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current weekly topic Step 7: A GREAT USE FOR HUMILITY Sunday 7pm topic

alan Wednesday, 4 July 2018 10:24 am
Alan alcoholic.
I changed the weekly topic to Step 7: A GREAT USE FOR HUMILITY
Without action humility is just a word. By making a list and asking for God's help I can at least start the process and hand over my stubborn will, praying for His divine intervention.
This seems to me to be one of the most appropriate situations where the power of prayer will come to my aid.

alan Thursday, 28 June 2018 10:06 am
Alan alcoholic
Thanks Chad for sharing regarding that particular defect of character where there is misuse of the procreative gift. I think that, for many, the sex instinct is adopted both as a means of escape and as a panacea.
As usual it's man misusing and mis-treating the resources which are given to us for one purpose and diverting them for another. A glaring example is money which is given to us as an intermediary for exchange and is used for power and domination of others as well as excessive self serving gratofication through amassing far more that what is a reasonable share for one individual.
Coming back to sex, there is no area where there is more distortion of the truth or boasful exageration or dar secrets yet it's given to us as a gift when we come into the world in all our innocence.  Children are misinformed from the start and the advertising industry is only too happy to capitalise on this failing by driving product sales through cynical use of sexuality. I remember a girl saying to me "can't you separate sex and love" and frankly no, I couln't and still can't. What little we get right straight out of the box is "educated" out of us as we are exhorted to join the mayhem of modern sexuality.
I went to a conference many years ago, "Sex And The Sacred", given by one Charles Rafael Payeur, a French Canadian priest, writer, philosopher and conferencier. There were mostly women present (as always at his events) and the clarity of how the context of sexuality and spirituality was developed was a revelation and a joy. Of course this will be sure to raise a few eyebrows and curl a few lips but that's part of the par course for this subject which has, frankly, great difficulty in growing up from the playground on.
Of course, like all learning, life's discoveries tend to fade, like a pair of jeans in the wash, but I believe that knowledge can be re-ignited and even some former innocent simplicity can be regained as by Picasso who spent much of his life unlearning adulthood in order to paint like a child. Working on Step Six and being ready for God to remove my shortcomings I'm sure that He'll leave me some choice in the matter. As an alcoholic, I've a special problem but, if I need to bring back some childish ideas, then I'll give that a try. After all, children seem to know more about love than most.

Chad 28 06 2018 8:34 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Alan, thanks, that idea of substituting has been popping up for me this week; it seems like an old timer friend of mine, Ruth N, suggested that or something similar in 2011 when I was on Step 6 or 7.  It always helps me to remember when my defect or defective behavior of using women for sex was removed in 2008--not that I haven't acted out on lust in other ways, but I'm grateful to say that I've been freed from that kind of harm that I believe both the Big Book and my observation have shown me can kill us alcoholics.  Your share helps me reflect that maybe it was replaced with something; I got a surge of creative energy, maybe after that.  Maybe being entirely ready to have defects removed meansI'm ready to accept what may take their place?  Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

alan Monday, 25 June 2018 12:42 pm
Alan alcoholic.
Thanks Chad for that very thought provoking share, it's well to look at the imponderable as well as it's opposite.
When something is removed, there's got to be a void and, if that void needs filling by replacing with something else, there needs to be consideration given to what the replacement might be.
One area to explore might suggest taking a dictionary of antonyms and using that to get inspired on what opposites might be applied, as in the replacement of fear with faith. Anger is of course a tough one but you've got to start somewhere if you'll "go to any lengths to get what we have". I'm ready to try harder on that thanks to this step work opportunity.

Chad 25 06 2018 6:15 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic. Alan, thanks for your helpful share. Maybe for the last 4 years or so, I've been hung up from time to time on what my part is in Steps 6 and 7--I heard Paul O say "I'm powerless over my defects," I've heard or read maybe the opposite, and maybe it's individual to at least some extent.  In the Big Book, I'm told to pray for willingness if I need it, in Step 6.  In the 12 and 12, it says "try as best we know how."  Try for willingness, or try to act differently from the defect, or ... ?  My own experience, so far, is that I can't seem to change myself, defects do get removed maybe after a surrender, and no amount of criticism from others can seem to get me to do better; I may even try to use that group effort as a way to get a quorum against the God of my (mis?)understanding, because of my defect of pride. 

Grateful it is progress, not perfection, and that instead of the terror, frustration, bewilderment and despair of coming out of a blackout not knowing why there was blood on me, I'm sober and enjoying the luxury of uncertainty about this!  


alan Saturday, 23 June 2018 7:32 pm
It's only through "a day at a time" remembering my character defects and asking God to remove them that I can continue to grow spiritually in recovery. In addition, I believe He will require some effort pn my part.

Chad 22 06 2018 4:06 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for your part in my sobriety today.  A character defect of mine definitely seems to be at work this week.  Got 3 new sponsees in the last 3 weeks or so, and suggested that they try to call me daily, like my current sponsor Brett had me do when we started working together in 2016.  My phone got cut off maybe Sunday, and my sponsor suggested getting it "squared away," which I told him I was hoping to do the next day.  It hasn't happened yet, and I've been hoping my student loan would come in; meanwhile, my mother asked "Do you need money?" And a no came out of my mouth.  My father suggested talking to the people I owe money to. Haven't done that.  Two of my sponsees have been in touch by email; one fired me as a sponsor.  Grateful it is progress, not perfection, and that I can pray for help.  

Chad Sunday, 17 June 2018 11:11 pm
Chad, alcoholic.  Thank you for the wonderful shares, Alan.  My friend, hero and brother in recovery Mel B, who got sober at 24 like I did and reached over 66 years of sobriety before he passed, did not talk to me directly that I remember about his own spiritual beliefs, but I heard him say in a recorded lead that he was a "believer in synchronicity," if I remember right, and I am reading your share just 3 hours or so after a counselling session where my difficult relationship with my mother came up.  These days, I believe I'm blessed with perspective on how therapy fits in with my 12 Step program--showing me my defects, maybe old ideas that they started to sprout early in my life, and emotions that I get to acknowledge and turn over if need be, and accept that I'm powerless over these, too, rather than trying to fix them like I started trying to do maybe around the time I started drinking.  My sponsor suggested seeking healthy, platonic relationships with women in AA, and it seems like more synchronicity that my old timer friend Lisa S, when I told her I was going to therapy, said "you go, baby!"  Everything within me is acceptable to the God of my understanding, who maybe made me to be every way that I've ever been and ever will be; I don't know.  Grateful for great company like yours on this great journey of recovery!

alan Sunday, 17 June 2018 8:38 am
Alan alcoholic
Yesterday I played at a funeral for a 90 year old lady I very much liked, respected and admired. The accompanist comes from Colorado every year to spend the summer in France and she's a divine player. Her virtuosity as a reader and musician is without question but she also has qualities over and above such as complete attention, beautiful observation of musical nuance, telepathy and anticipation as she communicates whilst faithfully and humbly following the solo violin part as I played the Ave Maria by Gounoud.
Today I was rerunning this in my head and I suddenly thought about respect for women and how I'm acquiring so much more thanks to the help from this step.
One of my big shortcomings and defects, whetever the cause might be, is lack of respect of women or I should say the "ability" to respect them because, although I've tried enough to make amends for my part in the bad relationship I had with my mother, my efforts fall short when they meet certain obstacles.
God needs my help in surmounting obstacles and He is call me to do just that in this fifth step and being "entirely ready" means admitting that there are things I need to make an effort over and actually do something about them.
He spoke to me this morning about yesterday's playing experience and I could see how it was tied to the respect of these two women: the dear departed old friend and the elderly lady who was such an amazing accompanist. They both helped me to clear the way and God's voice did the rest: All I felt then was love.

alan Thursday, 14 June 2018 5:22 pm
Alan alcoholic
Thanks Chad, not only for your continued service helping me to stay sober but for shining the light on the path to tread as I work through the steps.
I love the Yellowstone Park story, it makes me think that my character defects can be replaced by something else; as the flowers grew in place of the ashes fear can be replaced with faith and much much more.
It's given me the opportunity to think creatively about STEP SIX, I'll keep this short right now but will soon be back.

Chad Thursday, 14 June 2018 5:53 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair for the rest of June, and maybe it's the GoMU working that I couldn't log in to the chair's section to change the topic--the whole Step was part of the discussion at my home group earlier, and there's plenty that it helps me to share about just on that!  A couple of friends sober longer than me were sitting at the same table, and shared--one, Denny, about how it's helped him to pray to have the benefit of a defect removed.  That helped me to try praying silently there in the meeting.  The other one, Charlie, shared, maybe about Step 6, 7, or both, a story that he went with someone to Yellowstone national park, to a section that had been burnt, expecting to see burned ground.  Instead, he saw an amazing display of wildflowers that had grown out of the ashes, with no trace of those ashes anymore--all flowers.  Maybe that's what I start getting a glimpse of when I become entirely ready, or as close as I can humanly get, to having the God of my understanding remove my defects of character.  


Also, it came to me when I was talking to my sponsor after the meeting that I heard a talk by Paul O, who wrote "Acceptance Was the Answer" in the Big Book, and he said something like "my book says I'm powerless over my defects."  

Just remembering now, an old timer friend of mine here quoting Don M, another wonderful member who lives maybe 2 hours away (and whose house i hope to go to for a meeting soon), talking about wearing the defects that haven't been removed like a comfortable pair of shoes.  Maybe that fits with being entirely ready for me, too.

Either way (and this came to me to share in the meeting, maybe because I needed to hear it), I remember being maybe 5 years old and having such a painful drive to fix myself, to cast out this overwhelming load of sin I felt I had in me, and when I came to AA I feared it meant returning to being that kid, which had maybe nearly killed me already.  Instead, a guy, Chuck, said at my first home group, "you are incapable of change," and it hit me that, okay, this is the place for me.  

Recently, I heard that in a talk by Bob W that I believe is on youtube, from 1984.  He said he believes we only have one choice in life--to let God change us.  Which, I now realize, sounds a lot like Step 6 to this alcoholic!

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Chad Monday, 11 June 2018 8:46 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair last month!  If there are no volunteers to chair this month, I'm happy to do it.  On Step 6, it seems like the God of my understanding has been showing me these things in myself lately that may be defects, or connected to defects, I have:

--not asking for help unless I absolutely am desperate for it, and the minimum then
--trying to say things, maybe in meetings and elsewhere, for maximum recognition/self-importance, rather than to be of maximum service
--trying to be who people will need, rather than the me the God of my understanding wants me to be
--hiding from my heart and other wonderful parts of reality in my mind
--the more I need to talk about it with the right person and the God of my understanding (and myself, maybe), the less likely I am to--it's like I skim some to share off the top of whatever's going on, and the turmoil bubbles on below
--(earlier, this one was in a dream I had, and it might be true) self-sabotaging so I don't end up with a wife, house, kids, car, career, and/or other trappings of adulthood

Grateful that these are what's going on with me today, not coming to after blackouts in which I might have killed people by driving drunk, or the other horrors I couldn't stop happening during the hell decade of my drinking and drugging.  

Show you care with a share!

alan Friday, 1 June 2018 9:54 am
Alan alcoholic.
We are now on Step Six, it'll show a bit later today when western time catches us up!
I want to thank Chad SOOO much for his service as chair during May and ask if there is anyone out there willing to take the service in June. It's helped me on numerous points with working the steps and I'm all ears for more of the same!
There's not much to do really other than share on the step once in a while.
Just rounding off on Step Five, It's recently been mentioned here that a lot of our guilty secrets weren't so bad as we thought when once we brought them out into the light before God and another human being. I think this is really good to know for those who hesitate through worrying that they may be Rasputin reincarnated!
When the sharing is about recovery the whole horizon seems to light up for me, thanks to AA for the miracle of my sobriety!.

alan Friday, 25 May 2018 9:56 am
Alan alcoholic.
Thanks for the shares helping me to think more and stay sober.
I seem to have a lot of questions in my mind at the moment and one of them is "why can't there be better communication between humans?" I bring this up because I was thinking that Step Five is about communicating with God and another human being and the difficulty seems for me to be the latter. The main problem seems to be the lack of candidates either for sponsoring others or as recipients of the 5th step whic is, in a way, a form of confessional.
Of course in online AA it's different without a flesh and blood fellow alcoholic in front of me although I'd have thought that somebody, by now, would have worked out how to turn the marvellous advantages of online (no distance restrictions other than time zones) better to help the alcoholics who are isolated, ex-pats or what are commonly referred to as "loners". I remember from my Paris AA days that it wasn't all that easy to find a sponsor but online seems incredibly difficult although logically all the technology has so many inherent advantages.
Communication seems to have been warped somewhere along the way, as if it wasn't always a knotty question, but today's rush into hi tech adventures where the formerly unthinkable has become commonplace. Social media seems to be destroying something in society and it's difficult to even emagine what kind of legislation and shift in social attitudes can even begin to fix the problem.
On the face of it, using such tools as Skype, Zoom or other audio and video means, it should be easy to do something like a fifth step online in front of another human being but the truth is otherwise. I think the tools have somehow outdistanced their purpose, lost their way and are now, far from bringing people together, actually pushing them apart. I'd like to try harder with this website but are people too busy pushing buttons to actually help other alcoholics online?
Please! nobody take offence at my share! or feel got at, this is just me airing a personal dilemma and perhaps just me asking for guidance. I do sincerely thank those who so generously help online, including on this website, giving their time through sharing or service to others.

Chad 24 05 2018 11:56 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  One of the life-saving gifts I've gotten with 5th Steps I've shared, maybe most of all when the other person has shared from his own dark past, is the release from the horrible idea that my alcoholic mind maybe started feeding me around age 5 or 6:  that I'm alone in sin, maybe.  Looking at that magnificent relief, with the word "admitted," I'm reminded of how opening shades or blinds can admit daylight into a room.  Grateful for the transformation!

alan Tuesday, 15 May 2018 9:26 am
Alan alcoholic, thanks Chad for your service here.
In terms of Step Five and uncovered versus undiscovered I think that pain is a healthy indicator at times, put there to remind me that I'm holding back something I shouldn't. I believe the admaission in front of God another human being will be fluid as my sobrietu progresses; in the same way as my honesty in prayer progresses with my faith.
I've seen so many in AA who had seemingly done a "done and dusted" 5the step but didn't strike me as role models, at least for myself. This is the difficulty of who to follow in AA, the ones who seem like winners today may no longer be so tomorrow.
At the end of the day, it's a day at a time that I stay sober and also I require a daily examination  of my conscience, accepting the principle of progress not perfection.

Chad 15 05 2018 5:58 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chances to chair and share, both helpful for my keeping this magnificent gift of sobriety one day at a time.  At the wonderful 730 meeting I went to, my old timer friend John B chaired, and Step 5 came up as the topic.  It came to me to share that one of my defects or defective behaviors is stuffing things, and sometimes it seems like my disease puts the most toxic things in the "least important" mental file.  But the God of my understanding is in this with me, and a prayer that I heard in a lead by Don P, that I can't remember the exact wording of, seems to keep coming to me to say.  It's something like "don't let what I haven't uncovered yet kill me before I get to it."  Maybe especially after my 2016 PTSD diagnosis, that one helps me to say.  Grateful for my secrets coming out as needed so far on this wonderful journey, one great sober day at a time!  

Chad Thursday, 10 May 2018 11:24 pm
Chad, alcoholic.  Thanks for the helpful shares, including that story, Alan.  Maybe it was the next 5th Step I did after we met (months after that, in Iowa), I did partly with my sponsor and partly with a priest, and it helped me tremendously, like they all have.  If I remember what's in the Big Book right, it says something about finding someone who will keep what we said private, and who understands what we're doing?  That reminds me that a wonderful old timer friend of mine recently told me that anything I tell her is private; I had gone to her about something that has seemed really important and difficult to open up about in the last year or to, and thank God (of my understanding), she had shared about having gone through a similar or the same thing.  Grateful I've also been able to share about it with my sponsor and several other friends with long term sobriety who have been there, too!  That's been more 10th Step than 5th Step, I guess, but the 5th Step started opening me up to share things I need to get out, and, wonderfully, to listen when others do the same. 

alan Monday, 7 May 2018 9:06 pm
Alan alcoholic

Thanks Chad for the new topic, it's so important to choose the right person, perhaps prioretising listening skills rather than advising skills?

I heard of someone who did the step with a priest and it took hours. The priest nodded off and suddenly woke up at the end. He apologised but the guy brushed that aside and thanked him for the added relief the step had brought!

alan Monday, 7 May 2018 8:39 pm
Alan alcoholic

Welcome Sheldon, you have certainly come to the right place and we look forward to sharing our recovery with you.

sheldon gelinas Monday, 7 May 2018 8:36 pm
Sheldon Gelinas, an alcoolic, 18 years old from canada, i am also a narcotic addict, but 6 months sober very soon 5 days! :) 


alan Sunday, 6 May 2018 9:00 am
Alan alcoholic.

I definitely keep coming back to AA because all those I meet have the same disease. They don't all see it quite the same way but I keep hearing the same things over and over about selfishness, egoism, dishonesty...and this helps me to keep my own list "current" as I may well slack off and begin to give myself some exemptions as mentioned by Dave. When I do so I need to invest anew in my recovery, check out my honesty level and use the tools and suggestions offered by the program.

We claim spiritual progress and not spiritual perfection; none of us is perfect and the sheer realisation of that is a relief in itself! I do seek honesty which can, at times, seem to be a moving target. Admitting to God, to ourselves, and to another humen being, the exact nature of my wrongs is a great AA step but honest sharing to the group, as we've seen here today, is a cornerstone of recovery.

David Sunday, 6 May 2018 4:06 am
the exact nature of our wrongs, 

I had a dual set of standards in life coming in the program, I had a standard for the world and everyone in it and I had an exemption card for myself. Wrong thoughts, wrong actions, wrong feelings, taking things the wrong way, taking people and their actions the wrong way, thinking the wrong things about situations, having the wrong attitude towards the program, taking the wrong actions out of revenge or anger, instead of better controlling myself, making other people suffer because of my stupidity, not owning up to my own shit, being scared to death of people truly knowing me, realizing that alot of shit that had happened in life was just a big deal in my mind, but in reality most everyone else had already forgotten about the matter years before. Having a all or nothing attitude and mentality, being selfish and self centered without any thought or concern for others. Those are a few that come to mind.

Regards, David


alan Friday, 4 May 2018 7:27 pm
Alan alcoholic. Thanks to Chad for taking service this month on Step Five.

"The exact nature of my wrongs" I find to be a constant variable (excuse the contradiction but I think it expresses something indescribable otherwise; maybe as the shifting winds of my sobriety)

I've nerver felt cut and dried in this program and I'm happy for that to be. I don't think, for one thing, that my admissions will be the same today as they were five years ago. It's funny how it seems to get simpler as I turn things up, wrongdoings which used to baffle me suddenly no longer do so, either because of a new clarity of vision or because I'm able to sweep that particular wron away. Some, a lot, of my self reproach along with it's accompanying self loathing has been committed to the scrap-yard as unneccessary bagage and this is enabling me to really crystalise the important wrongs I've done in my past life although I'm not able to make amends for them all as to do so would harm other people and me too.

Decluttering my amends list has got me to get ready for throwing out that last piece of furniture that's being hung on to and is causing me pain, the sofa who's horsehair is torturing my very bones. As I do this, light and revelation flows in together with new energy and I think I can describe it as exaltation far beyond that which I sought through alcohol. I still need to return to the step and one of these days I'll again be admitting before God and another human being, the exact nature of my wrongs.

Meanwhile, sitting on the floor proves to have some healthy benefits!


Chad Friday, 4 May 2018 5:10 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair and share on Step 5 this month.  As an add on for this week, I tried posting a quote from Step 5 in the Big Book:  "We must be entirely honest with somebody."  The full sentence:  "We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."  One of my heroes in this program, Gene O, 57 years sober last December, shared with me in an email that someone once told him he needed to "erupt," letting out things he had been holding inside.  For me, the 5th Step was the start of really doing that for the first time in a real, meaningful way.  My sponsor helpfully listened to me share from my 4th Step, and humbly and helpfully shared something he had done; suddenly, I was not alone anymore.  Maybe I haven't been since!  Thanks, Alan, for the PDF of the 12 and 12 chapter being available; we were just talking about ghosts before the 730 meeting, and there they are mentioned in the chapter--"synchronicity," Mel B might call that ("please save me from living alone with tormenting ghosts of yesterday" might be a helpful prayer for me to pray!)

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