8 03, 2022

Ceased Fighting Anyone and Anything

Ceased Fighting Anyone and Anything
By John W.

After struggling with high school chemistry and biology, I threw in the towel before entering the Realm of Physics.  Still, although I never truly appreciated what Newton meant, I was familiar with his Third Law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I also had no clue how this principle applied to my disease alcoholism.  Quite the contrary, I thought I could get away with any number of actions while drinking and that none of them, in fact, actually caused any reaction anywhere else. That was the fantasy in which I had lived for decades indulging my disease and slowly killing myself in the process.

When my bottom left me no alternative and I was miraculously able to start on the Steps of recovery and stick to them, I like so many other lucky ones found things turning around for me.  My life was getting better, just as I had heard others describe had happened for them.  As I progressed in working my program and got to that point of considering what ironically were alternatively described as “extravagant promises,” my reflections at the time reminded me of just how far I had trudged in my journey.  Neither time spent, miles walked nor sober days achieved were the milestones of measure.  Rather the changes in me were the benchmarks of my progress and I had been warned at the outset of the changes I would need to make.  This warning was delivered when I had naively asked my new-found sponsor simply what things in me I would have to change to be as successful as he had been in the program.  The equally simple reply of “Everything!” was daunting to say the least.

However, I found that by the time I could honestly and heartily respond “We think not” to the question posed about the nature of those promises, I knew they were coming into my life.  They were becoming a vital part of me.  They were becoming the new milestones in my progress towards a new life, a sober life.  I discovered too that in my progress, while not perfect in my attempts, it seemed as if the fighter in me more often than not, did not come rushing forth when the bell of a “new round” rang.  Instead and with growing frequency, he would retire to a neutral corner, draped in a cooling towel comfortably around his neck, all the time longingly looking outside the ring, hoping he soon would be there.


Regardless of the phase of my development, I was still, like anyone else both above ground and breathing, dealing with life on life’s terms.  Thus it was with some surprise when, one morning after a particularly cantankerous meeting with a number of my local fellowship, I realized that I was still fighting some things and some bodies.  Even moi, spiritual giant that I was, had room for improvement—an honest assessment: a lot of room for much needed improvement.  Although that day’s lesson sank in hard, I found as I had learned it to so often happen, that with the dawn of the new day, came new hope.  That hope to live this new day successfully started at my 7:00 a.m. home group meeting where the selected reading could not have been more appropriate and spot on.

The reader shared about the observation that, as we came to this phase of our development, we had found that we had ceased fighting anyone and anything. There it was, the problem boldly laid out before me.  Of course so too was the solution, this being found in working the Steps and, on that day, my listening to others who had confronted the problem I was having and hearing how they had arrived at a solution to it. One solution offered was to remember, as the member said was their frequent practice, that because they had made a decision to turn their will and their life over to the care of a Higher Power, they were now able to report they had achieved some peace with one of their character demons and no longer needed to fight every one about every thing. They proclaimed that their action in making the decision had contributed greatly to this later experienced change in their attitude and outlook upon life.  This was a revelation which had until that point, completely eluded me.

It was then I remembered that long-ago high school lesson on Newton’s Third Law and saw how it now applied to my own action in making my decision.  If I was prepared, really prepared, to take the action to decide to turn my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power, then the equal and opposite reaction was that I would cease fighting anything and anybody.  Talk about a change in my whole attitude and outlook, this was it.  The more I began to see the import of my action, the more I was comfortable with the effect of the reaction.  The magic of the moment, of the listening and hearing at my meeting, was that I was being challenged to broaden the scope of what my mind had accepted as truth for so long and allow my spirit to behold that truth in a manner previously unknown by me.  No longer was my decision, as I had made it to combat my disease, solely for that phase of my development.  Now I could see that decision as one permeating how I was to practice those principles by which I desired to live in all of my affairs.  Simply by the timely voice of one person in this fellowship who had shared at one of my meetings, so much more had been revealed and all I had needed to do was show up and be willing to listen.

8 03, 2022


By Michelle W.


Neither here nor there
Many paths
But One Path

Sitting in peace and heaviness
Can’t stay here much longer
Mindful of Directions, goals and actions
Look around, Look Inside
It is time to decide

Doors, Roads and Waterways

Down the long narrow stretch
So many doors behind
Many doors ahead
Which to open
Turn, look, close

In the middle I stand
Circled by crossroads
Rocky Roads, Dirty Roads
Sunny roads and dark roads
Roads Out west

Many Signs Ahead:
Green lights and caution signs
Yield, turn right, turn left
Too many signs

One foot in and one foot out

Over the bridge
It is time to take the leap
Leap of faith
Falling, Falling Apart

Broken Mast and torn sails
Dark stormy nights
And choppy waters

Full steam ahead
Woman of War Behind
In this sacred space
The fight is over

Beacon of light insight

One Path
Holding on to Faith
She opens her wings and Flys

8 03, 2022

Alcoholism: A Disease of Perception

Alcoholism: A Disease of Perception
By Rick R.


Alcoholism is often referred to as a disease of perception, and oh how I find that statement to be true! Like most alcoholics, early in my drinking days I did not have a problem. I was single and had no one to answer to.  It was perfectly normal to go from work directly to the bar room and spend the evening pouring alcohol down my throat. It was fun and I did a lot of foolish things in those days.

As my tolerance for alcohol grew, I developed a pattern of drinking where I could open a bar at 6:00 a.m. and close it at 2:00 a.m. and you could not tell I was drinking—if you did not smell the alcohol on my breath. I reached the pinnacle and that only lasted for a while.

Next, I developed a pattern of forgetting what happened the night before (blackout drinking).  Then people started telling me about the things I did the previous night. It was not flattering. Normal drinkers do not have those kinds of experiences.

Then came the DUIs, the nights in jail, the wrecked cars, the broken knuckles, married and divorced, and—I could go on forever. When I was in the throes of this disease I was living by the dictates of my EGO.  To bolster my pride, it told me I did not have a problem.

The progression of the malady varies in each individual due to environmental issues. Some people drink into their 60s and 70s before they come to Alcoholics Anonymous. Waking each morning to face the hideous four horsemen of Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration and Despair, is not a problem normal drinkers face. For me, alcohol seemed the solution to my problems.  To abandon it was horrifying. My perception was if I quit drinking, I would spend the rest of my life waking up in that emotional pit. 

I did everything in my power to deny my condition. As the progression wore on, one by one, I was running out of options.  The drink could no longer mask the deception of it all.  I was backed into the corner of life and now, what can I do? 

On October 15,1969, my desperation outweighed my denial.  I called the telephone operator and asked for the number of Alcoholics Anonymous.  The lady gave me the number of a local A.A. club, held in a little house about six miles from my apartment.  I showed up there and was greeted by three people sitting on a bench in the front yard.  Within 10 minutes of talking to them and seeing the compassion and empathy in their eyes, I lay down on the grass and covered my eyes with my forearm.  I thought to myself “Thank God, this nightmare is over.” And it was. I have never drunk, nor wanted to drink since that moment.

I was 28 years old at the time and most of the members of that group were over 40 years old.  They referred to me as the fortunate one, and I was. From that moment on, I have done a 180 degree turn in my thinking and embraced the program of Alcoholics Anonymous in its entirety.  My life has evolved into a life of peace and serenity I could not have imagined when I showed up on that lawn in 1969.  Right now, as I am trying to explain this miracle, I am wiping tears of joy from my eyes just thinking about it. Go Figure.

8 03, 2022

First Official Gay Meeting in San Francisco

First Official Gay Meeting in San Francisco
By Conrad G., who was there

Editor’s note: This story first ran in The Point in 2007. It is being re-published as part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Central Office and Intergroup this year, to highlight key moments in the history of our Fellowship.


Around 1968 a group of around ten gay men met in Gordon T.’s apartment. Gordon’s apartment was on Central Avenue in the Haight Ashbury. Our meeting was called to discuss starting the first official gay A.A. meeting in S.F. We agreed to start the meeting. We rented space at 261 Fell Street in the building in the rose garden. Our object in starting the meeting was to encourage members of the gay community who were reluctant to come into the mainstream of A.A. to come to our meeting, then we could encourage them to enter mainstream A.A. as they became more comfortable living sober.

Our local Central Office was not comfortable about gay meetings. We therefore did not list this meeting in their directory. We listed the meeting with the Society for Individual Rights and were listed in their monthly newsletter.

The 35 and under group of Alcoholics Anonymous which met on Thursday nights in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in North Beach was S.F.’s unofficial gay group. The meeting was for anyone who wanted to attend. We had a lot of very good friends who came regularly also what was then a large gay attendance, “maybe 20.”



As a community little did we ever dream our community would be as large as it is today, with gay A.A. meetings throughout the Bay Area and throughout the country.

There are also many conferences yearly throughout the country, including Hawaii. The first conference was the Living Sober conference here in S.F. held yearly around the Gay Pride parade time so travelers can come to both.

Since we were unable to use our new space at 261 Fell for our very first meeting, two of our members had a hippie pad in the Haight Ashbury and invited us to use their space. They had decorated their pad with several metal wall sculptures all brightly painted in pastel colors. One was a piece of round iron sculpture with all kinds of flowers appearing to grow out of the carpet. After reading the usual opening literature to which we added, and it was always read at all of our meetings, the last paragraph of page 68, all of 69 ending with the first paragraph on page 70 from Alcoholics Anonymous Third Edition. Then the black light was turned on and all others off. We were surrounded by all this beautiful psychedelic art turned on with black light. No drugs were taken. No marijuana smoked. Coffee, jasmine tea and cake were served. A beautiful first official gay meeting of S.F.

8 03, 2022

None Greater Than I

None Greater Than I


As master of the universe, it was difficult to comprehend
How my best thinking had destroyed, or nearly, all I held dear.
No longer was my presence cherished, for me alone did I fend,
Expelled from home, riffed from work and family—just steer clear.

On a string of victories I wasn’t, the end seemed inevitable.  
That there was None Greater Than I had been my fantasy,
I rode that fantasy nearly to death, convinced in my fable,
Until that last gasp at change wasn’t an option, but a necessity.

Still denial, like a redwood’s roots, into my psyche ran deep,
So finely honed on barber’s strop, any intruding reality it excised.
To think, to admit, nay believe I was fallible was a price too steep,
Yet at this bottom I saw only one choice, from it, hope materialized.

Gone my scepter to control everything within my path,
My purple cloak of ego, replaced by collar blue of everyman.
No longer free to rant or rave directions framed in wrath,
Immersed instead in the calm of “I cannot alone, with help I can.”

As surely as sap with the tree rises to nurture its crown,
Somehow this worm of a belief began within my marrow to course,
No passing fancy this, but a subtle flood of faith in which to drown,
A power whose existence I could no more deny than describe its source.

As impossible as it once had seemed, I did now truly conceive
That there was something real, something upon which I could rely,
Assuring me I was not alone and so I was at last able to believe
In the existence of that power, of that One Greater Than I.

Naked in my belief in this power to which I could turn
I pondered why to It I would not entrust my will and my life.
It had conquered my problem with drink and thus I did learn
That to It I could turn, no matter the problem, struggle or strife.

So why would I not make this choice?  At this decision arrive?
Gone was this Everest, to its impossibility I would no longer cling.
Bolstered with The Decision now made, I had my chance to be alive.
Challenged at any moment in time to only “Do the next right thing.”

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