Aug. 16, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017

“I came to AA simply because there were no other doors of help open to me. In AA, I have had to be torn down and then put back together differently. No one could live such an irresponsible, immature life as I had without consequences. AA made it possible for me to face the consequences of my past actions. After I came to AA, I was divorced by my wife; I lost my practice; I was legally restrained from seeing my children; I went broke …Only AA kept me from running away.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 14 (“Growing Up All Over Again”), p 420.

Today, taking up an AA recovery program in and of itself does not excuse me from responsibility to the consequences of my drinking – nor should it. In facing those consequences, my life in early recovery may become even more difficult than it was when I was drinking because recovery may require complete reconstruction of my entire being. Part of that rebuilding may be to answer for my misconduct of my drinking days. If I am in the position of accountability although I am not drinking, the purpose of my AA program in part is to give me the tools to accept responsibility and consequences without a slip or relapse. And in taking responsibility and paying whatever dues I owe, I may be able to see myself grow into sobriety by clearing away the garbage of my drinking days. If today should be one of judgment for me, I will embrace it as an opportunity to be done with the bad once and for all and move forward by accepting whatever may be my just due. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Aug. 15, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017

“To my mind, drinking didn’t have anything to do with not going through with things. I don’t know whether I drank to cover up being a failure, or whether I drank and then missed the deals. I was able to rationalize it anyway. I can well remember over a long period of years when I thought I was the only person in the world who knew that sooner or later I was going to get drunk.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “Personal Stories,” Ch 2 (“He Had to be Shown”), p 198.

Today, no wasting physical or emotional energy on asking, “Why me?” Did I drink because I was a failure, or maybe to celebrate being successful and I “earned” the right to drink? Or maybe I couldn’t overcome some devastating loss and collapsed into a heap of self-pity or bruised ego. More likely the reason was that I was a predestined alcoholic and, more likely, I barreled toward masochistic self-destruction. Today, in recovery, “Why me?” is no longer relevant because what is, is, and the First Step of admitting I am powerless makes “Why me?” a pointless question. Today, instead of lamenting why I am an alcoholic, I’ll focus on the program that keeps me a sober one. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Aug. 14, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

“Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 9 (“The Family Afterward”), p 130.

Today, the spiritual component of recovery is little more than faith without works if I fail to utilize it in service to the addict who still suffers, and if I neglect my responsibility to my spiritual development. That responsibility is, in part, strict adherence to my own program while allowing others in recovery their program that works for them, and in actively seeking participation in program and group affairs before being asked. What I have received in the program is not mine alone, and it cannot and will not grow if I keep it to myself. This is the essential expression of spirituality at work  – to share with someone how the program led me to where I am now while helping them to find their way. I may think I have a spiritual connection with my higher power but, if I limit my contentment to myself, my faith is dead without works. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Aug. 13, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017

“When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?

” …(W)e were squarely confronted with the question of faith. We couldn’t duck the issue. Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought luster to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. …We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn’t quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and we did not like to lose our support.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 4 (“We Agnostics”), p 53.

Today, I couldn’t have reasoned myself into the condition that requires recovery without some faith even if I didn’t recognize it. Even now, after my baptism into the program, if I continue to resist ideas that a power called God or anything else led me into recovery, is it plausible that the same reasoning that pushed me to the edge of darkness also pulled me back? Regardless of the answer, if I still reject the possibility of a higher power or God or whatever else anyone calls a supreme being, maybe as my recovery progresses, I will at least become willing to consider there is a force stronger and greater than I. Today, I won’t debunk talk about a higher power by claiming my own reason for my recovery because, after all, it was my reasoning that contributed to me becoming an alcoholic. Maybe today will be the day I finally believe that something other than myself saved me. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Aug. 12, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017

Today, I cannot neglect those people who stuck it out through my drinking days, going on blind faith or hope that I might still get myself together. But in the process of my active disease, the people around me may well have gone through their own private hell and, in the more tragic consequences, may have become sicker than I. While they are no more responsible for either my alcoholism or addiction, they also are not responsible for my recovery. But my recovery must acknowledge that my alcoholism was not a “one-victim” consequence, and for those people who were victims of my drinking I owe my gratitude and respect – and deepest regrets. And my single strongest amend to them may well be my continued sobriety. Today, I will acknowledge and be grateful for my Al-Anon, or the many of them, and I will be there for them in their private journeys as they were there for me. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Aug. 11, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Friday, Aug. 11, 2017

Today, while I did not choose to be alcoholic, I have a choice to be a non-drinking one. Admitting in Step One that I am powerless over alcohol does not mean I am doomed to an alcoholic death from accident, illness or a lengthy prison sentence for a drunk-related felony. In my gift from God of choice, I have the power to overcome alcohol by rendering it powerless over me by choosing abstinence and recovery. While the 12 Steps impress that I and I alone am responsible for my alcoholism, I and I alone also am responsible for my recovery. Its success or failure rests with no one and nothing but me. Ironically, while the program also impresses the powerlessness I have over an array of things from alcohol to character defects, I am in control of not fueling that powerlessness by choosing not to be defeated by it. Today, I can assert my power over powerlessness, and my power is in the 12 Steps. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Aug. 10, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step
Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017

“I did not know that I had no power over alcohol, that I, alone and unaided, could not stop; that I was on a downgrade, tearing along at full speed with all my brakes gone, and that the end would be a total smash-up, death or insanity. I had already feared insanity for a long time …I was not just drunk, I was crazy.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch. 13 (“Stars Don’t Fall”), p 408.

Today, let me not forget that drinking propelled me not into mere drunkenness but into a blackened fog that defies any definition of responsible conduct. As such, my recovery hinges not only on total abstinence but also on spiritual and emotional repair of the dysfunctional thought and behavioral patterns that were either acquired by my drinking or worsened by it. And, even if I tell myself I am still unconvinced of a higher power, let me thank whatever force pulled me back from the “crazy” to find this program and let me not claim “credit” for finding it alone. Likewise, just as I did not come into the program on my own strength, let me accept that not drinking also cannot depend on my own strength. May I cling to whatever it was that rescued me so that I can progress in the program and in sobriety. Today, let me remember that I am doomed to repeat my past if I don’t learn from it, and the most important lesson that I have is to continue trusting whatever force salvaged me from “crazy.” And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017