FIRST THINGS FIRSTSome of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job—wife or no wife—we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a drink: “She said . . . ,” “He said “I got fired yesterday,” “I got a great job today.” No area of my life could be good if I drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety, God, and A.A. today?
Ah, The New Year
Time to refresh. Set a new goal to enhance my program in Alcoholics Anonymous. I have done this every year since I started this column.
A very wise man, Ray, helped me when I first committed to AA to stop drinking. He told me that the only Step I had to get down, backwards and forwards, was Step One. I remember thinking to myself when he said that, “Ray, I am here aren’t I? In this room on Front Street in Santa Cruz … of course, I admit I am an alcoholic.”
But there was more to it than that, I was to learn.
It was about attending meetings. Getting and keeping a sponsor, not matter how reluctant they become working with me. Talking to others about the whole thing, and especially if I get an urge to drink. And getting that down, to second nature. And for me, working with a bunch of gentlemen in Step 2 Men’s Group so that the very last thing I ever want to do is have to come in to a meeting and say, “I went out”.
Ray explained that I could work on the rest of the Steps, once I had completed Step One. That lifted a burden because I was sure I would never complete Steps Three, Eight and Nine. I did come to a conclusion a few years back though, to make a goal of enhancing one of the Steps or directions the program says, to keep me committed to the Program.
For instance, one year I committed to reading the Big Book, The 12 Traditions and the 12 Steps Books. That went pretty easy.
Another year, I decided to not work other people’s programs whether they were in AA or not. Basically, that message in the Program is not to make judgements of other people. I started on January 1st and then realized on the Freeway by the 10th Street exit on January 13th, that it was almost impossible. Still a worthy goal though.
Last year, I decided to not argue with my family, particularly my Ex. To the best of my ability I would accommodate their opinions, and do what they asked. It was ambitious. I think it took three to five years off my life span. Still, an ongoing project that makes me wonder if Noah actually built that boat.
This year, by circumstances, I am extending the message to other alcoholic(s). I know someone who I believe needs help. There, a judgment. If at first there is drinking for fun, then drinking for fun with problems, and then drinking is a problem, I would say this person is at 2.9. Luckily, I am not the only friend who thinks this. We will see.
So, that’s it. If I can make a suggestion as a New Year’s Resolution. Pick a Step. Just one and make that a priority for the year. Use the meetings, the readings and how you meditate or review as tools to help you along the way.
Happy New Year! And may 2023 be your best year ever.
Contributed by John M.
January Birthdays… IF They Make It!
January 2nd… Ken B. celebrates 19 years
January 3rd… Anthony S. would have celebrated 39 years
January 18th… John O. celebrates 5 years
January 22nd… Sean F. celebrates 2 years
January 25th… Fred C. celebrates 7 years
January 25th… Rory B. 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.
Many decades ago, 2 friends and I decided to buy a used 41 foot Islander sailboat, with plans ‘to sail around the world’. We moored the boat at Granville Island in Vancouver British Columbia. I wasn’t making much money at the time, so I lived on the sailboat for a few years. For a ‘shakedown’ cruise we took 6-weeks off from work and circumnavigated Vancouver Island. A tough but incredibly exciting journey. We learned a lot from that adventure prior to the big departure to the South Pacific. The following year we said goodbye to loved ones and departed in late fall – a stressful time to leave but boat repairs delayed our departure date.
The journey lasted 3 years and included landfalls along the way such as Mexico, Ecuador, The Galapagos Island, French Polynesia (Marquesas Islands, Tuamotus Island, Society Island); Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands and New Zealand.
One true & important fact was that our sailboat was 100% ‘dry’ when en route to anywhere. When I was much younger and learning to sail on other’s vessels I saw 1st hand the calamity and danger that could quickly & unexpectedly occur when Mother Nature got angry and the crew had been drinking. That unwavering rule on the open ocean kept us safe.
We were 28 days sailing from Galapagos Island to French Polynesia. A long time without seeing land.
The journey was incredible and made me what I am today. I always say that 80% of sailing is rather mundane; 10% is spectacular and the remaining 10% you think you are going to die.
In closing, my glorious lifelong takeaway from the voyage is that when on the ocean your TV and Laptop is replaced by the nightly panoramic display of the constellations and galaxies. And that experience brought me to the realization and belief that it isn’t all by chance. I don’t know exactly what ‘IT’ is, but I know there is a spiritual Higher Power.
Contributed by James S.
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!
“Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.”
“Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.”
We Before Me
Unity begins with an individual. Having unity within oneself and with one’s Higher Power is vital to expressing unity in any other relationship. When one is following the guidance and will of a Higher Power, inner balance is achieved and then the ability to participate in a healthy relationship is greatly improved. Thus the relationship’s unity is best serviced by each individual’s unity with a Higher Power.
The Twelve Steps produce recovery and enable us to match calamity with serenity without taking the first drink. Recovery is the restoration of our relationship with God through sobriety. Our happiness, though, is incomplete unless we expand our loving relationship with God to our relationships with each other.
The Traditions show us how to love each other. The principles of the group apply to the individual. Through working the principles of the traditions we carry out the steps in the world. We live in the solution, not the problem. We are united with each other in love. When we love, we want to serve. The concepts of service then show us how to love each other through being of service to the world. Hence, A.A. has the three-word motto, “Recovery-Unity-Service”, based on the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Service.
Since the bottom has risen in A.A. there has been a need to go beyond recovery into learning how to get and maintain relationships. We must apply the First Tradition in all areas our life (A.A., Work, Home, etc.) so our sobriety isn’t threatened. If we do not place our common welfare first, we could easily stay a loner and eventually drink out of loneliness.
Each tradition answers the question raised by the parallel step. The connection between the First Step and the First Tradition is that I am powerless over alcohol and have an unmanageable life, so I am dependent upon uniting myself with A.A. for my personal recovery. The Step states the problem and the Tradition states the solution. What do I do about my powerlessness and unmanageability? I join A.A. and place our common welfare first, since my personal recovery depends upon doing this.
From an idea by George T.
First of all, I’d like to apologize for anyone inconvenienced by the inability to get online for the Zoom meeting on Tuesday December 27, 2022.
I’ll spare you the details of the how and why it happened but it has been fixed.
For future reference, here are additional ways to connect to our Zoom meetings:
Use the Step 2 Meetings link in the navigation menu. Click on the Secretary name for that day of the week and follow that up by clicking the Join with Zoom link.
Currently this only applies to Secretaries Mark W and Brad W on Tuesdays & Thursdays, respectively.
There are direct Zoom links on the post about Connecting to Step 2 Men’s Group Online Meetings that’s always available on the front page of our website.
Use the Meeting Guide app that may already on your phone. You can read more about it and find links to the app on our website here.
Use the Meeting List at the CCFAA website which you can find in the navigation menu beneath the site logo. This one takes some effort but I believe in you.
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 “Ah, The New Year”, Dave Mc. for “Mouse’s Corner”, James S. for his contributions, and our Treasurer Mark W. for all your contributions. 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!