The GSR Says!
GREETINGS AND HOLIDAY SALUTATIONS. . .
I want to thank you all for allowing me to be of service this past year as Step 2 Men’s Group’s General Service Representative. It has been a year of adjustments for all of us and for Alcoholics Anonymous. In January of 2020 there was a lot of excitement and interest in the General Service Conference scheduled for June. A bold and ambitious variety of proposals concerning current AA literature were on the table as up-coming Conference Agenda Item topics. In addition there was concern over how well AA was functioning in the digital age of communication and outreach. How soon we were to find out! By the end of March all in person meetings, committees, and conferences were scrambling to get up and running online.
I can say that in my humble opinion AA and our group responded very well! Thanks to our resident tech master, Mark C and thanks to all of you for being patient and willing to make the adjustments, our group, like the vast majority of groups in AA transitioned to online in a fairly smooth and timely fashion.
Looking forward to next year, the agenda items held over from this year will hopefully be back in play as the General Service Office moves forward with the 2021 Conference. I am looking forward to some lively discussions as these topics are made available.
Points to consider: Where are the newcomers? Perhaps some of us individually might make an effort to attend other online meetings in our area, larger meetings that might be attracting newcomers, and take the initiative to reach out and invite them to our meeting?
Thank you and Happy Sobriety!
In the roughly eight years since she left treatment for alcohol-use disorder, Amy Durham has been to countless recovery group meetings. At first, she went every day, before gradually scaling back to two or three times a week — a routine she stuck with until this past March, when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered many in-person meetings nationwide.
As we move into December, we find ourselves reflecting on the year. November brought us Thanksgiving, where we focused on what we were grateful for in the past year. Christmas brings us into the moment of where we are and who we have around us. This leads into the excitement of what will come with the New Year. New year resolutions swirl around our minds, many that we have no reason not to believe we will accomplish. We forget that the newness fades and we may eventually lose the fervor and soon the goal will just be a distant thought. We relish in the possibility that the next year will be better and we WILL do it this time.
I started my path into recovery last New Year. January first of 2020 I ended up in the hospital having withdrawal seizures. The first four days were horrible for those around me. Nurses, my spouse, and my mother took different abuses. My mother and Jeremy took watches over me as the nurses and doctors kept me hydrated and sedated. Then I started coming to and had an excitement to go home and live this new life. I ended up having 2 more seizures when I went home on the sixth. I was in the hospital two more days. I had made it through the first part of my resolution. This new chance at life now seemed more than reachable, but in my grasp.
With this newly found power I went into a treatment program that involved almost daily study and regular attendance to AA. I valiantly went forth, head held high, to build a better me. I attended several AA groups and settled mainly on the Step 2 Men’s group. The combined sobriety in the group gave me hope. Then I could not sleep. This was the start of a relapse before I had thought about relapsing. Then I gave myself permission. Soon enough I was lying and sneaking again. A little became a lot. I found an old beginning. To spare all the details, I tried to quit several times and the withdrawals got worse every time. I started to hate drinking while still yearning for it like it was cough medicine. I wanted to breathe but the medicine was horrible. I decided to quit.
I go into the hospital and asked for help. This time it felt different. I am resolute. I had a stay at a detox facility where I was on watch, with medicinal intervention. I developed a plan for recovery. Kaiser said no, I would have to follow their plan to access all of their services. I started back with this group and was greeted cheerfully. I was embarrassed to be starting over, but the assurance I was given made it so easy to jump back in. I was asked to chair that meeting and I told my story and expressed my shame. The men in this group did not hold back. They didn’t care what got me back, but that I was back.
Starting over doesn’t have to happen January first. We can start over anytime as long as we embrace that we are also continuing on. We can never fix the past and may never resolve the results of the past, but we can build a future. We should not wallow in what has been done; we should work on what can be done. I will never be cured of alcoholism, but I can work every day to not let alcohol take back over. I look forward to building this brighter future.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Contributed by Kevin O.
Pass the Basket… please?
As we enter the umpteenth month or so without meeting in person…there’s a big elephant in the room! You guessed it…revenue from our contributions. Our trusted servants, Step 2 Men’s Group Treasurer Dan Mc. and General Secretary Tom W. are asking our help.
In fact, we’re all asking each of you and us…to make a contribution to the group. Please make your check or money order payable to “Dan McKinley” and mail direct to: Dan McKinley P.O. Box 221756 Sacramento, CA. 95822.
While an amount of $50 is ideal, we understand this may not be possible for all or even desirable. Any amount is much appreciated, any amount is thoughtful. As always, it is an entirely voluntary contribution. There will be no judging! Well…not much anyway. Just kidding, no one cares whether or not you assisted.
Please give what you can. Our group remits a great deal to Central Office, St. Francis Church (both rent & causes) and other expenses. Thank you in advance all of you…you guys are awesome!
THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT
From John M.
Things have gone to hell in a handbasket.
I can tell from my YouTube. Games, Politics, Elections, Bans, Masks, forget the will of the People, YouTube tells me its all decided in a back room.
Me and my meager wager have to wait from Thursday to the following Wednesday for this Season’s Premiere match up.
My alma mater knocked off the last NCAA Men’s basketball champ, Virginia. I would be ecstatic but I didn’t take the 2500 money line.
I went to Thanksgiving. It was outside. Which would have been fine if we celebrated Thanksgiving in July. Could have been done. I am usually thankful around Independence Day. As it was 12 people huddled around a space heater and a smoky outdoor fire pit, eating as fast as they could. It was a Thanksgiving Feast Fast Food style.
I am not the only one complaining.
A fellow told me a story about being with a woman the other day and she insisted he get completely undressed but leave his mask on. Apparently, he was a little off his amorous game. In the morning she called the cops to remove an intruder.
My other buddy went from LAX to Chicago Midway for $95.00 round trip. On Southwest too, nice airline. While waiting in the cab line, he and five others were held up at gun point. $500 and all his credit cards were stolen.
What message can I pass on to my fellow alcoholics with this mess.
Hang in there? Don’t get your dauber down? Things will get better?
Still we, as alcoholics who have committed to AA have to try and carry the message someway. Someone came to me.
She had the usual. Excessive drinking. Drug use. Some of it hard drugs.
I really didn’t want to get involved. But I did.
She said she was clean for a couple weeks and was really trying. Just needed someone to talk to. So, I said okay. Even though I was skeptical of the couple weeks.
I told her it would not be wise to meet but… she could call and text, call this other woman I know and should really try to get into a rehab.
Unfortunately, she went back out this last weekend.
But it got me thinking…… dangerous as that is.
Maybe there is someone else in my circle of friends and family that needs the “I’m not gonna tell you to stop drinking but if you want to talk about it” speech/talk.
I know this one guy. And it has been going on too long and getting worse. I should call him. It might turn around this dreary winter.
THE LITERARY CORNER:
“Wine gives one ‘ideas,’ whereas champagne gives one ‘strategies.”
― Roman Payne
“I see that a man cannot give himself up to drinking without being miserable one-half his days and mad the other.”
― Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
“A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can’t predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.”
― Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
“Alcohol was for people who basically wished to be dead but lacked the courage to kill themselves.”
― MacDonald Harris, Mortal Leap
“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day. Night life is when you get up with a hangover in the morning. Night life is when everybody says what the hell and you do not remember who paid the bill. Night life goes round and round and you look at the wall to make it stop. Night life comes out of a bottle and goes into a jar. If you think how much are the drinks it is not night life.”
― Ernest Hemingway, 88 Poems
“The way a man drinks in company tells you nothing about him, but the way he drinks when alone reveals, without his realizing it, the very depths of his soul.”
― Irène Némirovsky, Fire in the Blood
“Tobacco, coffee, alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine, are weak dilutions. The surest poison is time.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Blackouts can be fun if approached with the right mindset. You just can’t sweat the fact that you’ve lost a small portion of your life for all eternity. Occasionally, little bubbles of memory will float up like surreal Mylar party balloons at unexpected times throughout the net day and start piecing together a colorful, if incomplete, version of reality.”
― Josh Kilmer-Purcell, I Am Not Myself These Days
“Cannabis sativa and its derivatives are strictly prohibited in Turkey, and the natural correlative of this proscription is that alcohol, far from being frowned upon as it is in other Moslem lands, is freely drunk; being a government monopoly it can be bought at any cigarette counter. This fact is no mere detail; it is of primary social importance, since the psychological effects of the two substances are diametrically opposed to each other. Alcohol blurs the personality by loosening inhibitions. The drinker feels, temporarily at least, a sense of participation. Kif abolishes no inhibitions; on the contrary it reinforces them, pushes the individual further back into the recesses of his own isolated personality, pledging him to contemplation and inaction. It is to be expected that there should be a close relationsip between the culture of a given society and the means used by its members to achieve release and euphoria. For Judaism and Christianity the means has always been alcohol; for Islam it has been hashish. The first is dynamic in its effects, the other static. If a nation wishes, however mistakenly, to Westernize itself, first let it give up hashish. The rest will follow, more or less as a manner of course. Conversely, in a Western country, if a whole segment of the population desires, for reasons of protest (as has happened in the United States), to isolate itself in a radical fashion from the society around it, the quickest and surest way is for it to replace alcohol by cannabis.”
― Paul Bowles, Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World
“The drink you like the best should be the drink you drink the most.”
― JB Burgess, honest*
“It was one of those things they keep in a jar in the tent of a sideshow on the outskirts of a little, drowsy town. One of those pale things drifting in alcohol plasma, forever dreaming and circling, with its peeled, dead eyes staring out at you and never seeing you. It went with the noiselessness of late night, and only the crickets chirping, the frogs sobbing off in the moist swampland. One of those things in a big jar that makes your stomach jump as it does when you see a preserved arm in a laboratory vat.”
― Ray Bradbury, The October Country
From an idea by George T.
Our Trusted Servants Remain:
Monday: Tim C.
Tuesday: Dick M.
Wednesday: John M.
Thursday: Grapevine, Book & Step Study w/ Bob R.
Friday: Dan Mc.
Saturday: David K.
Sunday: Mark C.
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 Sunday Secretaries and let them know!
(^^if you hover your mouse over the lower left corner you can switch pages)
Here’s the connection info for joining the meeting, in case anyone missed it.
Contributed by Mark C.
A.A. member Dave Mc. curates a few selected readings from a variety of A.A. related publications each month. Dave is a life long friend of the editor and has been sober 34 years. His childhood nickname was “Mouse!”
“It is by self-forgetting that one finds.” 12 Steps & 12 Traditions, pg 99 Step Eleven
“Learning how to listen, really listen, is a difficult task, but one that’s not beyond our reach. We might begin by acknowledging in our replies what our conversational partner is saying. We might ask if there is anything we can do to help when someone expresses a problem. With a little practice, we can find greater freedom from self-obsession and closer contact with the people in our lives.” Learning, Just For Today, Chapter 6
Contributed by Dave Mc.
First Wednesday… December 2nd
John M. reviews the 12th Step on December 2nd (First Wednesday). “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Oh no…I’m not WORKING!
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 ‘Grapevine, Book & Step Study’
Bob R. takes the reigns to take us through Grapevine, Twelve Steps and Big Book readings to start the meeting every Thursday. Each missive is packed with fine prose, fascinating insights and challenging reading. 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 Bob your support and contribute something to the newcomer. Every Thursday at 11:30.
We’ll try to make readings available ahead of time on the website.
December Birthdays… IF They Make It!
December 1st… Tim K. celebrates 4 years!
December 8th… Erik L. celebrates 2 years!
December 25th… Tom W. celebrates 13 years!
December 29th… Keith D. celebrates 9 years!
If your birthday has been missed, please use this form to add it to our growing list.
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…’
Our Twelfth Step also says that as a result of practicing all the Steps, we have each found something called a spiritual awakening. . . . A.A.’s manner of making ready to receive this gift lies in the practice of the Twelve Steps in our program.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 106-07
I remember my sponsor’s answer when I told him that the Steps were “suggested.” He replied that they are “suggested” in the same way that, if you were to jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is “suggested” that you pull the ripcord to save your life. He pointed out that it was “suggested” I practice the Twelve Steps, if I wanted to save my life. So I try to remember daily that I have a whole program of recovery based on all Twelve of the “suggested” Steps.
From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
How many sponsors does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the bulb has to really want to change!
A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing. The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention, but the drunk continues to sit there. Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall. The drunk mumbles, ‘Ain’t no use knockin, there’s no toilet paper on this side either.
How many Al-anons does it take to unscrew a lightbulb?
None, they just lovingly detach and let the lightbulb unscrew itself.
What is the difference between your therapist and your sponsor?
The only time your sponsor says the word “closure”, it is immediately followed by “your mouth”.
A man and his wife were awoken at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.” Not a chance,” says the husband, “it is 3:00 in the morning!” He slams the door and returns to bed. “Who was that?” asked his wife.” Just some drunk guy asking for a push,” he answers.” Did you help him?” she asks.” No, I did not, it is 3:00 in the morning and it is pouring rain out there!” “Well, you have a short memory,” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!” The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain. He calls out into the dark, “Hello, are you still there?” “Yes,” comes back the answer. “Do you still need a push?” calls out the husband. “Yes, please!” came the reply from the dark. “Where are you?” asks the husband. “Over here on the swing,” replied the drunk.
“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
Please be “of service.” If you’ve never contributed a “My First Meeting”, please help 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. Could be funny, poignant or strictly “clinical”. Write what you want…you might have enjoy writing it! For now…enjoy this ‘MFM’ Classic:
“At my first AA meeting I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and exactly where I needed to be.”
Truer words were never spoken. Thanks George T!
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.
EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS DEPT:
Thanks to our ‘GSR’ George T. for “The GSR Says”. Thank you John M. & Kevin O. Thanks to Mark C. for your contributions in making our online meetings a reality, managing our secretaries and guiding members through the process. Thanks to Dave Mc. for “Mouse’s Corner.” Thank you 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. Act now and it will get included next month!