The Point | Recent Articles

Monthly articles on recovery and fellowship written by members of A.A. in San Francisco and Marin.


May 1, 2019 by The Point
by Jhene C. From about 1989 till 1999, I owned and rode a 650 Honda motorcycle … sporadically. There were long periods of time when I just pushed the bike back and forth across the street to avoid getting a parking ticket. Chalk it up to laziness, financial insecurity or the fact that during that … Continue reading The Not-So-Zen Motorcycle Safety Course

May 1, 2019 by The Point
Belong | There is another meaning for the Hebrew word that in the King James version of the Bible is translated ‘salvation.’ It is: ‘to come home.’ I had found my  ‘salvation.’ I wasn’t alone anymore,” Marty M. once wrote. This month The Point showcases stories about the sense of belonging we find in the rooms. We … Continue reading From the Editor

May 1, 2019 by The Point
by Ken J. Once you’re a pickle you can never go back to being a cucumber.  I’m not a gerkin; more like a jumbo dill … When I was young I watched people, and based on their behaviors I picked out those I wanted to emulate and those I wanted nothing to do with. Based … Continue reading Can’t Afford To Get Jaded

May 1, 2019 by The Point
by Kathleen C. My two sisters and I clung to each other as our mother clung to life in the Intensive Care Unit. Chemotherapy for cancer had thrown her into septic shock. She spiked a high fever, suffered a minor heart attack and was receiving oxygen, transfusions and powerful antibiotics. She was heavily sedated but … Continue reading Surviving the ICU

May 1, 2019 by The Point
by Rick R. Don’t think I’ve ever witnessed an alcoholic that came to Alcoholics Anonymous that loved themselves or that wasn’t riddled with guilt and shame. It’s hard to understand why alcohol affects some people differently than others. I’ve observed members who came from good family environments but ended up on the streets and others … Continue reading The Step 5 Ball & Chain

May 1, 2019 by The Point
Individual Contributions to Central Office were made through April 15, 2019 honoring the following members of our Fellowship.

May 1, 2019 by The Point
by Claire A. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. “My sponsor sold me one idea … Sobriety. At the time, I couldn’t have bought anything else.” This Irishman’s quote takes me back to working with my first sponsor and her use of the word “sober.” … Continue reading Tradition 5: Primary Purpose

May 1, 2019 by The Point
by John W. Like many others before me, I had heard the mantras: Don’t Drink, Get a Sponsor, Work the Steps—Your Life Will Change. I thought of this change as being of a tangible nature. Things would quiet down at home or in the office (in my case maybe in both places). This financial insecurity … Continue reading More Will Be Revealed

May 1, 2019 by The Point
Faithful Fivers are A.A. members who graciously pledge to contribute at least $5 each month toward the support of Central Office. Faithful Fiver contributions go a long way in helping make our vital services possible.

April 1, 2019 by The Point
by Bree L. I don’t identify as an alcoholic unless I am in a meeting, with a sponsee or doing A.A.-related service. Those are like alcoholic islands in my day. The rest of the time I work to fit in with the rest of the world as a pretend normie. I want to get along … Continue reading The Deal Is: Meetings are Tools

April 1, 2019 by The Point
by Claire A. There is much that resonates with me in this Tradition 4 chapter. Most of all I can relate to the promoter, who ignores the advice from the A.A. Foundation and plows ahead, organizing and promoting and earnestly spearheading a gigantic mess. This is exactly what I would do when I was drinking. … Continue reading Tradition 4 + Rule #62

April 1, 2019 by The Point
by John W. Cerebral Mr. Spock tells Captain James Kirk, in a story clothed in the fantasy of the future, “Change is the one essential principle of the universe.” Of course, this Vulcan character did not consume alcohol. To one blessed with neither that insight nor that physical constraint, change came hard. This was so … Continue reading Step 4 : Change is the One Essential

April 1, 2019 by The Point
Faithful Fivers are A.A. members who graciously pledge to contribute at least $5 each month toward the support of Central Office. Faithful Fiver contributions go a long way in helping make our vital services possible.

April 1, 2019 by The Point
by Kathleen C. Short Form: At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional “Right of Participation,” allowing a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge. No members are “second class.” I was surprised to discover that Concept IV is about equality, humility and inclusion: Voting members include not … Continue reading Concept IV: We’re All Equal

April 1, 2019 by The Point
A poem by J.W. Main Street in a Spaghetti Western Facades, store fronts only, Props and propped up, mere ideas Thoughts of a reality that was not My life was this street A facade, a living prop, where Alcohol propped me up In the reality that was not So as the real world crept in … Continue reading Propped Up

April 1, 2019 by The Point
Turn mourning into dancing by Hal C. Many alcoholics convince themselves that a painful moment will last forever and that we must go out and drink in order to relieve that suffering. As alcoholics we cannot get it through our heads that all moments of life are temporary. I cannot even begin to count the … Continue reading Using Psalms in Recovery

April 1, 2019 by The Point
A quiet path in recovery by Carla H. Read this book in a morning and you may feel better. The Tao of Recovery–A Quiet Path to Wellness by the late Jim McGregor has lovely, short pieces on each page, with Asian-style illustrations on the facing page that echo and reframe language we use in the … Continue reading Book Review: Tao of Recovery

April 1, 2019 by John B
Q. “What’s the point of doing this? There are so many other more important things.” A. “The Point is all about service.” Wisdom from Bay Area members this month includes linking Rule 62 and Tradition 4. A “pretend normie” uses meetings as tools. Another writer finds change is the one priority: Cutting out drinking cold … Continue reading From the Editor

April 1, 2019 by The Point

March 1, 2019 by The Point
by Claire A. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. It’s such a simple statement, but I’ve found that it’s not that simple. Yes, anyone who wants to stop drinking is welcome in A.A. “We may refuse none who wish to recover” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 189). That … Continue reading Giving It Away: Tradition Three

March 1, 2019 by The Point
Individual Contributions to Central Office were made through February 15, 2019 honoring the following members of our Fellowship.

March 1, 2019 by The Point
by John W. Before, it had always been so linear. When confronted with a problem or looking for a solution, I applied my best analytics to the circumstances and made a decision. If things turned out bad, I had a drink, and the mistake didn’t seem as glaring. If things turned out well, I had … Continue reading Made a Decision

March 1, 2019 by The Point
by Anonymous | Another way of looking at the third step | We don’t think any two people in the A.A. program decide on an identical concept for a higher power. Most alcoholics have been off the grid for such a long time that everything must be recalibrated into a strategy that they can work … Continue reading Abandoning the Ego

March 1, 2019 by The Point
by Rick R. Not everyone that comes to A.A. has the degree of desperation I did. That, I believe, is responsible for the various levels of success we have when it comes to abstaining from alcohol. Desperation was the great motivator for me. It made me thorough. The day I came to Alcoholics Anonymous I … Continue reading Simple Program, Complicated People

March 1, 2019 by The Point
Faithful Fivers are A.A. members who graciously pledge to contribute at least $5 each month toward the support of Central Office. Faithful Fiver contributions go a long way in helping make our vital services possible.

March 1, 2019 by The Point
by Henry Y. I’ve just returned home from a long day at my internship, followed by a two-hour evening class. As soon as I pulled out of the parking garage to head home, I attached to an aggressive and impatient energy and rode it all the way home. I studiously found a couple of opportunities … Continue reading Progress and Paradox

March 1, 2019 by The Point
by Carla H. How hard was Step Three for me? When my sponsor suggested I put God in the driver’s seat, instead of myself, I asked, “So I’m riding shotgun?” “You’re not even in the car,” she smiled. “You’re outside, in back, pushing.” I can’t steer my own life? No thanks, I said silently. But … Continue reading Behind the Car, Pushing

March 1, 2019 by The Point
The pictures are so beautiful • and add so much … “Yes” from one voice in the foaming sea, to steal from a great article on Step 3 in this March edition. I would agree with the suggestion to the committee [hardcopies for recovery houses]. John | Colorful • Love the new paperless Point. It’s … Continue reading LETTERS

March 1, 2019 by The Point
Rebel without a Clause | Here at The Point we love stories that carry the message. We are growing as a vehicle for local voices in recovery. Bill W. called practicing alcoholics rebellious nonconformists. Fortunately, our character defects become our greatest strengths once we bring them into balance. The ideal is no longer a dream For … Continue reading From the Editor

February 1, 2019 by The Point
by Claire A. I was deeply skeptical of the “God thing” when I joined A.A. I was accustomed to the icons of the Christian church, crosses, stories of miracles: Stuff I called hogwash. Asked to believe in a higher power, I was basically stumped. It wasn’t just that I rejected the idea of a god … Continue reading Something I Still Can’t Name

February 1, 2019 by The Point
by John W. The world isn’t OK, but I am When he spoke, it was with a noticeable Southern twang that made it clear, in Marin, he was not from around these parts. He had a home-spun way about him, born from decades of sobriety. That made it easy to listen when he talked. So … Continue reading As Love Expresses Itself: Tradition 2

February 1, 2019 by The Point
by Rick R. Individuals choose their own concept Alcoholics Anonymous came into existence in 1935 at a time when much of our society was centered around churches in the communities where we lived. Much of the South and the Midwest are still like that to this day. As a child in my home town on … Continue reading As We Understand God

February 1, 2019 by The Point
By Greg F. Recently I fell and broke my neck. Retrospection as always is my friend. I’ve spent years cultivating my belief in my version of God. What do you know? God was and is with me through this. Four days later I had surgery. A C4-C7 laminectomy and C4-T2 fusion. I had a close … Continue reading Willingness to Believe

February 1, 2019 by The Point
by Henry Y. From the time I was young, I learned to gauge the wants and needs of those around me and conform my behavior accordingly. Roles of child and parent were often reversed. I didn’t realize that this was not the normal order of things. I grew up with a vague sense that things … Continue reading Outside Circumstances

February 1, 2019 by The Point
The more we learn, the less we believe to be trueThe more we prove, the more remains to be provedWe’ve got to have faith in something biggerFaith in something biggerFaith in something big inside our self … —Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend Faith in Something Bigger I remember a friend making jokes about The Who’s lyrics in … Continue reading From The Editor

February 1, 2019 by The Point
Book Review by Carla H. The Recovering is a fascinating read for people who are and are not in recovery. The author has been to Harvard, Yale, and the Iowa Writers Workshop, and now directs a graduate program at Columbia University. She covers who goes to recovery, who goes to prison, and the stories that … Continue reading Crime, Punishment & Recovery
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January 6, 2019 by The Point
Neither [A.A.’s] General Service board … nor the humblest group committee can issue a single directive to an A.A. member and make it stick. —Twelve and Twelve, p. 173 How John W. learned there are no rules in knife fights: Watching Paul Newman’s opponent hit the ground in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Makes sense … Continue reading No Rules in a Knife Fight

January 1, 2019 by The Point
by Melissa M. I get to have a relationship with reality I’ve lived a life of “geographics”—moving from one place to another has become such an integral part of who I am that I have made a career of it. I move from one city to another; from one country to another and I love … Continue reading Inside Job

January 1, 2019 by The Point
by Anonymous Intrigued by this meeting I had been invited to attend, I saw the secretary took no notes, created no minutes and had no real agenda. People chimed in all over the place. A guy at the right side in the seat of honor did nothing the entire hour (the job I would try … Continue reading Life Depends On It

January 1, 2019 by The Point
Area 11 Connecticut General Service Committee What Can Groups and Members Do? Groups and members can discuss the topic of safety, to raise awareness in the Fellowship and seek through sponsorship, workshops and meetings, to create as safe an environment as possible for the newcomer, and other members or potential members. This can be the … Continue reading Safety & A.A.

January 1, 2019 by The Point
by John W. Each member is a small part of a great whole. “No rules,” just like Paul Newman’s character Butch Cassidy said was true in a knife fight, as told to the opponent he vanquished with a markedly low blow. I was enthralled to find there were no rules in A.A. Having minored in … Continue reading Our Common Welfare

January 1, 2019 by The Point
by Bree L. It takes a village My sobriety date is September 11, 1986, my sister’s birthday. We drank and used together, shoplifted together, got into crazy dangerous situations together. She was a few months clean and sober and had been dragging me to meetings in Los Angeles every time I visited. “Bitch, if you … Continue reading Kathleen C.’s Story

January 1, 2019 by The Point
Tradition One in Action by Carla H. Although Tradition One is about group unity and how we must all hang together or we shall surely hang separately (undoubtedly misquoting Benjamin Franklin), my experience of this paradoxical tradition was supremely useful in getting me to embrace A.A. fully. I had to set aside my fear of … Continue reading We Anarchists Stick Together

December 1, 2018 by The Point
My friends even said it was something I might like
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December 1, 2018 by The Point
Ancient Maya considered the resplendent quetzal divine (aka “god of the air”) and a symbol of light. The Point is now moving from a print to a light medium and will soon reside in the cloud forest, too. Since December is our last print issue, your editor is getting up to speed with WordPress. Our … Continue reading From the Editor: God of the Air
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December 1, 2018 by The Point
by Claire A. I have heard many people share in AA meetings that they felt like they were absent the day “they” handed out the booklet about how to deal with life. I shared that feeling. It seemed like everyone else knew the rules, and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t fit in. I … Continue reading How to Become “Normal”

December 1, 2018 by The Point
My parents  loved me — I just didn’t realize it by Ken J. Shortly after my second A.A. anniversary I was faced with making an amends I dreaded. To my father. Due to the circumstances I had to do it over the phone. The call began as superficial as always. We talked about the crops, … Continue reading Those Three Words

December 1, 2018 by The Point
by Kathleen C. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”~Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 60 No wonder the next line in How It Works is: “Many of us exclaimed, ‘What an order! I can’t go through … Continue reading Carrying the Message

December 1, 2018 by The Point
by Rick R. How appropriate it seems that there are 12 months in a year and we have 12 steps in the program. The joy of good living is the theme of the 12th Step. It blends right in with the holiday season in November and December, starting with Thanksgiving and ending with the New Year’s Eve celebration. This time of year … Continue reading A Joyful Time of Year

December 1, 2018 by The Point
by Dan F. What became Alcoholics Anonymous dates from June 10, 1935, when Bill gave Dr. Bob his last beer. A month earlier, members of the Oxford Group, a back-to-basics Christian movement started by dissatisfied Lutheran minister Frank Buchman, had brought them together to meet and talk. Buchman was willing to work with people of different religions without demanding they convert to Christianity. A.A.’s first book, Alcoholics … Continue reading 12 Questions for a 4th Step

December 1, 2018 by The Point
Secret Society vs. Vaudeville Circuit by John W. “We of Alcoholics Anonymous believe the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities … to actually practice a general humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us …” ~Twelve and Twelve, p. 192. Not ready to stop fighting My first … Continue reading Tradition 12

December 1, 2018 by The Point
I used to tell myself … by Anonymous I never “had” to have a drink. I only drank to relax and wind down. I didn’t drink every day, unless I was on vacation. Never got a DUI (I drove drunk—just never got caught). I didn’t drink in bars. I stayed at home with my Southern … Continue reading 10 Reasons I’m Not an Alcoholic

December 1, 2018 by The Point
by Steve B. No wrapper, no limits The way I do it is to stand fast to the A.A. tenet: As I understand God. And let it go from there. More will be revealed. Don’t like aphorisms and I don’t like metaphor. Hailing from Swiss people, known for their literal culture, where ideas are grounded … Continue reading Musings on the Nature of God
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