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?
Central California Fellowship of AA
Central California Fellowship Delegates Meeting
January 21, 2023
As the 2nd Step Men’s Group General Service Representative, I attended my first delegate meeting earlier this month. These Zoom Meetings are held monthly (third Saturday) and I will share meeting information with you through our Group’s monthly newsletter.
As a new delegate I checked into the meeting 30 minutes early to introduce myself and our Group, meet other new delegates, and gain an understanding of the outreach messages provided by the Central Office.
The Central Office has a bookstore that carries a variety of AA related readings. My plan is to bring some of these materials to our meetings for new and current members.
I did not have an agenda for the meeting, so the following information comes from my notes. The General Meeting started at 3:00PM and consisted of the following items:
- The meeting opened with the 12 Steps.
- Introductions and attendance were taken. There were 56 delegates and 74 participants attending this meeting. This one item took almost an hour.
- Sobriety birthdays were celebrated.
- Expense and treasurer reports were discussed.
- New groups were introduced, along with their meeting dates, times, and locations.
- Board Meeting election results were shared.
- The Central Office outreach efforts were shared and included a variety of audiences such as individuals, professionals, high schools, medical and nursing schools, and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
- The meeting concluded at 5:30PM following elections to fill various positions within the Central California Fellowship of AA.
If you have questions regarding this meeting or any items discussed, please do not hesitate to ask me. Thank you for reading this and for allowing me the opportunity to be our Group’s General Service Representative.
Contributed by GSR Mark Q.
February Birthdays… IF They Make It!
February 1st… Marv P. celebrates 37 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.
A Tall Order
I often get the feeling my Higher Power looks down upon me and shakes his head. Like when he saw me put that prop bet on the 49ers to win it all with the Win the NFC Conference kicker. I know I can be a strain in restoring my sanity.
I have other examples, but I do not know how willing I am to share. To sum up, I do some dumb things.
When that happens, I am reminded of my friend Tracy, whom I met at Azure Acres, a 29 day residential rehab centerwhere I made my commitmentto AA . Like me Tracy had been to rehab more than once. As often I find women, she was very detail orientated and a speed reader. She powered through the required and recommended books and readings by the end of week 2. What did I have to lose listening to Tracy. Besides, she was cute.
Tracy said to keep an open mind, go to a lot of meetings and accept that I was going to make mistakes and that mistakes would happen to me. Like Hasson Reddick and Ndamukong Suh. Last week, I considered the NFC Title game a mistake that happened to me. I don’t play the game, I watch it. I bet a little on the outcome and what happened wasn’t it.
I am reminded of other mistakes I made. Relapse being one of the biggest I made over and over until I made a commitment to Alcoholics Anonymous. And by commitment, I mean doing what my friend Tracy said. Go to a lot of meetings, read the literature, keep an open mind, and I am going to add this because its easy, listen or watch the You Tube Tapes. There are a couple of good podcasts. She didn’t say to watch or listen to them, I found them along the way.
That can be the point of or position of a Higher Power or God in my life. If I commit to the journey, things do come along the way. Even if one does not believe in God, all of these resources can be the Higher Power. You may not be returned to sanity. As you know, in my case that could be a tall order.
Since this is football season I am reminded of one the greatest comedians of all time, who like me struggled with addiction and it contributed to his leaving us to early . Richard Pryor had many mist akes . Several relapses being among them. Pryor also brought a lot of his real life into his show.
I am going to pass along this clip from a show in 1982, after Pryor completed a major rehab. I think it can be something that can be applied to any and all of our mist akes . This clip is ADULT RA TED. If bad language offends you, and you can tell by my local discourses it doesn’t me, then skip it.
As Jim Brown asked Richard Pryor, whaddya gonna do? Richard Pryor on Jim Brown – What You Gonna Do?
Contributed by John M.
Leaving Step 2 Men’s Group
It has been said that all you need to start a new meeting in AA is a coffee pot and a resentment. I have left a few meetings in the past with that intention. That is not what motivated my search for a seat in a new meeting of AA at the end of September, 2022. Nope. The POD was packed ( with help from a fellow member…shout out to Jeremy), the car was loaded up with a few sets of clothes, a newly inherited dog, road trip snacks, and a strange address plugged into my GPS: Meridian Idaho.
Never in my wildest dream would a guy who had spent all his AA life in either Oakland or Sacramento, CA could I have imagined myself in Idaho. I had other plans, but you know what happens when you are busy making plans, right? Yup. Life happens, and life at that point was my wife Amy and I finally deciding, after bouncing around back and forth about moving to be closer to kids and grandkids, Fuck it…let’s go for it!
Never mind cold weather, never mind not knowing anybody but our kids, never mind Idaho (for christ’s sake, Idaho?) So today, here I sit four months into our new home. This morning it is snowing. I will be going out to shovel the walk once it stops and it has already snowed a few times and I have already shoveled a few walks since we arrived. Did I mention cold? Sure, but you know what? Today will be a high of 38*. Could I say that I have come to view a 38* day as relatively warm? Especially if the sun is out and the wind is not blowing? (but the wind blows a lot here and it blows down from the colder regions of Canada and we are at a higher latitude so everything here is a bit extended: darkness, light, wind chill) But yes, 38* ain’t half bad! And I have learned that I am one of those weird people who likes cold weather, and walking in the snow, jogging in the snow. It has been good for my balance and concentration because while walking/jogging/driving in the snow I have to pay more attention to how I am moving through the world.
Still, I have my days. It is not that I regret the move, or that I am homesick for California, rather, there are moments when I feel a bit lost, disoriented by the traffic patterns, the overall change of scenery (albeit pretty, mountains on the horizons in all directions) sometimes makes me feel like I am in a bit of a waking dream state.
I have noticed it while grocery shopping when for a brief moment I expect to see the grocery clerks I knew (and worked with) stocking the milk box or standing in the bucket in the checkstands at my Freeport Boulevard Raleys, and it startles me when I come out of my mini fugue and realize that who I see are friendly enough, and what they are doing is ordinary and recognizable, but it is not Art in the milk box, or Lulu in the floral department, or Sheila in the checkstand. Familiar, but they don’t know me, they certainly don’t know my name. We have very little shared history beyond our limited interactions during my few trips to the store Maybe…over time…but not now, and I miss that connection.
And I will tell you that yes, AA is the same everywhere, but no, it is not the same experience…not really…at least not right away. I have found two meetings: A Men’s meeting that meets at 0630 on Fridays at a coffee shop where we can all order breakfast and have it served to us during the meeting, and a meeting I go to once a week (usually Wednesdays) at 0630, a mixed meeting, open 7 days a week in a building that shares space with a bowling alley in the older part of Meridian. I would say that the Friday meeting is closest in experience to Step 2 Mens group. A looser format, a bit of bullshitting style cross talk, pretty honest, what is happening in your life today sorts of shares…a good solid meeting…but…but what? Do they know me? How well do I know them? Time. Of course it all takes time…but where is Mike T rockin’ his Giants gear cause it’s Orange Friday, and shouldn’t Mark W be rolling in now that we are ten minutes into the meeting, and where are all my other friends I have come to rely on to help me stay sober, friends who knew me and held me accountable over the years? The meeting at the bowling alley I feel even more anonymous in…it is one of six daily meetings at that location. AA fellowships tend to form a culture of their own and it can be harder to feel a part of those cultures for some (for me at least). But is a good meeting, I like the variety of men and women in attendance. The format is very structured with readings and passing the basket, and there is something to be said for that…the routine, the ritual if you will, that helps reinforce that I am in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, not just sitting around in a room (or coffee shop) bullshitting/bitching with a bunch of guys (mostly older guys). The Friday meeting can sometimes feel like that. Did it ever feel that way at Step 2 Mens Group? Sure. But just like here, the weight and substance of honest and sincere fellowship far surpasses the bloviating blatthering (shout out to the late, disgraced Spriro Agnew).
A sponsor I had in the past used to joke that when “god” wants to mess with an alcoholic he changes their address. I have moved a few times and finding new meetings can be an awkward and humbling experience. It can be dangerous as well…allowing that awkwardness to stand in the way of regular attendance. How many times have you heard this story: I was doing okay in AA, was working the program, had a sponsor, but then I moved and I didn’t feel comfortable in the meetings, it felt like they didn’t do AA the right way, nobody knew me and it didn’t feel like anyone really wanted to get to know me so I quit going to meetings…We all have a pretty good idea of where the story goes from there…I did not want that to be me. So, yeah, all the above applies except for quitting going to meetings. And that means keeping on trudging the road (snowy or not) of Happy Destiny. Thanks to all of you for being a part of my journey.
Contributed by George T.
A.A. member Dave Mc. curates a few selected readings from a variety of A.A. related publications each month.
Living spiritually is about recognizing that there is room to grow. A member shared, “It’s not a big eureka moment; it’s this calm understanding that I am not doing the negative stuff I used to do. I feel myself in alignment with my world.” We begin to experience awareness and empathy with others. Our confidence and strength are restored. We see ourselves as part of something greater, and seek to live in harmony with it.
“Living Clean, The Journey Continues”
Contributed by Dave Mc.
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 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 “A Tall Order”, Dave Mc. for “Mouse’s Corner”, Our GSR Mark Q for attending and reporting on the CCFAA meeting, George T for “Leaving Step 2 Men’s Group”, 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!