Friday, May 29, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 28, 2009

"To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, To Employers, pg. 143

Without a doubt I have learned in recovery that AA has to be first.  Whether its my family, my business or any other activity or function without AA, everything goes down.  And remember, when AA is first, be careful of what's number 2 because it wants to be number one.  So one day at a time, I can have everything as long as I keep AA where it is supposed to be - at the top of the list.

- PeterB in NC 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 27, 2009

"We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us.  In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill. How could we escape? We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, How It Works, pg. 66

In Step 4, I began to identify my resentments.  Resentments like all of my defects and my alcoholism had to be removed by a power greater than myself whom I choose to call God.  As I worked the steps, I realized by the time I got to step 6 that the obsession and the compulsion to drink had been removed.  I knew that God was active in my life.  I knew that any defect of character or resentment that I had could and would be removed by God if I simply asked for His will to be done and for me to be happy, joyous and free as it says in our literature.  I would no longer be a prisoner to alcohol, drugs or any kind of negative emotion or power.  I could truly be free. That's how it works.

- PeterB in NC

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 26, 2009

"Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 132

Today's reading breaks down the fact that no matter how big we go globally (modem to modem as it says in the forward of the the 4Th edition) the core of our program comes down to one alcoholic sharing with another the great message of hope, love and strength that we bring to each other.  In sharing our brokenness, we can truly have another life that we could never have dreamed of.

- PeterB in NC 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 24, 2009

"Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a
seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn't we
laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 132

The simple fact is that people who are not familiar with the program cannot even comprehend how this program works.  That the horrific experiences that we've had are really the gateways we are able to bridge with one another because nothing works to gain another 's confidence as when one recovering alcoholic talks to another non-recovered alcoholic.  Within a couple of hours (as mentioned in our Big Book and from personal experience) we can gain a still suffering alcoholic's trust because we've been there and we know how it is.  We all believe in the same thing, that this program works if you work it.

- PeterB in NC

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 23, 2009

"Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that experience is the thing of supreme value in life. That is true only if one is 
willing to turn the past to good account. We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets. The 
alcoholic's past thus becomes the principal asset of the family and frequently it is almost the only one!" 

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, The Family Afterward, pg. 124 

As I read this daily message, steps eight and nine jump tp mind - willingness to look at yesterday's business and be willing to go and face whatever defects, shortcomings (or whatever other fifty-cent word you'd like to insert) and change to the best of our ability those defects, hurt feelings, those situations that quite frankly left people harmed or financially penalized for being with us. We appreciate the fact that we are able go back into our past and work with our family, friends, old employers, the deceased and creditors and do the best of our ability rectify the past and create an atmosphere where we don't have to be afraid of anyone or anything as we move forward through my journey in life.

- PeterB in NC

Friday, May 22, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 22, 2009

"To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, unconstructive action."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, Working with Others, pg. 83

Faith alone is not enough.  I have to be willing to give of myself to the still suffering alcoholic in and outside the fellowship.  I have to be willing to take whatever measures to put my hand out and make sure that this program continues to grow and blossom.  What is freely given to me, I give back.  Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 21, 2009

There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don't worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, Into Action, pg 83

In doing my eighth step, I became willing to make amends to everyone on my list.  With the help of my sponsor, the list was reviewed and I allowed him to take out the people to whom my motives were not pure because I am still sick.  In Step 9, I was willing to do whatever it took to make it right.  The rewards that I received from doing this, I could never have comprehended while I was waiting to do the step.

- PeterB in NC

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 20, 2009

"When we decide who is to hear our story, we waste no time. We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk. We explain to our partner what we are about to do and why we have to do it. He should realize that we are engaged upon a life-and-death errand.  Most people approached in this way will be glad to help; they will be honored by our confidence."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, Into Action, pg. 75

When I did Step 4, I chose to share with my sponsor.  This was a man who from my sixth month in sobriety was picking me up and taking me to meetings (because I had no driving privileges) and occasionally I would take something from my dark file and share it with him and see if he blinked - which he didn't!

He was nice enough to share with me as I shared with him, helping me to realize that I was just another garden variety drunk.  There was nothing special or unique about what I did.  

Later on, I've had the opportunity or blessing and honor to listen to other men's Fourth Steps and give them the same guidance and wisdom that I received.  I've kept and honored the confidences they trusted to share with with me in revealing the dark secrets that they had been holding onto for many years. 

I truly feel blessed to be a part of this process and to help others to realize that there's nothing unique, special or different that any of us have done.  We're all just the same, another bum on the bus, trying to stay sober a day, an hour a minute at a time and working these 12 steps to be happy joyous and free.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 19, 2009

"We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, pg. 67

When I first got into the program, I very much wanted to get in touch with all the people that I knew that needed the fellowship and needed this program and this God-given opportunity that I had experienced. 

I found out very quickly that I CANNOT pick who I give the gift back to.  It is God who makes these people ready.  I just have to be ready to do His will and help who He see fit to put into my path.  It is yet another opportunity for me to turn it over and stop taking control.

With 14 years of sobriety, I buried my father who had the same disesase that I do. For all of those years I was unable to help him.  It really rings true that I am but just the messenger, I am not the message.

- PeterB in NC

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 18, 2009

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of  self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so." 

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, How It Works, pg. 62
As I go over our reading this morning, I clearly know that, when I came to the program, I thought all my problems were people, places and things.  If only I had the right job, the right girlfriend, the right wife, the right car or the right amount of money in the bank of course then I would be happy.  If people would just follow my direct6ions and do what I told them to do as the great director that I would be happy and life would be perfect.  

Never did I look at the fact that it was on me and I was the problem.  Because I made my  own misery and I always wanted to get my share, I was always looking at the situation and finding that I was afraid that someone would take something that was rightfully mine or I wasn't going to get what was due me.  I was always in a state of flux of uncertainty and unhappiness and looking for something other than inside myself to really become  happy. 

So in finding that my Higher Power takes care of  me in ALL situations,  I came to be truly free.

- Peter B in NC

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 17, 2009

"In a few seconds he was overwhelmed by a conviction of the Presence of God. It poured over and through him with the certainty and majesty of a great tide at flood. The barriers he had built through the years were swept away. He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love. He had stepped from bridge to shore. For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 56

As I look at the Big Book reading for today, it once again reminds me that I am not alone.  How cool it was when I first joined this fellowship and realized that I didn't have to be alone any longer.  This way I would always have a power that would always be there for me if I chose to acknowledge it.  I am able to walk hand in hand with my creator, and knowing and I will never be alone.  The presence of God is always there even when I don't feel it and just like the poem, Footprints, God is carrying me even if I don't see or feel it.

- Peter B in NC 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 16, 2009

"We agnostically inclined would not feel satisfied with a proposal
which does not lend itself to reasonable approach and interpretation.
Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is
reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not
to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we
threw up our hands in doubt and said, 'We don't know.'"

~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 53

As I read today's quote, it brings back something that my sponsor told me early on, "God is the answer, what is the question?"  Of course, I didn't understand what he meant.  Later in my sobriety (after being laid from a very cushy job) someone else told me, "Trust the Source."  "But that company let me go", I said.  "Trust the Source" again was the reply.  

Its much easier to trust that a power greater than myself is out there and has created everything than to believe the other side of the equation - that everything just appeared and we're going nowhere and came from nothing. 

I may be stupid but I am not that stupid.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 15, 2009

"Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental
defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither
he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense
must come from a Higher Power."

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, More About Alcoholism, Page 43

As I look over this reading, once again it makes it very clear to me that my Higher Power (who I choose to call God) needs to be at the center of my recovery at all levels.  I speak many times to people who have relapsed and ask them, "what happened?" Going to meetings?  Yes, a lot of people do that.  Most of all, its just a natural thing for an alcoholic to drink.  So I have to be on my guard and keep my spiritual house in order. Whether that's going to meetings, keeping my side of the street clean, asking God for help, and working toward having that conscious contact with God and keeping that in all areas of my day.  

Slowly (in my recovery) I became aware of one thing. Even with all of my work (calling my sponsor, working the steps, being of service, having a service commitment) it can still come - the disease can still come to rear its ugly head and attack me and I will have no defense.  That frightened me.  It still does.

I can never rest on my laurels.  I have to continue to the footwork and keep a connection to a Higher Power that will guide and protect me - one day at a time.  

-Peter B in NC

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Big Book Quote of the Day - May 14, 2009

"The great fact is just this, and nothing less:  That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe.  The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.  He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do ourselves." 

- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4Th Edition, There is a Solution, Page 25

God is now doing for me what I couldn't do for myself.  The first six months of my sobriety I thought about drinking every waking moment of the day.  After completing my Fifth Step with the help of my sponsor, a God of my understanding removed the desire for me to drink.  I had made countless attempts to control (stop) my drinking but to no avail.  Until my Higher Power touched my life, things were never going to change.   It was then that I could start to see the promises of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Today, I see my self as an agent for god's handiwork.

- PeterB in NC