STEP 2 MEN’S GAZETTE
March 1, 2020 Vol. One No.29
The GSR Says!
I was able to attend an agenda items workshop on Sunday, Feb. 23rd. The purpose of the workshop was to review agenda items that will be up for consideration at the AA General Service Conference in New York in June. There were approximately 75 people in attendance, a very good turnout for this type of workshop.
There is quite a bit of interest in agenda topics relating to literature and social media. There is expected to be a lot of discussion around a proposal asking the Conference to authorize a Fifth Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. A big concern is that there needs to be new stories added to the book that are more representative of our changing membership. For example, stories from alcoholics who are transgender, Asian American, dually addicted, court ordered, and people with disabilities that requires them to utilize e-meetings. The proposals are put forth with the hope that these newer stories would be a powerful tool of attraction to alcoholics that are currently missing from our meeting rooms.
It is important to stress that at this time there is no conference approved plan in place for a Fifth Edition. The question to all of us, as members is this: is it time for a new edition of the Big Book? And, if so, what would that new edition look like? Do we keep the first 164 pages untouched? Do we remove the chapter “To the Wives”…”To the Employer”? Do we consider gender neutral language substitutions? Should the entire Big Book be written in “Plain Language”? Or do we offer a “Plain Language” edition as a translation, simply the latest in an inventory of 71 translations available around the world? All of these questions are being considered in an attempt to answer the question: who is missing from our meetings? All of us at the workshop were asked to look around at our meetings and to take notice of who was not there. And what can we do, with the resources of Alcoholics Anonymous help these still suffering alcoholics get to AA and stay there?
Another agenda item is a proposal for AA Grapevine to set up an Instagram page in hopes of increasing Alcoholics Anonymous’ presence on social platforms.
Finally, did you know that AA Grapevine has a YouTube page? Check it out!
I hope some of what you read here will spark some questions, bring forth some opinions, and elicit insight. I do not intend to take up meeting time discussing these items, however, I am available before and after any meeting to talk with each of you. The Pre-Conference Assembly will be taking place April 4-5. At that time, I hope to be able to accurately convey our group conscience to our Area 07 Delegate, thus ensuring that Step 2 Men’s Group along with all the other groups in Area 07 was a part of an informed decision-making process.
Thank you for the opportunity to be of Service.
Contributed by George T.
TIME OUT, LET’S TALK IT OVER
“John, Did you make that appointment to get your colonoscopy?” Nah, not today…I just didn’t feel God’s will was to get that done today.
I have come to realize some advantages to surrendering my will. There is so much I really do not want to do…EVER. Oh, I had dreams. NBA, NFL, MLB. I gave it some thought. Then realized how much they ran. I decided I was better served being one of those guys who comment on how these sports should be played without having any firsthand knowledge. Hey, these sports need me as much as we need them.
Think about it. I have reflected on how I became an alcoholic. Not being in professional sports was not the reason. I have heard some say, they had a drink and it was love at first buzz. I really didn’t like the buzz. I drank because I was afraid. Afraid of everything, including myself. Afraid of not being cool. Not being liked. Afraid of women. Ok, that might be justified. I was afraid of everything that made me feel bad about myself, including all those folks who liked to point out my deficiencies.
Drinking made it go away. My will, back in the day of three fingers straight up…if it made it to the glass at all, was to do whatever came into my head. If I had reservations about how to go about it, I would get high (first choice) and if pot was not around, a couple of stiff shots would suffice. For inspiration.
Naturally, things didn’t always go well. There was failure. And since I was raised to not give up, no matter how futile, I would be running full steam into that wall over and over. Easing the pain, or looking for a better method, by drinking or rolling up a joint. Consult some one for help? Nah, I couldn’t. I was afraid of them or I was high, or stiff. I led a life of trial and error. So, I guess I have jumped at the chance to have someone else worry about it. Or maybe I just got old, and didn’t care anymore. I know I was done with using as a means of solution. I had to do something because in the end… I was not happy.
Drinking or not didn’t take away my fears. It made them worse or in some cases, made me feel that I was falsely “living on the edge”. I was nowhere near the edge. I was wrapped in a cocoon of foggy distortion. And I knew it. And I had known it for a very long time. I was 60, having left my 3rd rehab, when I made this commitment to AA. Nothing helped before and I tried numerous methods to try to be “normal”.
I can’t say AA has “worked” either. It worked yesterday and so far it’s working today. If I work at it, I have faith that it will work tomorrow. I don’t think I will ever be “normal”. My mind races and I think of things differently. If I look at my life as a game, I entered a commitment to sober up, to fly right, to change my lifestyle, to be something that’s good, in the fourth quarter. I am hoping the commitment to AA will help me to get this game into overtime.
So I had to make a trade with God. I will not drink, and God, you make me not afraid to play.
Contributed by John M.
How many is TOO many?
So you’ve been sober awhile now. Maybe four months, ten months, over a year, or more. You have faithfully attended AA meetings almost everyday or at least when you could. Sometimes you gave up costly (maybe risky) time at work. You may have inconvenienced your family too or made friends wait. You’ve been told over and over, I must go to meetings and yet there could be times when attendance itself seems to interfere and cause a stress all its own.
The thought begins to creep in…I’m not going to go today. You reason that twice a week is enough. Twice a week then dwindles to just once a week. You miss your “weekly meeting” due to travel plans and now you haven’t been to an AA meeting in a month. It’s okay…you feel great and have no desire to drink. Everything’s fine you tell yourself…I don’t really need them anymore.
Some months more have passed. You attend that big fund raiser, that happy wedding, that big party…or…you have that “big fight” with your wife. Maybe you wreck the new car in a fender bender or get demoted at work. The list is endless of the big stressors we all face. The list of the dangerous possibilities of drinking again is much shorter…it could happen to you.
Still, there can be times when missing your regular meeting is the right decision. The family needs you, your job needs you or health issues demand you to miss.
The point could be this…if I’m hiding something in me by not attending, if I’ve become too judgmental of “those meetings” I’m in trouble. IF I’ve convinced myself I don’t need “those meetings” anymore, watch out. I am the one who got me INTO this mess! My best thinking landed me in AA sometime ago and I must be vigilant to see that it does not let me leave.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that; a) I’ve been sober a long time and b) I’ve attended AA meetings regularly the whole time.
I believe it’s smart to stay in the habit of going meetings…if for no other reason that I keep going to meetings! Besides…there has never been a meeting that I didn’t get something out of. Never is a big word not used here lightly.
So can you go to too many meetings? The short answer is no. It’s not likely you’ll drink because you went to a meeting. Can a “veteran AA” attend too much though? Can you get over-saturated with meeting talk, clichés and the like? The answer is different for all of us. It is always your responsibility to decide, but is a responsibility. I am responsible for my own sobriety and I want to keep it. I’ve never been more than three weeks without one and that was once. For the most part I prefer at least two and sometimes three a week, depending on my commitments. I go to more if necessary.
One thing is certain. The answer to ‘too many meetings’ is not, for me, stop going to meetings. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times and so have you…” I relapsed”, “I’m a retread”, “This is my 3rd (insert any number here)” attempt at sobriety”, followed by the famous…”I stopped going to meetings!”
Contributed by Mark W.
THE LITERARY CORNER: ALCOHOL IN LITERATURE
“Avoid using cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs as alternatives to being an interesting person.”
― Marilyn vos Savant
“Alcohol has its own well-known defects as a medication for depression but no one has ever suggested – ask any doctor – that it is not the most effective anti-anxiety agent yet known.”
― Joan Didion, Blue Nights
“Now, my intention was to drink just enough to dull the senses, but intentions should never be mixed with alcohol.”
― Kirt J. Boyd, The Last Stop
“Champagne arrived in flutes’ on trays, and we emptied them with gladness in our hearts… for when feasts are laid and classical music is played, where champagne is drunk once the sun has sunk and the season of summer is alive in spicy bloom, and beautiful women fill the room, and are generous with laughter and smiles… these things fill men’s hearts with joy and remind one that life’s bounty is not always fleeting but can be captured, and enjoyed. It is in writing about this scene that I relive this night in my soul.”
― Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy
“I soaked up the drink and it, in return, absorbed me.”
― Martin Pond, Dark Steps
“I dye my jeans jet black once a week, but they never seem dark enough. I bleach my hair bright white twice a month but it never seems light enough. I drink two and a half bottles of champagne every night but I never seem drunk enough. And I know I’m not high enough until someone grabs my face to check my vision to see if I’m still responsive— And even then, I’m thinking to myself that I should probably do one more line, you know, just to be safe.”
― Kris Kidd, I Can’t Feel My Face
“Any connoisseur knows you’ve got to be drunk to really enjoy a good romance.”
― Osamu Dazai, Blue Bamboo: Japanese Tales of Fantasy
“Far above him a few white clouds were racing windily after a pale gibbous moon. Drink all morning, they said to him, drink all day. This is life!”
― Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano
From an idea by George T.
OUR TRUSTED SERVANTS Continue to be:
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. Great job men!
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!
Work on the still new step2mensgroup.com continues with new features added each week!
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.
Please add your AA birthday/sobriety date right away.
When you see him…take a second to mention the good work he is doing. 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 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 C
‘First Wednesday’ March 4th
John M. reviews the 3rd Step on March 4th (First Wednesday). “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Are you kidding me? What kind of outfit is this anyway? Sure…I’ll just turn my will and life over…no problem!
John reviews the step corresponding to the number of that month on each first Wednesday. It’s a rewarding meeting with John outlining the step of the month, how he was challenged by it and how we tackle it ourselves, with and without success! Look for his monthly contribution in this edition!
THURSDAY ‘Book & Step Study’
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.
March Birthdays …IF They Make It!
Paul T. March 14th…Paul celebrates 4 years!
Tim C. March 17th…Tim celebrates 12 years!
Mark C. March 29th…Mark celebrates 1 year!
If your birthday has been missed….there are TWO ways to get included:
- Your First Name w/ Last initial
- Your “AA’ Birthday (ex.8/1/18)
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…’
It works—it really does.
— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 88
When I got sober I initially had faith only in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Desperation and fear kept me sober (and maybe a caring and/or tough sponsor helped!). Faith in a Higher Power came much later. This faith came slowly at first, after I began listening to others share at meetings about their experiences—experiences that I had never faced sober, but that they were facing with strength from a Higher Power. Out of their sharing came hope that I too would—and could—”get” a Higher Power. In time, I learned that a Higher Power—a faith that works under all conditions—is possible. Today this faith, plus the honesty, openmindedness and willingness to work the Steps of the program, gives me the serenity that I seek. It works—it really does.
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
The man chairing the meeting called on a younger member to share. “I’ve had a terrible day, I wasn’t centered, he said. “I felt alienated, my inner child was deprived and I was not self-actualized at all”, he added. A hard of hearing old-timer whispered, “What did he say?” The chairman replied, “He says he’s hungry, angry, lonely and tired! Joe R. St. James, NY March 1998
A drunk was picked up and landed in jail. The next morning he woke up and asked the policeman on watch, “What am I here for?” “For drinking”, said the cop. “That’s great!” said the drunk. “When do we start?” Greg W. Wakefield, MN. January 1999
Late one night, a boozed-up gentleman entered a large department store. As he stepped on the escalator he read a sign saying “Dogs must be carried on this escalator.” He looked around muttering, “Where in the devil am I going to find a dog at this hour?” Tim M. New York, NY June 2000
A hangover is whiskey that thinks the party is still going. Bob O. Portland, OR. September 1997
You might be an alcoholic if: The vodka you’re drinking reminds you of the taste of a fine aftershave. You might be an alcoholic if: You’re lying in your waterbed all warm and comfy when it hits you…you don’t have a waterbed! Paul G. Montello, WI October 2005
“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!
My First Meeting Classic
Please be “of service.” If you’ve never contributed a “My First Meeting”, please hjelp to keep this column going…we need you! What do you remember most of your first meeting? It can be one sentence, it can be up to two paragraphs. You might have fun writing it! Here’s a “My First Meeting” classic by our Tom W. from the May 1, 2018 edition:
I was forced by a judge to go to 4 AA meetings after a DUI, in 1991. I went to Tahoe Park, got my card signed, and could not wait to never return. A bunch of old people smoking like chimneys and bitching about things, and I wanted nothing more to do with AA. It took another 15 years to conclude that things were so bad that Rehab was my only option. I started looking at AA very differently, listened, and nearly got to 90 meetings in 90 days. I go to meetings, don’t drink in between and life is good.
Tom W. May/2018
Memory Lane…Remember the FUN We Had?
Step 2 Men’s Group Believes…
“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:
Thanks to our ‘GSR’ George T. for “ The GSR Says” Thank you John M. for “Time Out”. Thank you Mark C. for your hard work managing and curating step2mensgroup.com. Thanks to Anthony S. for the ‘Joke Box’. We’re still waiting for YOU gentle reader…Why YOU don’t 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.