Endigar 678 ~ Getting Involved

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 24;

There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.” . . . To be helpful is our only aim.  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 88-89)

I understand that service is a vital part of recovery but I often wonder, “What can I do?” Simply start with what I have today! I look around to see where there is a need. Are the ashtrays full? Do I have hands and feet to empty them? Suddenly I’m involved! The best speaker may make the worst coffee; the member who’s best with newcomers may be unable to read; the one willing to clean up may make a mess of the bank account — yet every one of these people and jobs is essential to an active group. The miracle of service is this: when I use what I have, I find there is more available to me than I realized before.

 

END OF QUOTE

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My ability to work is the most practical and helpful expression of my faith-filled connection with my Higher Power.  Once connected and guided through prayer and meditation, I see what form my work will take.  After it is offered into the Fellowship, I become aware of an interdependence in my human connection.  Our various forms of work responds to the various needs of the Fellowship.

There is a saying I picked up from my churchian days that I think is applicable here.  You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.  It seems the trick is to develop a lifestyle of sowing or investing in others if you want to live in an environment that is giving and abundant.

Endigar 677 ~ Having Fun Yet?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 23;

. . . we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world’s troubles on our shoulders.   (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 132).

When my own house is in order, I find the different parts of my life are more manageable. Stripped from the guilt and remorse that cloaked my drinking years, I am free to assume my proper role in the universe, but this condition requires maintenance. I should stop and ask myself, Am I having fun yet? If I find answering that question difficult or painful, perhaps I’m taking myself too seriously — and finding it difficult to admit that I’ve strayed from my practice of working the program to keep my house in order. I think the pain I experience is one way my Higher Power has to get my attention, coaxing me to take stock of my performance. The slight time and effort it takes to work the program — a spot-check inventory, for example, or the making of amends, whatever is appropriate — are well worth the effort.

 

END OF QUOTE

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The phrase from this contribution that grabs me is, “I am free to assume my proper role in the universe.”  This is both a statement of humility and faith. I like it.

I asked myself several questions this morning:  Am I thinking about how to construct my life, or how to construct my day? I find that when I am trying to control the outcome of my life, I begin to suffer from the paralysis of analysis. Developing a habit of living the best day I can establishes a foundation for a better life. Am I lost in complexity or moving in simplicity? This is usually a measure of how well I have done in trusting God and not surrendering to my fears. The acidic anxiety of my gut is the birthplace of complicated, confused thoughts.  Are my long term plans conducted in isolation or in counsel with the significant others in my life?  This is key in identifying whether I am clinging to isolated selfishness that will kill me as an alcoholic, or if I am able to connect and consider others in the developments of my life.  And is it possible for me to have fun yet?  This question probes my ability to relax and surrender to the reality of the God of my understanding (GOMU) and our union in life.

Endigar 676 ~ “Let’s Keep it Simple”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 22;

A few hours later I took my leave of Dr. Bob. . . . The wonderful, old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, “Remember, Bill, let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple!” I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him.  (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, page 214).

After years of sobriety I occasionally ask myself: “Can it be this simple?” Then, at meetings, I see former cynics and skeptics who have walked the A.A. path out of hell by packaging their lives, without alcohol, into twenty-four hour segments, during which they practice a few principles to the best of their individual abilities. And then I know again that, while it isn’t always easy, if I keep it simple, it works.

 

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Simplicity has not been my strong suit.  I think most of my complexity finds it origins in the gurgling anxiety in my gut.  Simplicity is usually the result of trust in my Higher Power.  I don’t have to know everything, only what I am sure is the intuitive guidance of the God of my understanding (Gomu).

“In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 86).

 

Endigar 675 ~ Serving My Brother

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 23, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 21;

The member talks to the newcomer not in a spirit of power but in a spirit of humility and weakness.  (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, page 279).

As the days pass in A.A., I ask God to guide my thoughts and the words that I speak. In this labor of continuous participation in the Fellowship, I have numerous opportunities to speak. So I frequently ask God to help me watch over my thoughts and my words, that they may be the true and proper reflections of our program; to focus my aspirations once again to seek His guidance; to help me be truly kind and loving, helpful and healing, yet always filled with humility, and free from any trace of arrogance.

Today I may very well have to deal with disagreeable attitudes or utterances-the typical stock-in-trade attitude of the still-suffering alcoholic. If this should happen, I will take a moment to center myself in God, so that I will be able to respond from a perspective of composure, strength and sensibility.

 

END OF QUOTE

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I hear interesting ideals in this contribution to the Daily Reflections such as “labor of continuous participation in the Fellowship” or that my thoughts and words should be “the true and proper reflections of our program.”

All the ideals expressed in the program start with the realization that I am powerless over alcohol, and in this weakness of my isolation I become strong in my connection to God and others.

Endigar 674 ~ “We Pause . . . and Ask”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 22, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 20;

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 87).

Today I humbly ask my Higher Power for the grace to find the space between my impulse and my action; to let flow a cooling breeze when I would respond with heat; to interrupt fierceness with gentle peace; to accept the moment which allows judgment to become discernment; to defer to silence when my tongue would rush to attack or defend.

I promise to watch for every opportunity to turn toward my Higher Power for guidance. I know where this power is: it resides within me, as clear as a mountain brook, hidden in the hills — it is the unsuspected Inner Resource.

I thank my Higher Power for this world of light and truth I see when I allow it to direct my vision. I trust it today and hope it trusts me to make all effort to find the right thought or action today.

 

END OF QUOTE

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Interrupted

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.” – Victor Frankl

My rush of anxiety that surges from time to time throughout my day is now an opportunity to pursue a new power.  I am able to connect to an inner resource.  My anxiety can be transformed into the capacity to hear or observe the expressions of GOMU (God of my understanding) to me.  When periodic trust in this ability grows into a daily reliance, life’s agitations becoming stepping stones on my quest to understand God’s will for me and to grasp the power to carry that out.  Is it possible that my deepest desires are a subset of the will of my Higher Power?  I suspect it is so.

Endigar 673 ~ Round-the-Clock Faith

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 19;

Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 16)

The essence of my spirituality, and my sobriety, rests on a round-the-clock faith in a Higher Power. I need to remember and rely on the God of my understanding as I pursue all of my daily activities. How comforting for me is the concept that God works in and through people. As I pause in my day, do I recall specific concrete examples of God’s presence? Am I amazed and uplifted by the number of times this power is evident? I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my God’s presence in my life of recovery. Without this omnipotent force in my every activity, I would again fall into the depths of my disease — and death.

 

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At first, the concept of an “around-the-clock” faith was confusing to me. I must keep my faith active while I slumber? Is this a pursuit of religious perfection rather than spiritual progress? No, I don’t believe that is what is being referred to here. I believe that my initial experimentation with faith was based on emotional responses. I knew I was feeling faith when I was feeling good. That is why I thought it was important to make gratitude lists and other exercises designed to change my perspective to something useful in my life. It was all designed to make me feel good so I could feel faith.

The reality is that I must practice performing the works associated with faith regardless of my emotional state. My sponsor would often assign me to make a gratitude list when I was feeling rather negative and worthless. This was an act of faith among many that was to be accomplished at any and all times of my day, regardless of my emotional state. A faithful response not dependent on my emotions is a necessary survival skill in my recovery, and lays the groundwork for emotional stability.

Endigar 672 ~ Would a Drink Help?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 20, 2015 by endigar

From the Daily Reflections of January 18;

By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 23).

When I was still drinking, I couldn’t respond to any of life’s situations the way other, more healthy, people could. The smallest incident triggered a state of mind that believed I had to have a drink to numb my feelings. But the numbing did not improve the situation, so I sought further escape in the bottle. Today I must be aware of my alcoholism. I cannot afford to believe that I have gained control of my drinking — or again I will think I have gained control of my life. Such a feeling of control is fatal to my recovery.

 

END OF QUOTE

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What does it mean to be aware of my alcoholism?  To me, it means that I must be aware that the disease is constantly working in me, whether I feel it or not.  If I do nothing to explore and expand my spiritual life, the fatal progression of manifested short-comings and acidic fears will eat away at me until I drink again.  My Higher Power cannot be a concept to tickle my imagination from time to time.  I have to develop an interactive relationship with the God of my understanding (Gomu).

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