Thump… Thump…. Thump

So at Wednesday nights meeting I got pretty frustrated. I interpreted a lot of folk that shared to say that it was ok to just give living amends to immediate family or co-workers as that’s what they really need.

ok, it was one of many things that got on my nerves and maybe I was just in the wrong spot (I had considered going home, but changed my mind – *slaps self in head*)

The step (step 9) says: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Now when I was fairly new a speaker pointed out that he very frequently heard people in meetings say “whenever possible” and he wanted me to be sure I read it right… so its kind of stuck with me. But there are many times that I hear people say they are waiting for that person to cross their path or show up again.

When I was doing my step 8 and 9 with Joe (long, long ago) he made sure I understood it was an action step and it was MY job to find these people and do everything in my power to do just that. That’s how I found Eric here on the East Coast ( you try to find the right Eric Nelson in the US ) and recently Facebook helped me to discover that my old friend Jenni died… which was a sad way to find out, but I did have the opportunity to talk to her brother.

“Faith without works is dead.” they say…

So, I was listening to a Clint H talk ( a podcast which is very damn cool) and he started out saying that we shouldn’t (I’m paraphrasing) try to make the words in the book matter that much, the program is so much more than the words in the book…

I’m sorry that I have to disagree with you Clint H, the words matter as they are written, the steps matter more when done in order and we do better if we actually follow the directions, rules, guidelines that have been set forth for us in the first 164 pages. That’s why it’s there so we know that it’s not “…made indirect amends whenever possible…” and not “…unselfishness that we think is the root of our problem”… We’re not CA, CMA, NA, OA or any other A… we’re the first, the original and our traditions spell it out pretty clearly, we have a singleness of purpose and if we stray from that path we may very well lose what we’ve been so freely given…

It’s there, its our program that has worked miracles for the last 74 years, that’s all that we’ve been around, 74 and the more I look around and listen in rooms the less and less I hear that is actually grounded in the program as set down by our founders.

yeah, I’m a little unhappy with my “AA”… I just wish I actually felt like I used to feel – like I wanted to go to a meeting, like I knew it would make me feel a little safer, a little better and hopeful.

Posted in AA

15 Years – Unbelievable

On May 8th, 2009 I turn 15 years sober! Which doesn’t even seem real.

When I was new in the program and heard people talk about having double digit sobriety I rarely believed them, how could it be possible to go that long without a drink, they must cheat or something. I was determined to find out how they were drinking and still maintaining a normal life style… and so I stuck around.

My first run in with a guy that had 15 years was at the Northside Group in Eau Claire. The Northside Group is a step meeting and they were on Step 12 at the time (12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.). The format of the meeting was that every other person got to share, I was in the right (or wrong) seat and when it was my turn I started to spout a bunch of nonsense that had nothing to do with Step 12, recovery or alcoholism. Chuck C. interrupted me and said that I didn’t know what I was talking about and maybe I should just listen to some folks that did. I was offended, shocked, horrified… but he was absolutely right. Attending that meeting for the next year I was fortunate to learn about the steps as they are practiced in the book, and even more fortunate to be introduced to the Traditions, ACTION and service work.

I consider myself fortunate for being raised in two meetings that were dramatically different from one another. One was focused primarily on the steps and traditions and the other was more focused on fellowship and structure. It provided me with a unique look at the program and gave me the best and worst of all its parts.

Have I grown into a spiritual giant and circuit speaker? No, far from it. I am still very rigid in my ideas of what AA means and what constitutes a meeting. I often find myself stewing in a meeting about a little thing that isn’t just right, so much to that I miss the message.

When I was new, desperate and willing to do anything to recover, I would read my Big Book, say my prayers, call other AA’s on the phone and try to actively participate in the fellowship of the program each and every day. Today, I’m lucky if I can remember to say a prayer on a daily basis. They talk about resting on our laurels in the book and I know the dangerous road I’m now walking.

The question is am I ready to change directions and walk down a more spiritual path? Right now all I can tell you is that I’m more willing to telling someone in a meeting to shut up… I’ll have to work on the rest!

Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly

Posted in AA