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Old 08-13-2008, 08:16 AM   #1
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Articles of Faith
August 13, 2008 Story of the Day
___________
April 1991 issue of The Grapevine
Vol. 47 No. 11

Most of us hasten to assure the newcomer who may be troubled by the frequent mention of God at AA meetings that it is not a religious program. We explain it is a Fellowship that celebrates the very best in the human spirit and is therefore a spiritual program, roomy enough to embrace people of all faiths and even those who have no formal religious associations or convictions.

I came to this program a hard-nosed atheist. In the process of recovery I found my own concept of a Higher Power that serves me in many wonderful ways. Yet I find that some of the things that disturbed me early on in my sobriety in relation to AA and religion are still irksome.

These are attitudes that are basically religious in character. They are not to be found in any AA literature, yet are repeated in meeting after meeting as if they were, indeed, a basic part of our program. I offer two examples of what I am referring to: "God will never give you more than you can handle" and "You are exactly where God wants you to be."

Now I have no quarrel at all with members who derive solace from their belief in these often stated ideas. But I would find it exceedingly difficult to console a friend dying painfully of cancer by repeating them to him or her and suggesting that person accept the fact that "God will never give you more than you can handle." During World War II, were some six million Jews and three or four million Catholics, trade unionists, gypsies, and other "impure" people who were marched into Hitler's furnaces or otherwise slaughtered, "exactly where God wanted them to be"?

AA owes much to religion, having borrowed generously from some of its most beautiful precepts to formulate our program. Our Twelve Steps certainly demonstrate that. But simply because a precept has found wide acceptance in religious circles does not automatically qualify it for incorporation into our program.

I trust it is clear I am questioning no one's right to believe in his or her God as they understand him, her, or it. I firmly hold to the idea that whatever works for you, whatever strengthens your sobriety--go for it. What does make me uncomfortable is an ongoing setting forth of certain religious precepts as if they were AA doctrine and articles of AA faith when indeed there is nothing I can find in our literature to sustain such a presentation.

Ben I.
California
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:03 AM   #2
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Knowledge Isn't Enough
August 14, 2008 Story of the Day

September 1988
Vol. 45 No. 4
________
Mark Twain wrote in his Letters From The Earth that if he were the Almighty and had an experience of great pleasure he would have it last for centuries.

When I first read this I chuckled and thought it clever. Now, some years later, I see Twain's observation in a different light. In fact I see many things differently these days after much floundering around in processes of learning, usually painful.

One of the main things I've discovered is that I'm an alcoholic. In the process of continuing my ongoing reminder of my condition so that I don't slide back into my horrors of pleasures past, I attend AA meetings, do not pick up that first drink and compulsively read just about anything that comes my way on the subject of recovery in addition to our own literature.

What have I discovered? Since I was a half century old when I finally came to AA to stay, it took a while for bleeding ulcers to heal, high blood pressure to subside, and shattered nerve ends to mend. Some form of alcoholic arthritis or neuritis left me after some three years of sobriety. The other two aspects of our ailment are taking longer to mend and to develop. I'm chipping away at my angers, resentments, and fears. It helped me to find out that if I didn't hate something I wouldn't fear it. There are also my desires.

I wanted, as did Twain, to prolong pleasure but without whatever compensating responsibility that might go with it, to remain the eternal seventeen-year-old with the capabilities of adult pleasures and none of the responsibilities. Things, feelings, had to be abundant and perfect. The sense of the quote, "Moderation in everything, even in moderation" took time to seep into me. It isn't a definition for mediocrity; quite the opposite.

Take our planet Earth for instance. It doesn't spin around on only a plus or minus of magnetic attraction. Both are needed for our ongoing balance and we aren't a perfect sphere. We're flattened at the poles somewhat and we tilt seasonally. It might be that if we spun about evenly we would be uninhabitable with too much heat around the middle and too much cold at the poles. Seas might evaporate around the equator and permanent ice get down as far as New York City. Khalil Gibran illustrates balance in emotions in a poem which says: "We need to laugh all our laughter and cry all our tears." A late popular writer illustrated imbalance with his observation that "if it feels good, it is good," without qualification; he ended up by blowing out his brains. He also drank a good deal. I wonder what he felt or thought about a Higher Power.

It seems to me that intellectual knowledge isn't enough; there needs to be something more. My program has shown me the necessary third element for maintaining whatever measure of sobriety/sanity that has been given me. Yes, given me, for I was never able to stay sober on my own. Not until I surrendered to the spooky, spiritual part did I manage to stay away from that first drink. This spiritual element has come to be first instead of third for me as time is gradually maturing me and my program. And I don't worry about getting there; I need only to pay attention to the way. I've let it happen rather than made it happen.

I've discovered that whatever it is that's eternal, is, was, and always will be, and is constantly with me--if I don't shut it out with self-centered pity or grandiosity. It's as simple as taking a deep breath or yawning after a meeting while holding hands in some sort of imperfect circle around scattered chairs and tables. Some of the Slavic languages have the same word for soul or spirit as they do for breath. And that tells me something.

S. M.
Florida
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:37 AM   #3
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Resentments Revisited
August 15, 2008 Story of the Day

August 1964
Vol. 21 No. 3
_______
ABOUT three years ago I developed a rather serious medical problem not related to alcoholism, which frightened me and threatened to interfere with my pleasures and my ability to perform my occupation. It became apparent that I had to stop smoking. While my life didn't actually depend upon it, certainly I must stop, to get better. This troublesome habituation, like alcoholism, is a difficult pattern to break. Cigarettes are more available at all times than whiskey and, except during a few minutes of a church service or certain short periods in some occupations, one can hold a cigarette almost constantly in the hand. I found myself chewing gum, and practicing the piano, and doing all manner of things to keep my hands busy and my mind off smoking during the difficult first two or three weeks of not smoking--the critical period in breaking any habituation.

Now, about this same time our state government imposed an additional two-penny tax on cigarettes, with a lot of preliminary fanfare by the Governor to make it palatable. I already resented the Governor, for political and other fancied reasons. I found it positively helpful in my effort to stop smoking to recall that I was not putting any more cigarette tax money in the state coffers in order to oblige that so-and-so in the State House. I had, if you will, put my resentment to work for me.

This episode got me thinking about how it had been with me when I first stopped drinking. Did those resentments, so natural to the alcoholic--indeed to all human beings--provide any help at all in staying sober? (I knew how often they had provided the alibis for getting drunk.)

As a physician, my efforts to control my drinking were just as fruitless as those of most other alcoholics until I was given the benefits of the AA program and all that it embraces. Without any doubt, the usual mechanisms came into play. First, acceptance of the fact that I suffer from a disease, alcoholism. Second, faith that some power greater than myself, and greater than I can understand, could and would aid me in my recovery. Third, revision of my ego by reason of putting into effect and trying to improve my practice of the four absolutes: honesty, purity, unselfishness and love.

I am sure, in looking back, that my temper was still hot and my tolerance threshold was low during those first few days of sobriety. The mere fact that I had played at least some part in the temporary mastery of the problem was enough to glorify the ego which I was in the process of revising. The fact that both my interests in worth-while things and my endurance while doing them had increased was also gratifying. I enjoyed especially the mystified expressions of my office help (not accustomed to me other than hung over) as they looked with wonder upon my remarkable transformation.

I see now that I had in the fullest sense taken the AA program as a selfish one. I was trying to get sober for me. For a while, at least, I didn't worry at all about family, friends, practice, or any of the other things supposed to make a man want to be sober. I was engaged purely in self-preservation, and I think I did it to some extent out of spite--resentment!

But this kind of thinking could not endure; this philosophy would not have kept me sober very long. I see that now. But I think it is not so bad at the start to "saddle our resentments" and ride them to our own advantage: use any means to stay sober just as long as we don't commit acts of themselves worse, in the final analysis, than alcoholism. With the passage of time, the study of patience, attendance at meetings, and taking the advice of those experienced in the program, my own AA identity took shape, and I was able to use the normal and thus-far successful practices of AA.

L. K. R.
Ohio
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:16 AM   #4
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3rd Step
August 16, 2008 Story of the Day
______________
March 1980
Vol. 6 No. 10

RECENTLY, I stood in the middle of my kitchen floor and prayed, "God help me," as I frequently do, and as I learned to do some twenty years ago when I got sober in AA. But on this occasion, the prayer was inspired by the galling, gnawing, incessant outrage I felt at a problem that has threatened to overwhelm me for the past fifteen years. "It's unfair," I said, and I realized as I said it that I sounded like my fourteen-year-old daughter.

"What are you going to do about it?" a little inner voice asked,

"Do?" I replied. "What I've always been taught to do in AA. I'm going to confess it."

And this I proceeded to do, with an AA member who was then a guest in my home. We both agreed that it was unfair. In this mood, I returned to my kitchen and again said, "God help me."

At that instant, the telephone rang. It was another member of AA, and she, too, was finding life "unfair." I agreed, as I attempted to show her that the answer to her problem lay in the acceptance of the Third Step, in surrender, in turning her will and her life over to the care of God, I found the answer to my own problem. I thought I had surrendered it, but I had merely refused to look at it--I had swept it under the rug.

Surrender is not a repressive thing; it's an active opening up of one's inner self; it's saying--and meaning--"I'll take my chances with life. There is no guarantee that I'm going to make it, but I'm going to face it, and I'm going to do the best I can with what I've got."

The AA way of life is not easy; we were never told that it would be. But I have found it to be the most exhilarating, the most exciting mode of existence that I can possibly imagine. I have found in AA all that I ever sought in drinking. I can choose to believe in myself today, in my own thinking and my own feelings. I can choose to live today. I can live in the light of that choice today. If I make mistakes (as I frequently do), I can say I'm sorry and learn from that mistake--and each time I make a mistake, I learn a new truth. But truth is not an absolute, and I have a long way to go before I sleep.

G. L.
Kentucky
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:30 AM   #5
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Anatomy of a Newcomers Meeting
August 21, 2008 Story of the Day
_______________
March 1985
Vol. 41 No. 10

I WAS IN MY "back to basics" mode, looking for something to do at a local level. (This is a phase I go through periodically, when I've been up to my eyeballs in "structured service.") My home group was doing fine. I still needed it far more than it needed me.

In the back of my mind, however, was the nagging thought, gained through exposure to other aspects of service, that the needs of the newcomer were not being served as expeditiously as possible. Although over 300 groups met in my home district, only two were listed as newcomer meetings, and very few as open meetings. Based upon my own and my contemporaries' entries into AA, there was a need to acquaint the newcomer up front with what our Fellowship is, what it is not, how it works, and where it can be found. Also, my pastor was asking for an AA meeting in his church. It was time to act.

It wasn't hard to attract a group of people to help. We started out with eight. Together, we researched the information available from the AA General Service Office (i.e., the Guide for Leading Beginners Meetings) and brainstormed to get other ideas. We set down our main topics and outlined the content, realizing that each newcomers group is autonomous; whatever we wanted to present, and however we wanted to present it, depended upon us, as long as we did not violate any of AA's Traditions. We assigned individuals to chair each session and picked backups for emergencies and moral support.

Our first outline was launched as a sort of trial balloon, and consisted of six sessions. Later, to adjust to our dwindling "core group," we cut the topics to five and finally to four: (1) introduction to AA; (2) Step One; (3) Steps Two and Three; (4) wrap-up--sponsorship, types of groups, and tools. Through combining topics and tightening our basic premise, we still covered much the same ground. Flexibility and adaptability were to stand us in good stead all through the year and a half of meetings. We decided to limit the meeting's duration to one hour and to use a speaker-discussion format. Our chairpersons would introduce their topics, keeping the opening remarks to twenty to thirty minutes, then try to stimulate open discussion or questions for the balance of the hour.

Since we had our meeting place, the next order of business was to list our meeting with the local AA central office. We opted to be recorded as a meeting, not as a group. We would not be given a service number, or elect general service and intergroup representatives (GSR and IR); however, we were included in the local meeting list as a newcomers group.

We needed money to defray initial expenses, such as literature, coffee, coffepot, token "rent" to the church. Since most of our volunteers were from the same home group, we chose to tell all its members, at a group conscience meeting, what we hoped to do. A special collection of individual contributions was taken. The amount collected was more than adequate; we were in business.

Flyers came next, to be distributed at district GSR and IR meetings and to be posted at our central and telephone-answering offices. Through our district Committee on Cooperation with the Professional Community, we also contacted the probation officers in our area and informed them of the new introductory meeting. The pastor of the host church announced our meetings in the church bulletin and informed his peers at local pastorate meetings. If any professional was to follow our suggestions and send an alcoholic to open or newcomers AA meetings until he or she made a commitment, we knew we had better have such meetings available.

Finally, with high hopes and something almost akin to "missionary zeal," we were ready to begin. Our first meeting was packed with well-wishers and old-timers, but no newcomers. The next few meetings produced one newcomer, but our old-timers slacked off. No one was exactly beating the doors down to get in, but we doggedly persisted, using the time to polish our presentations. Soon, the number of newcomers increased to two or three. All of them had DWI convictions and had been "sentenced" by the courts to attend AA meetings. Needless to say, their attitudes were not the greatest. They listened politely enough, stayed to get their slips signed, but refused to participate in any way. Occasionally, we would get an outburst of resentment. Even this was welcomed, for, although we understood the newcomers' feelings, it was very disheartening to get no feedback at all.

When they criticized the courts or the probation officers, we had to remember Tradition Ten; we could empathize, but not be critical of our professional friends. In signing attendees' slips at the end of the meetings, we had to be certain each newcomer understood our practice of cooperating without affiliating (Tradition Six). We needed to be certain our chairpersons understood and practiced the Traditions, so that a possible verbal slip would not further confuse the newcomer. In fact, as in all AA service, much of what we do is dictated by AA's Traditions.

Since our chairpersons rotated and our only officer was a treasurer, a recurring problem was being certain that all our arrangements reflected the consensus of all volunteer participants. All decisions had to be group decisions; we could not, in the interests of unity, afford to leave any of them to any member acting alone.

Gradually, our group of chairpersons dwindled from eight to four persons. We rearranged our topics and backup procedures to accommodate the new circumstances. By tightening and combining presentations, we actually seemed to strengthen the content. Our biggest problem was overcoming our own negativism and realizing that a newcomer meeting, like other Twelfth Step work, is exacting and often frustrating. Our impact, if any, was not readily measurable.

These meetings, we had to remember, were not typical AA meetings. We could not expect from this informational format the same sort of emotional recharge that was to be found in a closed AA meeting. What we were doing was strictly service. Our only comfort some nights was to know--deep down, where it counted--that we were right where we should be, doing what we ought to do, at that moment in time.

As word got around about our newcomers meeting, we started to attract AA retreads, recent treatment center graduates, and "off the street" drunks. This group was far more vocal, creating a ripple effect that touched even our more recalcitrant DWI people. The chemistry of a regular AA meeting began to manifest itself, sparking questions and more open discussion.

Our newcomers meeting celebrated its first birthday in May 1984. We are still not a large group. We are the first in our area, we hear, to explain the Fellowship--what it is, what it is not, how it works, why it works, and where it can be found. We do not feature drunkalogs. Today, we are more comfortable with our format, and more secure in what we are trying to do. Yet we do not feel locked in.

Working with newcomers has been a learning experience for all of us. We'd like to think we are humbler, more teachable, more selfless, and infinitely tougher-skinned, although they say the minute you think you have any of these qualities, you don't! Anyway, let's hope our newcomers have at least learned as much as we have.

J. R.
Missouri
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:54 AM   #6
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September 8

Father's Day in Joe's Place
September 08, 2008 Story of the Day

June 1962
Vol. 19 No. 1

Our group (Elmwood Park) has followed with much delight the "coming of age" of Joe. (Now Joe himself would pronounce that Yoe and he has an accent as thick as Norsk Melring--this being a fine sour cream pudding that I would be glad to send you the receipe of.)

We were all very much moved when Joe asked, one evening, if perhaps the secretary would care to read a letter he had gotten from one of his daughters. Then he got another one from her the following Father's Day. And not so long ago the whole family--Joe and Mamma, and three lovely daughters, were our program providers for an evening session.

The original copies of these letters are rather crumpled now, as they have been unfolded and folded many times. The thought was advanced that perhaps excerpts from these letters might be of Grapevine interest, so some Photostats were made of them. It is doubtful if Joe will ever part with the originals.

DEAR Dad:

First, may I wish you a most happy Father's Day. Hope it has been restful and joyous.

I cannot find words large enough to tell you how proud I am of you. You have changed into a completely different person these past few months, bringing our whole family closer. I know Dad, at times you wonder if we really know the difference. Never doubt it, because we certainly do!

Many times I may not have shown you the affection that is within my heart, and I am sorry. Everything takes time. You see Dad, I must get to know a new man all over--this time a better man. We have so much to get caught up on and re-live. It's never too late to begin. . . .

DEAR Dad:

It has been exactly one year to this day since I wrote you a short letter, which was meant to strengthen your faith and confidence in yourself. Perhaps it did help some, as your faith and strength seems to be getting stronger every day.

Since last year, I have noticed a growing "closeness" relationship between our family. May I say it's wonderful to come home to a Dad who shows he cares, is interested and loves. As I said before, it's never too late to begin over and I think you have proved this.

As I look back on this past year, I think of our vacation together. How we fished, swam and joked. You and Mom really made me glow. She just beams whenever she is with you, which is something she never did before. You're just like honeymooners; which is just how it should be.

Remember the time you took me to the AA meeting. I was so proud and happy you asked me to go. I can't begin to tell you how impressed I was. That meeting, together with my psychiatric training helped me to understand how alcohol can affect God's children.

There have been many other instances I could never explain which have made me respect and honor you. I must admit I was a great sinner at one time, as I continually broke the commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother." I can honestly say Dad, I honor you with the highest.

Daddy, don't ever change. You're too wonderful and I love you just the way you are. I never could say that before. . . .

K. T.
Illinois
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:58 AM   #7
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Freedom From the Past
September 11, 2008 Story of the Day

May 1980
Vol. 36 No. 12


I OWE SO MUCH to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am especially grateful I no longer have to fear my past. The price of this freedom is honesty.

Steps Eight and Nine took me quite a while to complete. I had a list of people I had injured, resented, and feared.

I am a dental hygienist. The shakes were the worst when I worked. That scares people, when you have sharp things in their mouths. I used to drink the mouthwash to steady myself.

By the end of my drinking, it was becoming increasingly impossible for me to regulate the drinking so that I felt mellow and yet made sense. I began to make the rounds of the drying-out sanitariums. I would work a week for someone and then take off, or never show up again. In the midst of this insanity, I worked one-half day for a Dr. L. The poor man hardly knew what hit him. I made it until ten o'clock, and a patient canceled. I slipped out to purchase a little extra energy, or medicine. At eleven o'clock, Dr. L. said, "My dear, we can't have this!"

I replied, "I can't help it. I'm an alcoholic." I remember bouncing off the walls in the corridor as I made my exit. After a little "nap" in the car, I awakened at 4:00 AM--in the only car in the parking lot. Pitiful demoralization, all right!

One year later, I entered a women's recovery home, and life began again. Life was and continues to be far more beautiful than I ever dreamed possible, but that is a story in itself.

Four years sober, I had recovered some self-respect. I went on a job interview, and guess what? The walls of the building looked vaguely familiar. The parking lot, too. I had blacked it all out, but in looking at the directory for the building, I recognized a name: Dr. L.'s. It all came rushing back--the disgust, fear, humiliation. Now I had further amends to make, and I thought I had finished with them. I was hired by another dentist, and I put off going to see Dr. L.

My first day on the new job, I arrived early, and the office was not open. I said to myself, "Here goes!" and marched upstairs to Dr. L.'s office. Wouldn't you know, he was there, and so were five patients, waiting in the outer office. I knocked on the Dutch door, ten eyes boring into my back. He opened one-half of the door and said, "Yes?"

I said, "I have come to make amends."

He said, "Yes."

So I broke into a short version of my story and apologized. He said, "Oh, okay," and closed the door. I turned, smiled at my audience, and left.

Walking down the hall, I asked silently, "Well, God, who was that for? For me, for him, or for one of those patients waiting in his reception room? Or for all of us?" The important thing was that I was no longer afraid to run into Dr. L. in the hall; I was free.

I have been at my job in the office downstairs from Dr. L.'s for many years now. Several of his patients come to me just to have their teeth cleaned. Over the years, I have come to know them fairly well. One day, I asked a woman why she did not let Dr. L.'s hygienist clean her teeth.

She said, "My dear, I will not trust those girls he hires. Once, one of them cleaned my teeth, and would you believe it? She was drunk!"

I said, "Oh? How many years ago was that?"

You guessed it--it all matched. I was the reason she no longer had her teeth cleaned upstairs.

Now, I wish I could tell you that I immediately made amends to all those patients. I have told two of them, who laughed and shared their problems with me. There are four more I haven't had the courage to approach yet, but God and I are working on it.

My God has a sense of humor second to none. I firmly believe He guided me to this job so I could clear away some wreckage from my past. I am respected in my profession now. I sometimes teach. My life is rich, varied, and full, and I thank God and AA every day for my second chance at life.

M. R.
California
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:00 AM   #8
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Life Begins at 27
September 12, 2008 Story of the Day
____________
May 1955
Vol. 11 No. 12

IF you were to visit a tubercular sanatarium and hear a young patient say, "I'm glad I'm tubercular" you would probably be shocked. Yet I have valid reasons for being happy with a disease which can be just as deadly as tuberculosis.

My introduction to John Barleycorn was one of those things you call "love at first sight." We belonged together from the very start, and we remained constant lovers for eight agonizing years.

I was nineteen years old when I took my first drink. I was not visibly different from thousands of other young coeds attending universities over the country. My sorority was socially tops. Mine was a good home environment. I had every reason in the world to be happy and I was happy--until I agreed to be a good sport and have just "one little drink."

Within a year from the time I took that first drink, I had to have a drink in the morning to start my day. I had also begun to try to hide the fact that I was drinking too much. At parties, I was "on the wagon." No one knew I had been well-fortified by numerous straight shots before I arrived. Or did they? In my confused mind, my moods, resentments and anxieties were growing day by day.

It wasn't long before I was in and out of hospitals at least four or five times a year. The doctors labeled me as "emotionally immature" each visit I made. Each time I would leave the hospital I would make faithful promises that I would never drink again, but as soon as things didn't go exactly as I wanted them I would get drunk.

Then it was on the wagon, off the wagon, with the first little upset calling for that first little drink. I really did not dream I was an alcoholic then, and neither did my family consider my problem an alcoholic one. A young woman of my age at my social level alcoholic? Impossible! But, of course, I know now that I was, right from the start.

As the months and years rolled by it seemed I could no longer tell the truth. I had set up a pattern of thinking that was as impenetrable as a brick wall. I would tell needless lies about myself rather than tell the truth which would have been so much more simple. I was sinking lower and lower into the depths of self-pity; but, worse, I was losing my own self-respect.

After leaving school I decided that travel would be the solution. But every place I ran, I made a mistake: I took myself with me. And myself was not a very nice companion.

Travel having failed, I decided that-settling down would be the answer. Even before our marriage, my husband was aware of my emotional instability but was at a loss as to what should be done. Neither of us thought my symptoms marked me as an alcoholic, since we were not accustomed to the thought of alcoholism as a disease. The next thirteen months I stayed in the same old pattern of drinking and confusion.

Then I thought if we moved to another town I would be all right. A new start, I said. I was sure this was the answer. We moved but I took myself along. By this time my alcoholism had reached an acute stage and I was put in another hospital, this time in a psycho ward. I spent seven weeks in this hospital but they could not find anything seriously wrong with me. My problem was still "emotional immaturity." After this hospital I resumed the pattern of drinking and running.

One day the phone rang. It was an old friend of mine from out of town whom I had not seen in a long time. She said she was going to be in town for several days and would be out to see me.

The next day we talked at first for hours about everything in the world but drinking. And then, I don't know what it was that made me tell her the story of the living hell I had known the past few years, but I did and her friendliness and interest were a warm welcome. She said she could understand exactly what I was going through. Then she told me her story. The story of how she had come to Alcoholics Anonymous three years ago. I sat for hours and listened. She seemed so happy and relaxed, so peaceful and so alive.

I went to my first AA meeting extremely confused and physically sick. The first weeks and months in AA were full of fear--and hope. I was fighting my way against the bottle. At first it wasn't easy. Through the constant help of my AA friends, I kept driving myself to those meetings. I wasn't alone.

Suddenly I found I was beginning to have what I called and referred to as my "good days" about two good days every week. These good days were filled with hope, serenity, a clear mind and calmness. Then gradually those good days turned into good weeks. I began to quit fighting everything, including myself. I began to listen and I began to learn.

I learned that I can live only one day at a time. If I want to feel sorry for myself and let negative thinking creep into my life, I can surely be unhappy. I have learned that the past is gone and the future is only a dream. I know what I did yesterday is not important, but what I do today is important. I no longer run away from life. I can now live each day with an opportunity to help someone else who may be suffering the same tortures I did. I have regained my old friends and have made many new friends. And best of all, I have learned to live with myself sober.

Now I am twenty-seven years old and I am lucky because I am young and have found this wonderful way of life and most of it lies ahead if I don't take that first drink.

Betty E.
Texas
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Old 09-15-2008, 03:34 PM   #9
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September 15, 2008 Story of the Day
__________
September 1957
Vol. 14 No. 4

1. When I begin to dislike AA conversation or company. . .
2. When I willfully stay away from meetings. . .
3. When I am beginning to take another person's inventory instead of my own. . .
4. When I'm more afraid of being known as an AA member than as a drunk. . .
5. When I begin to remember the good times I had drinking and overlook the bad times. . .
6. When I condemn in others that which I tolerate in myself. . .
7. When I say I forgive but I don't forget. . .
8. When I shrink from self-examination. . . I'M SLIPPING!


O. A.
Texas
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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Here Comes the Neighborhood
September 16, 2008 Story of the Day
_______________
July 1982
Vol. 39 No. 2

The two-story building I live in has apartments on the second floor. The ground floor is used for office space, in part of which nightly AA meetings were recently started.

I have come in for some good-natured ribbing about my proximity to the meeting place. It has been suggested that I drill a hole from my place to the meeting room, so that I could just slide down a firehouse pole into one of the chairs. It has also been pointed out that I can no longer say I can't get to a meeting.

One of our members (who won a prize on Halloween for his portrayal of a sheriff) took it upon himself to lay down the law to me about what is expected of me as a neighbor. Since I'm the one who told the group about the meeting place, it could be said that I'm "sicker than others," or why would I need a meeting in my own building?

I see some irony in all this, since for a time while I was drinking, I lived in an apartment complex above a tavern. Now that I'm sober, I live above an AA meeting. It's another irony that the meeting is right around the corner from a tavern I drank in some years ago. One of the members was having trouble finding the meeting until I told him it was near that tavern--and then he knew!

I am truly blessed to have this happen to my neighborhood. So--"here comes the neighborhood" (not "there goes the neighborhood," as my neighbors might have said if a drunk had moved in).

R. O.
Washington
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