AND Acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
NOTHING, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes…
…Acceptance is the key to my relationship with God today. I never just sit and do nothing while waiting for Him to tell me what to do. Rather, I do whatever is in front of me to be done, and I leave the results up to Him; however it turns out, that’s God’s will for me.
This reading should be tacked at all points of view in everybody’s home, no matter who you are, alcoholic or not. It is a reading that I should have used recently, for some of my guys, and most importantly for myself.
I am told, and I tell this to my guys that, it isn’t the destination that matters, it is the journey in between that matters, and will mean something. I heard one of my guys talk about the counter-intuitive nature of the above passage.
In his work, he is sober. But his workmates are not. And the million dollar millennial has stars in his eyes, and is idealistic, and is of the mind, that if he puts in the time, work and talent, that at 35, he is going to be a millionaire, and be able to retire on that yacht in Monaco.
I am afraid, and we are afraid that the end point is nigh, and may not happen, and placing such expectation on God, is folly…
They say that: We make PLANS and GOD laughs …
Acceptance comes, daily. In the moment. Every moment.
I’ve seen people come in, having lost everything, some who have lost some, and even others, who lost nothing, but their self respect and dignity. I watch people come in and have stars in their eyes, and hear them say,
“Well, I’m going to get it all back, just you watch and see…”
And how many of those people recoup their losses on any kind of grand scale ?
Very Few …
You might get sober, and then come to realize that God has bigger and usually better plans for us, than we know ourselves. God’s time, is a long haul proposition.
Waiting for God, is like watching paint dry on a house.
Every time I read this story, or think about acceptance, I get choked up. Tears fall from my eyes, and I feel lamentation, in the worst way.
Mental Illness is serious business.
When I met hubby many years ago, he was ebullient, romantic, sexual, dynamic and young. The early months, of our relationship was filled with things, that have long since disappeared, never to be seen again.
It was good, that, at the time, people were quoting page 417 to me constantly.
Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.
Because when Mental Illness struck us, the man who went into treatment, was NOT the same man who came out the other end. The doctors failed to tell me this truth while it was happening right in front of me.
Talk about Acceptance …
Relationships are built on Love, Trust and Respect. If you commit, you commit. Even before we spoke vows in front of family and friends, shit had happened. Cruel shit, that nobody knows about, to this very day.
Not One Person …
Nobody knows how bad it got. Nobody knows the finer details of what mental illness does to a couple. But I was damned sure that what my family and friends saw, was the best possible vision of a man who survived treatment for Mental Illness. And on that very day, He was the Best Presentable Image of a Whole Man, Body and Soul.
That was the man I married. We were celebrating who HE was, in that moment.
It took me a long time to reconcile who He was, with who He became, through treatment. I kinda felt cheated that I was short changed in the end. But I was committed. Those wedding vows were tested for damned sure, before we even hit that altar.
Acceptance was the key.
It was a very good thing that I was getting sober, and I had at least 15 months in the program, before SHIT hit the FAN. Because it took all of my friends, some serious work, to keep me ON THE BEAM, for the next year of treatment.
I do not regret one day of it. I did the best I could do, given the circumstances. I did everything possible to make hubby comfortable and to care for him, to the best of my abilities. Every Single Day, and I still do, to this day.
I miss the ebullient man he used to be. And every time someone suggests this passage, I get emotional, because I know, to my very core, what this passage means to my life, in a visceral way.
We have two choices in our relationships.
- You can either accept life as it unfolds, knowing you are powerless over many things, and you won’t have all the answers, or
- You run, in the other direction, when life gets tough.
- You either LOVE harder than you have ever loved before, or
- You never love that way ever again …
- That is what makes a marriage, every bit sweeter …
- That you can live up to, and into those vows you speak
Marriage vows are written in a certain way. They are a warning about what may happen to you, when you least expect it, and better be informed as you stand before God, and you commit to your husband/wife/partner/significant other, that you are promising these certain unknowns.
That if they happen, you were once warned.
Running out when shit happens, is not suggested, but many people fail this test, when shit hits the fan. Which is why 417 needs to be plastered in every home on earth.
If you can accept that whatever is going to happen, probably will happen, and that God, in his infinite wisdom, ordains the universe, and that you might not get, that end point filled with expectations, you just might get, whatever God believes we are due …
That is total acceptance.
They say that in life, this life, that there is no dress rehearsal. This is the BIG SHOW.
You don’t get a do over…
Unless of course, you are a drunk, who pissed away their life drinking, or a drug addict, who ruined what life they had abusing drugs …
And you come round and get CLEAN and SOBER.
The world out there, doesn’t really get a do over, those out there doing their thing, not necessarily hurting anyone, they are just going about their lives. But for those of us, in the rooms today, who had done damage to ourselves and others, one way or another, before death calls your name, you find your way to us …
The odds are stacked against us, when we come through the doors. Some come in and get it right away. Are struck with the gift of desperation, and they stick and stay. And they begin their do over right away.
Then there are those of us who need two and three and four kicks at the can to finally reach the point where we do get that gift of desperation, and we come to, and we then get OUR do over as well.
I’ve been living in “do over” territory for a long time. I not only survived a death sentence and outlived all of my friends, I’ve been sober almost as long as I drank. Here in Montreal, old timers like to say that, you have arrived when you reach the point in sobriety, where you have been sober as long as the time you spent drinking and using.
God gave me several “Do Overs,” Thought it wise to give me a chance to live. Because for a very long time, I was not living at all. I was merely existing. Existing to drink, Existing to use, Existing to party.
You’ve thought that facing my own mortality would keep me on the beam for the rest of my life. But as I wrote earlier today, people in the program want the easier softer way, they don’t necessarily want to follow the directions, do they ?
In my case, it was the messages I was getting that sent me back out.
Never tell someone who is hurting, trying to survive, to Leave a Meeting and Never come Back.
Those words could very well kill someone.
They were said to me.
Folks in meetings, want to fit in. To be accepted. To be loved. Because while we were out there punishing ourselves, trying to fit in, where we did not, and in the process of trying to fit in, found ourselves at the bottom of a bottle …
Our young writer of tonight’s story wanted so badly to fit in, and she just could not do it, until she allowed herself to be cared for, in the rooms.
What do you do, when you are a teenager, and you are one of us ? At first, you might not want to admit that you are defeated. That you could not possibly be one of us, that you have many more “good years” of drinking/using to do before you settle down and grow up.
Our young writer tonight, was a teenager when she hit the rooms.
Our young people here battle with the idea that they are addicts and alcoholics, and they come in and try sobriety on for size. Some stay, most don’t. Because they believe that life could not get any better, that there is no life, without the party and the self-destruction.
They have to reconcile, not drinking/using with age and their peer group.
When I came in, my first sponsor was a young man. Younger than I was. But at the time, he was ten years sober when we met, and we hit it off. But after a year, his ego got the best of him, and he got pissy and he stormed off never to speak to me again, ever. I saw him once after that fall out, at a meeting one night, and he ignored me like he did not know who I was … not very sober !
Los of people with serious time, are not very sober. And that’s the truth.
What young people don’t see, in the beginning is that, they get their do over early on, that they have their whole life ahead of them to live clean and sober. Most old timers look at the young people and muse … “IF only I had come in that early, what would my life have looked like ?”
But how do you tell someone that early on, without them laughing in your face ?
Like I said, the odds are stacked against us. And people don’t necessarily want to hear “suggestions or How To’s.”
We tried to find an easier softer way but we could not.
Among our folks tonight, I heard many snickers from my friends, because I tell the truth. A friend who is mourning a loss, who at times, is rude, heard me share in the circle before he did and commented to the rest of the group that, “He wasn’t as sober as I was, with a snicker…”
Last week, I had a conversation with a friend and he said to me that he admired me because I don’t sugar coat the truth, and when I speak, I use my words wisely. That answer came back to me from another friend this evening.
I don’t know what is worse, telling the truth, or trying to step around someone who does not want to hear the truth ?
Is it better to tell the truth or dance around the head of a pin ?
We were all young once. And we all had our fun, didn’t we ? Those out there, who skated through, with nary a problem, make it into life whole. But for some of us, that brick wall has to come down on top of us, for God to get our attention.
I’ve seen several walls fall on me in my almost fifty years on this planet.
God placed certain STOP signs in my path at various points in this journey. Some were a day late and a dollar short, and some were right on time.
I still don’t know why I lived and all of my friends are dead. I still don’t know what I am supposed to be doing all these years later. 50 is coming and I have no idea.
Like my doctor tells me … “Well we’ll just make it up as we go along.”
Sobriety does not necessarily give you the directions on what to do with your life, when we get sober, “but it DOES give you the tools to construct a ladder, with the twelve steps.”
With the right guidance, time and advice, we get to make right choices. How many of my friends, did not jump at that chance like I did ? How many of my friends hung back and held on to old behavior, people, places and things, until they got pulled down into that pit of hell, only to find much later that they should have let go absolutely.
And now some of those friends, have some time, some, double-digit time, but they are miserable shells of human beings, because they are still broken and shattered inside.
And over the past few months I’ve seen this with my own eyes, and heard their stories with my own ears, and I think to myself …
Thank the baby Jesus, I did not do what they did when I came in.
People think I am egotistical and prideful when I say that thank God I did not do what some of my friends did, and that I did not make the same choices some of my friends made as well.
It isn’t about my Ego or my Pride. It’s the God’s Honest Truth.
Because had I fucked off like many of my friends did, mentally, emotionally and sexually, an ended back out the door, drunk and/or high, I would surely not be where I am today.
Each successive time you drop off the radar and go back out for further experimentation, in the drink and the drugs, the odds of your return get slimmer. Some get back and they have to fight even harder to get back.
Sadly, a handful of those who go back out, end up DEAD !!!
None of my friends can say that I am not observant or that I don’t pay attention in meetings. I sure as shit pay attention, because I listen to my friends and in their own special way, they say out loud … Don’t do this …
This is Your Chance to Live … You might not get another do over.
FOLLOW DIRECTIONS GIVEN …
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.
Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible… B.B. Pg. 62
How many of us, Man or Woman suffer from FEAR ? And, how many of those Men and Women, would admit that to others, or better yet, to ourselves, that we are fearful in some way, shape, or form ?
Fear is pervasive and terribly detrimental to all of us. I don’t know a single human being in my life, that has not, in one way or another, suffered from FEAR.
We heard about FEAR tonight. We also heard about SELFISHNESS and DELUSION.
Every story is unique. no two stories are the same. Certain aspects of our stories do track the same, in the form of feelings and emotions. It is the circumstances of each story that differ. Spend enough time in the rooms, and you will eventually identify with something you have heard.
After years of Deep Dive Drinking, Lies, Secrets and Delusions, our man made it to his first meeting. How he got there, is unknown. Skeptical as our man was, “there had to be an angle to this group of people…” Before he could hit the exit to escape his first meeting two men cornered him and said …
“We Love You, We Need You, Please Come Back …”
For him, and as well for many of us, who come to the rooms, delusional and sad, those of us who think we are unimportant, unlovable, and needed, hearing this phrase, changed the trajectory of his life for a time.
Indeed, he did return. And he stuck. For a while.
Knowing the right thing to say to someone who is new to the room is dicey.
I heard a friend say on the way home tonight …
YOU CAN’T SAY THE WRONG THING TO THE RIGHT PERSON AND
YOU CAN’T SAY THE RIGHT THING TO THE WRONG PERSON …
I know, from experience, that words matter. And I also know, in retrospect, that I may have the right words sometimes, and everybody is happy. But there are also times, when words are needed, and I need to say those words, and they maybe unexpected to those sitting in the rooms, those words can be dividing.
Coming from a very abusive home, fear was something I knew very well. Having and Jekyll and Hyde father, you never knew who was going to show up on any given day.
But that did not make me drink. As, an alcoholic. Yet …
But when I was told that a drink, or TWO would set the stage for acceptance, I took that direction as gospel. The fear of not finding my way in, or to not be accepted, added to my need to “get it right, the first time.” I may have found my way in, but that period of my life was exceptionally insane, chaotic and did not lead to any success whatsoever.
My addiction to alcohol, turned me into a liar, a cheater, and a selfish beast.
Take away the alcohol, at any point in the timeline, I am still a liar, a cheat and I am still selfish, albeit, a dry or better, a sober, liar, cheater and selfish.
There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings whic the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it.
When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
The reason we continue to go to meetings, to listen and do The Work, is that sobriety is progressive, when you work the program set before you.
BUT – If you, at any time, think that You’ve got this, that You are ok, and then the delusion sets in that, maybe I don’t need meetings or a sponsor or the book any more, what comes next can be disastrous, and even deadly for some.
Sobriety Looses It’s Priority.
After nine years, our man reached this point. And went out for TEN YEARS.
The progressiveness of positive forward momentum, turns into the progressiveness of backwards spinning. Which leads to a drink. And for some, we all know, never make it back.
They end up in either Jail, in an Institution, or they end up DEAD.
While our man was out, he drank, heavily. Keeping Secrets and telling Lies.
But you know, we never completely escape our secrets and lies.
Our man was stopped by the police, drunk ! He went to jail, lost his license for a year, and now has a criminal record. All this, he kept from his wife, who was an ALANON. Don’t you know…
In order to keep the secret, our man drove his car, with a suspended license, for that entire year, so his wife would not find out. He wove an intricate web of secrets and lies to cover his tracks.
In the background of this story, is a nondescript young lady, who witnessed our man in jail. Years later, knowing our man’s daughter, told her that she had seen him in jail.
The daughter sat on this information until one pivotal night.
Our man had left his room, to get ice for a drink. His daughter intercepted him in the kitchen, and asked him, if he had ever gotten a DUI ???
CAN WE SAY BUSTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A family meeting was called the next day, and the lies became truths. That one lie did not go over well at all.
Eventually our man found his way back. And is nine years sober, this time around.
Fear can kill. The Drink can kill. Lies can kill.
There is a solution.
We Love you, We need you, Please come back …
The most important words we can speak to another suffering alcoholic.
It is the night after the First Night of the New Year 2017. I was terribly upset when, after an inquiry about our year end reports, to hear that Word Press decided not to produce them this year.
Today the holidays end. Everybody goes back to work tomorrow, and I get my house back. Having another soul sharing the same footprint for two weeks, is trying…
My friend Juan and I hit the Monday Big Book Meeting down the hill. And we were all glad to see that our hearty band of men and women survived the holidays clean and sober.
Tonight’s fare: The House wife who drank at home.
I had to hide, as a great many people in A.A. have had to do. I did my hiding in the hampers and in my dresser drawers. When we begin to do things like that with alcohol, something’s gone wrong. I needed it, and I knew I was drinking too much, but I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I should STOP. I kept on.
My home at that time was a place to mill around in. I wandered from room to room, THINKING, DRINKING, DRINKING, THINKING. And the mops would come out, the vacuum would come out, everything would come out, but nothing would get done.
Toward five o’clock, HELTER-SKELTER, I’d get everything put away and try to get supper on the table, and after supper I’d finish the job up and knock myself out.
I never knew which came first, the thinking or the drinking. If I could only stop thinking, I wouldn’t drink. If I could only stop drinking, maybe I wouldn’t think. But they were all mixed up together, and I was all mixed up inside.
And YET I had to have that drink…
This was my portion of the read this evening. Reading this passage soberly, with the appropriate emphases, speech and tone, we all laughed at the insanity.
It may not have been funny at all, when we were hiding bottles and drinking and thinking and being all over the map when it came to feelings, only to finally realize that we sat in the middle of the balance …
I can’t live with alcohol and I can’t live without it …
I just have to have that One Last Drink …
Coming to the rooms, in the very beginning, was no laughing matter for many of us. I know for me, it was One Very Long Slog the second time. I was shot to death. I was a sad human being, it was definitely NOT a laughing matter.
How can we laugh at someone’s misfortunes when it came to alcohol ?
Well, stop drinking, and come to the rooms. In time, as we read the Big Book, read, and re-read it again, and again, we realize just how bad it was, and with some sober time under our belts, how good it really is now.
Tonight, we all laughed. As was mentioned by some of our folks.
But the laughter, was tempered, by the fact that, some of our number have lost family over the holidays, and that it was not all shits and giggles for some. And we knew that.
But you know, they got through it, with us, Together. They were not, and are not alone.
It is the New Year. And there are those out there, who muddled through the holidays, spitting and sputtering. And there will be those who have realized that they cannot go on the way they have been carrying on, for how ever long the slog has been for them.
Numbers will bump over the next month.
- For those who think they drink too much
- For those who have decided to cut back and come in, but not to stay
- For those who KNOW for sure, they drink too much
- And those who come in via the courts
We who are in it to win it, will listen to people tell their stories and just how insane it was for them, and how they just need to get a handle on their drinking, and they will be good, and they can go back to their lives … and drink again.
The odds are not good, in the month of January, for those who come in and may not, or will not stay. They just need a place to DRY OUT for a bit.
In reading this story, our house wife speaks of SURRENDER…
I went to closed meetings and open meetings. And I took everything that A.A. had to give me. Easy does it, first things first, one day at a time. It was at that point that I reached SURRENDER. I heard one very ill woman say that she didn’t believe in the surrender part of the A.A. program. My Heavens !!!
Surrender to me has meant the ability to run my home, to face my responsibilities as they should be faced, to take life as it comes to me day by day and work my problems out. That’s what SURRENDER has meant to me.
I surrendered once to the bottle, and I couldn’t do these things. Since I gave my will over to A.A., whatever A.A. has wanted of me I’ve tried to do to the best of my ability…
A.A. gives us alcoholics DIRECTION into a way of life WITHOUT the need for ALCOHOL. That life for me is lived one day at a time, letting the problems of the future rest with the future. When the time comes to solve them, God will give me strength for that day.
My grandfather was a bottle hider, as was our house wife tonight. I identified with her story, because I had met her, early on in my life, She was my Grandfather.
My father did not hide bottles. He had a liquor cabinet and a rolling stock bar. He did not hide anything. He drank in open company. The more the better. My parent’s always encouraged us to DRINK. And drink at home, they would even supply the alcohol, no questions asked.
For me, I never kept alcohol at home. I never bought it at a liquor store. I had to go out to get it. That was the adventure. The Going out to Get It.
When I realized that I could not drink every day any longer, I became a BINGE drinker.
In my mid thirties, deluded still, in the belief that if I drank enough, someone would notice me. After the first drink, all bets were off.
In the end, I would have that first drink, and be totally smashed. Several more drinks would follow, and finally, I would go from the club to waking up in my bed, through two locked doors, after someone rushed me out of the club, into a taxi, and got me home.
To this day, I do not know who performed that chore every Saturday night, that I went out to BINGE.
But I am grateful for whomever it was, because this could have ended very badly, someone UP THERE was paying attention, and did for me what I could not do for myself.
You Don’t have to ever drink again.
There IS a SOLUTION.
The rooms await, with people in them, there to welcome you and to be your friends.
One day at a time.
This morning my phone rang, and as usual I answered it. It is a great feeling to know that I am still useful. This evening I took that friend to a meeting, even though it was bitterly cold outside. We, in Montreal, are still trying to accept that a bitter winter is upon us.
It usually does not get THIS COLD here, this early. But it HAS.
Last night, I had a conversation and today I am blessed to have a best friend in my life.
The taxi drivers in Montreal are all tightly wound because of the competition that UBER has put down on them. Yet, there is at least one taxi driver in this city who willingly stole $150.00 from me on a bitterly cold (-30c) night. I’d never taken a taxi before to a meeting, and I won’t soon do that ever again either.
That drama is now being played out by my bank.
Merry Christmas, you dirty animal.
I hope that when karma comes back around that you loose more than $150.00.
Maybe you should loose your cab and your livelihood, because you are a dishonest pig, who should never serve the general public.
Alcoholics are allowed to get angry, at the right moments.
Tonight’s read, The Missing Link, was written in the portion of the Big Book, hosting seventeen stories, of folks who did not loose, anything, nor did they hit bottom, like the stories that come before them.
But it reads in the book that: “Their bottoms rose to meet them, and they realized they had a problem, and they came into the program.”
Oh, we all lamented tonight, that someone should have said STOP. But many of us, at the meeting, all honestly admitted that, for many of us, nobody was going to stop that party where we were concerned. No way, the party was just too good to stop.
I tell this story of my best friends, Peter and Mike.
We, the three of us, along with a sister, used to host, heavy metal vomit parties, with the requisite beer and hard liquor. Alcohol, was readily available to us, at all times, like water. I don’t ever remember having issues with procuring alcohol, ever.
We had a system.
Invitations went out prior to the parties. The girls were always advised to bring a second change of clothes, if they planned on drinking.
After the party, drunken and stupid, we would load, said girls, into a car and drive them around the neighborhood, while they puked it out. We’d bring them back, they would shower and re-dress, then we would take them home. A little more sober than when this all began.
High School is well known for its S.A.T. Tests …
Standard Aptitude Tests.
We did them three times in High School. Well, on my third pass, we decided to throw caution to the wind, and drink excessively the night prior. I was terribly drunk, as my friend carried my limp body into the house. Mum said nothing. And put me to bed to sleep it off.
The next morning we got up and headed into school for the test.
Thank God I was in the library, which was in the biology wing. A bathroom, just down the hall from said library. As each module began, I would start bubbling. Then have to hurl, run to the bathroom, puke it out, come back and finish said module.
It was not pretty at all.
My best friend Peter, committed an indiscretion, with my virginal cousin who was visiting that summer. She gave up her virginity to a boy. My father called her father, who flew down to Florida, for “The Talk.”
I never knew what was said, but after that night, my best friend, was no longer my best friend. In fact, I never heard from him ever again, until I looked him up on Facebook some time ago.
A handful of friends I grew up with eventually got sober. Others still drink, responsibly.
Other friends, I have attempted to reconnect with, were cold and unresponsive. Intimating that it was just ME that had a problem, and that it was good I had contacted them, but thanks but no thanks.
I’ve reflected recently about Listening, Choices and Actions.
From a young age, I listened to many things said to me, around me, and behind my back, and in front of others. I think, growing up, I may have made some wise choices. But you toss a kid into the world, without a safety net and no counsel, those good choices become far and few between.
For the last twenty three years, since my diagnosis, I have been learning how to make good choices. And I know, that when I make choices by myself, that there is a high probability that those choices are going to be SHIT.
I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. And almost died because of really bad choices and actions. So you can say that this last stretch of fifteen years has been in perfecting my listening, my choice making and my actions.
Because our writer honestly asks in his story … “What are shortcomings?”
I am told, and we heard this tonight from our 28 year celebrant that, if you don’t think you have shortcomings, stick around, you may find some along the way.
Another friend of mine, with a little time, is asking this question…
“When is my miracle going to happen. I’ve been around a number of years, and I just can’t seem to find my miracles.”
We all laughed at him, in love …
Stick around until the miracle happens.
A woman used to say that to me when I first got sober. Every day.
I forgot that. So I had to go back out looking for my own personal miracle.
How wrong I was.
Now I know that miracles do happen. They have happened in my life. And continue to happen quite frequently.
God is Good.
I am loved.
I have the BEST friend in all the world.
And one day that dirty rotten taxi driver will get his comeuppance.
Karma is a bitch…
We saw this sign, Friday night, outside a resto on the way to the Friday night meeting. It has since made the rounds on Instagram.
It was another stellar day today. It’s too bad we can’t do things outside. That would be tossing anonymity out the window, wouldn’t it …
I spent the weekend with my friends, and ended the weekend with more friends.
We sat a full house, heard a speaker on Step Four, and got all the way around the room for discussion. The season of visitors has begun. In past years, our numbers spiked because we are a popular meeting on the weekend. And with concerts and filming in the city this season, we will welcome folks from far and wide.
We talked about Step Four.
I remember how, in that first year, this time around, my First Fourth was a laundry list of “WhoDunItToMe” which turned into speaking “Victimese.” This is a common thought with folks who are up there in double digit sobriety.
Over the years, repeated passed of my Fourth repeated the same shit over and over. I was not mentally ready to drop the rock, however I did read the book, “Drop the Rock.”
Last Spring, I worked another Fourth, because I was with my new sponsor, and the way he asked me to write it differed from past rounds. Instead of the Big Book column format, he had me:
- Write a dateline/emotion/table (from the year of birth to the present) which would have been 48 entries for me, at the time.
- Then the three lists:
- Fears and
This last pass was much shorter as I did not retread old material, but drilled down into myself, what I was feeling from beginning to end, to be able to chart what happened when, and how my behavior began, evolved and turned alcoholic.
Then we discussed decisions, some of which were Self Preservation decisions, therefore exempt from the inventory.
But that was not the end of that step.
The year that followed, God began to chip away at my bag of rocks I was carrying around, and after a year and some months of trying to get my attention, dropped the wall on me after the last retreat I attended in Vermont.
Which ended up in an emotional breakdown, which led to a very fast and dirty inventory of shit I really needed to write down and didn’t at the time. This period of time fell between steps Six and Seven. Needless to say when all was said and done, I had indeed
DROPPED THE ROCK(S).
A few weeks back, one of my long sober lady friends spoke at a Thursday night meeting, and she said something that stuck …
The whole point of sobriety is to become free, to let go of the past, and to live in the NOW.
Successive Fourth Steps are required as we get and stay sober. And the Requisite Tenth Step is also the daily inventory that keeps us on track on a daily basis.
Sobriety is supposed to lead to Happy, Joyous and Free.
In the long run, we don’t get sober to remain miserable and mired in the past. We got sober to rid ourselves of the past, get rid of the wreckage of our pasts, to find ourselves, to clean our side of the street, and get right with the God of our Understanding, AND to become Happy, Joyous and Free…
This is as free as I have ever felt in my life.
And the cherry on the sundae, is, when the time is right, and you begin to work with others, is to have a sponsee trust you and you, in turn, get to give it back, by hearing someone’s Fifth Step.
That changed my life in ways I never imagined.
The Steps will change your life in ways you would not imagine…
Happy Joyous and Free …