Endigar 656 ~ First, the Foundation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 19, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 2;

Is sobriety all that we can expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning.   (As Bill Sees It, page 8)

Practicing the A.A. program is like building a house. First I had to pour a big, thick concrete slab on which to erect the house; that, to me, was the equivalent of stopping drinking. But it’s pretty uncomfortable living on a concrete slab, unprotected and exposed to the heat, cold, wind and rain. So I built a room on the slab by starting to practice the program. The first room was rickety because I wasn’t used to the work. But as time passed, as I practiced the program, I learned to build better rooms. The more I practiced, and the more I built, the more comfortable, and happy, was the home I now have to live in.

 

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So what is that big, thick concrete slab that allows me to erect a house, or a heart able to carry recovery?  It is the bare beginning, a spiritual awakening that allows me enough sanity to stay sober.  Yet not drinking or hurting other people is a starting goal and never the finished product.  There is no doubt that no other progress can be made without this beginning, but obtaining sobriety is a catalyst for the final goal and not the finished product itself.

My big, thick concrete slab is to realize I have been living my life on my knees before a power greater than myself and that merciless mistress of my fate was alcohol.  I have been living with an abusive spiritual dominant that has left me battered in an unmanageable life.  The program teaches me to take my habit of surrendering and turn it toward a Higher Power that truly has my best interests at heart.  I will abandon my alcoholic skill of self-deception and learn the sanity of my GOMU’s to embrace truth.  This is what I will erect my recovery structure on.

Endigar 655 ~ “I Am a Miracle”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 1;

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 by ourselves.   (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 25)

This truly is a fact in my life today, and a real miracle. I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him; I am sober today because of that! Learning to trust and rely on God was something I could never have done alone. I now believe in miracles because I am one!

 

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A miracle is defined in Merriam-Webster as a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.  Somewhere along the way it became natural for me to face life intoxicated with alcohol.  The scientific-medical community in all their achievements had one word for the alcoholic;  hopeless.   The irresistible laws of nature and man where interrupted and I stopped drinking and started living.  I developed a powerfully simple and pragmatic faith in a Higher Power that required no name or doctrinal hoops to love me.  My life has become that “surprising and welcome” event that I must attribute to my God doing for me what I absolutely could not do for myself.  Yes, I am a miracle.

Endigar 654 ~ Daily Resolutions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of December 31;

The idea of “twenty-four-hour living” applies primarily to the emotional life of the individual. Emotionally speaking, we must not live in yesterday, nor in tomorrow.   (As Bill Sees It, page 284)

A New Year: 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes — a time to consider directions, goals, and actions. I must make some plans to live a normal life, but also I must live emotionally within a twenty-four-hour frame, for if I do, I don’t have to make New Year’s resolutions! I can make every day a New Year’s day! I can decide, “Today I will do this . . . Today I will do that.” Each day I can measure my life by trying to do a little better, by deciding to follow God’s will and by making an effort to put the principles of our A.A. program into action.

 

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I love the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.  Imprisoned in a repeat cycle of the same day, the protagonist is held in this loop until he is living the best possible version of that day.  He filters out what he thinks he wants, and begins to embrace what he knows to be truly important, only because he is forced to stop and live in one day.  Sometimes I wonder if that might not be far from the truth.

Endigar 653 ~ Anonymity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of December 30;

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.   (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 562)

Tradition Twelve became important early in my sobriety and, along with the Twelve Steps, it continues to be a must in my recovery. I became aware after I joined the Fellowship that I had personality problems, so that when I first heard it, the Tradition’s message was very clear: there exists an immediate way for me to face, with others, my alcoholism and attendant anger, defensiveness, offensiveness. I saw Tradition Twelve as being a great ego-deflator; it relieved my anger and gave me a chance to utilize the principles of the program. All of the Steps, and this particular Tradition, have guided me over decades of continuous sobriety. I am grateful to those who were here when I needed them.

 

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Focusing on personalities in a group is a divisive pursuit.  Trying to become the most popular personality, trying to diminish the most displeasing personality, surrounding myself with the most supportive personalities, all becomes a game that manifests in many forms of “us and them” schisms. For me, this dethroning of the personality game is necessary for group cohesion.  This is the power of anonymity.   What then shall fill the natural void left so that isolating ego does not return to dominate our safe haven? The way I read this tradition, I look for opportunities to understand and apply the principles of the 12 Steps in all my affairs.  We all have this necessary pursuit in common.   This simple and agreed upon pursuit helps protect our life-giving union.  Principles before personalities.

Endigar 652 ~ The Joy of Living

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 6, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of December 29;

. . . therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 125)

A.A. is a joyful program! Even so, I occasionally balk at taking the necessary steps to move ahead, and find myself resisting the very actions that could bring about the joy I want. I would not resist if those actions did not touch some vulnerable area of my life, an area that needs hope and fulfillment. Repeated exposure to joyfulness has a way of softening the hard, outer edges of my ego. Therein lies the power of joyfulness to help all members of A.A.

 

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I don’t think you should ever fragment a quote, beginning it with the word, therefore, unless you are going to explain what it is there for.

Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living;  therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step.  (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 125)

See, it demonstrates a process with several prerequisites.  You cannot have the joy of good living without having the “good living.”  You cannot have good living without being able to take right action based on the principles and attitudes revealed in the Twelve Steps.  You cannot take right action unless you have a good understanding of the principles and attitudes that are presented in the 12 Steps.  It all begins with understanding and applying the principles in all my affairs and continuing that process until I have secured the joy of good living.  I like feeling joy, so I will be motivated for even more understanding so that I can experience even more joy, and I will not be satisfied until I habitually experience the joy of good living.

 

Endigar 651 ~ Suit Up and Show Up

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 4, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of December 28;

In A.A. we aim not only for sobriety — we try again to become citizens of the world that we rejected, and of the world that once rejected us. This is the ultimate demonstration toward which Twelfth Step work is the first but not the final step.   (As Bill Sees It, page 21)

The old line says, “Suit up and show up,” That action is so important that I like to think of it as my motto. I can choose each day to suit up and show up, or not. Showing up at meetings starts me toward feeling a part of that meeting, for then I can do what I say I’ll do at meetings. I can talk with newcomers, and I can share my experience; that’s what credibility, honesty, and courtesy really are. Suiting up and showing up are the concrete actions I take in my ongoing return to normal living.

 

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I find it interesting that Bill sees Twelfth Step work, the last Step of the 12 Steps, as the first but not final Step.  He seem to be thinking about a process beyond but based on the 12 Steps of recovery.  The principles of the program help to define what it means to be a true citizen of the World.   My relevance and usefulness in the World is demonstrated daily by developing the skill stated simply as the ability to Suit Up and Show Up.  It is a basic dependability, a vibrant predictability, a daily courage that makes me a silent force of nature.  I believe it is possible for my life, not just my words, to shout out that we can recover.

Endigar 650 ~ Problem Solving

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 2, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of December 27;

“Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems.”   (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 42)

Through the recovery process described in the Big Book, I have come to realize that the same instructions that work on my alcoholism, work on much more. Whenever I am angry or frustrated, I consider the matter a manifestation of the main problem within me, alcoholism. As I “walk” through the Steps, my difficulty is usually dealt with long before I reach the Twelfth “suggestion,” and those difficulties that persist are remedied when I make an effort to carry the message to someone else. These principles do solve my problems! I have not encountered an exception, and I have been brought to a way of living which is satisfying and useful.

 

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Absolutes are scary.  And to me they are repulsive.  It seems to me that it is an indication that we are playing God when we can easily spout out absolutes.  “…spiritual principles would solve ALL my problems.”  I have not yet experienced all my problems and do not have the capacity to know that such a statement is true.  Yet when that absolute is transformed to “These principles do solve my problems!  I have not encountered an exception…”, that is based on the experience of a mortal man who is excited about how effective the principles of the Steps are in his life.

So I can say that the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps of AA have proven effective in my own life to keep me sober.  They also lay the groundwork for even greater depth of character and usefulness in my life.  That is keeping it real and truthful.

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