All posts by EssayBlog Admin

SA Marathon

SA Internet Marathon
Upcoming International Convention
November 18 – 19, 2021

Keep it SIMple

Connecting the SA Fellowship Worldwide
24 Hours Long
Begins at 12:00 Noon UTC

Join us for the fourth annual SA 24-hour web marathon with members from around the world sharing experience, strength and hope. It’s like an international convention on your phone or computer. Last year over 3,000 SA members participated! Learn from fellow members, laugh together, make new friends and celebrate what our Higher Power is doing in our lives!

This is a FREE event but registration is required.
Register here => https://simhp.com

UTC+0

UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is one of the well-known names of UTC+0 time zone which is 0h. ahead of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). It’s used as the standard time.
Conakry, Guinea
Reykjavik, Iceland
Senegal, Dakar

Read more => https://time.is/time_zones


What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.

Commuters and tourists in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom.
Clocks are set forward 1 hour for DST in the spring. The sculpture is of “Six Public Clocks” in Canary Wharf, London, U.K.

Clocks Back or Forward?
“Spring forward, fall back” is one of the little sayings used to remember which way to set your watch. You set your clock forward one hour in the spring when DST starts (= lose 1 hour), and back one hour when DST ends in the fall (= regain 1 hour).

Read more => https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst


Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. Historically used as a world reference time, nowadays it is one of the names for the time zone UTC+00:00. At different times in the past, it has been calculated in different ways, including being calculated from midnight and noon; as a consequence, it cannot be used to specify a particular time unless a context is given.

Read more => https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwich_Mean_Time


Additional Events

https://www.sa.org/events

Four Absolutes

Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love

The Four Absolutes are put into practice by asking 4 questions. We have to remind our self in the morning, and as we go through our day the following questions before acting or speaking:

  • Is it true or is it false? – Honesty
  • Is it right or is it wrong? – Purity
  • How will this affect another fellow? – Unselfishness
  • Is it ugly or beautiful? –Love

What are the four absolutes?

The “Four Absolutes” of Alcoholics Anonymous were considered “yardsticks” in the earliest days of the recovery program —standards for determining appropriate behavior as measured through God’s eyes. The Four Absolutes are Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love. These are guides to keep you in tune with God’s will in your life.

The Absolutes are the essence of Jesus’ teachings about the will of God, ideals for our life, moral standards by which our thoughts and actions may be tested for harmony with God’s will, and the keys to the spiritual life God wishes us to lead.

Although some believed these absolutes are impossible to obtain, they were guidelines to help determine whether a course of action was directed by God. The Four absolutes are a great tool for anyone; for those in recovery, they are an essential way to keep on the path and help us take a look at our motives.


How were they formed?

The Four Absolutes were initially written in 1904 by Christian author Robert Speer, and later would become a part of the teachings of The Oxford Group

The principles behind The Four Absolutes come from the teaching of Jesus in the bible.

What is The Oxford Group?

The Oxford Group was a movement started in 1921 by Frank Buchman, a minister from Allentown, PA; was founded as a return to early century Christianity originally in 1908.

The Four Absolutes

Buchman believed that the personal problems of fear and selfishness were the root of all societal problems. Further, Buchman believed that the solution to living with fear and selfishness was to surrender one’s life over to God‘s Plan.

Some of the fundamental spiritual practices of The Oxford Group were, share our sins and temptations with another Christian, surrender our life past, present and future, into the God’s keeping and direction, Have restitution to all whole we have wronged directly and indirectly and to listen to God’s guidance and carry it out.

The Oxford Group used the Four Absolutes in three specific ways:
1 – As a way to take inventory of our past to see where and how we fell short, so that we could learn what areas of our life needed to be worked on.
2 – During meditation or while being inspired or guided by our Inner Voice, as a way to differentiate between “God” thoughts and human thoughts.
3 – As a standard of living God’s Will, moment by moment.

Most of the Alcoholics Anonymous Program we know today was based off teachings of The Oxford Group.

Honesty- Is it True or Is It False?

Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness (both verbally and through our actions), along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc.

When in active addiction this may seem like a foreign concept to us; now in recovery we are told that complete honesty is a must! It’s a big change for most of us to take in all at once. The real virtue of honesty lies in the persistent dedication of striving for it.

We need to leave our rationalizations by the wayside and stop the self-deceiving that is in our nature and ask our self “is it true or false?”

The unrelenting pursuit of truth will set us free.

Purity – Is it Right or Is It Wrong?

Purity is defined as the condition or quality of being pure; freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, or pollutes. Purity is a flawless quality. The question asked “is it right or wrong?” is not a hard concept for us to grasp. Often, even in the grips of our addiction, we were aware of the difference between right and wrong. We are often faced with decisions that are tough for us. We often times know what the right thing is to do but we struggle to do it. By practicing this absolute we are better able to make choices and decisions based on the right thinking that will help us line up our lives with Gods will.

Purity as in Honesty the virtue lies in striving for it, we will also be in constant pursuit. This is a great way to check your motives and find out if we have hidden agendas.

Unselfishness- How will this affect another fellow?

Unselfishness is defined as the quality of not putting yourself first, but being willing to give your time, money, or effort etc. Coming into recovery this is often a shift in paradigm for us. We have spent most of our lives thinking of ourselves first, even if we were unaware that we were doing it.

What we gain in sobriety is directly proportionate to what we give away. Once we have realized this and devote time to helping others, we realize that this is the cornerstone of the recovery program.

When analyzing what we are about to do, say, or decide we must first take a look at how this will affect others around us. We have to find out what controls our actions –self-interest or God-interest? This will help us find out if we are self-directed or God-directed.

Love- Is It Ugly or Is It Beautiful?

Love is beauty, it is also an action word. When we are in active addiction, we are in the depths of fear, physical agony, mental torture, and spiritual starvation. We need a complete change. We find that in love, in giving love we receive it. Unless we give love, our progress will be lost.

If something is truly beautiful then it is love. Love is not a feeling it is a decision.

Why is this important for recovery?

When working a program of recovery, we know that taking inventory is vital for our sobriety. Here are some of the questions that are asked in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that are in line with The Four Absolutes

Read more



Additional Resources:

https://indianriveraa.org/PDF/THE%20FOUR%20ABSOLUTES.pdf


Fear

The fear of inadequacy


Smith writes that the first thing people fear is not being skilled enough. But there’s a solution: “Once you admit that you are experiencing the fear of inadequacy, understanding is on its way.”

“When you understand what your important role is in carrying out your pursuits,” he adds, “you will begin to see what you need to do when first stepping out to tackle your fear of inadequacy.”

The fear of uncertainty


The second fear is being afraid of the unknown. But there’s a fix to this holding you back as well, Smith writes. “Anticipating what will happen in the future is a strength that can be developed, and it will help you take the first step when you experience the fear of uncertainty,” he explains.

He adds: “And vision is what will keep you moving forward regardless of your fears. In whatever you do, antic

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/the-10-biggest-fears-holding-you-back-from-success.html


Most people bundle their biggest fears into one big scary package of nerves, anxiety and inaction. But what if I told that there wasn’t just one biggest fear, but lots of them? And that each of them can be broken down and solved, with a little bit of practice?

It is likely that fear is the number one thing holding you back from living your best possible life. This article will highlight the most common fears that people have that hold them back and how to overcome them.

Fear of Failure


The fear of failure is one of the most common biggest fear that hold people back from living their best life. In a world that puts successful people on a podium, there can be shame on those who fall short or even worse, try in the first place.

In the wise words of Anthony de Mello:[1]

“When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him.”

The fear of failure will hold you back from taking action and make you procrastinate. Don’t let this fear take control of your life. Get rid of your fear of failure, your tensions about succeeding, and you will be yourself. How? Join the free Fast-Track Class – No More Procrastination. You will learn how to get over your fear and start to take action to make things happen. You will be relaxed and at your most able. You wouldn’t drive with your brakes on, and the same goes for life. Join the free class here.

Fear of Success


One of the lesser-known but very common fears that might be holding you back is the fear of success. How can anyone fear success you might ask? Well, success has its own set of problems and fears.

Success can come out of nowhere, and change everything when you aren’t ready. Once you have success and get comfortable with it, it can vanish in an instant. People hold back not just because they are afraid of success, but because they are afraid of getting it and losing it.

The solution is similar to that of the biggest fear of failure – you just have to live your own life and see what comes your way. Both success and failure are inevitable in any worthwhile endeavour, so relax and embrace both of them.

Fear of Loss


Fear of loss is most likely one of the most prominent and powerful fears that is holding you back. The biggest fear of loss often stimulates negative emotions like anger that stop you from being the person you can be.

Think of the last time you were angry and search for the fear behind it. What were you afraid of losing? What were you afraid would be taken from you? That’s where the anger comes from. Think of an angry person, maybe someone you’re afraid of. Can you see how frightened he or she is?

https://www.lifehack.org/864903/biggest-fear


We all have things we fear – snakes and hedgehogs are mine. Most of the time these fears do not impact on our daily lives but if they do then it may be time for some for a short course in behaviour therapy. The top ten phobias include:

Arachnophobia: The fear of spiders. This phobia tends to affect women more than men.

Ophidiophobia: The fear of snakes.

Acrophobia: The fear of heights.


Social Phobia


Also known as social anxiety, this fear involves a broad range of situations in which people are afraid to interact with others because they fear people judging them. It might not seem so, but this fear is widespread, affecting on in five Americans. People with this fear often don’t seek therapy (it would require social contact) and, for this, most don’t overcome it. One researcher wrote that this is the only fear that we are more scared of than our deaths! People that suffer from social anxiety can have difficulty presenting in front of colleagues, speaking in public, going to parties, or just chatting with others. Learn more about social anxiety.

Fear of heights


This fear reaches around 5% of the world’s population. People that suffer from this fear avoid any place high up and can have vertigo or feel the necessity to hold on to something when going upwards, like the handrail when going up stairs, for example. At a theme park, it’s no small feat to get these folks to jump in the cart for a roller coaster ride.

Fear of bugs, snakes or spiders


To broaden this topic, a lot of people suffer from intense fear of some animal. The most common are insects, snakes, and spiders.

Vision for You

This morning on one of the most universal popular holidays in the world, I attended an “in-person” Alcoholics Anonymous meeting @ 0600 the day after the big 2021 New Year’s celebration.

While I was sitting there, I looked up on the wall and read the following:

THE PROMISES
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it,
We will comprehend the word serenity,
And we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain insight into our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. (BB pgs. 83-84)

Yes, they are definitely “extravagant“! But, then as I was reading them it occurred to me that all of them have come TRUE for me. In fact, I believe that was a “Spiritual Experience” similar to Appendix II in the AA Big Book. However, why do I continue to have trouble with “Patience, Love and Tolerance”? So, I began going back over some previous journal entries and read the following excerpts:

Forest through the Trees

It is very challenging when I run across people who appear to be so simple minded that they can’t figure out the simplest problems. Their minds are like great big empty voids of any kind of logical thought. This is why even though they can see the trees their simple minds can’t grasp that’s the forest.

“…discovered the joy of helping others to face life again, there will be no stopping until everyone in that town has had his opportunity to recover— if he can and will. Still you may say: “But I will not have the benefit of contact with you who write this book.” We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave. Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you — until then.” (WB pg. 169 and pg. 210 and pg. BB pg. 164)

Let’s turn again to the deposed founder and his friends. What becomes of them? As their grief and anxiety wear away, a subtle change begins. Ultimately, they divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.” The elder statesman is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decision, who holds no resentment over his reduced status, whose judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound, and who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting developments. The bleeding deacon is one who is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him, who constantly connives for reelection to office, and who continues to be consumed with self-pity. A few hemorrhage so badly that— drained of all A.A. spirit and principle—they get drunk. At times the A.A. landscape seems to be littered with bleeding forms. Nearly every old-timer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree. Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen. ~ AA 12&12 pg. 135

TRADITION 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

“We also use telephone meetings with two or more members, using the three-way calling feature available in many cities. Some members subscribe to discount long-distance phone service for considerable savings. Speaker phones enable a loner to sit in remotely.” Read more => http://saphonemeeting.org/blog/three-way-calling-feature

“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober… does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and help others to achieve sexual sobriety.” AA Grapevine / SA WB pg. 201

“Anything you have heard at this meeting is strictly the opinion of the individual participant; the principles of SA are found in our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.  This is an anonymous program. Please keep the name, address, and phone number of anyone you meet or learn about in SA to yourself. And what we say here, let it stay here. Remember that we never identify ourselves publicly with SA in the press, radio, TV, or films. Neither does anyone speak for SA.” SA WB pg. 199

Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone— even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. AA BB pg. 84

TRADITION 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV.

NOTICE: Sexaholics Anonymous added the word “TV”. They could probably add Internet and tele/videoconference today (e.g. Zoom and/or www.freeconferencecall.com)

“In some sections of A.A., anonymity is carried to the point of real absurdity. Members are on such a poor basis of communication that they don’t even know each other’s last names or where each lives.” – As Bill Sees it, page 241

“…[Dr. Bob] said there were two ways to break the Anonymity Tradition: (1) by giving your name at the public level of press or radio; (2) by being so anonymous that you can’t be reached by other drunks.” – Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers, page 264

Zoom Meetings

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Join Now: Click Here
Meeting ID: 839-874-7514
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Local Phone Number: Click Here
Read More: Zoom Meetings
Official Schedule: Click Here for ALL of our SA Audio & Video Conference Meetings.

Struggling with the Pandemic? Are you having problems with your regular “Home Group”? Can’t get outside? Quarantined? It’s a great opportunity to connect with members of SA on an entirely different level. ROUTINE is important. By sharing your screen, it feels much more like a normal meeting that you are used to attending in a local church basement. COVID-19: Read more

Unfortunately, due to our society worldwide, the TELECONFERENCE services are getting bogged down with too many callers. Thus, the Free Phone Services that used to be relatively LIMITLESS are now enforcing restrictions that limit the capacity. We are adding new ZOOM meetings daily to keep up with the demand. Download Center: Click Here (select “Zoom Client for Meetings” or “Zoom Mobile Apps” – App Store / Google Play)

Security, Privacy and Anonymity

Click here => Administrator Advanced Features

We’re always striving to deliver you a secure virtual meeting environment. Starting April 5th, we’ve chosen to enable passwords on your meetings and turn on Waiting Rooms by default as additional security enhancements to protect your privacy.

Meeting Passwords Enabled “On”

Going forward, your previously scheduled meetings (including those scheduled via your Personal Meeting ID) will have passwords enabled. If your attendees are joining via a meeting link, there will be no change to their joining experience. For attendees who join meetings by manually entering a Meeting ID, they will need to enter a password to access the meeting.

Virtual Waiting Room Turned on by Default

Going forward, the virtual waiting room feature will be automatically turned on by default. The Waiting Room is just like it sounds: It’s a virtual staging area that prevents people from joining a meeting until the host is ready.

Tell a Friend

Pay it Forward!  Help yourself and more importantly carry your “EXPERIENCE, STRENGTH & HOPE” to the newcomer and/or oldtimer

ODaaT ~ One Day at a Time. 

In some cases, One Hour at a Time! Read More

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Service to Essay

In the past 10-15 years there has been a substantial increase in “Reality TV Shows”.  In particular, a show about folks struggling with weight loss and are trying to diet, exercise and get into better shape.  I was drawn to the “Title of the Show” more than anything when I first tuned in.  

I quickly realized why this is such a powerful metaphor!  Because just like people struggling with Lust or Sex Addiction, people who are overweight and/or have major obesity addiction attend Over Eaters Anonymous.


Mop the Kitchen Floor

When I first joined “12 Step” recovery, there was a guy I met, “Eddie S.” who always used to say at meetings, “Stop complaining — Go home and mop the kitchen floor”.

At the time, I had no idea what he meant.  In fact, I was quite irritated in quickly formed a resentment because I felt it took a lot to just attend meetings.  But what he really was trying to tell me was very simple.

Positive momentum is contagious. When you do something productive, you feel better. 

I even heard a female ‘Old-Timer’ share at an SA International Convention, “iron your socks” when you feel like acting out.  Do something, to take your mind off the compulsion.



Much of the work people do here on SA Phone Mtg website is similar to the newsletter “Essay”. We need your help!  If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to info@saphonemeeting.org

For example, the schedule of teleconference meetings is the #1 purpose of this site.  Next, is the individual scripts and mtg formats. There are many other various reasons why the SA Phone Mtg website acts like a “Virtual Intergroup” but for sake of brevity it is safe to say, people are getting sober and staying sober, so obviously it works. One of the reasons why I personally setup this online vehicle was to help people participate more efficiently on the teleconferences. For example, back in 2009 there was no EASY simple way to read excerpts from the SA literature if they didn’t already have a copy via email. Now, many people can find literature to read and participate! Read more

Getting Started: Step “Zero”

“There is an unwritten step underlying all twelve. Call it Step Zero: “We participated in the fellowship of the program.” No one seems able to stay sober and progress in recovery without it, though some try. For most of us, without associating in some way with other recovering individuals, there is no lasting sobriety and none of the fringe benefits of recovery, growth, freedom, and joy. This holds true even for “loners” (those without groups). We don’t try to explain this; it is simply a fact.

We begin by meeting regularly with other members. If there is no group where we live, we start one ourselves, even if it is meeting with only one other member. Fellowship is that crucial to our recovery. We can’t do it alone. We pray to be led to another sexaholic who will want to hear our story, then we follow all leads that come to our attention. We contact the SA Central Office for any contacts there may be in our area and ask for materials and know-how. (See part III and Appendix 3.) Many groups have started in just such a manner. Long distances may separate members at first; some travel more than a hundred miles to meet with others.

Commit yourself to your group, whether it is being formed or is operating but still small. Attend every meeting on time. This ensures maximum benefit to you and the group, which cannot have continuity without regular participants. The measure of such commitment will be the measure of your recovery.
We also use telephone meetings with two or more members, using the three-way calling feature available in many cities. Some members subscribe to discount long-distance phone service for considerable savings. Speaker phones enable a loner to sit in remotely. We augment this by letter writing and attending other types of Twelve Step meetings, many of which are open to the public. Much benefit can be gained there in learning how to apply the Steps in one’s life and in seeing how meetings are run.

We cannot put this strongly enough: Experience has shown us that we must be part of others or we cannot maintain effective surrender, see ourselves rightly, or work the Steps. Without regular participation in the fellowship, there seems to be no recovery. (SA WB pg. 63-64)


Toxicity

Toxic reactions to alcohol and drug abuse are common knowledge. What we might call the toxicity of lust becomes especially apparent to us in recovery. We become increasingly aware of the poisonous effects of lust on our thinking and behavior. We have heard members say, “I’m allergic to lust,” and we know the person is trying to describe the toxic reaction that occurs whenever he or she takes a visual or fantasy “drink” without even acting out. In sobriety, once we have withdrawn from lust and then let it back in, the toxic effect is felt immediately and strongly. We can tolerate less of it than ever, and it produces a greater disturbance. Our sexaholism doesn’t stand still; it progressively worsens.

“I could see a girl in a bikini on a billboard five years ago and it wouldn’t bother me; now, I go to pieces and lose my mind over it.”

“Lust throws my whole system out of whack. I lose my equilibrium, my control, and have to recover as if from a poison.”

[Note: These and other italicized quotes are from Sexaholics Anonymous members, past and present.]” (SA WB pg. 32)


A VISION FOR YOU

We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you — until then. (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164)


Suscipe Prayer

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

Learn about Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius’s Journey
Ignatius’s visit to Montserrat was part of an intense and difficult period for him: he was recovering from a battle injury to his leg, and he was struggling to leave behind his privileged and prestigious past as a noble man.

At Montserrat, Ignatius began to live his faith, spending all night in prayer before the statue of the Virgin. He put on simple clothes and gave his expensive clothing to a beggar.

After Ignatius’s visit to Montserrat, he stopped at Manresa, a small town nearby. He planned to spend to spend a few nights writing down his thoughts, but he stayed for 11 months and left profoundly changed. The fruit of Ignatius’s reflections at Manresa became one of the greatest works of Christian spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises.

About Ignatius’s Life (1491–1556)
Saint Ignatius went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in Spain. He left his sword on the altar and exchanged his rich clothes for a beggar’s garment. He lived in the nearby town of Manresa, doing penance. In Manresa, Ignatius experienced the spiritual growth that led him to write the Spiritual Exercises. However, Ignatius decided he needed more schooling, so, in his 30s, he began attending school and studying Latin. Eventually, he went to study in Paris, where he became the leader of a group of seven (including Francis Xavier) who took vows in 1534, an event that marked the beginning of the Society of Jesus.

Meetings How They Work

`As I come into the fellowship, I’m confronted with my disease. First, in my initial contacts with other members; then in meeting after meeting. But there are parts of the disease still hidden in that deep hole inside me, sides of me I never want you to see, and eventually they start festering. So, one by one, I’m forced to get rid of them. The problem is, how do I keep my disease from always running into a dark corner?”

That’s how one member put it in trying to describe something of what happens in meetings. The problem is our blind sides; we all have them. So, the question for us is, How do we work our personal programs and conduct our meetings and fellowship so as to “walk in the light”? Here’s what has been working for us:

  1. By getting sober and staying sober and holding to the concept of sexual sobriety in our SA meetings. Without sobriety we have nothing to offer anyone. SA offers sexual sobriety, progressive victory over lust, and recovery. When this is our aim, meetings can become a sanctuary of serenity and light.
  2. By not imposing uniformity. We don’t prescribe doing the Steps by formula or in exactly the same way some other member does them. We do the Steps in our own way and time; we “Live and Let Live.” But working the Steps does work for us.
  3. By telling the side of our stories we really don’t want to tell. This is different than a mere “sexalog,” relating our sexual experiences. It is rigorous self-searching and self-revealing honesty about every aspect of our lives. We are fitting the pieces of our lives together differently every time we tell our stories or share.
  4. By telling exactly where we are today-where we’re failing today, as well as where we’re succeeding. “I’m as sick as my secrets,” the saying goes. So we reveal our secrets; we bring the inside out. Self-honesty, in humility, yet so powerful. We lead with our weaknesses.
  5. By continually working the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in our lives first, and in our fellowship.
  6. By helping others through identification. When we want to communicate to another member, we speak in terms of “I,” not “we” or “you.” We don’t tell them what’s wrong with them or give advice; we relate what happened to us. When we thus identify with another, it may not only help that person, but often reveals something about ourselves we’ve missed before. We don’t tell; we share.
    “I can tell you what’s wrong with you without identifying, but this keeps me from looking at myself and can be destructive to you. But when I bring it up by identifying through my own experience, it means I’m bringing myself out into the light.”
  7. By taking responsibility for our own recovery. There’s a difference between taking responsibility for our recovery and being in charge of it. When we take responsibility, we’ve stopped saying “Fix me” and are willing to take the actions necessary to get well. We’re willing to take direction and work the Steps. This same attitude is what leads us to tie in to another sober member as helper or sponsor-one who can help us learn how to work the Steps in our daily lives. When we remain “in charge,” however, we’re shutting ourselves off from the light and help of other recovering members.
  8. By leading with our weakness. There is an attractive healing atmosphere in meetings when someone is transparent, naive, “innocent,” and self-revealing at depth. He or she may even be a newcomer, which is often the case and why we need them to help keep us honest. Vulnerable, and like a child, we take the supreme risk of exposing the truth about ourselves, dark as it may be. We lead with our weakness because that’s where we’re hurting, and this becomes the point of our identification with each other, the point of true union. Once this single ray of light shines in a meeting, it finds ready reception and response in the others present. Honesty is catching; we’re learning to walk in the light.
  9. By commitment to the group. SA members commit themselves to SA meetings. We attend every meeting we can. On time. Meetings, on time. Why this emphasis?

When the meeting is handled in a haphazard manner, there’s a feeling of What’s the use? There’s the feeling of being let down, that the secretary, leader, or other members don’t care and are not really a part of. And if there’s no feeling of mutual caring, then I can’t be a part of. How can I become a part of something that’s always shifting around? A feeling of separation and isolation comes into play-deadly for us.

Meetings starting on time and a general orderliness are one of the legacies we’ve gotten from the best of other Twelve Step programs. Instead of “doing our own thing,” which characterizes our self-obsession, we commit ourselves to every meeting and to being on time. No matter what-spouses, jobs, money-we put the group first because we put our own sobriety first. Commitment to sobriety is commitment to the fellowship of sobriety. Read more

(SA White Book pages 185-187)

Responsibility Pledge

What is the history behind AA’s Responsibility Statement?

The Responsibility Statement reads: “I am Responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”

It was written for the 1965 A.A. International Convention in Toronto . I have enclosed an article titled, ‘How I am Responsible became a part of A.A.’, from the GSO newsletter, Box 4-5-9. The article identifies former AA trustee, Al S. as the author of the Responsibility Statement. In the souvenir book for the 1965 Convention, Dr. Jack Norris writes: “..We must remember that AA will continue strong only so long as each of us freely and happily gives it away to another person, only as each of us takes our fair share of responsibility for sponsorship of those who still suffer, for the growth and integrity of our Group, for our Intergroup activities, and for AA as a whole. It is in taking responsibility that real freedom and the enduring satisfactions of life are found. AA has given us the power to choose – to drink or not to drink – and in doing so has given us the freedom to be responsible for ourselves. As we become responsible for ourselves, we are free to be responsible for our share in AA, and unless we happily accept this responsibility we lose AA. Strange, isn’t it?”

In a Grapevine article in October 1965, the Responsibility Statement is discussed, and Bill W. expresses his views: Two major thoughts stood out in the remarks of the many speakers, alcoholic and nonalcoholic, at AA’s July Toronto Convention. The first was admiration and gratitude for AA’s startling success in sobering up hundreds of thousands of lost-cause drunks. The other was concern that the success which has come to AA over the thirty years since its start in Akron, Ohio in 1935 would not lead us to any complacency about the size of the job still to be done. The theme of the Convention was: Responsibility. “I am responsible. . .when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.” AA’s co-founder, Bill, in his talk to over 10,000 attending the major sessions of the Convention, stressed the need for cooperation with all who work on the problem of alcoholism, the more than 100 agencies in the United States and Canada alone now engaged in research, alcohol education and rehabilitation. “Too often, we have deprecated and even derided these projects of our friends just because we do not always see eye to eye with them,” Bill said. “We should very seriously ask ourselves how many alcoholics have gone on drinking simply because we have failed to cooperate in good spirit with these many agencies. No alcoholic should go mad or die merely because he did not come straight to AA in the beginning.” “The first concern of AA members should be with problem drinkers the movement is still unable to reach,” Bill said. He estimated that there are 20 million alcoholics in the world today, five million in the U.S. alone. “Some cannot be reached because they are not hurt enough, others because they are hurt too much,” he declared. “Many sufferers have mental and emotional complications that seem to foreclose their chances. Yet it would be conservative to estimate that at any particular time there are four million alcoholics in the world who are able, ready and willing to get well if only they knew how. When we remember that in the 30 years of AA’s existence we have reached less than ten per cent of those who might have been willing to approach us, we begin to get an idea of the immensity of our task and of the responsibilities with which we will always be confronted.”

There have been two Advisory Actions from the General Service Conference regarding the Declaration of Responsibility since it was introduced. In 1971, the Conference recommended that: The Literature Committee, following the general feeling of the Conference, reaffirm both the spirit and the wording of the “I am Responsible” Declaration from the International Convention held in Toronto in 1965. And in 1977, the Conference recommended that: The Responsibility Declaration not be changed, as it was made at the 1965 International Convention in Toronto. ~G.S.O. Archives / Read more

Personality Disorder

10 Healthy Coping Skills

When you are having an intense emotion, it can be hard to know what to do. Unfortunately, many people with BPD turn to unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to cope with emotional pain (e.g., sex addiction, obsessive pornography, self-harm, substance use, or aggression). Want to replace unhealthy habits with new, healthier skills? Try some of the coping skills listed below.

1. Play Music

Play music that creates an emotion that is the opposite of the one you are struggling with. For example, if you are feeling very sad, play happy, upbeat music. If you are feeling anxious, play slow, relaxing music.

2. Do Something

Engage in a highly engaging activity. Television or computer activities do not count here — these are too passive. Instead, take a walk, dance, clean your house, or do some other activity that gets you engaged and distracts you from your current emotions.

3. Call Someone

Reaching out to others can really help when you are struggling with strong emotions. Call a supportive friend or family member. If you don’t have someone in mind that is supportive, call a helpline (for example, in the U.S. you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK).

4. Pray

Are you a religious or spiritual person? If you are (or even if you’re not but have considered trying), praying can be tremendously helpful in times of extreme stress.

5. Ride It Out

The peak of most strong emotional reactions (and the urges to engage in harmful activities, like self-harming or drinking, that can go along with these reactions) last for a few minutes and then begin to subside. Grab an egg timer from the kitchen, and set it for 10 minutes. Wait the 10 minutes, and practice riding out the emotion.

6. Be Mindful

Practice mindfulness of your emotion. Notice the emotion you are having, and let yourself experience it as a wave, without trying to block it, suppress it, or hold on to it. Try to accept the emotion for what it is.

7. Breathe Deeply

Sit or lie somewhere quiet and bring your attention to your breathing. Breathe evenly, slowly, and deeply. Watch your stomach rise and fall with each breath.

8. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

Try to lose yourself in the sensations of the warm water, the smell of the soap, etc. Allow the sensations to distract you from the situation you are upset about.

9. Ground Yourself

When emotions seem to be taking you out of the current moment (e.g., you are starting to feel “zoned out” or can’t see anything else going on at the moment), do something to ground yourself. Grab an ice cube and hold it in your hand for a few moments, snap a rubber band against your wrist, “snap yourself back” into the moment.

10. Help Someone Else

Do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to be something big; you can walk to the nearest store, buy a pack of gum, and give the cashier a smile and say “have a great day.” It may sound silly, but small gestures like this can really reduce emotional pain.

Reference