STEP 2 MEN’S GAZETTE
February 1, 2020 Vol. One No.28
JUST LIKE THAT
Last weekend I was sitting in the backseat of my Ex’s Volvo during a 7 hour with two stops ride to Los Angeles.
I had exhausted myself contorting around the 3 square feet of allotted space, trying to relocate my reading glasses that I finally found when they fell out of my shirt pocket.
I leaned against the car door, panting, my Ex and middle kid prattled on like the Jabberwock, and started to think about how I needed to start thinking about The Column.
Did I really have faith that a power greater than myself would restore me to sanity?
I had become skeptical.
I was heading to Los Angeles because my Ex and the kids had things to do down there, and about the Thursday before realized that they needed a credit card without their names on it and invited me.
I was going to have all day and night Saturday on my own, but without a car. I had just figured out that USC, UCLA, the Clippers and the Lakers were all on the road. Santa Anita didn’t look feasible without a lot of effort. I guess I could hang at the beach in Santa Monica, admire the nattily dressed crowd, to whom I had become invisible. Why would I expect to stand out decked out in my fashions by Costco?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Los Angeles, particularly Santa Monica. It’s warm. The sea breeze… I like the Pier and walking up to the tide pools towards Malibu.
The problem is at some point I am back to the madness of a two hour discussion on where to eat and going to a restaurant that no one wants to be at. No one can find a room key when we get back to the hotel. You walk through the lobby to the grinning bell desk, who, are holding the car for a $50 per day parking ransom.
Yet, all in all, getting on the 5 North to head back home, it seemed like everyone had a good time.
We had only been on the road about 45 minutes and a discussion of how LeBron had passed Kobe in scoring the night before, when we heard the news.
(At this point, my readers, put the tips of your thumb and middle finger together and hold them there.)
We were at the foot of the Grapevine when my Middle Kid looked up from her phone and said, Kobe Bryant was dead.
At first, we all thought it was a hoax on TMZ, but by the time we were on the other side of the mountain all the other news agencies confirmed. Kobe Bryant, not quite 42, one of the most successful people in the world in many aspects of a vocation and life, had been in a fatal helicopter crash into a hill that we had passed on the freeway, only 30 minutes before.
Why? Why him? Why him and the members of three other families including his beautiful daughter?
(Back to your fingers, snap them)
Snap your fingers again.
That’s how quickly it all can end for all of us.
I think sometimes our Program is not all about not drinking. There are contemplations of our spirituality, our mortality and our qualities.
Think about them for a moment.
After about 6 hours of listening to the various sports radio networks the rest of the way home, all I could think about is being grateful. Never mind about all the foibles of traveling with my brood, I need to be more grateful that I and they are still with me.
Of all the things we think are so important, this week, let’s all take out a piece of paper. Make a list of all the things we are grateful for, including each other.
Because, (snap those fingers), just like that, it can all be gone.
Contributed by John M.
February is Gratitude month?
What are you crazy dude! November is gratitude month right? Thanksgiving, grateful and all that stuff right?
What is there to get out of still going to meetings, after all these years?
Experience, strength and hope. Ideally, I’m sharing that with you, the newcomer and even myself, if I’m listening. In a perfect setting and the planets are all aligned, I’m hearing and feeling the experience, strength and hope of my fellows too.
If I go to meetings with a purpose, the purpose to do those two things…sharing and listening… I often leave being more grateful than when I arrived. Sometimes that gratitude lasts for up to an hour after I’ve left. But even after the “feeling” wears off…the intellect, the smart-guy in me (not the smart-a**) learns. He remembers.
Gratitude is what I go to meetings for. Every meeting is a gratitude meeting. Every month a gratitude month!
Contributed by Mark W.
THE LITERARY CORNER: ALCOHOL IN LITERATURE
“Those who are Christians are to see to it that they are grateful for grace and redemption and conduct themselves modestly, moderately, and soberly, so that one does not go on living the swinish life that goes on in the filthy world….”
“…In my time it was considered a great shame among the nobility [drunkenness]. Now they are worse than the citizens and peasants; We preach, but who stops it? Those who should stop it do it themselves; the princes even more. Therefore Germany is a land of hogs and a filthy people which debauches its body and its life. If you were going to paint it, you would have to paint a pig.
“This gluttony is inundating us like an ocean….We are the laughingstock of all the other countries, who look upon us as filthy pigs;…It is possible to tolerate a little elevation, when a man takes a drink or two too much after working hard and when he is feeling low. This must be called a frolic. But to sit day and night, pouring it in and pouring it out again, is piggish. This is not a human way of living. not to say Christian, but rather a pig’s life.”― Martin Luther
“Stale beer sticks to wobbling tables. The cigarette machine flashes in the corner, mocking smokers who never have any change on them. There’s no natural light in this pub, so it’s dark and gloomy. The pain on the face of the staff tells its own story: overworked, underpaid, exploited and treated as expendable. I feel at home with them. They’re so scared they will be fired from their terrible jobs, every time I order a beer they ask me if I want any peanuts or crisps, in case between drinks I’ve turned into the dreaded mystery shopper. The air is chewy and weighs heavy on the skin. The fruit machines in the corners don’t make a sound, aware this is the last stop saloon for the drunk few who can’t afford to gamble properly. Everyone here is down to their last pint and pound.”― Craig Stone, Life Knocks
“As I discovered, the path to sobriety is a precarious, complex journey. You obviously want to purge yourself of something that has been so destructive and has had such a grip on you. But in the deep recesses of your mind, you wonder if you will mourn the loss of this old friend that has been by your side for years. I know this sounds sick, but you actually find yourself wondering if your life is going to become quite boring without this crutch. of course, the yearning for true health far outweighs everything else. You know things are going to be better for you, for your loved ones, and for everyone you encounter. You will no longer have to hide things and live a lie. Yes, that initial high of drugs and booze can be very, very attractive, but it’s not worth the wrecked and trashed feeling you have the next morning. Nor is it worth the cumulative toll it exacts from you.”
― Lou Gramm, Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock ‘n’ Roll
From an Idea by George T.
OUR TRUSTED SERVANTS Continue to be:
This month we’re grateful for our Secretaries! The current ‘Step 2 Men’s Group’ meeting schedule is Monday through Friday at 11:30 AM. The Thursday meeting is a ‘Book/Step Study’ format. Each of the M-F gatherings are one hour.
Monday: Tim C.
Tuesday: Dick M.
Wednesday: John M.
Thursday: George T.
Friday: Dan Mc.
Want to add your name to the “Back-up-Help-Substitute Secretary List”? Just contact Group GS, Tom W., Treasurer Dan Mc. or any Monday through Friday Secretary and let them know!
Don’t forget to visit step2mensgroup.com for the newsletter AND many other AA related information. Created by our own Mark C., it’s THE best way to be a part of Step 2 Men’s Group electronically. Mark has done a great job putting it together and it took time.
Take a peek and let him know how you like it. Thanks Mark C!
Included there you’ll find current meeting schedules from all over our region, archived Step 2 Men’s Group newsletters, how to share your ‘AA’ birthday, links to some of Alcoholics Anonymous literature including the “Big Book”, and much more!
Check it out now and make it a habit…hey…you’re already good at habits.
For more details, Ask Mark
‘First Wednesday’ February 5th…
John M. reviews the 1st Step on February 5th (First Wednesday). “Came to believe that power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” What? Greater than moi? Impossible…can you help me get out of bed?
John reviews the step corresponding to the number of that month on each first Wednesday. It’s a rewarding meeting with John outlining each step and how he was challenged by it. Look for his monthly contribution in this edition!
THURSDAY ‘Book & Step Study’ w/ George T!
George T. takes us through the Twelve Steps and Big Book portions to start the meeting every Thursday. Each missive is packed with fine prose, fascinating insights and challenging reading. Following the read (about 20 minutes)…the floor is open to everyone’s thoughts on how they may have been influenced or impacted by that writing. It’s really fun to be a part of and members are enjoying it.
Get on in here and show George support and contribute something to the newcomer. Every Thursday at 11:30.
February Birthdays …IF They Make It!
February is apparently not a popular “get sober” month. Likely a lot of metrics as to why, right?
I guess…if you don’t get sober in January…why bother? Watch for Step 2 Men’s birthdays next month!
If your birthday has been missed….PLEASE fill out this handy Birthday Form!
We really want to celebrate your AA anniversary because your birthday made ours possible!
Thanks everybody and apologies to you if you were missed or incorrectly noted.
Alcoholics Anonymous “Daily Reflection”…
“. . . Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life. I can’t say upon what occasion or upon what day I came to believe in a Power greater than myself, but I certainly have that belief now.”
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 27
“Came to believe!” I gave lip service to my belief when I felt like it or when I thought it would look good. I didn’t really trust God. I didn’t believe He cared for me. I kept trying to change things I couldn’t change. Gradually, in disgust, I began to turn it all over, saying: “You’re so omnipotent, you take care of it.” He did. I began to receive answers to my deepest problems, sometimes at the most unusual times: driving to work, eating lunch, or when I was sound asleep. I realized that I hadn’t thought of those solutions—a Power greater than myself had given them to me. I came to believe.
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
A newcomer sitting in the back of a meeting began leafing through pages of the Big Book. “What are you looking for?”, asked an old-timer. “Loopholes”, said the newcomer. T.J. Tulsa, OK March 1998.
An alcoholic is a person who, from a single tree, creates a great forest in which he immediately gets lost! Will K. LaFarge WI, August 1997
Service work in AA is like a football game: 20,000 spectators, who might benefit from a little exercise, watching 22 players, badly in need of rest! Joe S. Kerrville,TX March 2007
“I really want to thank you for sticking with me through all the years of my drinking, and the first five of my sobriety”, said the AA to his spouse on his fifth-year birthday. “But I’m curious. If I started drinking again, would you still love me?”
After a momentary pause, his wife replied, “Of course I’d still love you. I’d miss you, but I’d still love you!” Richard M. Golden, CO September 2008
“The Joke Box” features narratives, anecdotes and jokes from the AA publication “A Rabbit Walks Into a Bar”. Available at the AA Central Office, it contains the best material from the historic AA Grapevine. You can learn more at aagrapevine.org. Thanks to Anthony S. for picking up a copy and suggesting it!
Urgent need for My First Meeting !
NO ONE RESPONDED to the request to contribute “one sentence to one paragraph” about the things you remember most of your first meeting. Let’s trying shaming you? My gosh guys…one sentence?
Here’s a “My First Meeting” ‘Classic’!
I had “voluntarily” (that’s a whole other story) entered what was then the ‘Care Unit of North Sacramento’. It was their practice at that time to escort newcomers to an outside meeting twice each week in order to familiarize patients with Alcoholics Anonymous and instill good habits from the start.
My first AA meeting was in fact right in the heart of North Sac. The “North Sacramento Group” at 2230 Fairfield Street, near Del Paso Blvd. is still there today. It did not disappoint.
Anything I had ever imagined in my wildest dreams (and fears) AA to be…this was it! Crusty old drunkards, ‘rode hard and put away wet’ men and women of all configurations were on display. It was exactly as I’d pictured AA, though obviously I hadn’t spent enough time picturing it.
This crowded smoke filled hall was my very first time. How on earth did I get here? Who in the heck were these people and how would they possibly understand my important problems? I absolutely could never foresee a future involving me in a place like this.
Fortunately on the following ‘outing’ we were transported to a different meeting. To these AA virgin eyes it was more user friendly, with younger folks who I instantly related with.
We did go back to that North Sac hall more than once though in my initial 30 day stay at the Care Unit. I can’t say my impressions changed much on follow up visits! But I can say that today…it is likely I’d find that North Sacramento Group to be a lot more inviting and full of a lot of souls just like me.
Mark W. January 23, 2018
Memory Lane…Remember the FUN We Had?
Hey…We’re the step of the month!
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
We’d never presume that the 12 Steps are not clear. Nor would we imply that they need ‘improvement’. However…for purposes of assisting to keep the meeting pointed in an important direction each day, the Step 2 Men’s Group statement is read as follows:
Step 2 Men’s Group is founded on the belief that spirituality is essential to our sobriety. Our group is non-religious, but we do not oppose anyone’s religious beliefs. We believe that respect for others and their beliefs are essential to our spiritual development. Accordingly we ask that avoid criticism of others or of their religion or lack of religion, their race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, physical appearance, trade or profession, length of sobriety, or personal beliefs. Our goal is to further our spirituality, our sobriety and our personal development, not to confront or belittle others. Always remember to be kind to others.
SPECIAL THANKS DEPT:
Thank you John M. for your hard work and “Just Like That.” Thank you Mark C. for your hard work creating the http://step2mensgroup.com/ web site. Thanks to Anthony S. for the ‘Joke Box’. We’re still waiting for YOU gentle reader…Why don’t YOU contribute a short “something”? Any length, most any AA related topic. Reply now and it will get included next month!
On a serious note…the sender’s email address [email protected] has been created specifically for this newsletter. The ‘inbox’ may not be reviewed often. Every effort will be made to NOT share your email address with anyone w/o express written permission from you. You may ‘opt out’ at any time from this newsletter by simple reply…” Stop sending me this junk”! Please suggest columns, advice…ideas. Your comments are always welcome.