June 29, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Thursday, June 29, 2017

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” – Step Two

” …(W)e believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 2 (“There Is a Solution”), pp 25-6.

Today, accept that the one entity I trusted to run my life – myself – didn’t worked. If I am in “the region from which there is no return,” may I want and be willing to accept the possibility that a power stronger than myself exists. If I am still caught up in the myth that the spiritual entity is religious, maybe I have already set myself as being unwilling to find my own Higher Power. In holding onto unwillingness and not opening myself to the possibility, the recovery I seek probably is not in the cards, especially if I continue to do it my way although it has shown me time after time after time and time and time again that I simply cannot do it on my own. Today, enough is enough, and I take the step to at least consider the possibility that something better, stronger and wiser than myself can help me do it. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

June 28, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today …”having had a spiritual awakening.” Today, ask seriously and honestly what “spiritual awakening” means. If I talk the program’s talk but don’t walk the walk, I am little more than a dry drunk and have missed one of recovery’s most elusive and cherished accomplishments – a fundamental change emotionally and spiritually. If I talk of adherence to service to the program and other alcoholics who still suffer but beg off because I am too busy to give someone a ride to a meeting, my talk about being in service is little more than self-righteous, self-serving, sanctimonious ego-blowing. Today, I need to ask if I have truly undergone the basic requirement of a spiritual awakening – a fundamental change in attitude, perspective and spirituality. And if I conclude that I have not, it’s back to the basics. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

June 27, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” – Step Four

If we have been thorough about our personal inventory, we have written down a lot. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness. We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies …We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 5 (“How It Works”), p 70.

Today, if the Fourth I took yesterday is not “a lot,” chances are I have not been thorough. More likely, I have been dishonest by not accepting responsibility for damage I inflicted or by seeing myself as I hope instead of how I am. But putting to paper our misdeeds and injury to others is not sufficient. We are asked to perceive our defects as futile and fatal and begin to understand their damage. Further, we are compelled to begin learning “tolerance, patience and good will toward all men …” and become willing to undo the damage. If I do not understand all this, the Fourth I took yesterday may have been premature or dishonest. Today, I seek the courage and understanding to do Step Four as it is intended. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

June 26, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Monday, June 26, 2017

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 (“Into Action”), p 73.

Today, if I take the Fifth Step and confess to another person “the exact nature of (my) wrongs,” may I be given the strength and courage to be honest with my toughest prospect: myself. Like Jekyll and Hyde, I displayed two personalities in my drinking days – the party animal or the isolated, depressed lonely drinker as I drank toward oblivion and, the morning after, the physically and emotionally broken person for everyone to see. I must meld both characters into one to find the actual self on which to build recovery, and that effort will likely be nil if I am not honest with myself first before taking Step Five. Honesty begins with myself; without it, my Fifth – and my Fourth, for that matter – is based on illusion. In the end, so will my recovery be based on illusion. Today, let me understand the wisdom that honesty, before it is given to anyone else, has to begin with me. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

June 25, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Today, of all that I feel, gratitude is foremost – gratitude for grabbing the lifeline of AA, for the common sense to hold onto it, for the support, experience, strength and hope of all the people I have found here and, perhaps above all, for the gift of the chance to recover, to put all that pain, destruction, fear, self-pity and self-seeking behind me. And I will not reach into yesterday and bring its garbage into today but understand that my recovery is a day-to-day process regardless of how many 24 hours of sobriety I have been blessed with. And I will understand that the gratitude I feel today is the birth of humility – and it is in humility that I feel all the good there is to feel in being sober today. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

June 24, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Saturday, June 24, 2017
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” – Step 5

This (Step) is perhaps difficult – especially discussing our defects with another person. We think we have done well enough in admitting these things to ourselves. There is doubt about that. In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient. …We will be more reconciled to discussing ourselves with another person when we see good reasons why we should do so. The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. …Trying to avoid this humbling experience, (members) have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Ch 6 (“Into Action”), pp 72-3.

Today, understanding that the purpose of Step Five is to unburden myself of the emotional baggage of guilt, fear, resentment and anger that will likely impair my recovery if I do not let go of that weight. I cannot expect to reap the program’s full benefits if I cannot be unconditionally honest with myself and others by keeping bottled inside those events or feelings that might have contributed to my drinking – and hurt to others. Along with humility, Step Five requires courage. Failing to muster both honesty and courage to release what now hurts me will predictably impede my recovery. And, in letting go by confiding in another person, I may find fresh perspectives, useful direction and an unbiased opinion that what I think is so bad may not be as bad as I think. Today, I look for the honesty and courage to take Step Five and, hopefully, find reconciliation. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

June 23, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Friday, June 23, 2017
” …(W)e 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.
‘Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 5 (“How It Works”), pp 58-9.

Today …”with complete abandon.” If I stand “at the turning point,” I am there because the ideas, methods, ploys and “half measures” I used to control or stop my drinking didn’t work. And because I haven’t come up with a better idea, what is there to lose by surrendering “with complete abandon,” surrendering to the First Step, that “(I am) powerless” and to a power greater and stronger than alcohol – and stronger than myself? Moving in the program “with complete abandon” is no “easier, softer way,” certainly. But holding onto what I have tried and has failed is guaranteed to make my way progressively harder, maybe eventually fatal. Today, I surrender “with complete abandon.” And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017