and then attended the meeting I was able to Let it Go. Sometimes I can't seem to conjure up the faith for myself, but I can see it for others. And once that happens, I can see it for myself as well. I think that is what may be key to our fellowship and the program of Alcoholics Annonymous. It's not just someone having it worse than myself so that my problems seem smaller. It's believing that God will take care of us whatever our problems may be and will see us through it and sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else. Or see it in someone else.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
This morning on my way to the meeting I stopped to get gas. I had my son's car and the tank was empty so I thought I'd suprise him with a full tank of gas. I was half asleep and it was very cold. Anyway, I pull in and rummage thru my purse for my debit card which was hard to find in the huge cavern that it is. Finally found it and went out to pump the gas. Shit.. the thingy is on the other side. Okay, get back in the car and turn it around and do it again. Shit... I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm facing a different direction but the thingy is still on the other side. Ditz. Turn it around again and this time I get it right. Geeesh! I'm just trying to be nice. Anyway, I get to the meeting and I walk in with Dave and his girlfriend. Dave is one of my sober buddys. Nice guy and has come a long way in 5 months. Still has a long way to go, difference is he knows it now. Now I can't figure out how to lock the car. He looks at me and he's like, what did you just get out of bed or something. Well, yeah, its 7 am on a Saturday.... He and his girlfriend are looking all perky and fit. Probably had good sex last night. Unlike me....(I'm sorry, was I whining?) Anyway I tell him the gas station story to get the laugh, I like to get laughs. He says, well that's your alcoholic mind. I don't think so. I think I was just tired and in a unfamiliar car. He had to agree.
I got home from the meeting, ate and went back to sleep. I slept until 1:30. I never sleep that late. I missed the funeral of the morning secretary's father. I wanted to go for support but I didn't want to go either. So I guess my decision was made for me. I woke up, and did nothing. Watched TV, ate lunch. Made sauce for dinner is the only productive thing I have done. My house is a mess and there is sooo much to do. But I am the epitomy of sloth today.
What is my alcoholic mind, is how I feel about honesty. If I dig deep and I have while working this damn fourth step is that I have never really been honest, with others or even more so with myself. Yet I was a person who prided herself on honesty. Claimed honesty. I was self righteous. I could convince you that I was true. I convinced myself. But in reality, I haven't been honest about my feelings. I haven't been honest about my actions. I haven't been honest about my motives. The list could go on forever. In fact, I have been dishonest for so long I don't know what honest feels like. So now, here I am on the fearless and searching moral inventory. I am seeking a deeper connection with my higher power. I am doing everything right in this program. People marvel at me. Literally. I am 7 months sober, I feel pretty good and I share it. I share what I am doing. I share what I am learning. It seems like I am helping some people. And people from my meetings tell me I'm doing really well. Yesterday a guy with 20 years is asking ME, how I am doing it. He wants what I have. What's up with that? (no it definately wasn't a 13th step, LOL, okay now I'm talking to myself. I really am crazy.) And I feel like I am doing well. But then again, I am questioning myself. Are my motives pure? I do have a fear of failure. Do I really believe what I am feeling and saying? I have lied to myself for so long I just don't know what is true anymore. I just don't. I feel like I'm on shaky ground. I just don't trust myself. Hopefully, as time passes, maybe I will be more used to the feeling and can recognize my true self. Right now, I am still questioning myself. I just don't know who I am anymore.
I think this is manifesting itself in my behaviour. No desire to drink at all, thank God. But I have this gnawing feeling that comes around. Prayer or reading helps now and again but it keeps coming back. So what do I do... I bought a pack of cigarettes. And now I'm sneaking around having a cigarette here and there. Right now I am waiting for my husband to leave the house so I can get one in. I do not want to smoke and I do not want to have to kick the habit again. That was tough. But for some reason I have this compulsion. I bought a pack, smoked about half of it and then left it on a bench. But a few days later, I went and bought another one. I went through this a few months ago and talked to my sponser about it. She said if its between cigarettes and alcohol, smoke. At least for now. But I don't want to smoke. Anyway, it feels good to get it out here. At least I'm being honest with someone.
I went outside and smoked that cigarette. I feel like a teenager sneaking around. I got a head rush. Is that what I'm looking for? It didn't feel good. It made me feel sick. What is wrong with me?
Friday, January 18, 2008
I avoided AA like the plague for a long, long time because, "glass in hand," I thought I could do it myself. I had a Big Book and I thought I could teach myself AA or at least control my drinking and I tried, several times. Guess what? Didn't work. I lurked in an online group for a few years as well. Guess what? Didn't work. I tried other means...Smart Recovery, Will Power (LOL), pure self hate, promises. Guess what? Didn't work. In the the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (which DOES NOT REPLACE the Big Book) it says " It was a statistical fact that alcoholics almost NEVER RECOVERED ON THEIR OWN RESOURCES." Very true for me.
It also talks about how in the beginning of AA, almost 70 years ago, AA only reached the low bottom drunks because only they could make the admission of hopelessness. But now... the bottom has risen. Maybe we are smarter. Or maybe it is through the Grace of God and by those alcoholics who came before us that we have been "spared" literal hell. I have not been hospitalized, institionalized, jailed, arrested, etc. I have a home and a family that is still with me. I understand that some people still have to go there but thankfully I did not. I think we all have different tolerances for pain. Some of us need to get hit harder for some reason. Don't get me wrong. There is plenty I have lost but I feel as though I have been "spared" indeed. Lastly the line that strikes out the most for me...."WE perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength".
How crazy is that? I had the hardest time giving up my power. I am a strong willed woman. I am woman hear me roar. It was really difficult to understand the concept of powerlessness. My good Irish Friend helped me alot with that. But by admitting my powerlessness I became empowered. I only thought I was empowered before. I truly am now. That line is exactly what my experience has been these last 7 months. It is soooooo much better. I am so grateful to be defeated.
So for you who are struggling, go to a meeting, read the Big Book, get a sponser, work the steps.....You will find your own liberation and strength...and Peace.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Therapy: I appreciated the comments from Irish Friend and johno on this topic. I'm not pro or con, and I am not at a critical point as a result of my fourth step, not falling apart or anything. (well, except when distant priests say, whoa, heavy!) Not really sure what I'm looking for. I've seen a therapist once before. I was falling apart when I started taking care of my Mom. I went to a friend's therapist and by chance she happened to specialize in geriatric issues. So she helped me alot in wading through the muck. But for my issues, well, I wasn't honest and never opened up. And I appreciate the teachings of Eckart Tolle or Ken Wilbur but it is a one sided conversation. My sponser gave me a card for a therapist that is in the program so I feel like at least she'll get that part of me. She does equine based therapy. That sounds interesting to me. I just feel as though I've got some stuff to work out that would be better suited in a professional capacity. My degree is in psychology so I do have some degree of respect but I also have a degree of disrespect. I backed off from becoming a social worker because, 1) flunked out of college (real reason) because I was drinking to much, 2) but also because I realized that someone like me (a drunk and a mess) was going to make decisions that affected other people's lives. So I took the step and I'll meet with her Tuesday which is cool because I meet with my sponser after that.
Centering Prayer: One of the things I appreciated the most during the Retreat was the moments of silence. They were longer that we get a meetiings. I feel like I get closer to God and I also like the collective experience. So I have been researching this thing called Centering Prayer. You can learn more about it here: http://www.centeringprayer.com/cntrgpryr.htm and here: http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/essays/center.html. It seems a local church is offering workshops and a meditation chapel for the purpose so I am checking that out as well. I feel as though I need a bit more discipline in the praying. We also have a Friends Meeting House (Quakers) in my town so I may visit them as well. I guess I'm looking for a way to better connect with the Spirit of the Universe.
Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. It's snowing like crazy here so looks like it may be a day off from work. Peace.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives-the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections-that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God." Henry Nouwan
In reflecting on this, my father's death brought me to the realization that one could find faith and if my Dad could maybe I could too. Later, my mother's experience with her alcoholism and diagnosis of Korsakoff's sydrome was the beginning of the end of my drinking. I could no longer deny that I too was an alcoholic. The loss of my parents (and yes I consider that I have lost my mother, not physically, but emotionally) were devasting moments for me but I have come to believe that these were God moments for me. A spiritual 2x4 if you will.
Recently I attended a retreat and there was a reconciliation service. We were to write our "sins" on a piece of paper and then bring them to the priest who if you were Catholic would absolve you or whatever they do and if not he would give you a blessing and then they burn the paper. I wrote the biggest stuff that I have learned from my fourth step. There were 2 priests that you had to get in line for. My whole group went to the priest on the left. For some reason I went to the one on the right. The whole time I am in line I'm thinking to myself he's going to read this and say "You're f*%ked!". And you know what he kind of did. I am told the other priest was also in recovery and he shared that and told people that they had taked a big step by sharing their paper, etc., etc. My priest read my paper, burned it and then said..."That's some pretty heavy stuff. Are you in counseling?" Among a few other things. I couldn't even hear his blessing. Something about I was the lamb on the shephard's shoulders, blah, blah, blah. I was pretty devastated actually. But in reflecting about this, while I didn't get what I wanted or expected, perhaps this was God's way of gently pushing me in a direction I had been contemplating. Perhaps I got what I needed. I had talked to my sponser about therapy. She had given me a card of a therapist in the program. And I had been carrying it around never making the call. So now this is no longer devasting, it is another God moment to be grateful for. Would I have rather been patted on the back? Yes. But apparently that is not what I needed. Still don't like the priest so much but that's another issue:)
Friday, January 11, 2008
Somehow that changed on June 11th. I do not believe it was me. I was compelled that day to look for help. I knew I could not as the commercial says JUST DO IT. It took me 2 weeks to find the answer. Well, I did have an online grou where I lurked so I won't say it took me 2 weeks to find AA but it took me 2 weeks to get to a meeting. To jump in with both feet. I have gone to a meeting every day just about since. And most of the time 2. And I am online and in sober blogland. I have read the first 164 pages of the Big Book several times. I am making my way through the stories now. I've read other AA & spiritual literature as well. I meet with my sponser once a week and talk to her or my backup sponser every day. I reach out to another struggling alcoholic every day. I have finished my fourth step and am ready to embark on my fifth. A God of my understanding and prayer is in my life now. I don't know for sure exactly when the compulsion left but it did. Probably after I did Step 3. Turned my Will and my Life to the Care of God. It's awesome.
But missing the meeting also allowed me to have a conversation with my husband about the day he is facing. They are having a reorganization meeting today at his office. One of the possiblities is a move to Philadelphia. My husband is not an alcoholic and also realizes there is not much he can do to change the outcome so has not talked about this much. Plus I think he was afraid to tell me of the what ifs. And strangely enough, as we talked this morning, I did not react in usual fashion. I think because I have TRUST and FAITH now. In the past, I would have started lining up all the possible scenarios and already have us eating cheesesteaks on South Street I think it is, complete move vs. gradual. He moves, the rest of us stay. Wait till my son graduates high school and then move, husband commutes on weekends. In fact, I would have had the new apartment or house decorated and began the emotional withdrawal from this house that I love. BUT, while I won't deny these thoughts fleetingly flew through my head, I did not dwell. I feel like whatever happens it will be okay. I would hate to leave this area but I know that I already have friends in Philadelphia and they are probably meeting right now. I feel like whatever happens, it will be okay. So I don't even really care what happens, no need to think about it until when we know for sure. Then we will do the next thing. I really like this PEACE.