Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Good to Have a Sponsor

I was at a step meeting tonight, and the topic was the eighth step. After reading the chapter from the 12&12, I shared a bit. It went something like this: "Blah blah blah. Funny anecdote or two.... I haven't looked at my list in a long time. I'm not even sure I know where it is. Frankly, I don't even know whether I'm halfway through or not. Therefore, I don't know whether I should be amazed yet! So, uh, thanks for letting me share."

At that point, my sponsor leaned over so that he could see around the two or three people that separated us and said, in good nature, yet bluntly, "Find the list."

I take that as Good Orderly Direction. It's time to dig up the list and finish up my amends. I'm pretty sure that after eleven years of sobriety, I ought to be able to make some more amends!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm Back

Hey Everybody.  I'm still here.  Thanks for checking in with me.  Still sober, still going to meetings here.  I've picked up two new sponsees since I've last checked in.  Also, I've discovered I have sleep apnea and am sleeping on a CPAP (constant positive air pressure) machine now, which has significantly increased my energy levels (more on that later).  Let's just say for now that I am grateful that God has given me the tools to get some much needed rest.  I've been going probably 3 to 5 years with no REM sleep (like zero ... literally).  Anyway... just making a little shout-out to break the seal and get back in the game. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sad News

I found out on Monday that my sponsee took his life last week. I had been working with him for about 2 months. He had completed his 4th step just days before he died. Not real sure what to think about it at this point. I know from my own past experiences with alcoholic suicides (my older brother 3 years ago) that I'm not responsible for what he did.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I never have thoughts like, what if I would have called him earlier, or later, or asked him to go to another meeting with me, or whatever. The truth is, I suppose, that perhaps any one of those things would have altered history such that he would still be here today. But, who knows if he ever would have faced the demons that caused him to do what he did. I may be egotistical enough to think that I could alter the path of someone's day, but I am not so egotistical to think that I could force somebody to amass the courage and honesty required to overcome such terrible and powerful tendencies. Well, "who knows", I suppose is the only real answer. What happened happened. There's nothing I can do to change that fact today. Today, all I can do is glean whatever lessons I can from the situation.

I also know from my other dealings with death that I feel the way I feel, and not the way I think I ought to feel. People approach me at meetings the last couple of days and ask me how I'm doing. Truthfully, I'm a little distracted, but that's about it for now. I can't say I've shed any tears about it yet. I'm sure I will - when it really hits me. But, I've learned not to feel bad about how I do or don't feel. I just recognize the feelings I do have and deal with them.

Anyway, this death will have ongoing lessons for me, I am sure. "More will be revealed..."

I will say this, that every time somebody has died in my life, I call my sponsor. It is always a good idea to reach out, even when I don't want to and don't think it will help. It's about taking the action - the footwork.

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I Sought My Soul...

I sought my soul, I could not see.

I sought my God, but He eluded me.

I searched out my brothers and sisters, and found all three:

My fellow man, my God and me.

My old sponsor used to say this to me frequently. I think it very closely describes my experience in AA. Going out to the Forest last weekend was yet another beautiful experience.

I have a tendency, however, to want to think that all I need to do is pray and spend quiet time in nature, and that'll bring me closer to God. And, maybe it does. But, what I really find is that I get much greater understanding by just spending my time with other people - talking to them. By nature, I'm sort of a loner. I like people, but I just like to be alone, doing my own thing. It's kind of my default. When I get out of myself and listen and talk to others, something spiritual happens. When any two are gathered in His name, He promises His presence.

That said, the best part of Cook Forest last weekend for me was the time I spent and conversations I had with other drunks. I even met a guy who happened to be coming to my town yesterday for business, and I asked him to lead our home group. Fantastic!

Other-centeredness. This is what we are called to. I often have to think back to our 7th step, in which we ask God to remove our character defects to the extent that their removal will enable us to be of greater service or value to God and our fellows. So, God could take me out to the Forest and impart all sorts of peace and serenity into me if he wanted, I suppose. But, we all benefit when I get out of myself and start taking an interest in somebody else's life. What a concept!

I realized not too long ago (perhaps a year or so), that there are very few people that I admire. This, of course is a result of my ego and my self-centeredness. I have started to look for the remarkable qualities in all people. It is amazing what I will see once I start looking. It takes some work on my part, but with some effort, I can get myself back down to the right size and see that other people really do have qualities, experiences and talents that are beyond those of my own. When my ego is running the show, that is a threatening proposition. But, when my ego is in check, what a joy it becomes to see those things in people! Chuck C. says to enjoy our competitors' shot as much as our own - that way we double our enjoyment. So it is with recognizing the greatness in others.

Anyway, nice little rant...

I will have pictures from Cook Forest up soon.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's not Cooks Forest - But I'm going anyway!

I've noticed that a lot of people call this Cook Forest conference "Cooks Forest". I'm reasonably certain there's no "s" on the end of "Cook", but then again, why should I let that get in the way of a good time. Actually, it's kind of endearing, and I think I may just start calling it "Cooks", too.

Also, here's some pictures of the last time I was there.

Sitting on the porch of our cabin. Enjoying some serious meditation, no doubt.

This is where the Outdoor meeting is. It's very peaceful.

Route 66 Dinor: Not sure why they spell it dinor, but that's how they like it. I actually never ate there, but it's close by another restaurant we eat at, Carol's.

Our cabin - #20, I believe.

Yeah, that's a real bear. Saw him (or her) when we were driving to breakfast at Carol's.

Some nice man gave me this sweet little reminder. It made a nice picture, too!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Area Assembly Today

Good morning,

Long time, no blog. I might say I've been too busy, but that's never really true. Let's just say my priorities haven't been in check. Of course, that's nothing new for me.

Today, I'm filling in for our GSR, as our alternate, and attending our Area Assembly. Then, it's off to my hometown to spend mothers day with my family.

<insert something profound here, so people respect my spirituality>


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Saturday, May 5, 2007

AA or the Highway?

I was just on my myspace page this morning, and, because I note on my page that I am in recovery, I got following advertisement:

AA is a dangerous cult.

Don't meet with drunks or junkies. Break free. Learn AVRT® and quit.

I have to say that my first reaction was pretty negative, and that I should do something about this. Then, I remembered that we in AA don't claim a monopoly on recovery. We don't claim that AA is for everybody and we don't say it's the only way to stop drinking. In fact, our literature suggests that we take the opposite attitude in regards to other successes:

"If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right about face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him."

So, if rational recovery works for you, good on ya. If it doesn't work for you, we've got something you might want to try.


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