Oct. 22, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017

“The classification of alcoholics seems most difficult …There are, of course, the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable. …They are always ‘going on the wagon for keeps.’ They are over-remorseful and make many resolutions, but never a decision.

“There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink. He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or his environment. There is the type who always believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger. There is the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends …

“Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people.

“All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “The Doctor’s Opinion,” p xxviii.

Today, no wasting time figuring out in what “classification” of drinking I fit because, in the end, the common denominator for everyone is that we cannot now or ever drink responsibly. If I accept it as absolute truth and have surrendered to Step One, I can begin the work toward recovery. If I have continue to deny the reality that I can never drink again, I cannot set out on the journey toward sobriety because I have not admitted my powerlessness over alcohol. And if the medical opinion here is on the mark – that drinking is the trigger to the “phenomenon of craving” – the solution to quenching the craving is simple: don’t drink. Keep it simple! And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

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Oct. 21, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017

Today, extend gratitude but withhold pride on a day that greeted me sober and saw me through doing what is expected of me – expected of the program, expected of the responsibilities to sobriety, and expected of myself. I need not be bogged down with anything from my drinking past – shame, remorse, regret, grandiosity, egoism, anger, depression, or anything else that I could find to keep myself in the gutter. Today, if I awakened sober and proceed through the day doing what is expected of me and do it with integrity and ethics and then go to sleep remembering all that I said and did, then today will be good. I can be grateful for that seemingly simple achievement and, today, it is enough. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Oct. 20, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

Todaystep outside myself if I have retreated inward because of some problem or emotion that I haven’t confronted. And, instead, I will extend my hand to someone in need. Service to others is a fundamental and integral component of recovery and, by seeking out and offering someone who needs my help, I may understand that my own burden is not as heavy as another person’s. To permit some problem to hold me hostage within myself is empowering that problem and forcing me to ignore the needs of both myself and someone else. On a less altruistic level, the weight of another person’s burdens may humble me enough to realize that my own burdens may not be as heavy as I think. Today, I step outside myself and offer my help to someone who needs and wants it. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Oct. 19, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

Today, if alcohol is “cunning and baffling,” its end product – alcoholism – is mysterious because it took alcoholism guided me to a program to begin my physical, spiritual and emotional recovery. And without going through the deepest of gutters, the darkest of nights and the sickest of physical and emotional conditions, I may never have emerged from that life of being half-dead and half-alive to being, now, fully alive. In a bizarre osmosis, if I cannot be grateful, I must at least not deny, reject or forget those days of my drinking because they brought me to a place where the healing begins. Today, I respect and am almost grateful for the experience of alcoholism because it has brought me to where I am – here. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Oct. 18, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

Today, no waste of valuable time that should be spent on progressing in sobriety to fight an urge for “just one” drink. I already know the deception of “just one.” AA has armed us with the steps to dodge the bullet of temptation, and personal experience shows time and again the consequences if I give in. In the end, the temptation to drink “just one” is a simple choice, and that choice like any other has consequences – and I alone will be responsible to those consequences. They have taken too much from me already. Thus, the choice is simple: DON’T DRINK. Today, I don’t have time to deal with temptation or wondering if I can get away with “just one.” I can’t. More significantly, I don’t want to drink. Case closed. Today, I’ll focus my emotional energy on something more productive, like sobriety. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

Oct. 17, 2017 – Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

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Step by Step

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017

Today, no regrets, grief, sense of loss or the bitter from the sweet of what I must leave behind in my journey toward sobriety. Some people and places that were a significant, even enabling part of my life in my drinking days may no longer have a place in my new life in recovery, and I must be prepared that I may have to cut some losses in order to attain greater gains. If I am reluctant to move on without someone or something that was an influential part of my life as a drinking alcoholic, may I be able to remove myself from the emotional and use the logic to ask if maintaining old ties is worth the risk to my recovery. If so, I have no choice but to move on although I will never be alone. Today, if my sobriety requires it, I may have to make the tough choices between what once was seemingly precious to me and moving toward something even more precious. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017

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

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Step by Step

Monday, Oct. 16, 2017

“The less people tolerated (alcoholics), the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 11 (“A Vision for You”), p 151.

Today, the “hideous Four Horsemen,” remembering that they once again will overwhelm me – if I allow them. I must not let either time or the distance from my last drink dim the desperation of the “chilling vapor that is loneliness” and the “sordid places” I sought for approval, acceptance or simple companionship. Nor must I forget the shattered quiet morning after when self-loathing, desperation and physical and emotional emptiness fueled the cycle to do it all over again and face another night of that “chilling vapor” of loneliness and another shattered quiet morning after. My life in sobriety is a day-by-day reprieve from that desperate drinking, and I must not take for granted today that sobriety is guaranteed to me tomorrow. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017