Monday, 30 January 2012

12 Steps in 3 Parts

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us. p. 164, Big Book

Friday, 27 January 2012

Who Are You Trying to Convince?

And as a rule, Social Drinkers never count how many days it has been since their last drink.

Twins - A Little Story of Discovery

About 15 years ago, I was just becoming conscious of my own spiritual journey. A personal crisis afforded me an opportunity to re-examine my life, my choices and consequences. As often happens, seemingly chance happenings can have big impacts, and I had just such a happening in a dentist waiting room. I picked up a mainstream psychology magazine, and flipped to a story about twins.

It's Always Someone Else's Fault
There was a pair of twins, who, separated at birth, were raised in different families unaware of each other's existence. By chance (divine intervention), the twins were re-united after 30 years or so. Much to psychologist's delight, the twins presented a rare opportunity for insight by agreeing to participate in separate interviews.

The First Interview: Twin number one was asked a lot of questions about his habits and behaviours. The twin stated that he was a meticulous house keeper. "Everything needs to be in its place, and there is a place for everything. I have the clothes in my closet colour-coordinated and I am very fussy about the vacuum lines on the carpet being straight." The interviewers asked him, "Why do you think you are like this?" and the twin stated without hesitation, "This is how my mother taught me to keep house. Our house was immaculate always. This is what I learned."
The Second Interview: Twin number two was asked the same questions. The second twin stated that he was a meticulous housekeeper. "I have all the cans in my cupboard lined up, with labels facing front, and when I cut the lawn the lines are as straight as arrows. My house and belongings are always in order!" The interviewers asked this twin why he thought he was like this. He answered matter of factly, "My mother was a slob! Our house was always a disaster, I could never find anything. I swore I would never be like my mother".
This story revealed to me that only I was accountable for my life and all my choices. Typical of people living the 'unexamined life', I had been sure that all the negative events of my life were because of a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with me; I was a product of all that had ever happened to me. This twin study disclosed what I have since found to be completely true: it is not the things that happened to me, it is how I have reacted to the things that happened to me.
I have seen the magic of this revelation manifest in the lives of hundreds of people I have known and worked with. When a person who believes that they are a victim of circumstance discovers and appropriates responsibility and accountability for themselves, they are on the road to freedom. When the word 'victim' is exchanged for 'volunteer', everything can change.

What is the story of 'blame' in your life? You may have been told, or in turn told the story so many times you don't even question it. Are you the way you are because:
  • You were an only child (first born, middle child, youngest)
  • You were raised by grandparents
  • Never had grandparents
  • Raised on a farm
  • Raised in the city, small town, village, hamlet, overseas, on an Island
  • You were poor, wealthy, middle-class
  • Had to wear glasses, braces or corrective shoes
  • Were picked on
  • Were most popular, looked up to
  • Blonde, red-headed or brunette, curly or straight?
  • Neglected
  • Smothered
  • Abused
  • Sheltered
  • Low or high IQ
 This list goes on ad infinitum. The real truth behind your life only becomes apparent when the accepted stories are challenged and discarded. I hope this chance encounter I had in the waiting room with the twins impacts you like it did me. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

DON"T Hang in There Baby

Growing up I was taught that when you get to the end of your rope, you should tie a big knot and hang on. This thinking will definitely leave an alcoholic hanging - and not in a good way.  In recovery we learn that when we get to the end of our rope, we need to Let Go!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Grant Me Wisdom, Not Smarts

Listen carefully to everyone's stories. The answers are often found in other people's experience, strength and hope.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Nothing Doing

Sometimes the best action to take is non-action.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Make Over

Go to meetings like your life depends on it.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Why the Camel?

Often the camel is used symbolically in the recovery world. Why is that? Well, read the little poem below and see if you can relate to this desert dweller. I hope so!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Mind Games

And if you are an addict then that mind is probably out to kill you. Have you talked with your sponsor today?

Friday, 13 January 2012

5 Tips To Guard Sobriety

In recovery, only one thing has to change, but that is everything. And everything is included in everything. Spirituality, emotionality and mentality are addressed in other articles. This article is purely about the material and physical.

5 Tips to Guard Sobriety:
1. Mouthwash
Make sure that your mouthwash does not contain alcohol. Read the label carefully before purchase, and check the bottles in your bathroom. If they contain alcohol, throw them out! It isn't worth the risk. The taste and smell are triggers that you may not even be aware of while gargling, but your disease knows, and will take advantage of your vulnerability.
2. Cough Syrups
Same as with mouthwash, check all the labels before you buy, many cough syrups do contain alcohol. Cough suppressants may also contain narcotics, such as codeine. If you are in doubt, ask your pharmacist to verify the product is narcotic free. Many people in recovery have relapsed by naively using cough syrups, and triggering a craving. That almost happened to Bill W. himself.
3. Hair Products and After Shave
In early recovery you just can't be too careful. Think about using a gel or hairspray, or aftershave lotion containing alcohol. All your senses will be encased in the cloud of alcohol fumes. Don't risk triggering a craving, just to use a certain product. There are many alternatives to alcohol based products.
4. Menu Items at Restaurants
It seems that the more expensive and fancy the restaurant is, the more likely dishes contain alcohol. Read the description carefully before ordering. If there is booze in it, don't order it. If your server tells you not to worry, that the alcohol is cooked off, don't risk it! Is your sobriety worth the Coq au Vin? Let your server know that you have a deadly allergy to alcohol. By using the word 'allergy' in a restaurant, you will be taken very seriously.
5. Someone Offers You a Drink
This can be really scary in early sobriety. Don't be caught off guard. Here are some possible answers:
  • No thanks, I'm not drinking today. 
  • No thanks, I'm allergic to alcohol. When I drink, I break out in spots. Like Vancouver, Calgary, Hawaii, jail...
  • No thanks, you don't have enough here for me. 
  • No thanks, I don't want to vomit on you. 
  • No thanks, but I'll take the money instead.
Seriously though, have an answer ready. Usually "No thanks" by itself is enough. You don't have to explain anything to anybody. And besides, you'll quickly find out that most people don't care or notice. It isn't all about you:)

Early sobriety can be a heady exciting time. Just remember that alcohol is a subtle foe, you must be vigilant, and keep yourself safe at all times. Soon enough, it will just become habit and second nature.
If sobriety doesn't come first, nothing comes second.

Article Source:

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Need Directions? Here is a Good Orderly One.

It is strongly recommended that people stay out of relationships for their first year of sobriety. While the U Haul joke is funny, addiction is serious business. Here's somethings right out of our literature, p. 119 of the Twelve and Twelve
A.A. has many single alcoholics who wish to marry and are in a position to do so.  Some marry fellow A.A.'s. How do they come out? On the whole these marriages are very good one's. Their common suffering as drinkers, their common interest in A.A. and spiritual things, often enhance such unions.
It is only where "boy meets girl on A.A. campus," and love follows at first sight, that difficulties may develop.  The prospective partners need to be solid A.A.'s and long enough acquainted to know that their compatibility at spiritual, mental, and emotional levels is a fact and not wishful thinking.  They need to be as sure as possible that no deep-lying emotional handicap in either will be likely to rise up under later pressures to cripple them. From the essay on Step 12, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 119
The sad reality is, that when 2 newcomers unite, usually one or both will be drunk within a short time. G.O.D. can stand for Good Orderly Direction, and staying out of relationships for your first year of sobriety is a good direction to follow. Give yourself a gift, your best possible chance at sobriety, and let the other newcomer have their best chance too.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Three Little Birds Told Me

We can get really good at opinion-shopping, or finding people to co-sign our selfish and self-seeking behaviours. Trust your sponsor, and stop telling 'stories'.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Intentional Action

This is one place where Mom was wrong - it is NOT the thought that counts.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Oddly Enough...

I heard this gem from an Al-Anon speaker at the North Shore Round Up a few years back. It got quite a resounding laugh.
And by the way, my marriage was made in AA...
(p.s.The suggestion for newcomers is to stay out of relationships for the first year of sobriety.)