“I AM A MIRACLE”The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 25This truly is a fact in my life today, and a real miracle. I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him; I am sober today because of that! Learning to trust and rely on God was something I could never have done alone. I now believe in miracles because I am one!
A New Tool for the New Year
Ah, the New Year. A Time when I review the past and resolve to take steps to improvement. Normally, this is an easy exercise. I have so many faults to choose from. I will reflect again this time next year and marvel at my accomplishments. Like hell. But its good to have a positive attitude.
The week after Christmas entertains a somewhat family tradition when my family and another family vacation somewhere south, to get out of the cold weather at home. Sometimes, other relatives of the two also come along. Even the estranged. Like my ex-wife’s sister and brother in law come over from Texas, as a version of Cousin Eddie and Cousin Catherine from Vacation.
This year’s trek was nine hours south in a driving rain with my ex insisting on driving. My middle kid, 24, was in the other front seat, talking and talking. My youngest, 21, in the back with me, her face buried in a movie on an iPad. And I in the back seat, praying and considering the irony of surviving two years of Covid yet I could be pavement fertilizer in the blink of a windshield wiper.
I thought a lot. I had survived, so far. Thought about my neighbor Larry who lives in my building. He has worn the same mask since the outbreak started. He has had every shot available but insists on wearing that mask 24/7. In the small confines of the elevators one can see the remnants of meals past and traces from the hay fever and cold and flu season. Each time I see him, I am glad he feels protected and then race in to my apartment searching for partial left over prescriptions of penicillin.
It got me to thinking about AA and the Virus.
We have adapted fairly well. We have online meetings now. If the Step Two Men’s Group’s online meetings are inconvenient, there are online meetings 24/7 now accessible with an internet connection. And I would be remiss not to mention our in person, mask optional meetings at our seriously upgraded new digs on J Street.
All very positive.
I need that positivity because this is a week with 15 other people. At various times some will drink too much, some will say something preposterously stupid and of course there are the two guys with the alligator arms who cannot reach their wallets when at the store or when the check arrives.
With all of that in mind, around Bakersfield I came up with an outstanding idea and I think we have the talent in the group to accomplish it.
Imagine if you will, our own Step Two Men’s Group Covid Variant. The “T” variant. While it won’t work on AA Meetings or other group obligations, this will be our Variant. Something to have like wizards have over muggles.
An app on one’s phone that after entering a passcode, moments later the phone beeps and warns you and everyone else that suddenly, without warning or exposure , you have contracted the T Variant of Covid. You can hold the phone up to display to everyone near and say..
“Sorry everyone, I have as you can see, contracted the T Variant. I must now self-quarantine. As a matter of fact, I have touched that remote control so I better take that with me too. In fact, everyone should clear the room with the TV. Once everyone is safe, someone in protective clothing can bring me in an ice chest of leftovers, cold cuts and soft drinks ,maybe a couple bottles of water, some cookies and candy. Sorry for the inconvenience, now get out of here.”
A new tool for the New Year. I know, I know… genius plus love, that’s me.
We can start the T Variant Project with meetings when I get back.
In the meantime…..HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2022 be your best year ever.
Contributed by John M.
Tradition 1: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity”
- A.A.: Am I still being a loner at A.A. meetings? Do I volunteer to help? Do I stick out my hand? Do I try to help others? How long has it been since I gave my phone number to a newcomer who raised his hand at a meeting?
- RELATIONSHIPS: Am I being a loner in relationships? Do I place the common welfare of the relationship first, or my own needs in a relationship?
- WORK: Do I place the service my company offers to its customers first or do I place my advancement in the company first? Do I work to give service or to earn as much money as possible? Do I care about fellow workers or just myself? Do I use the money just for myself or to benefit others? Am I being a financial loner?
THE LITERARY CORNER:
“I would have preferred whiskey. There’s nothing like its bold flavor and strong burn to remind you that you’re alive. And then quickly dull that feeling.”
― Melanie A. Smith, Everybody Lies
“My dad was the town drunk. Most of the time that’s not so bad; but New York City?”
― Henny Youngman
“It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Of course it may be the duty of a particular Christian, or of any Christian, at a particular time, to abstain from strong drink, either because he is the sort of man who cannot drink at all without drinking too much, or because he wants to give the money to the poor, or because he is with people who are inclined to drunkenness and must not encourage them by drinking himself. But the whole point is that he is abstaining, for a good reason, from something which he does not condemn and which he likes to see other people enjoying.
One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons—marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.
One great piece of mischief has been done by the modern restriction of the word Temperance to the question of drink. It helps people to forget that you can be just as intemperate about lots of other things. A man who makes his golf or his motor-bicycle the centre of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as “intemperate” as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“I did not drink because of my problems. I had problems because I drank. It would take me twenty-three years to figure that out.”
― Judy Collins, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music
Reflections with a Friend
This past Christmas Eve had my old school chum and AA alum exchanging our annual Christmas gifts. Almost always the same, he gives me Blue Diamond Almonds and I, this year, a selection of various flavored nuts. Yummy, I suppose.
We visited for a few minutes, reflecting on our past and current lives. He shared with me how far we each had come, particularly over shared years in the AA program. He, half jokingly said, “ We’re way ahead of these newcomers.” To which I replied, “ We could ‘run this outfit’!” We both laughed, even partly believing it.
His point, he went on to say, was how naive the first timer is capable of being. He expanded his thoughts with, “they actually believe they have to be serene and almost godly motivated with every action every day.”
I had to agree, remembering my early weeks and months. The almost constant beating myself up over my very very much un-godly motives and behavior.
Finally I shared with him how I had only recently practiced a most effective “manipulation tactic” that worked quite well! We had a chuckle over my success story!
More importantly though we laughed over the fact that mostly, not always, we’ve given up on the expectation of perfection. We have accepted we are, never were and never will be anything close to perfection. We mostly make the same mistakes every human being on earth makes.
Having exchanged gifts and goodbyes for the holidays, my friend left and I reentered my home, packed with my loved ones. The ones who see me best. The ones who over the years have first hand experience of all my faults large and small. So many, so very many. Yet, they, sometimes after occasional pouting, have always accepted me and loved me the way I am.
They’re pretty smart, giving people…why shouldn’t I accept me too? Why shouldn’t you, just accept you?
Contributed by Mark W.
First Wednesday… January 5th
Come join a review of Step 1 on January 5th (First Wednesday). “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
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!
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!”
For some of us, exercising is something we do—or think we should do—to take care of our health. But for others, it’s deeper than that. “When I’m running,” said one member, “I get a sense of prayer. My mind becomes clear.” Finding a spiritual connection in exercise is easier for some of us than meditating while sitting still. Exercise can be easier to keep up when it is part of our spiritual practice than when it’s simply a matter of doing what we think we are supposed to do.
From Prayer in “Living Clean” Narcotics Anonymous
Contributed by Dave Mc.
January Birthdays… IF They Make It!
January 2nd… Ken B. celebrates 18 years
January 3rd… Anthony S. celebrates 38 years
January 18th… John O. celebrates 4 years
January 22nd… Sean F. celebrates 1 year
January 25th… Rory B. celebrates 5 years
January 25th… Fred C. celebrates 6 years
If your birthday has been missed…. fill out the 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.
Our Trusted Servants Are:
General Secretary: John M.
Treasurer: Mark W.
A big thank you to Tom W. (GS) and George T. (GSR) for your service!
The current Step 2 Men’s Group meeting schedule is Monday and Wednesday at 3809 J St, Tuesday and Friday on Zoom and “Saturdaily Reflections” at McKinley. Each gathering is one hour and meets at 11:30am. Great job men! (more info)
- Monday: Tim C.
- Tuesday: Mark W.
- Wednesday: John M.
- Friday: Brad W.
- Saturday: David K.
Want to add your name to the “Back-up-Help-Substitute Secretary List”, or serve as our General Service Rep? Just contact Group GS, John M., Treasurer Mark W. or any Monday through Saturday Secretaries and let them know!
One day I’ll get the hang of Google Data Studio – Mark C.
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 is 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 Treasurer, Mark W. for “Reflections with a Friend” and “Funny Papers” and thank you John M. for “A New Tool for the New Year”. Thanks to Dave Mc. for “Mouse’s Corner.” 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!