Anything is possible

Because of my sobriety today I have been able to go and do many things. I am not full of Fear, Fear of the unknown, Fear of the past, Fear of people, Fear, Fear, Fear…..This is what my day looked like today…

 

What a beautiful way to live…by the Grace of God and beyond my wildest dreams!  All made possible by my direct involvement in AA and continuing activity.

The Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.

Big Book pages 83 & 84

Copyright © Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

The Promises I had been promised and read so many times had come true for me…

It’s Not About Me Any More

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No words have ever been truer.  It is not about me any more. I am now to give back to someone, just like it was given to me.  That all started from day one in AA and continues today…

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I can’t help others if I don’t help myself first. If I want to be a good mother, father, daughter, sister, brother, friend, or partner, I must first make sure I am healthy and strong in my own recovery. Once I am stable I will have the ability to bring joy and love into any relationship. I was told a relationship is what is between you and me. So that means everyone and anyone I come into contact with. But remember I COULD NOT GIVE AWAY WHAT I DID NOT HAVE….I have to “GET IT” first. And what was “IT?”  It was my own sobriety. It took TIME, LOVE and ATTENTION from the people with the Experience, Strength and Hope before me…the and only then was and am I able to offer my Experience, Strength and Hope by giving newcomers and any people I have relationship(s) with my TIME, LOVE and ATTENTION!!

 

 

 

EXPERIENCE                     STRENGTH                         HOPE

 

 

  TIME                              LOVE                             ATTENTION

AA Anniversaries

Some might say that AA Anniversaries, celebrations run contrary, are contradictory to the AA philosophy, especially the 24 hour a day idea, that we only have today.  And I agree to some extent.  However, I was taught that the Anniversary isn’t about me at all. It is for the newcomer giving them HOPE that they can not drink one day at a time and someday have the happiness and fulfilled lives that we have. So the intent of the AA anniversaries are extremely important. It doesn’t take away from the living a day at a time or sometimes the minute at a time…it’s main purpose is HOPE!!

I actually had to ask a friend the other day how long I had been sober. I live my life a day at a time so each day becomes just another day added on to the day before. I will tell you I will be sober 27 years either October or November. I say either October or November because I have no memory of which month I started. Probably those around me remember better than I do. Days, months, years have no meaning to me in my sobriety other than – “if you do what I did/do, you can have what I have”  I have said it over and over but it shows each day as I grow. I know that some of you that have been following have seen I am far from perfect, but I am sober and I have done it By the Grace of God, “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it” God had never left me, He was always there, through the good and bad and sometimes I forget that today. Then I need to jump back into my program, and do some more of the footwork.  It isn’t that I don’t do the things I need to do on a daily basis, but in all honesty and fairness I do tend to get lazy and slack off. And what happens? I pay a price, sometimes dearly.  I essentially get “squirrely” and I know when this is happening because I start to get full of fear, resentments and any other emotion you can think of. Thank goodness I can recognize it today and even more important thank God I know what to do about it to get back on the “beam.”

So, yes AA anniversaries do contradict the AA philosophy, but the are a valuable resource as well. They show the newcomer it is possible to not drink one day at a time, and recover from that hopelessness that we all come into the program with. IF and it is a big IF, if we do what is suggested to us to do!! In the beginning it is – Don’t Drink, Go to Meetings, Talk to another Alcoholic and get a Sponser.  If these things are done, that is a fantastic start to a new life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!!

Good night ALL and REMEMBER
onemonth

Blogging

I wish I knew the proper way to do this. I have been keeping a journal up to this point and believe me it has helped me tons.  It is an awesome way of freeing up my mind and not being  a prisoner to my thinking. However I also want others to share in my experiences and have a sense that they are, It may be my content but seems no one ever wants to comment on my subject matter. My life’s journey. It is ok, just want to be available for discussion if ever anyone wants to comment or share.

I guess after writing this, I once again feel better realizing it isn’t necessarily important to have input as much as it is for me to be useful and know that is after all what my purpose is and at the same time it will keep me where I need to be – Sober, Happy and Useful!!  ThanksGood-Night-Wishes-QuotesSparkle

Self -Will

 

selfwill
My self-will is doing what I want in spite of the wishes or orders of others…. I was told it was my self-will run riot. “…if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?
Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
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. ”  BB How It Works, p.62 Self Will Run Riot

Well, how was that working for me?  Not too good I have to admit. I see today that when I get in my own way I tend to feel miserable…. self-will can hardly be a success. BB How It Works, p.60

Much of this post that I write tonight I will be referencing the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) Chapter 5 How It Works. Remember especially to any newcomers that have taken to reading my blog, none of what I say are my own “Pearls of Wisdom”  I did not get sober and I do not stay sober but for the grace of God and everything I learned in AA and continue to do all those things I learned.

What Chapter 5 How It Works, starts out…”RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path… To me that meant that if I did what you did I could have what you had. What exactly was that back then, danged if I knew. All I knew was that you seemed happy, for some reason you were smiling and happy. I was NOT!!

“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.”  I listened to the stories and read the stories in the back of the Big Book suggested by my sponsor. She said I would not be able to understand the rest of the book anyway right then. She was absolutely right. So I started to take direction from her and the other members of the fellowship. They even got me to the point, and right quick I may add, of getting up in meetings and sharing my own story. Scared?? HECK yeah!!

“At some of these we balked. We thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.”  The prior paragraph says …”then you are ready to follow certain steps.”  First time around I wanted to, I wanted to be done and ready….I was a wanna be. However I was not finished drinking, why? I have no idea, never may not understand that part…guess I wasn’t beat up enough, even though I thought I was. But the second time around, I was ready, I was defeated, alcohol beat me into the sate of reasonableness, there was no other way for me to get ‘weller’. I began to do EXACTLY as I was told, no picking and choosing this time, I let go ABSOLUTELY!!  “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.”

“Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. May you find him now.  alcohol WON!! It was sneaky, mysterious and strong, oh so powerful! I needed help and it started with people, people who had gotten well before me. Those people explained to me that they would not always be there I was going to have to learn to rely on someone, something else. As time went on I GOT IT, they meant a Higher Power, or God as I have chosen to call that Higher Power. I did not poof become religious over night, I did however, become spiritual. I believe in “something” outside of myself. Thus that self-will does not take total control of me all the time now. I know I am not in charge.

What came next changed my life forever!! I began the journey of a lifetime. I started to do WHAT THEY DID TO GET WHAT THEY HAD!!!…

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:12Steps.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Always Check Motives

I have kind of figured out in the last couple days why I have been feeling so much like I have been on a roller coaster filled with anxiety.  I mentioned it already either yesterday or a day or two prior…I have been keeping up with my readings and prayer and helping others, but just could not figure out why I had not been feeling good. Well, it is because I was practicing my 11th and 12th steps but leaving out the 10th. I need all 3 of the last steps in the AA program to stay well. My maintenance steps. No picking and choosing…I was not picking and choosing knowingly. I had not been practicing the principle of Step 4 (my inventory), Steps 8 and 9 (Amends). I can’t do 10 without the first 9.

I had not been doing my spot check inventory during the days either, leading me to all kinds of negative thinking (another term for this is an emotional hangover) and resentments. I had also not been doing my end of the day inventory…I was too “tired”.  Because of being too “tired” I started to pay a price for not doing the things I should have been doing. Didn’t matter that I had not been drinking, I started to have all kinds of excuses and those were leading me to negative emotions – anger, fear, jealousy, etc…

My spot check inventory could be something as simple as saying to myself, “Live one day at a time” I have to remember progress not perfection and my objectives. Self-restraint for example, like when to speak and when not to. I have to remain honest, remain willing to admit when something is my fault and willing to forgive when it is not my fault.

I had also forgotten that not all people are emotionally well or right for that matter, I’m certainly not all the time. My tolerance level was not where it needed to be.

Even though I had forgotten to practice these principles I still was a success. Why?? Because the pains of my failures have become my assets. I am sitting here admitting these negative feelings and behaviors with the intent and hope that I can do better tomorrow. Again, I  have to  Practice these Principles in ALL MY AFFAIRS and Progress NOT Perfection!!

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Pain is my motivator toward spiritual progress. It helps me to surrender and ask for help. I often say. “Thy Will, Not Mine”thywillbedone

Another Day in Pictures

 

Sometimes pictures say it all… I had a wonderful day. Kept myself busy enough that my mind didn’t get the better of me.  I went to my water aerobics, and the weeded my pineapples and will weed the Amaryllis tomorrow.  Had dinner, dessert…a beautiful rainbow showed up…what else do I need??  If I can keep it simple and take it one day at a time putting one foot in front of another staying out of my own way then I am doing the right thing.

This Too Shall Pass

Well that frustrating day I was going to write about today passed…imagine that!  I said my prayers last night.  Not only did I pray I took an honest inventory of myself (10th Step) and found out why I had been feeling the way I had been feeling…A few things popped into my head. First I was tired, I had been hanging out with my friends from New York at Disney World having a wonderful time. But I was tired and every little thing that was happening around was starting to ‘bother’ me. That is not supposed to happen at the ‘Most Happiest Place On Earth.”  I am here to tell you, it does.  Another thing was that finances were improving but, dang, not fast enough to suit me…well, again this is something as long as I am doing what I need to be doing will improve with time, not necessarily my time. And, there were a couple other little character defects I had finally recognized. So I did what I was taught to do…pray that the resentments be removed, and prayed to have those character defects removed, knowing full well that they will certainly rear their ugly heads again. I also prayed to have more patience. But I did what I was taught to do and this morning I woke up feeling much better.

Another thing that has been festering in the back of my mind is that in a week or so the snowbirds and northerners will be returning to our park. I am a Board of Director for our Homeowners Association, the President in fact.  I can not wait until February (I don’t like thinking like that, it is kind of wishing my life away), but, that is when my two-year term is up.  I got involved because I thought it would be a great way of helping, being useful, getting out of myself.  It is but it is also a thankless task.  People have been mean and less than grateful for my time and effort. Some have actually made my life miserable (I know, misery is optional). ShipsDontSinkPic

I have used the serenity prayer and just about every other prayer I could possibly think of in the past twenty months or so.  Thank goodness for AA and my Higher Power this year. 2018 has been a BEAR!! But as the saying goes…”This Too Shall Pass…”  I have lately trying to live in the day, that way I don’t get so crazy and forget my purpose…Just For Today!!

So I went to my Daily Reflections book and instead of reading todays passages I went and looked for something to help me with “Just For Today” Found it on June 6th page, it reads….

ALL WE DO IS TRY
Can He now take them all — every one?
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 76

“In doing Step Six it helped me a lot to remember that I am striving for “spiritual progress.” Some of my character defects may be with me for the rest of my life, but most have been toned down or eliminated. All that Step Six asks of me is to become willing to name my defects, claim them as my own, and be willing to discard the ones I can, just for today. As I grow in the program, many of my defects become more objectionable to me than previously and, therefore, I need to repeat Step Six so that I can become happier with myself and maintain my serenity.”
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

And so, it occurred to me the struggle was not with the OUTSIDE World it was with me… I had been doing the prayers and meditations and helping people BUT I had forgotten to take my own inventory as I mentioned above…Step 10
Step10Personal InventoryLike I say I am working day-to-day on Progress Not Perfection!

Thank God and AA for being able to have a way to take care of my daily life….

There-but-for-grace-quote

Expectations

Why do I think everyone should live up to my expectations?  Why do I feel that just because I treat someone one way , they have to or will treat me the same way?

“You can’t expect everyone to have the same dedication as you.”
― Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

ExpectationsResentments

My expectations have often led me to resentments. “Resentment is the Number One offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have also been spiritually ill. When our spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 64)

I was taught resentments will kill me. Most of my resentments stem from Anger.  I was also told that Fear is Anger turned inside out.  I am usually expecting something to turn out a certain way and if it doesn’t live up to my expectations I get angry. This means I am afraid or angry because I didn’t get something or it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it too.

I have been trying very hard due to unforeseen circumstances in my life to try to not have any expectations of others and myself. This is very hard for me.  I am not a doormat any more but it seems that people tend to “walk all over me.”  I try not to let this happen, but some how it does. Then I have the expectation that because I was nice or did something for them – shouldn’t they be nice or do something for me?  And, when they don’t I get a resentment going and then I get angry and then and then and then…..here come lots of my defects.  So I stop, reflect, and try to sort them out….Why am I feeling like I am?  Usually I can figure it out and move on, but sometimes it takes a few days and that is when I really hate who I am becoming. Once I feel that way, I know what is happening and try to remedy the ‘problem’, which is usually ME.  Not the others.  I take an inventory (my own inventory) and make amends if needed.  I typically say the 11th Step prayer followed by the Serenity Prayer11stepprayerSerenityPrayer

 

Then I’d like to say POOF all better, but we all know that isn’t the way it works.  Its’ all about PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION!!!!

God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend!!