LEST WE BECOME COMPLACENTIt is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85When I am in pain it is easy to stay close to the friends I have found in the program. Relief from that pain is provided in the solutions contained in A.A.’s Twelve Steps. But when I am feeling good and things are going well, I can become complacent. To put it simply, I become lazy and turn into the problem instead of the solution. I need to get into action, to take stock: where am I and where am I going? A daily inventory will tell me what I must change to regain spiritual balance. Admitting what I find within myself, to God and to another human being, keeps me honest and humble.
A.A. member Dave Mc. curates a few selected readings from a variety of A.A. related publications each month.
“I have seen that there is only one law, the love of love, and there are only two sins; the first is to interfere with the growth of another human being, and the second is to interfere with one’s own growth.”
Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd Edition pg. 542, ‘He Who Loses His Life’
“Most of us begin making certain kinds of direct amends from the day we join Alcoholics Anonymous.”
12 Steps & 12 Traditions pg. 83, ‘Step Nine’
“In many instances we shall find that though the harm done to others has not been great, the emotional harm we have done to ourselves has.”
12 Steps & 12 Traditions pg. 79, ‘Step Eight’
Contributed by Dave Mc.
I Was Wrong
Do you ever feel like this?
I have come to terms with knowing that there is so much that is out of my control that I tell myself not to worry about it. But then I do anyway.
I get so annoyed at people I cannot change. Like the government. Not just their philosophy on how to run things. How they run things, literally. And I don’t think I can do much if anything about it. That doesn’t matter. I’m pissed.
I scream at the television about strikeouts, sacks, dropped balls and passes, dropping in the standings. That I have never played or coached at that level and several levels below, is immaterial. They need to perform. They get paid big bucks and I spend way too much time watching them. So, damn it, win.
My family spends too much money. When I say it’s my money, they say its “our” money. Okay, we are spending too much money. And they tell me make more.
And on and on. Trivial things and important things to remind me over and over that earth, despite being beautiful in so many ways, is not heaven. And it is a tough neighborhood at that.
I know there are things I could do, but then I have a predilection to procrastinate. So, I stay in this frustrating state of mind.
I am told that this is when it is easy to slip. To relapse. To pick up. Just to break the routine. Can’t say I have had any urge to drink.
No, but I do have this urge to be this snarky, sarcastic, mean son of a bitch around the person or people I count on to be the respite. You can imagine how popular that makes oneself.
It is a dilemma of intolerance.
If you are lucky enough to have someone or some people who are truly an anchor or relief, but self destruction cuts the moorings and adds more tension. Especially, to the one you want to be around.
I do not know what corrects it. I do not know how to correct it. Oh yeah, prayer and meditation but that is next month.
I do, however, recognize it. It is something that I will have to work on. And luckily, at this point of my journey I have all you swell guys at the Meeting to help.
I will end there. Short and bittersweet this month. With just one other request . Down in Florida, they have had a rough week. There are some AA groups in that area that have lost their money, rooms and everything else. I know times are tough, but if you have a few extra bucks, send them down that way. They need help.
Lee County Area Intergroup
12734 Kenwood Lane, Suite 72.
Ft. Myers FL 33907.
Contributed by John M.
October Birthdays… IF They Make It!
October 15th… Mike B. celebrates 16 years
October 16th… Kevin O. celebrates 2 years
October 19th… Mike F. celebrates 11 years
October 19th… Ed D. celebrates 37 years
October 20th… Mike M. celebrates 4 years
October 23rd… Scott Y. 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.
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!
The 10 Best Books on Literary Drunkenness
The Mayor of Casterbridge By Thomas Hardy
Not all great books on alcoholism are written by alcoholics, and Hardy’s bleakly beautiful morality tale about a self-made man who authors his own downfall is a case in point. Michael Henchard, the eponymous mayor, is first encountered getting drunk on furmity (a frankly delicious-sounding concoction of rum, milk and raisins). Minutes later, he sells his wife to a sailor: a scene that sears itself into the memory. Published in 1886, this remains a frighteningly accurate portrait of the alcoholic personality.
Tender is the Night By F. Scott Fitzgerald
I can think of very few books that choreograph a downward spiral with such elegant and terrifying precision. Dick Diver begins as the graceful, competent king of the Riviera and ends as a washed-up drunk, estranged from everyone he loves. Though it’s denser and more irregular than The Great Gatsby, Tender also contains some of Fitzgerald’s most magical writing and arresting images and scenes.
Good Morning, Midnight By Jean Rhys
Unjustly neglected, Jean Rhys’s taut, dark fable tells the story of Sasha Jensen, a middle-aged woman who hopes to start a new life in Paris. Rhys is ruthlessly good on both sexual and social humiliation, and vividly captures the plight of a woman fast running out of money, looks and luck in a society that always judged women’s drinking far more harshly than that of men.
The Lost Weekend By Charles R. Jackson
There’s no novel, to my mind, that so brilliantly captures what it actually feels like to be addicted to alcohol. Jackson was an alcoholic himself, and he poured his frustration and self-loathing into this unnerving account of a would-be writer, Don Birnam, and his near-lethal bender. Its genius lies in the slippery way Jackson charts Birnam’s thoughts, capturing his self-delusion, his grandiosity and his desperate longing for the obliteration that only alcohol can bring.
Lucky Jim By Kingsley Amis
Drinking is a serious business, but it can also be very funny, and never more so than in the hands of Kingsley Amis. Lucky Jim was his first novel, and contains the finest words on a hangover that are ever likely to be written. He’s also very good on the business of getting drunk itself, and the dreadful things that might occur as one staggers gamely from the night before to the morning after.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof By Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams wrote Cat in the early 1950s, when he was well into the thickets of his own addiction. It possesses a structural perfection that is startling when one consults his diaries of the period. The play deals with the travails of a wealthy Southern family, and particularly of Brick, the hard-drinking former football player who cannot quite admit he fell in love with a teammate. It also contains my favorite explanations of what a drinker is looking for: “The click I get in my head when I’ve had enough of this stuff to make me peaceful.”
‘The Swimmer’ By John Cheever
Cheever wrote this eerie, dreamlike story in 1963, when his own relationship with alcohol had slewed out of control. It’s about a charming man who resolves to swim home from a party by way of his neighbors’ pools. The lurches in time and devastating conclusion make it linger unsettlingly in the mind. Speaking a few years later to the Paris Review, Cheever commented: “When he finds it’s dark and cold, it has to have happened. And, by God, it did happen. I felt dark and cold for some time after I finished that story.”
A Moveable Feast By Ernest Hemingway
Published posthumously (after Hemingway’s suicide in 1961), A Moveable Feast is an embellished memoir of his years in Paris, when he was newly married and had a small son, and things were very simple and very good. He spins beautiful, unreliable stories, particularly about his old friend Scott Fitzgerald and the vast quantities of wine and whisky they used to stow away. The story about a roadtrip to Lyon to rescue an abandoned car is a particular pearl.
Recovery By John Berryman
Like A Moveable Feast, Recovery was also published after the writer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Berryman, killed himself. It’s an extraordinary piece of work: an unfinished, lightly fictionalised account of Berryman’s own stint in an alcohol treatment centre. There’s no actual boozing, of course, but rather an extended and often bleakly funny riff on why people drink in the first place, and how agonisingly hard it can be to stop. Though I’ve read it many times, I’m always jolted anew by the abrupt end, and the tragic reason for it.
‘Where I’m Calling From’ By Raymond Carver
Also set in a recovery center, ‘Where I’m Calling From’ draws on Carver’s own experiences with the bottle, alchemizing his personal misery into a deft and wonderfully controlled story, much of it told by way of typically terse dialogue. It refers frequently too to Jack London, another writer who struggled with the bottle, reminding the reader yet again that writing and drinking are—for the time being at least—inextricably entwined.
Contributed by Mark W.
“Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”
“No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues — particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.”
Outside Issues Can Tear Us Apart
What is an outside issue? An outside issue is anything outside of my relationship with God through sobriety.
The tenth tradition is rather clear as it applies to A.A. We have prospered by having no opinion on outside matters and not being drawn into controversy. For instance, A.A. has avoided the outside issues that tore apart the Washingtonians. A.A. has never become crusaders or taken stands on important but outside issues, “particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion”. (See the long form of this tradition)
Bill Wilson differentiates the responsibilities of the A.A. member and the A.A. group in this tradition by saying on p. 177 of the “12 & 12” that the tenth tradition does not “mean that the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time. But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter. In this respect, we do not enter into public controversy because we know that our society will perish if it does.”
The relationship of the tenth tradition to the tenth step is this: I can be at peace and avoid outside issues by taking my inventory and not yours. I avoid controversy by taking stands with the attitude of a peacemaker. The tenth concept of service takes the process one step further and specifies what kind of inventory I should be writing about: The responsibilities for which God has given me authority.
The tenth step poses the question, “How can I survive successfully in the world by taking my own inventory and promptly admitting it when I am wrong?” The tenth tradition supplies the answer; “I survive by being a peacemaker with you because I am at peace with myself through my own inventories.”
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 General Secretary John M. for “I Was Wrong”, Dave Mc. for “Mouse’s Corner” and our Treasurer Mark W. for Literary Drunkenness. 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!