Category Archives: News

Idealists

TRADITION SIX

“We’d form groups of depressive and paranoid folks; the deeper the neurosis, the better we’d like it. It stood to reason that if alcoholism could be licked, so could any problem.

It occurred to us that we could take what we had into the factories and cause laborers and capitalists to love each other. Our uncompromising honesty might soon clean up politics. With one arm around the shoulder of religion and the other around the shoulder of medicine, we’d resolve their differences…

We might transform the world…bankrupt idealists…

According to Webster dictionary:

Idealism—the attitude of a person who believes that it is possible to live according to very high standards of behavior and honesty.

Grandiose—seeming to be impressive or intended to be impressive but not really possible or practical; characterized by affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration.

This sounds familiar 🙂

“We are all perfectionists who, failing perfection, have gone to the other extreme and settled for the bottle and the blackout. Providence, through A.A., had brought us within reach of our highest expectations. So why shouldn’t we share our way of life with everyone?

Whereupon we tried A.A. hospitals—they all bogged down because you cannot put an A.A. group into business; too many busybody cooks spoil the broth. A.A. groups had their fling at education, and when they began to publicly whoop up the merits of this or that brand, people became confused. ” (AA Daily Reflections 6/29)

What’s really interesting today, is that I attended two AA meetings and neither of which discussed AA Tradition 6.  It mentions the word “prestige” and everyone missed the context.

Cease and Desist

Today on the 730am DSR we experienced another disruption from a recent caller that has a tendency to fly off the deep end. Nevertheless, I find it very interesting listening to him and understanding where he is coming from.  I believe the #1 reason why people tend to get upset and/or emotional on the teleconference phone bridge meetings in recovery is because they are not given an opportunity to share and express themselves.

When one addict listens to another addict, that is what recovery is all about.  Far too often I hear people get angry on the call because of the background noise.  Even people with months and years of recovery.  It’s simply human nature and almost impossible not to respond to someone else when they are behaving badly.

But the old saying, “two wrongs don’t make a right” definitely rings true in this situation.  I also thought it was interesting listening to how the moderator tried desperately to calm the other distraught caller down and regain control of the meeting.

I can only speak for myself.  I’ve been in both situations and know my limitations.  I am not a trained therapist nor am I an attorney, but when you use terms like “cease and desist”, I think you might be setting yourself up for failure.

Typically a letter, also known as “infringement letter” or “demand letter,” is a document sent to an individual or business to halt purportedly-unlawful activity (“cease”) and not take it up again later (“desist”).  Read more

The prayer of St. Francis says, “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace–that where there is hatred, I may bring love–that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness–that where there is discord, I may bring harmony–that where there is error, I may bring truth–that where there is doubt, I may bring faith–that where there is despair, I may bring hope–that where there are shadows, I may bring light–that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted–to understand, than to be understood–to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.” (p. 99 AA Twelve and Twelve, 11th STEP)

Furthermore, I know for myself that I need to constantly work on my Listening skills.  Alanon taught me to “listen to learn, and learn to listen”.  Here are 3 more articles related to the topic:

  1. Empathic Approach: Listening First Aid
  2. Truths About My Addict
  3. The Gift of Anxiety: 7 Ways to Get the Message and Find Peace

Live and Let Live

The old saying “Live and Let live” seems so commonplace, it is easy to overlook its value. Of course, one reason it has been said over and over for years is that it has proved beneficial in so many ways.

 

We AA’s make some special uses of it to help us not drink. It particularly helps us cope with people who get on our nerves.

Reviewing once more a little of our drinking histories, many of us can see how very, very often our drinking problem appeared to be related somehow to other people. Experimenting with beer or wine in our teen-age years seemed natural, since so many others were doing it, and we wanted their approval. Then came weddings and bar mitzvahs and christenings and holidays and football games and cocktail parties and business lunches…and the list can go on and on. In all of these circumstances, we drank at least partly because everybody else was drinking and seemed to expect us to.

 

 

Those of us who began to drink alone, or to sneak a drink now and then, often did so to keep some other person or people from knowing how much, or how often, we drank. We rarely liked to hear anybody else talk about our drinking. If they did, we frequently told them “reasons” for our drinking, as if we wanted to ward off criticism or complaints.

Some of us found ourselves argumentative or even belligerent toward other people after drinking. Yet others of us felt we really got along better with people after a drink or two—whether it was a social evening, a tense sale or job interview, or even making love.

 

 

Our drinking caused many of us to choose our friends according to how much they drank. We even changed friends when we felt we had “outgrown” their drinking styles. We preferred “real drinkers” to people who just took one or two. And we tried to avoid teetotalers.

Many of us were guilty and angry about the way our family reacted to our drinking. Some of us lost jobs because a boss or a colleague at work objected to our drinking. We wished people would mind their own business and leave us alone!

 

 

Often, we felt angry and fearful even toward people who had not criticized us. Our guilt made us extra sensitive to those around us, and we nursed grudges. Sometimes, we changed bars, changed jobs, or moved to new neighborhoods just to get away from certain persons.

 

 

So a great number of people besides ourselves were in one way or another involved in our drinking, to some degree.

 

 

When we first stopped drinking, it was a great relief to find that the people we met in AA— recovered alcoholics—seemed to be quite different. They reacted to us, not with criticism and suspicion, but with understanding and concern.

However, it is perfectly natural that we still encounter some people who get on our nerves, both within AA and outside it. We may find that our non-AA friends, co-workers, or family members still treat us as if we were drinking. (It may take them a little while to believe that we have really stopped. After all, they may have seen us stop many times in the past, only to start again.) To begin to put the concept of “Live and Let Live” into practice, we must face this fact: There are people in A.A, and everywhere else, who sometimes say things we disagree with, or do things we don’t like. Learning to live with differences is essential to our comfort. It is exactly in those cases that we have found it extremely helpful to say to ourselves, “Oh, well, ‘Live and Let Live.'” In fact, in AA much emphasis is placed on learning how to tolerate other people’s behavior. However offensive or distasteful it may seem to us, it is certainly not worth drinking about. Our own recovery is too important. Alcoholism can and does kill, we recall.

 

 

We have learned it pays to make a very special effort to try to understand other people, especially anyone who rubs us the wrong way. For our recovery, it is more important to understand than to be understood. This is not very difficult if we bear in mind that the other AA members, too, are trying to understand, just as we are.

For that matter, we’ll meet some people in AA or elsewhere who won’t be exactly crazy about us, either. So all of us try to respect the rights of others to act as they choose (or must). We can then expect them to give us the same courtesy. In AA, they generally do.

Usually, people who like each other—in a neighborhood, a company, a club, or AA—gravitate toward each other. When we spend time with people we like, we are less annoyed by those we don’t particularly care for.

 

 

As time goes on, we find we are not afraid simply to walk away from people who irritate us, instead of meekly letting them get under our skin, or instead of trying to straighten them out just so they will suit us better.

 

 

None of us can remember anyone’s forcing us to drink alcohol. No one ever tied us down and poured booze down our gullets. Just as no one physically compelled us to drink, now we try to make sure no one will mentally “drive us to drink,” either.

 

 

It is very easy to use other people’s actions as an alibi for drinking. We used to be experts at it But in sobriety, we have learned a new technique: We never let ourselves get so resentful toward someone else that we allow that person to control our lives—especially to the extent of causing us to drink. We have found we have no desire to let any other person run, or ruin, our lives.

 

 

An ancient sage said that none of us should criticize another until we have walked a mile in the other person’s boots. This wise advice can give us greater compassion for our fellow human beings. And putting it into practice makes us feel much better than being hung-over.

 

 

“Let live”—yes. But some of us find just as much value in the first part of the slogan: “Live”!

 

 

When we have worked out ways to enjoy our own living fully, then we are content to let other people live any way they want If our own lives are interesting and productive, we really have no impulse or desire to find fault with others or worry about the way they act. Can you think right this minute of someone who really bothers you?

 

 

If you can, try something. Postpone thinking about him or her and whatever it is about the person that riles you. You can boil inside about it later if you want to. But for right now, why not put it off while you read the next paragraph?

live! Be concerned with your own living. In our opinion, staying sober opens up the way to life and happiness. It is worth sacrificing many a grudge or argument… Okay, so you didn’t manage to keep your mind completely off that other person. Let’s see whether the suggestion coming next will help. (AA Living Sober)

 

Overwhelmed

Respect for females is one of my biggest problems in life.  There are multiple names I try to use like women or ladies.  But I have to be careful with girls and especially chicks.

Today I really value women and have a much different perspective, but it continues to change.

 

 

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The fellowship gave us monitoring and support to keep us from being overwhelmed, a safe haven where we could finally face ourselves.” (SOLUTION, WB pg. 61-62 and pg. 204-5)

“addicts, then love cripples” (WHAT IS A SEXAHOLIC AND WHAT IS SEXUAL SOBRIETY, WB pg. ii and pg. 203)

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Family Radio => http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Camping

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Famous Alcoholics (addicts)

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hughes

Lust for Power

Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body. The lust can take any form such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It can take such mundane forms as the lust for food as distinct from the need for food. Lust is a psychological force producing intense wanting for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion. Read more

Other References: Lust Manipulation | Sexual Inducement

When I was an active Alcoholic and “womanizer” I constantly manipulated women to have sex with me.  At the very least, I would not give up until they gave me their phone number.  Everywhere I went, I constantly flirted with females and saw it as a game or conquest.

Today I’m married and have a young daughter.  I need to ALWAYS remember that when I’m objectifying other a lady that she is another father’s girl.  I’m very, very proud to have “Daddy’s little Girl” and I don’t want to abuse women anymore!  Even if I’m fantasizing ONLY and not even talking to them, I’m still stealing and taking.  I pray that when I see an attractive female today that I can stop and pray for her rather then satisfy my own desires. Amen

Self-fulfilling prophecy

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.

I met a guy a few years ago that pointed out this idea of my behavior is
predestined
to happen.

It seems like my whole life I have a tendency to live up to my reputation.  Particularly, bad behavior which is unsettling.

Read more

It’s not a competition

Far too often, I find my self competing with my fellow brothers and sisters in the program.  This is partly ingrained in me because ever since I was a young child I was exposed to very highly competitive sports and competition.

However in my 20 years of experience I have slowly learned that it is not a race.  We are all equal. There is no prize for having the most sobriety in the room.


* Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about gossip and taking other members’ inventories?

* Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as “just for the sake of discussion,” plunge into argument?

* Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive?

* Do I make competitive AA remarks, such as comparing one group with another or contrasting AA in one place with AA in another?

Read more

Open road

“Roadtrip” is one of my favorite words.

Hitting the open road was so liberating.  It was rarely the destination that was important. Instead, it was all about the journey.

12 Step recovery is the greatest “journey of self-discovery”.

Generally speaking I do not flirt with women, but some habits are hard to break.

For example, tonight at work and every night (especially late, 10:00pm – 2:00am) temptation knocks.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I started a new job recently that places me in many compromising situations. I am a taxi driver for Uber.

When you can lay on the charm with others to be liked it is difficult not to lust.

God, please help me do the next right thing.

Tightrope walker

“Sometimes our walk with God can feel like the daring feat of a tightrope walker.” Read more

“The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert.”~ Vince Lombardi

“Life is like walking a tightrope: A balance between turning inward often enough to find your happy core and focusing outward often enough to care a little more. Leaning too much inward may make you aloof and narcissistic. Leaning too much outward may make you bitter and pessimistic. Keeping balance fuels life with hope.” ~ Joan F. Marques

Read More

Different meeting formats

In case you are not familiar, the SA White Book describes a variety of different formats of Sexaholics Anonymous on pages 185-189  (Read more).  For example, Step Study meetings are a popular choice because the entire program is anchored in the 12 Steps (Read more).

Moreover, the Noon SA Phone meeting was established on 7/13/09 by a guy who believed that in order to stay sober, REQUIRED a lunch SA meeting every day.  Since then, there has been enormous growth and maturity developing a “home group” that continues to flourish (Read more).  We even setup a Blog specifically for the purpose of honoring our Traditions (Read more – password: noon).  In particular, unlike just about every SA teleconference on our schedule we do NOT have a queue of callers.  Instead, we are a “volunteer sharing” style which helps accommodate the growing number of callers.

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 arc 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 / 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.

Meeting Guidelines
We can benefit from the unwritten guidelines that have contributed so profoundly to the success of other Twelve Step program meetings and have proven as valuable in our own.
1.  Leaders of meetings are servants of that meeting.  They don’t “carry” the meeting; they merely facilitate it.  A common mistake of those who have no prior Twelve Step meeting experience is to feel they must comment on everything that is said or “help out” in some way by giving “the answer.” The effective leader surrenders this impulse and lets the meeting work itself.
2.  The leader of the meeting does not have to acknowledge a raised hand; he or she can call on someone else.  They can interrupt the one talking, if it is called for.  This is in line with our common tradition.  At the same time, a good meeting is one where the leader’s presence is inconspicuous and non-controlling.
3.  Most groups stick with a certain basic set of readings that are read at every meeting, adding to this to suit the particular meeting.  A list of suggested readings from which to draw is included in the Suggested Meeting Format.  We use authorized SA and AA literature only, both for use during meetings and for distribution on the literature table.
4.  Participation guidelines:
– There is no cross talk.  We don’t interrupt others.  However, the leader has the right to remind the person sharing of guidelines, time consumed, etc.
– We don’t give advice.  We talk in the “I,” not the “we” or the “you,” speaking from our own experience.  If we want to respond to what someone has said, we do so only in terms of our own experience.  “I can only speak for myself, but whenever I did such and such, this is what happened in my life .  .  .”
– We don’t get carried away analyzing what caused our behavior or attitudes.  If we were victimized
in early life, we slowly learn to face and work through it in acknowledgment, acceptance, and forgiveness.  We talk as those who are now responsible for our attitudes and actions and are willing to take responsibility for our lives and recovery.
– In sharing, rather than displaying our knowledge or insights, we lead with our weakness and give of ourselves.
– We avoid politics, religious dogma, and other divisive issues.  We also avoid explicit sexual descriptions and sexually abusive language.
– We avoid dumping, self-pity, and blaming others.
– We don’t take the “inventories” of others; that is, we uncover and work on our own defects, not those of others.  We refer to our own experiences.
– We do speak honestly of where we really are today.  We try to develop transparent honesty of complete self-disclosure, letting the other members know where we are currently, regardless of length of sobriety.
– We do lead with our weakness and take the risk of total self-disclosure.
– By attending on time and sharing regularly, we give of ourselves to others in the group.  We get back recovery.
(See the material under the heading “I Am a Sexaholic” under Step One, in this book, and read the article “Meeting Quality and Use of Non-SA Literature,” in Discovering the Principles.)