WILLINGNESS TO GROWIf more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 8Sobriety fills the painful “hole in the soul” that my alcoholism created. Often I feel so physically well that I believe my work is done. However, joy is not just the absence of pain; it is the gift of continued spiritual awakening. Joy comes from ongoing and active study, as well as application of the principles of recovery in my everyday life, and from sharing that experience with others. My Higher Power presents many opportunities for deeper spiritual awakening. I need only to bring into my recovery the willingness to grow. Today I am ready to grow.
California in 1971, to a Midwest kid was the dream. I was going to come out here and work and play and drink and work and drink and work and drink and drink and drink…be free! And all went according to plan until the plan was killing me.
Until the unplanned moment when the obsession for that first drink was lifted, that day a new plan appeared in front of me; a plan, a program. Not alone. Not a plan or a program of my own making, but one that was ready and waiting for me when I was ready and willing. And there were people I had never imagined to be a part of my life, and there continues to be people I find myself surprised to be sitting alongside of in a room, surprised to be listening to, surprised to be learning from them how to stay sober, how to live a responsible life, a life of simple usefulness.
Idaho, in 2022, to a California guy seems a little weird, but this how it is today in my life. Sure, it was never a part of my plan, but neither was stopping drinking, neither was making all the mistakes I made, neither were all the joys I have had. It is what is in front of me at this time. And if I have learned anything from all of you it is this: all my best plans got me in trouble, so quit with the expectations and the anticipations and the doom scenarios and just do the next thing.
I am going to need that advice in the days going forward. And I want to say goodbye and thank you to all my good friends and trusted companions in Step Two Men’s Group. Thanks for all you have done to help me stay sober!
Contributed by George T.
September Birthdays… IF They Make It!
September 15th… Michael L. celebrates 9 years
September 18th… Jeff B. celebrates 4 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.
If Six was Nine
Is there a more difficult Step on the list than Step Nine? I think not.
My gut feeling with at least half the people on this amends list is that they deserved what they got and then them some. I know, if there is an AA Hell, I have a reservation .
Still, I do strive to add more kindness in my heart and more humility in my brain, so that when given the opportunity to make amends, I do. Or at least I try.
My situation is different than most in that I have almost daily interactions with my Ex. She has all the affection for me as she would for a State Fair goat, that she does not own nor care to see. I give her that, I deserve it. I continue the endeavor to make amends.
And that’s just how it goes.
Most of the people I harmed or embarrassed at least, I don’t see around much anymore. My parents, whom I would really like to apologize to are deceased. So is my former boss. So is my old partner and very good friend. I feel awfully bad about that .
My amends to them now, is comporting myself in good manners. I try to be more of a help now, than the hindrance or hellion I once was. And do you know what?
I do think I have found a new freedom from a destructive path. That path was a Mardi Gras parade when it started but ended where I was the only one still marching, tired, drunk and lonely.
I remember I heard this story about Ulysses Grant, our 18th President. By today’s standards, Grant was probably an alcoholic, who white knuckled himself through long periods of sobriety.
Grant had served the Nation admirably in the Mexican American War. Was considered an up-and-coming officer yet because of drink, soon found himself working for his father at times selling firewood by the roadside and trying to survive as a hard scrabble farmer.
A friend from West Point came upon him one day and asked him, “Hey U, WTF? What are you doing?” And Grant says to him, “I’ m trying to solve the problem of poverty”.
If you think about it, that answer is quite profound. Grant doesn’t make excuses. Grant is committed to providing for his family, doing a good job . He knows that his present circumstance does not say anything about him as the kind of person he is. He just keeps plugging away doing the best he can.
It’s amazing to think that from there, he winds his way back into the army. He is soon the top commander of the same. And later, becomes the youngest President of the United States until Kennedy. All because he made his amends where and when he could and worked hard to be the best man he could be. Despite criticism of others from all sides, for the rest of his life and posthumously, a stoic would consider him a success.
Today, I am happy. I may not have economic security or complete freedom of the fear of people, but it is a damn sight better. Despite the current economic debacle or present less safe environment. I still must be careful out there and you do too. So, I take inspiration from stories like Grant’s and pass them on.
Contributed by John M.
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!
“A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”
Organization and Service Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
In the beginning, our founders really felt like we didn’t need much organization and structure in the Fellowship, and then they went and created a bunch of it. “It is clear that we ought never to name boards to govern us, but it is equally clear that we shall always need to authorize workers to serve us. It is the difference between the spirit of vested authority and the spirit of service.” (12×12, Page 174)
One of the best examples of this is if you should ever find yourself needing to reach out to GSO for their ideas on a specific issue that your group, District or Area may be having; you can be relatively sure regardless of what you are asking about will garner a response that generally starts off with something like, “That’s a great question. Our shared experience in A.A. is….” and they will offer suggestions of solutions from those that have gone before us to help you with your concern. They cannot tell us what to do, but they can help us.
The organization of our Fellowship is crucial to our being able to carry the message to the still suffering alcoholic, but that structure is not there to govern, but to serve.
The first nine steps delivered us from the bondage of our past experiences with alcohol. We finally arrived at the place where we could say to ourselves, “I have totally faced my past. And there is nothing left in my past that I’m ashamed of. There’s nothing left that hurts anymore. There’s nothing left in my past that’s painful. There’s nothing left in my past I need to forgive or need to be forgiven for. I’m at total oneness and peace with my past.” Well, that’s a tremendous statement to be able to say. That’s an enormous statement for any person to be able to say about their life. And that’s what the first nine steps give us. And the ninth tradition assures me that once my ninth step amends have been made, I will be led to that profound place of peace I have always sought in my life: divine order.
The ninth tradition not only contains the secret of divine order but also contains the personal principle that will keep an alcoholic like me in divine order. It is so simple. I give up control. I stop organizing myself. I stop trying to organize God into my limited ideas of order.
How does this ninth tradition relate to the ninth step? My life gets unimpeded flow of divine love in a triangle consisting of you, myself and God. Whenever the divine order of that relationship is disturbed, I can restore order by making the unmade amend that put my life out of order. The ninth step poses the question, “After making amends, how do I stay reconciled with you today?” The ninth tradition answers that question by implying that I remain in the divine order by not organizing you, myself or God and spontaneously being of service to you and God.
From an idea by George T.
Our Trusted Servants Continue to Be:
The current Step 2 Men’s Group meeting schedule is Monday, Wednesday & Friday at Tim’s (3809 J St), Tuesday & Thursday online, Saturday in the park is “Daily Reflections” and Sunday is our Rogue meeting in the park. Each gathering is one hour. Great job men!
- Monday: Tim C.
- Tuesday: Mark W.
- Wednesday: John M.
- Thursday: Brad W.
- Friday: Jon B.
- Saturday: David K.
- Sunday: Mark C.
Want to add your name to the “Back-up-Help-Substitute Secretary List”? Just contact Group GS, John M., Treasurer Mark W. or any of our other Secretaries and let them know!
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 ‘GSR’ John M. for “If Six was Nine” and the Funny Pages, our Treasurer Mark W. for all your contributions, and to George T. for “Leaving California” — we’re going to miss you, George! 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!