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current weekly topic I am not my thoughts and feelings Sunday 7pm topic

alan Thursday, 15 November 2018 9:30 am
Alan alcoholic
I'm grateful to have this step brought to my attention for prayer and meditation, beside being a wonderful regenerative force, is the thing I'm likely to overlook unless I'm in a group like this where I get a daimy reminder. I do manage to practice those two "observances" (if I may) and can only give confirmation to those words "it works if you work it".
Unfortunately, denial is ever present whether you're old or new timer and I sometimes wonder if it's not a close second behing resentment our number one offender. The best insurance of continued growth in sobriety is of course practice and that's why we recently discussed how we can turn thoughts into acts. We CANNOT change our thinking through mere thought, especially when our thinking was faulty in the firsty place! This is not my opinion either, just personal affirmation that what's written in our literature is correct.
Action is ever linked to prayer and meditation although folks often classify those two as mysterious and abstract and not anything which concerns me. Well the fact is that we all came to AA for the same reason: to stop drinking in order to take action against all the mayhem caused by our spiritual bankruptcy. Drinking was just an artificial means of maintaining a false idea: that we were self sufficient and above such things as prayer.
All this of course applies to ME although I'm occasionally saying "we" or "our" but the fact is that I'm here writing this down as a form of annex to my prayers, asking God to give me another sober day and a chance to live in the light of his image rather than the darkness of my own ignorance.
Yes, writing is definately a form of prayer and meditation, I welcome you to give it a try.

Chad Tuesday, 6 November 2018 3:55 pm
Chad, alcoholic.  Thank you for the helpful shares, including the congratulations!  Sponsors and others have, I believe, helped me look at anniversaries as chances for gratitude, and to show others that AA works--if it can work for this alcoholic, like Mel B said, I think anyone who tries it can have the same experience! 

Maybe one of my favorite phone calls happened in April 2016, when I got to call my friend and hero Mel B, who had just reached 66 years of sobriety.  He said, yes, he had gotten to 66 years, had gotten to go to 2 meetings that day and chair one of them!  Wonderful.  

He also said, in a lead that I've gotten to listen to maybe a lot of days of the last year or so, that as he looked back at his life since he got sober, he could see that it had gotten better, if I remember right.  

Maybe this ties in with what Alan was saying--if I take that "with" view, then I get to see the growth.  Rather than imagining my life has gotten worse in the last 3 years that I have mostly been unemployed and staying with my parents plus having different emotional and health difficulties, I get blessed to try, like Paul O shared about in a lead, seeing my life as a "V"--that it went down until Step 1 and sobriety, and has gone up since then.  

One wonderful example:  I have, since reaching 16 years of sobriety, gotten to do more work with newly sober alcoholics through sponsoring and H&I work than maybe any year before.

Another one:  parts of my dark past that I could barely look at, let alone talk about, with God, myself or others, I have been blessed with opening up about with long timer friends.  

Also, the conscious contact with God as I understand Him(/Her/?) has shown me more Godincidences, or synchronicity as Mel B might say, than I have ever gotten to see before.  

Wonder if the journey of recovery, in sobriety, through the 12 Steps, is like getting to go somewhere in a boat, like Clancy I (reached 60 years sober, according to his sponsee Sharon C, the day before I reached 17!) talked about.  Maybe the further along I have gotten to go, it hasn't put me more than one day's maintenance from a slip into alcoholic death; it has given me more to see, share, and be grateful for.  

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

MarkB 01 11 2018 9:46 pm (sent from my mobile)
Good evening...Mark, alcoholic/addict. Happy Birthday Chad. Miracles do happen. Thank you for being part of my sobriety too. I hope you enjoyed your 24. Mark, very grateful alcoholic.

alan Sunday, 28 October 2018 10:02 am
Alan alcoholic.
Thanks Chad for this wonderful thought-provoking share.
I think living WITH rather than against my thoughts and emotions is part of living sober a day at a time. I think "with" these days rather than "against" or any other kind of stressful oposition I may put up; part of giving up the fight I suppose.
Of course the desire to be right comes back again and again and I have to be careful to live with that as well, not as a cop-out but just doing my level best and, having done that today, closing the account on the particular bothersome emotion I'm trying to live with until tomorrow.
What I find really helps is carrying out some of the great suggestions in the Big Book about, for example resentments, and the action I take seems to plant a seed for future cases of resentment which seem to become easier. I think "act on" rather than "deal with".
Mind you I'm still left with thoughts and emotions which are at times out of bounds but I go with the flow and live with them. It's nothing like the slippery emotional kitchen floor I used to try and negotiate, inevitably falling flat on my face.

Chad Sunday, 28 October 2018 5:09 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful to be here and sober, and for the chance to chair the Step forum this month.  This last Step 10 topic sums up one of the lessons I get, repeatedly, from working this Step, that I never experienced before coming to AA.  From an early age, as I felt overwhelmed by uncomfortable emotions and obsessive thinking, I could not seem to see my way outside of them. 

And drinking and drugging "affirmed" the lie, unstopabbly for the hellish decade 1991-01, that I was absolutely what I thought and felt--I acted compulsively on what came to my mind, most of all the compulsion to drink. 

One of the gifts I started to get, mysteriously, when I got sober, was the disappearance of that horror show in my mind that had been running my life, and I felt blissful and seemed to float along for about 15 sober months--a gift I believe I would have died without. 

Then, I had a breakup, one in a series of tough life events, and I dissociated, going into a kind of waking dream state in which I started to see the noise in my mind with a detachment that I had never had--like it was on tv, and was not me. 

And I started to be given the tools, through the 12 Steps, that showed and show me how to surrender that sick mind, that ego, as it comes up, so that I can live serenely over all and, always most importantly, stay sober.

In the 10th Step, in the Big Book, I am told to respond immediately to resentment, fear, and other negative/sick stuff that comes up in me, and I don't do that very well; but I'm grateful for the progress I've been blessed with so far, one wonderful day at a time!  5 hours ago or so, I got to share a series of fears I didn't know I'd been carrying around, in a voicemail to a wonderful long timer friend of mine, Paul W.  

Maybe it's a paradox for me that if I treat my thoughts and feelings like they don't matter at all, they start to dominate me; if I treat them like they're my god(s), that's at least as bad and/or part of the same insanity. 

Treating them like I have them, need to share them and turn them over in prayer, I believe I get the gifts of connection with the God of my understanding and the people He/She/? sends me to share with, and maybe that's more important than getting relief from them or tracing them to their sources; grateful I get those too through our 12 Steps! 

alan Thursday, 25 October 2018 8:51 pm
Alan alcoholic.
Tthanks Chad for your selfless and reliable service to this website, helping me to stay sober and extending the hand of AA to a others.
The set topic WATCHING OUT FOR THE LITTLE THINGS helps me in my Step 10 inventory. Some major issues may be hiding behind smaller items, using them to hide so to speak. I sometimes find that,  after dealing with a smaller question which requires my attention, a larger possibility will be created for an even larger step forwards. The infinite possibilities of the unknown are calling me to ever greater efforts as I peel away the layers of the past.
All things are connected really, the small to the big, ignorance is a form of connection to knowledge and self loathing can be turned into love. It requires courage and above all faith to move forward; with the help I get in AA I can do it a day at a time.

Chad 21 10 2018 7:18 pm (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful to be sober, and to be able to chair this month, which helps me stay that way!  A wonderful long timer friend of mine who has maybe helped me through the most difficult spots in my sobriety said something like "I thought crises were hard, but in daily life, I have to watch out for those little things."  And Tony H, quoting Clancy I (who will hopefully reach 60 years of sobriety in 10 days! And I hope to reach 17 the day after!), said something like "my sponsor relapsed after years of sobriety because they changed the arrangement of chairs in the meeting."  A dire warning that maybe helpfully reminds me that I need to get those things out that eat at me--and maybe that's great news, because it means I need to seek inner peace, a terrific gift, in sobriety.  Getting undisturbed, the 12 and 12 tells me, I believe, is an important priority for me--not looking good or saving others, but actually doing well on the inside.  And maybe watching for the little things in a positive way can help me with that, too--the little gifts that I get in each sober day, maybe especially at meetings.  At the one in Alan's house in France, in 2011, I got to eat a lovely cookie--a nice gift.  And I got to wake up and eat one today, because I'm a sober alcoholic!  Grateful.  

Chad 19 10 2018 8:45 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Thank you for the helpful share, Alan.  It reminds me that in maybe another kind of inventory recently, I realized that I have had over 50 sponsees--not because I had kept records along the way, but because my mind had hung onto each one, in a sick way, to beat me up about "failures," and lies like that.  Blessed with honesty to turn that insane thinking over to the God of my understanding, I get gratitude for all those opportunities to try and share this magnificent gift.  Most importantly, as you say, it has helped me stay sober!

alan Monday, 15 October 2018 12:49 pm
Hi All, Alan alcoholic.
Thanks for your shares which are ever thought provoking, I come to AA to be provoked into many things including not drinking a day at a time. I used to be drunk, now I get undrunk - daily.
Its a bit off the amends topic but, regarding service, I feel it's a big part of recovery. Sponsorship, for example, is a service which is as much part of the program for the sponsor as it is for the sponsee. Mistakes are made on both sides and we hopefully learn from them and take actions through them, actions which prevent us from what we formerly did with mistakes or resentments - bury them in the fuming pit which is ever on the verge of critical Chernobyl type chain rection.
Another thing which can be learned and developed by friends-of-Bill is love, and where else on Earth could I go for that other than AA? It's also a "progress not perfection" kind of thing and the meaning has changed for me over the years. We have no leaders, only trusted servants and sponsorship is another arena to practice that axim. It can be that sponsors prance around a bit playing the big shot (now how do I know that?) and they too are practcing the program and getting better. If you want to get better then you'd better not have "arrived" as that leaves nowhere else better to go.
It works if you work it and the love I've received and given through AA generally has matured to a level I couldn't have previously imagined. Stripped of much of it's earlier self seeking egotism and fear, it never ceases to surprise me.

Chad Sunday, 14 October 2018 9:00 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair this month, and for all of these helpful shares!  They are just what I've needed to read.  Maybe it's a Godincidence, or synchronicity like my friend and hero Mel B (66 years sober when he passed!) said, that I've been sober 16 years like you shared, and have a tendency to try and pray things away too much--rather than pray and share them with another human being. 

That vital combination started for me in Step 5, and I maybe don't do it as well as I need to, daily, in Step 10.  Sandy B and Chuck C have talked about how it's easier to just do prayer than share with someone else, and that's my experience, too.  My defect of stuffing things started maybe around age 3, and it seems to pop up as my default still. 

The 12 and 12 says fear activates my defects, if I remember right, and that fear of how the other person will react to me, that I'll be harmed because of it, is still with me.  Grateful for the fear prayer and other 10th Step work that lets me surrender all of that to the God of my understanding. 

And for what just came back to me--that when I admit a wrong, maybe it doesn't really matter how the other person responds.  He or she is getting the gift of then being better able to admit his or her own defects, so that shit doesn't fester and get twisted by ego into self-righteous rigidity, which may be the way I most show that I have something stuffed that should be shared.  Idk

And for great examples like Ralph Z, 66 years sober like Mel when he passed, and had a sponsor right up until the end, one he picked, he joked, because he was "too big to hit."  Lol

Chad Sunday, 14 October 2018 8:57 am
And to quote Don M and his and my hero Chuck C, I love you!  :)

Chad Sunday, 14 October 2018 8:46 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Paul M was big on written inventory, and he reached 62 years of sobriety before he passed.  And he had/has at least three sponsees with over 50 years.  One passed in the last year or two, 50+ years sober!, with a current written inventory by his bed. 

Seems like the right guides get put in front of me, like June G said, including Paul, and that I get shown what works for me personally.  If I didn't write it out, my people-pleasing would maybe filter out what I needed to share because of how the person in front of me might respond. 

But the written inventories, both 4th and 10th, are between me and the God of my understanding while I'm writing.  Also, that way, the defects that I need to let go seem to get shown to me; if I try to power through self-improvement, I risk sabotaging what the God of my understanding wants me to be, which includes defects.  Paul O, aka Dr. Paul, helped me see that in a lead of his I heard--"I'm powerless over my defects."  Don M, in Louisville, too.  "I'm too far gone to put conditions on God's grace," maybe he said about Steps 6 and 7.  Those are what I needed to hear--their messages, just right for this alcoholic.  

Grateful that works for me, and it doesn't really matter for my sobriety whether it works for others or not!  That's a miracle of Step 12 that hit home for me when I saw a new sponsee maybe 14 hours ago, plus a guy who might be too screwed up by repeated relapses and untreated schizophrenia to remember I was or am his sponsor.  Sharing what's been shared with me, imperfectly with them, has helped me stay sober today.  Wonderful way of life that I'm grateful I'll always need!

And maybe I need these reminders that it's not up to me what happens to the message I try and carry, because inventories have shown me codependency, people-pleasing, and playing God are defective tendencies of mine.  But I can't even run my own life, thank GoMU, and the life I get with Him/Her/? in charge is wonderful, because it's a sober one!  

Harry Friday, 12 October 2018 1:07 pm
Hi guys,
Harry here. its been a while, but this one is down my ally!
I stopped writing tenth steps after 2-3 months of sobriety. That was over 25 years ago.
The SAME crap kept coming up.... impatience, intolerance, disapointments, self loathing, yada, yada, yada.
It got me nowhere. I tried doing what the book directs me to do.....
I kept asking God to forgive me for my shortcomings, asked him, her
them, "it", or whatever to help remove those feelings from me as they came up
THROUGHOUT the day and also repeated "Thy will not mine be done" as well.
I foccused on the 24 hours ahead, did numerous "spot check" inventorys throughout the day. When I was unsure and / or angry I'd pause and I'd ask God for an intuitive thought or decision. At night I reviewed my day and went over each question on page 86.
I did it all and though It provided some insights, in regards to any changes in my character was concerned it was useless. I kept experiencing the same hardships.
We're told on page 62: "Many of us had moral and philosophical
convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help"

O.K. great, Thats what I was doing, so why wasn't it working? Here I was, 16 years sober and still trying to "Pray them away". I don't know about anyone elses God, but MINE requires me to put in more effort. My God just doesn't  take away my trash when I ask. He, she, they, "it", or whatever expects me to recycle. I have to sift through it.

I then received something from a friend that Bill W had written 15 years after he got sober. It was about "emotional sobriety" you know, the REAL issue behind our drinking and drug use. The "spiritual malady". At some point we learn we have to take responsibility and stop blaming alcohol for our miserable, unhappy lives.

We're WAY beyond that,
Sorry Dorothy, we ain't in Kansas anymore. Emotional sobriety was really geared to the "oldsters" of AA. people with double diget sobriety.

As Bill described, long after he got sober he suffered from terrible depression. He took LSD and went to therapy for it. Its not clear if the therapy helped, (the LSD didn't) but he came to the realisation the "root causes" behind his unhappiness was what he called "Faulty emotional dependencys". His reliance on A.A., people, places and vaious other things to provide him with what he craved. Recognition, affirmation, approval and constant high regard. The very same childish, infantile "ego" gratifications he always sought. They hadn't been removed, they just went deeper underground.
For Bill it was about his involvement in AA. For me, it was about my building fine, bespoke, upholsterd furniture for the rich and famous. Later on it was about my ability to "carry THIS message" (the book's message) in the rooms. For my wife, it was about being able to improve the comunity in cooperation with town council and for my sister in law, its about playing violin in as many gigs as possible.
Whatever we are attachet to has the power to distract us.

At about the same time, I learned there was going to be a workshop on emotional sobriety in Glasgow. (2009). The guy presenting it came from Florida (the state I got sober in 1993)
I booked a flight with a friend and we went to check it out.
Emotional sobriety was for people whove been around for a while because it involved the topic you're on about now. Additional inventories. When Bill wrote the book he had 3 years, even HE wasn't aware of the need at that point.
Its the same program, but with additional inventorys. For one thing, when we're "new" and just in, we haven't developed the awareness and "self honesty" to get involved in that. The 4th step instructs us to do a resentment, fear and a sex inventory. We're also instructed to write a "character defects list".
When we're that early in, we can make some headway. If we're told to do to much, we'll never finish.
Besides, on page 71 it tells us "You have made a good begginning". The author/ s may not have known what else was needed, but they got it right. They knew more wouldf be needed.

For me, I had to develop and formulate additional inventorys on "Self seeking", "self delusion", an expectations inventory and an "old ideas" inventory. "Many of us have tried to hold onto our old ideas."

 
What were my "old ideas?" How did my long held beliefs about how things SHOULD be done and how the world SHOULD be, influence me? What about myself? How did old ideas about myself and my capabilitys affect my behaviour and decisions. How did "old ideas" limit me or set me up to fail?
Self seeking..... what do I seek today that I;m not getting or getting enough of?
In early days it was sex and money, today Its about getting respect, recognition and affirmation. How do I try to get it? How do I think / feel / respond when I don't get it?
What expectations do I have? Why do I have them? Where did they come from? What do I expect from my wife? (example... I expect her to know how I feel about certain things. I expect her to see things my way. I expect her to be able to read my mind) those are just 3.
What do I expect when somebody asks me to sponsor them? (I expect them to be commited and do the work. I expect them to WANT this way of life.
What di I expect with AA? (I expect everyone to read the book, carry THAT message abd stop trying to intelectualize everything. Its a very unreasonable and unrealistic expectation, but I got it so I acknowlege it!
I just scribbled down a few. What makes me restless, irritable and discontented?
How do my expectations and self seeking get in my way? How did I delude myself in the past and how do I delude myself today? What old ideas do I carry aroubd? How do they motivate me or form my attitudes?
This is ALL heady stuff but its very revealing. Its not a formula for ridding ourselves of our shit, but just making us aware of these things is emensly benneficial.
You can see why these questions wouldn't apply to newcomers. We all need time to grow into our awareness.
Theres no format for those inventorys so I had to formulte them that best applied to me and my issues. Its about making me think about the REAL causes and conditions behind my illness. I'm sober, yippie, but my problems were never about alcohol, nor were my problems about not being spiritual. My problems were (and still are) about the spiritual being I am, learning to be human in a world I don't quite understand, living among others I never felt a part of without having to rely on my ego, competitive nature and other "faulty emotional dependecys".
Once I started doing these inventorys (9 years ago) I've vastly improved, but I aslo see I'll never live long enough to uncover, discover and discard all my crap.
I'm not being a defeatest, I'm beng humbly honest.
I MUST do more because I'm sicker than most. I need to do more work keep on an even keel.
"Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness" page 85
The more I understand myself, the more I'm able to understand others and the world in which I live... (accepting it isn't as easy) The more I understand others and the world in which I live, the more effective I can be as a husband, neighbour, friend, sponsor and one who Carrys THIS message (The Books message) in the rooms.
I hope this letter makes up in some way for my lack of writing.
Bless you guys.

David Friday, 12 October 2018 2:19 pm
I think. Inventory is key to staying in the present if I have stored feelings or stored resentments piling up it cuts me off from the sunlight of the spirit I get warped and out of balance and can go back into my old ways of thought and feeling and get the tunnel vision I had before of only seeing the negatives in anything. Inventory keeps me right sized it keeps the ego deflated 

Chad 12 10 2018 8:28 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Thank you for the helpful share, Alan!  Starting maybe 10 or 11 months ago, I have had this drive I don't understand, to find and share stories of long timers in AA, the longer time the better it seems.  One of them was/is Paul M in Chicago, 62 years sober when he passed in 2009.  He believed it was important to keep taking and sharing inventory, and the long timer friend Gerry W, who's helped me the most in learning about Paul, said a former sponsee of Paul's had passed with 50+ years sober--with a current inventory on his nightstand!  They may have considered that 4th Step, not 10th Step, work; I don't know. 

It hit me a little while back that the therapy I go to for my mental health is a vital part of continuing to take personal inventory, and I believe the 12 and 12 and other AA members have helped me see that by suggesting a variety of inventories. 

It''s about seeing defects to turn over to my Higger Power, the God  of my understanding, and seeing my mental illness(es) as character defects does not at all mean they're a source of shame or anything like that for me.  Instead, I see defects as things wrong with me that it's totally okay for me to have until the GoMU is finished using them.  

Maybe using inventory to turn over fears about God and what's inside of me has brought that understanding, idk.

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today! 

alan Tuesday, 9 October 2018 8:08 am
Alan alcoholic
Interesting, the bit about working the steps heightening the meeting experience; when you think about it it's only logical but this alcoholic needs constant reminders of simple logic! Certainly, what I can glean from a meeting in terms of my inventory-taking has augmented in direct proportion to how much step work I am doing and the spiritual awakeng also heigtens accordingly and in some other miraculous ways.
I sometimes wonder if meetings, AA as a whole, are not just another form of dependency and I came to the conclusion that they indeed are - however they are undoubtedly a good dependency although I might question the intensity with which I go about it all. I have come across quite a few who have become AA "junkies" and it has taken over their lives 100% although, curiously enough the actual performance of say amend making may be lacking and the individual seems to have blind spots despite the obvious "knowledge". Being always right, like any extremism, is an extremely limiting stance and those who have written a nice script for themselves may have trouble to truly make amends.
Amends, by the very nature of the word, are about change - not just being sorry but actually CHANGING something and the personal inventory which leads to them needs to be rigorous but not rigid and inflexible. Flexibilty requires practice and mentally speaking the stretching is required just as in a physical sense. I try to use the tools of AA to stretch my thinking into the places it's reluctant to go and that requires a constant daily inventory which I need to face up to in my daily overhaul.
All things have their opposites: as there are good programs and bad; the good work and so do the bad but not in the same sense; the bad dependency on mood changers has been replaced with a good dependency on a daily practice of the AA program and I can live with that. Only by doing so can I achieve harmony and practice the principles in all my affairs.

Chad Tuesday, 9 October 2018 7:44 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful to be here and grateful to be sober, and glad for the opportunity to chair and share here this month.  Once, I remember my friend Jack R, who would reach 19 years of sobriety before he passed, saying that he did the spot check inventory, not the end of day inventory.  While I maybe tend to be too obsessive during the day to choose to stop and do that at this point, it hit me sharing this that I might get at least some of that when I go to meetings.  Maybe since I started working the 12 Steps with the guidance of a sponsor in 2003, or shortly after that, I have been blessed, at every meeting I can remember, with a wonderful spiritual energy, like a flow in of something, and always seem to leave the meeting with a better sense of what's going on in my life.  My old timer friend Harvey said he walks around with the lie and then comes to the meeting and finds truth, and that might be true for me, too.  Grateful that's how it works for this alcoholic today!

Chad 08 10 2018 12:00 pm (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful to be here and sober, and thanks to Alan for the chance to share and for your helpful share.  I can definitely identify with both the tendency to hide from the truth and the one to beat myself up--maybe the defect of mine that more of my sponsors and other family have pointed out than any other.  Like Tom B said in a lead, "I never liked me very much," and maybe Step 10 has been helping me more with that lately than ever before--the end of day inventory, not the spot check inventory which I don't do well if at all, I fear.  But that's all right.  In the end of day inventory, done as the 12 and 12 and Big Book suggest, I get to see that I've had a much better day than I thought--much better than my mind said I did.  Most importantly, always, I have gotten this gift of sobriety--what will always matter most for this alcoholic!  

alan Friday, 5 October 2018 9:40 am
Alan alcoholic
A HUGE thanks to Chad for chairing this Step meeting in September, I've not been very active but I've benefitted so much from so much insight (and hard work) his shares.
To just share on Step Nine, although we are now on Ten, I take heart in the knowledge that I'm not alone in struggling with the amends question which is one of those issues which can tend to get "swept under the carpet". That's what Spring cleaning is for; among other things it's for getting top those hard-to-reach dust traps.
My own dust and detrious story is not about to end soon; I feel that I've got a lifetime commitment here and that the answer may partly lie in admitting that I've a certain tendency to hide from the truth and that it's a deeply ingrained fault which requires some of that "daily acceptance". As I endeavor to progress spiritually, and morally, I have found it important to take the advice I'm given, to be kind to myself.
Too much beating up of self is not good for my soul and it is in no way a substitute for real action. The best way for me to break this alibi and come clea, is to come here and write it down, doing that already externalises the problem and enters into the realm of true action, a day at a time.
There you go, I feel better already!

Chad 25 09 2018 8:50 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  That last comment was intended for the beginner's forum, but it may have been grace that had me look back at the post before it so I could share progress.  By email, I shared a detailed inventory of sexual harms with my sponsor, who I hope will have more suggestions soon ("be kind" was his for harm to my ex-wife, I believe), and bcc'd another old timer friend in the program who I try to share everything with.  Grateful!

Chad 25 09 2018 8:38 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for your part in my sobriety today.  The talk by Tom B on emotional sobriety can be found, I believe, on more than one web site, and has helped me a ton.  In it, he talks about what he believes to be "the most malignant character defect":  self-hate.  That's one I believe I had from early childhood, that may have been ramped up by some abuse that happened in it; I don't know.  When I was drinking, I believed that the often bad and sometimes terrible things I did justified that feeling--proof that I was no good.  The sense of well-being that came to me in my first "pink cloud" year of sobriety, of enjoying who I was where I was for the first time ever, showed me that something different was going on.  It was the start of AA's 12 Steps working in my life, as my way of life.  Continuing to work them, including by trying to guide sponsees and other new guys through them, I find that light shining into deeper levels, other dark parts, and sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, flooding them with love.  Grateful that's how it works for this alcoholic, and has since this gift of sobriety came to me in late 2001, one wonderful day at a time!

Chad 20 09 2018 7:09 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!  In the last year or two, since being diagnosed with PTSD, I've been helped by looking at parts of my dark past with the help of words like "abuse" and "assault," and at some point it came to me that those words describe harms I did when I was drunk.  Looking online, at Merriam-Webster's dictionary, at the RAINN web site, and at an abuse victim help web site, I believe I was able to see truthfully that, in the hell of active alcoholism, I committed battery, sexual assault, intimate partner sexual violence, and emotional abuse--tragically common for people with our disease, I believe.  Helps me be grateful for where I'm at today, whatever harms I may have done in sobriety!  Infinitely better than that sick darkness.  And, since it clearly seems like I'd be injuring the poor women who suffered what this disease did to us if I brought it up to them, I pray "Thy will be done," and plan to ask my sponsor during our Thursday phone call for suggestions.  

Chad 18 09 2018 8:08 pm (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Thanks, Duncan, for that helpful share.  Grateful for your part in my sobriety today! 

Duncan 17 09 2018 3:57 pm (sent from my mobile)
Duncan, grateful Alcoholic,

Perhaps our friends are God's way of apologizing for our family? 
We don't get to chose our family, nor are we "joined at the hip" but we do get to chose our friends.

Cheers --- To a Resentment free day

Chad Monday, 17 September 2018 1:08 pm
Chad, alcoholic.  The helpful shares brought this topic to mind--my current sponsor, Brett, has talked a number of times about amends involving "demonstrating," living differently, if I understand it right--showing that I'm not the same guy who was dying of untreated alcoholism until 2001.  It helps me to remember that that may have started before I was aware of it--people talking about how I'd changed, how positive I was, how I was a good man, and things like that.  It also seems like that may be important for making amends where I shouldn't try to contact the person directly--my ex-wife, my ex-wife's family, and others where the harm could injure them to hear about.  Lately, I've found myself taking just a little extra time to show kindness to people in public who might not get it, sometimes (I can still be a jerk in traffic), and maybe that's part of this gift of 9th Step work.  Maybe my creative work is part of it, too--I started hiding it from people even before I started drinking, and it continues to grow in unexpected ways as I follow this "beautiful spiritual path" (my old timer friend Dave's way of putting it), the 12 Steps of AA!  Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!  

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