1 02, 2023

Made Possible by Alcoholics Like You By Vanessa H.

Made Possible by Alcoholics Like You
By Vanessa H.

Seeing that “aspirations” was the theme for the February 2023 issue of The Point, my mind immediately went to the bridge of the Reading Rainbow theme song.

If you aren’t a late Gen X-er or early Millennial, you may not be familiar with the lyrics, but it’s fun to read them and think about how they can apply to A.A.:

“I can go anywhere
Friends to know
And ways to grow
A reading rainbow
I can be anything
Take a look
It’s in a book
A reading rainbow”

By taking a look at the process outlined in our Big Book and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, I learned how to ask for help, how to put my faith in a Higher Power of my own understanding and how to build honest friendships. I can go anywhere with my head held high. I am no longer living under the insane delusion that I can drink like normal people.

Our Program and the literature can sometimes seem scary to the newcomers because of the idea of coming to believe in a Higher Power (also sometimes called God). But it’s difficult to be restored to sanity and achieve some of your true aspirations if you don’t accept that there is some kind of force bigger than you at play in this world.

It may be helpful to think of God as an acronym: Good Orderly Direction, Great OutDoors, Grace Over Drama, Group of Drunks. The beauty of A.A. is that there is no rule that we must all believe in the same conception of a Higher Power. You get to come to believe in a Higher Power of your understanding that you can turn your will over to. And as the 12×12 says, dependence upon the Higher Power of our own understanding actually makes us more independent—free to live a life of true happiness and serenity.

Your life as you know it can be radically transformed by A.A. Things that did not seem possible  before can become realities. You will see the Ninth Step promises come true. But, as they used to say on every episode of Reading Rainbow, “you don’t have to take my word for it!”

PS: Apologies to anyone who may have the theme song stuck in their head now.

1 02, 2023

Touchstones Into Stepping Stones By Christine R.

Touchstones Into Stepping Stones 
By Christine R.

Walking into these rooms only to hear “pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress,” how heartily I wanted to run the other direction! My alcoholic story was rife with pain and abject misery, going day to day, hour to hour haunted by a river of pain. Loneliness and pain. Wanting only to drown them—not face them. The last thing I wanted was more pain. By working the steps, taking days one at a time, I came to understand the rest of the lines: “The pains of drinking had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity” (Step 10, pgs 93-94, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions). 

First of all, what qualifies as a touchstone? Touchstone is defined as a threshold, a gauge, a baseline. For us, the baseline bottom line is that some sort of pain brought us through the doors of A.A.: A court-ordered restraining order, the pained look in the eyes of a child, the loss of one’s family, home, car, employment—all things meaningful to life. Pain is an initial touchstone. At the same time, pain becomes the gift. Our painful past “may be of infinite value to others” who are struggling to get sober. The man with three days has personal experience for the man with three hours on how to get through one more day without drinking. We all have something to share. As Bill pointed out, “pains of failure become assets.” 

The answer to why “most alcoholics have to be pretty badly mangled” came while I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with my friend, Luke, a long-time member in my home group. Racing at top-speed in his Jaguar, Luke gave me a gentle nudge on the shoulder and asked if that got my attention. “Not really,” I replied. Then Luke gave me a strong push against my arm, asking if that got my attention. “Not that much,” I said. Then Luke damn near pushed me out the door asking, “Now do I have your attention?” Shrieking like banshee, I shouted, “Ok! Ok! You got my attention!” Hooking me back in, Luke said alcoholics are like that. We need a big, fat shove out a moving vehicle before we do anything. 

The self-imposed crisis and the incomprehensible pain they talk about was the very thing that drove me into A.A. right on through to the doors of the Mill Valley Cabin Meeting. Getting to a 7 a.m. meeting was a pain but nothing like the non-stop pain of fear, bewilderment and isolation. My disease had me by the throat. The only reason my alcoholism let me live was to provide transportation to get more booze. 

Eventually, came the discovery that willingness provides the flexibility to surrender, to listen and to change. When my sponsor asked if I were willing to go to any length to stay sober, the response was a resounding “Yes!” Thanks to the terrific beating my alcoholism administered, came the deep quality and principle of willingness. 

The way through is the way out. Like the Gordian knot, the more we fight alcoholism, the tighter the noose. Through the pains of getting sober, sometimes right down to the DTs, touchstones can transform into stepping stones, 12 of them in fact. Touchstones need not be painful. Meetings, sponsors and phone calls provide ways out from under. With these new baselines we transition from daily drinking into daily sobriety. 

Sobriety came easier seeing my sponsor seated in the same place, at the same time, alongside other steady members. Simply by showing up every day and participating made all the difference to us newcomers. Eventually we transform touchstones into stepping stones for ourselves and for those about us, one day at a time.

1 02, 2023

Reactability By John W

By John W

The knack of re-acting, again and again
I had this down pat, I was a pro with no equal or so I mused

Often did I indulge in this reality
It had become a soft, comforting hand

Affirming that all was right with the world
That all was right with my place in it

I had merely to re-act, yesterday or last week or five minutes ago
Knowing without a doubt: this time things would be different

This time would not be like the last disaster
This time that perfect, wonderful result would attend my actions

Reactability I finally discovered, much to my shock,
But of no surprise to those around me, was insanity!

As sure as playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun
Expecting when the trigger was pulled, I would not blow my head off.

As the days had begun to pass
The first suggestion became more of my marrow

With each passing day, the second seemed more in focus
Not some wild passing thought or artful fancy

This thought, this Belief, was becoming a part of me
It was becoming vital to me, like air or water to life

Each day “without”, seemed to charge this Belief even more
No longer was I sentenced to a life of loneliness, uselessness

Somehow, somewhere, sometime after the days without began
I, the skeptic, the doubter, the different one, had come to believe

I don’t know how this happened, I cannot explain it
But no longer was I alone, no longer without purpose

This Belief, like the dawning of a sunny day
Was blossoming in my being, infusing into my every cell

Would that I could better describe it to my peers
Yet it mattered not to them what “It” was, only that It was

Commune with this Spirit freely, often, they advised
My bane with spirits before, was now my daily reprieve

“Make It your very own” they responded, when I asked
For details, wanted specifics, afraid of what I could be told.

In the high noon of this Belief do I now dwell
Always a reminder that It is truly greater than I!

With each new sunrise of my day in this Belief
I know my Reactability is gone, my sanity restored.

1 02, 2023

Save Me From Myself by Dee H

Save Me From Myself
By Dee H

To whom it may concern
Please God save me from myself
I’ve grown weary and forlorn
Trapped inside this lonely shell
There often is nowhere to turn

No matter how hard I try
There is no place to run
Nor hide from the worst one
Who heaps guilt and shame upon
Me, I am the person to blame

There is only one direction
To look and it isn’t contained
In a book though they may help
Many are true and well written
Yes, I must leap outside myself

A wise voice speaks through others
Often They send clear messages
The most important thing is there
In their voice asking me to please
Give them some kind and gentle care

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