30 04, 2023


By Cabin Wisdom

After 10 years of sobriety, I thought I knew a thing or two. Marching down the center aisle to claim that X Chip, I thought I had it made. 7 a.m., 7 days a week, steadily serving the Cabin from GSR to Button Can Woman. Had a sponsor who knew she was my sponsor. I was an A in A.A. 

Amidst a crowd of “Huzzahs!” came a big, bear hug from my fellow Cabin member, Paul T. He said, “Christine, you’re getting complacent. Your program is flat.” “Getting complacent?” Who did he think he was talking to? Because of the strong upset, I knew Paul was right. Despite all the activities in Alcoholics Anonymous, my program was stale. I confused activity with progress. They were not synonymous after all. A shake-up to wake up. Time to dive deeper. 

Our book tells us while on the surface things may appear smooth and even, how “astonishing to discover defects hidden under deep layers of self-justification and righteousness.” These finally “ambush us into alcoholism and misery.” Goes on to say, “It is easy to rest on our laurels for alcoholism is a subtle foe.” Paul’s words took away my comfy, complacent cushion. In the delusion of wellness, I couldn’t see my ego was my alcoholism. Subtle. Sly. And oh, so Patient! 

Complacency is the enemy of progress. Like pushing a wall. One can push hammer and tongs all day long and not move it – all the while appearing active and dedicated! 

Complacency is based on past success. I don’t become what I want. I become where my habits take me. The comfort zone is not one in which to be comfortable. When I believe I have arrived – is exactly when it’s over. We can be complacent and dream our lives away, or we can become aware. 

The antidote to complacency is commitment. When we commit – we get focused. More than greet, give up the seat. Help someone find theirs. Simply providing a newcomer my seat brings indescribable rewards as I recall the countless times old timers gave me theirs. Bringing outsiders into the center of the Cabin brings welcome relief. Recommitment to the Program brought added, fresh commitment to my partner, to my work, to my community. To everything. 

What other “corrective measures” can we take?” We start by waking up. In Bill’s story, and throughout the 12 x 12, we find the terms: to awaken, to wake, and woke. It’s a process of coming to. Of coming to believe. Our Step Eleven has the specific request to know God’s Will. “That we become God conscious.” 29 references to the words conscious or consciousness combined in the Big Book and the 12 x 12. Therefore, consciousness is key. Points to the fact we might not be conscious – which is concerning when life devolves into one big rut we decorate. 

In the rooms we hear, “You’re either moving toward a drink or away from one.” On the days march when confronted with decisions to make, we can ask ourselves, “Am I moving toward a drink or away from one?” The thing about complacency is we aren’t moving at all! That’s when life delivers us problems we can’t swallow. “Then where do we stand?” Like roots of a tree, we delve deep so when rains come, winds come, we stand firm. Rains and winds are on the rise. Fear not. Go deeper. Recommit! 

There’s always a new bar to set. Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.

30 04, 2023

Upon Awakening V

By John W 

Some one thing all understood, present in crowd or solitude,
Amidst darkest night, a heel longest day, flanked
By anger, resentment, remorse, despair, this phalnx
Of loneliness seemed impenetrable, my admissions
Of hitherto unspoken past, did my Jericho wall breach.

30 04, 2023

How I Learned How To Make A 12-Step Call

By Jillian E

More than ten years ago, I was going through a very difficult divorce, and one of the principles I have learned in A.A. is to do more service when I feel shaky. The Big Book says, “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much ensure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.” I knew that I needed more service than my weekly local meetings. The first opportunity to cross my path was to be the Teleservice rep for my home group. At the orientation, I learned the basics of how to answer the Teleservice hotline. I have answered hundreds of calls in my 10 years as a Teleservice volunteer. No two calls have ever been the same. I have answered calls that have come in from all over the United States. I have found meetings for those people. I have talked with them about what it means to be an alcoholic. One of the best tools for a Teleservice phone line volunteer is the 20 questions brochure. I have used that countless times to spark a helpful conversation.

I also learned how to make a 12-step call. The first time I was called to perform this service, a sober woman in AA called me and asked me to join her on a 12-step call. We visited a woman who had reached out for help. One of the most important rules of a 12-step call is never to go alone. I had no idea what this would entail or what would be asked of me. It actually scared me to death. But I said yes. And off we went to the home of that woman who needed help. She was drunk but wanted to go to a meeting. We took her to a meeting that happened to be nearby. I don’t remember what else happened then, but I lost my fear by doing this call with a woman who had experience.

Since then, I have done many 12-step calls. I learned that it is best to bring out the aspects of AA that will dispel any preconceived fear. I have explained our principle of anonymity; that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking; that we have no dues or fees; that we have no rules or laws; that AA is not affiliated with any religion or outside organization. I also explain that we are not a treatment center, although we sometimes cooperate with treatment facilities.

There are some really important guidelines for making a 12-step call. Would you like to feel confident making a 12-Step call or answering a call as a volunteer? Following the guidelines that SF and Marin Intergroup, and Marin Teleservice have laid out demystifies the process. 

Marin Teleservice and Marin Fellowship Committee are hosting a Free workshop on the 12-Step Call guidelines. We have 2 speakers who will share their experience, strength, and hope and answer all your questions. We will also discuss difficult phone line callers and how to handle those situations.

The workshop will be held at the San Rafael Alano Club at 1360 Lincoln Ave on Saturday, May 20, from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM. The workshop is FREE, and refreshments will be served.

30 04, 2023

Motives are the Seeds of Action

I Think Before I Do
By Rick R

In my early days of sobriety my wife came home from an Alanon meeting all excited about what they had talked about. Apparently, they were discussing their Fourth Step inventories and she explained that when taking step six, it was important that she examine her motives, before making decisions. How interesting and profound that statement was, at the time, and it has come up many, many times since that initial conversation. Since almost everything we do, begins with what we think, that statement has been a big part of what I believe our goals are supposed to be when we are in the process of cleaning up the wreckage of the past. It also implies that we should examine our motives, for what we do, from this day forward, and be sure that they conform to the spirit of the principles that are suggested in the A.A. program. This kind of thinking was foreign to me before John Barleycorn got his grip, but when the alcohol took its toll and I was circling the drain, I was forced to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life. It became very important to learn and understand what the causes of my failures were, in the past, and what I could do to correct them. Like most of us, we have measured our successes and failures based on things we have accomplishments, by the things we owned, and where we lived. It made little difference how we acquired those things. How different my thinking is today, compared to how it was back then. I no longer base my success on material possessions. As the old country song says, “one rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.” This, to me, does not mean that we must take a vow of poverty. To me, this means that if I am honest with myself and that my motives are pure and unselfish, I can be content at any economic level. My motives make it so. 

I was doing a little research to find the definition of the word happiness and discovered that it is often described as “a byproduct of right living and not an end in itself” Happiness is not a goal, but it is the result of living right. A friend once shared at a meeting that satisfying his wants will never make a person happy. Another person shared that she had read something that described it like this: “happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the farther away it gets, but when you stand still, it will land on your shoulder.” If my motive is to create happiness, it’s probably not going to happen. These subtle little gems of wisdom are revealed to me daily and they slowly become a part of my mental make-up. 

Examining my motives has made me look deeper at many of the subtle little differences in the words we use and their causes and effects and, for my purposes, I find that my defects of character, cause my shortcomings, and when I understand my defect, my shortcoming (faulty behavior) can be corrected. When I understand the problem, the troubles can be corrected. These ideas may be hard to grasp in the beginning but if I hadn’t started looking deeper into my motives, I may never have resolved the deeper issues. These days, Unselfish Motives are the seeds that all my thoughts and actions stem from, and that is as simple as it gets for me.

30 04, 2023

Thank You Friends

By Dede H

Thanks for taking me back
I have nowhere else to go 
I’ve analyzed my thinking
It’s a good thing you see
Getting off track isn’t healthy

Physical sobriety is not new 
I have a very short memory 
Don’t be sorry for these few
Relapses are part of my story 
They aren’t the entire spiel 

More than thoughts or deeds
These are the seeds of us 
Of working with God to heal
Of meeting our spiritual needs
Helping us feel less guilty 

As we grow closer to God 
We have emerged already 
Lovingly hugging our friends
We laugh and look forward
To yummy chocolate and tea!

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