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Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Round-Up!

Cornerstone Church Sermon from yesterday! The Book of James: Week 3...

The A.A. program is one of faith because we find that we must have faith in a Power greater than ourselves if we are going to get sober. We're helpless before alcohol, but when we turn our drink problem over to God and have faith that He can give us all the strength we need, then we have the drink problem licked. Faith in that Divine Principle in the universe, which we call God is the essential part of the A.A. program. Is faith still strong in me?

Last... but not least... Here's an awesome video to say, "Goodnight", on...

Not an attack on Christianity, but more of a statement that we all have our crosses to bear. I love Monty Python! Even though it's considered comedy, I get alot from these words.

God Bless!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hope and Faith

The A.A. program is one of faith, hope, and charity. It's a program of hope because when new members come into A.A., the first thing they get is hope. They hear older members tell how they had been through the same kind of hell that they have and how they found the way out through A.A. And this gives them hope that if others can do it, they can do it. Is hope still strong in me?

My hope wavers sometimes. That's when I have to step back and remember to live in the now. It can be a little overwhelming at moments trying to rebuild and redesign a life....

Sometimes things seem to be moving too slowly, or not at all. That's where patience and hard work come into practice.

What reinforces my hope and faith? Seeing how much better things work out and how much easier life is when I keep an even keel and avoid the choppy waters the best I can. Also, like the thought says, seeing firsthand how well other folks are doing by sticking with their programs, following their Higher Power, and living their lives differently.

Sure. It sounds like a lot of work... and it is. But I've found that after time, these things become second nature.

Got a couple of days off that I want to make very productive and I have to be up early, so I'm going to turn in.

Have a good night and God Bless!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Three Things in Recovery

We're so glad to be free from liquor that we do something about it. We get into action. We come to meetings regularly. We go out and try to help other alcoholics. We pass on the good news whenever we get a chance. In a spirit of thankfulness to God, we get into action. The A.A. program is simple. Submit yourself to God, find release from liquor, and get into action. Do these things and keep doing them and you're all set for the rest of your life. Have I got into action?

Three things that contribute immensely to a successful recovery. Surrender, gratutude, and service.

When I surrendered my will and admitted that I could not recover on my own, my Higher Power stepped in and helped me with the guidance, will and strength necessary to overcome my character defects and steer clear of my addiction. Am I totally free of my flaws and completely absolved of my past behavior? Noooooooo..... Still more work to do and accountability to take.

That's where the third thing comes in. Service. Or action. Helping others in any way I can with whatever experience I can offer. Giving back some of what I've gotten. It helps me learn more about myself too.

Work went by fairly quickly. Am kinda looking forward to this Jazz Fest crowd to leave town. Maybe I should stop living in cities with high tourist traffic... LOL.

G'night, folks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Long-Term Dialogue

"Fine friendship requires duration rather than fitful intensity." —Aristotle

Once we have embarked upon this program, we find spiritual recovery through relationships more than any other single factor. We find it through relationships with other people, with ourselves, and with our Higher Power. But most men in recovery need to learn how to be in a relationship. We have to give up ideas that a friendship is an intense connection or a conflict-free blending of like minds.

A meaningful friendship is a long-term dialogue. If there is conflict or if we make a mistake or fail to do what our friend wants of us, we don't end the friendship. We simply have the next exchange to resolve the differences. Our dialogue continues over time, and time - along with many amends - builds the bond. With it develops a deepening sense of reliability and trusting one another. When we have lived with our friend through many experiences - or with our Higher Power - we gain a feeling that we really know him or her in a way we could never have in a brief intense connection.

Today, I will do what I need to do to be reliable in my friendships.

I'll tell ya right now... I've never been the best friend to anyone. I was always too selfish and worried about what my friends could do for me. I've had some really good friends, though. My brother and I were just reminiscing tonight about our old adventures in Auburn. I kid ya not... Some of the stuff we texted back and forth about, you couldn't possibly make up. Anyway, that got me thinking about some of the folks we hung out with coming up and some of my old school friends. Most were really good people who enjoyed hanging out and running the backwoods of Alabama. Folks who really enjoyed my company... at least until they got tired of my ego. Alot of us still keep in touch through FB, which I'm very grateful for. A few I haven't heard from in decades.

I like the part of the Touchstones passage that says, "A meaningful friendship is a long-term dialogue."

There are people that I've known since childhood who, no matter how bratty or crappy I've acted in the past, still talk to me today, and I think that is one of the coolest gifts an undeserving person could get!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Old New Orleans Groups

Got up super early and went straight to work. That went pretty smoothly. Went to my homegroup's business meeting afterward. Now that I really enjoyed. It was our regular bunch... Chatted alot beforehand. One of the ladies and I were talking about how old our group actually is and the traditions it carried. At about 50 years old, it's one of the oldest in New Orleans that is still going. If not, the oldest. I had no idea and am proud to be part of such an enduring institution.

She thought it was interesting that the group started before she started drinking. Heck I can't believe it's been around since before I was born... She also shared that in drinking, she had no interest in tradition or the program. She just wanted to party and have fun. We then discussed the evolution of drinking when I talked about it ceasing to be enjoyable and freeing, and turned into me sitting in my house alone... not answering the door. I learned alot in that brief conversation.

In other news, at our regular meeting, one of our members got her 13 year chip tonight. Two others got a 5 and a 21. Most importantly, though, a young lady got her 24 hour chip. That's one of the biggest moves you can make in recovery!

Have a great night...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Glass Houses

Try saying: "God bless her (or him)" of anyone who is in disharmony with you. Also say it of those who are in trouble through their own fault. Say it, willing that showers of blessings may fall upon them. Let God do the blessing. Leave to God the necessary correcting or disciplining. You should only desire blessing for them. Leave God's work to God. Occupy yourself with the task that He gives you to do. God's blessing will also break down all your own difficulties and build up all your successes.

That was always one of my big problems. Jay was more worried about other people and didn't concentrate enough on Jay. That can be a major distraction to your own development when you constantly critique and judge others... Like I did... And am still not 100 percent free of the flaw.

I've found that the best way to preserve my serenity is to pray for rather than judge. When I take a good look at myself and my past I realize that I am in absolutely no position cast stones. And I can't be more thankful that so many have prayed for me rather than judging me.

Had a good day at work, had an awesome poboy for dinner, and am now winding down for the night. Very early day tomorrow!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Riches of God's Grace

I was talking to my friend and mentor JW earlier today, and he suggested these verses as reading material. He also suggested replacing the word "us" with my own name (or your's) whenever it came up. I'm proud and blessed to have my friend in NE Georgia in my life. Can't wait to see ya in June! It will be an honor for Sarah to meet you too.

Ephesians: Chapter 1 V3-10
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sonsthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Step Study Night and This Week's Cornerstone Sermon

"Be quick to listen... Slow to speak... And slow to become angry."

Rusty is back this week with words to live by! It's part 2 of Cornerstone's Book of James series.

Learned quite a bit about listening, communication, and putting what we learn to use in our everyday lives to become better people. I'm not really in a position to be a foster parent, but there are a couple of touching videos later in the sermon about it.

At my 12 and 12 meeting we discussed step 5, who we went to with our life stories, and the differences between the Little Red Book and the 12 Steps, 12 Traditions book. I told my life story to my sponsor, but some choose fellow members or people completely outside of AA. Strangers, clergy, counselors...

Got work bright and early (ok... not so bright and early). Gonna get ready to turn in anyway. Have a great night and God Bless!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Seeing is Believing

People believe in A.A. when they see it work. An actual demonstration is what convinces them. What they read in books, what they hear people say doesn't always convince them. But when they see a real honest to goodness change take place in a person, a change from a drunkard to a sober, useful citizen, that's something they can believe because they can see it. There's really only one thing that proves to me that A.A. works. Have I seen the change in people who come into A.A.?

When I see a group member picking up a 30 year chip, that's all the proof I need that the program works if you put your all into it. I haven't even made it a year yet. I can only imagine what it's like being decades in. It's nice being a functioning member of society too. Still a lot of work ahead and I know that I need to be putting my nose closer to the grindstone. That was a great Thought today!

Work went really well. Just slow and looooong. I'm off tomorrow, though, so that gave me a little light at the end of the tunnel. :)

Well.... It's about time I turned in. Have a great night and a blessed day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blast From the Past

I found this on my computer. Waaaay before I ever started a blog. It's from a meltdown I had in 2009. I pray for my mom everyday.

When I look back on it, I believe I was headed toward alcoholism years before I really started drinking. I spent most of my childhood developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. Whether it was abandonment issues or that little kid who never really learned to deal with change...never feeling like I fit in or not feeling like I was properly taught the very basic tools of functioning in society, here I find myself.

My mother chose a life of partying, drugs, and alcohol over me when I was only a couple of years old. I still find it difficult to hold a grudge, understanding this addiction as I do. I'm guilty of similar crimes against the ones I love, but I know in my heart that I am not a bad person...just sick. So is she. Even though I don't always demonstrate this, the big difference is that I strive for accountability and betterment. She's only fading away.

I have to wonder if she even remembers cheating on my dad right in front of me or taking me with her on her drug runs. Does she remember showing up years after the divorce and trying to be part of my life? Sometimes telling me she would visit and not showing up?

Not the full story. Just what I wrote a few years ago.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Lost Child- Pt. 2 Revisited

I had reposted something from very early in my blog last night. I know that there are quite a few new readers, so I thought I'd post the second part tonight...

The Lost Child- Pt. 2

The little boy lived an almost storybook life out there in those woods. Surrounded by a loving family and a beautiful world. It was all he knew now, and he didn't mind it at all.

He didn't know much about change. Just the easygoing life of the country and being the center of attention. Inevitably change would come, though.

And it did. One night his dad brought home a lady that he worked with and had started dating. This new, unfamiliar element was met by immediate suspicion and confusion. Who was this person, this outsider being introduced into his safe world? His father's intentions were very serious concerning her and before long they were married. They would be moving out and living, what seemed like, a million miles away from the only place the boy knew as home. He was plucked from the love and protection he had gotten so used to and taken to live among, what seemed to him, total strangers. He went to a new church, had new family, went to a daycare... He was scared to death of this new life that he had had no say-so in. Fear would eventually turn to resentment, and resentment is a mighty grown-up feeling to have.

So is guilt. The child actually felt guilty for having left his grandparents. He would have to deal with this for years. He felt guilty calling someone else "grandparent" (as wonderful as these new grandparents were). He felt guilty calling someone else "momma" even though the first one wasn't exactly a winner. He found himself openly comparing his new family with the people who had raised him. Not to be mean, but to alleviate some of the emotion. This still bred resentment toward him.

He'd spend weekends out in the country from time to time. When it was time to go home, he would cry and hug everyone because he didn't want to leave. His father didn't know how to deal with this. He was confused and perhaps took it personally. This confusion would turn to anger, sometimes even spanking the boy for not wanting to go. He got a spanking one time for putting change in an envelope to send to his mommaw and pawpaw. He would begin fearing his father too, and they would start drifting apart.

This was the beginning of a world the child would create in which to escape. A world that the child still lived in well into his adulthood.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Lost Child Revisited

Been thinking lately about where I found my addictive roots... In my early childhood
I found myself hooked on as simple things as caffeine. This is a flash-back to my early days.

The country can be a magical place. Countless worlds to explore that often go overlooked by an older, more cynical mind. For a child, however, a lake, a forest, or even an old dirt road can present endless possibilities.

There was once a boy who spent his earlier years in just such a place. He had a huge family, and there were always cousins, aunts, and uncles around who doted on him. He was the baby of the baby. He liked drawing, catching bugs with his grandma, fishing, and even preaching the gospel from the front porch. There was never a lack of things to do that would capture his innocent, creative little mind.

He had a loving father, his grandparents were always there for him, he had friends that he would sometimes play with. He had a mother who didn't want him. She could be loving and protective, but she could also be ignorant and harmful. There was many a time when she would choose her wild lifestyle over the well-being of her only son. Doing drugs and being intimate with people he didn't even really know right in front of him despite the crying and the fear. She would eventually leave him and it was perhaps the best thing she ever did in her life. And his.

Things got better from there. The boy and his father moved in with his grandparents. Things became much better. Dad would work, he would spend the day outside being free and running wild, grandma would sit on the porch shelling peas. Everything seemed to have it's place. Church every Sunday, using his tiny hands to help grandpa carry firewood, walking the backwoods with his uncle to catch crawfish. It was a wonderfully simple life he spent with people he truly loved.

His mother never turned back up. He would see her from time to time at the lake with some of her more upstanding friends, and sometimes she would even act happy to see him. He couldn't understand why she would say "Hi" and then go back to her party. His grandmother was his mother now. His grandparents helped raise him and taught him many valuable things that he would forget over the years.

I feel really blessed to have this to read over again. Still feel like I've only scratched the surface.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life and What You Put Into It

As I look back over my drinking career, have I learned that you take out of life what you put into it? When I put drinking into my life, did I take out a lot of bad things? Hospitals with the D.T.'s? Jails for drunken driving? Loss of job? Loss of home and family? When I put drinking into my life, was almost everything I took out bad?

I didn't get much out of life spending those days walled up, drinking one bottle after another. Didn't contribute much to the folks around me either. It was just one catastrophe after another. Lose a job, get another, start to rebuild, then knock it all down again.

With alcohol out of the equation it's so much easier to focus on the tasks at hand. Relationships are so much more fulfilling. Life is easier to deal with on it's own terms.

Work went well today. Talked to my uncle and he is doing a lot better. Gotta be up early tomorrow, so I'll be hitting the hay early. Looking forward to my homegroup and taco salad Thursday!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Scary Statistics

I was just going over some statistics for my next H&I meeting. Some were shocking. Some were not surprising at all. I really wanted to share some of these...

  • Each year, a typical young person in the United States is inundated with more than 1,000 commercials for beer and wine coolers and several thousand fictional drinking incidents on television.

  • Alcohol is involved in 50% of all driving fatalities.

  • In the United States, every 30 minutes someone is killed in an alcohol related traffic accident.

  • Over 15 million Americans are dependent on alcohol. 500,000 are between the age of 9 and 12.

  • Each year the liquor industry spends almost $2 billion dollars on advertising and encouraging the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

  • Americans spend over $90 billion dollars total on alcohol each year.

  • An average American may consume over 25 gallons of beer, 2 gallons of wine, and 1.5 gallons of distilled spirits each year.

  • Pregnant women who drink are feeding alcohol to their babies. Unfortunately the underdeveloped liver of the baby can only burn alcohol at half the rate of its mother, so the alcohol stays in the baby's system twice as long.

  • Each year students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol, more then they spend on soft drinks, tea, milk, juice, coffee, or books combined.

  • 56% of students in grade 5 to 12 say that alcohol advertising encourages them to drink.

  • 6.6% of employees in full time jobs report heavy drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks per occasion on five or more days in the past 30 days.

  • The highest percentage of heavy drinkers (12.2%) is found among unemployed adults between the age of 26 to 34

  • Up to 40% of all industrial fatalities and 47% of industrial injuries can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.

  • In 2000, almost 7 million persons age 12 to 20 was a binge drinker; that is about one in five persons under the legal drinking age was a binge drinker.

  • The 2001 survey shows 25 million (one in ten) Americans surveyed reported driving under the influence of alcohol. This report is nearly three million more than the previous year. Among young adults age 18 to 25 years, almost 23% drove under the influence of alcohol.

  • Drunk driving is proving to be even deadlier then what we previously know. The latest death statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using a new method of calculation show that 17,488 people where killed in alcohol related traffic accidents last year. This report represents nearly 800 more people where killed than the previous year.

  • Alcohol is the number 1 drug problem in America.

  • 43% of Americans have been exposed to alcoholism in their families.

  • Nearly one out of 4 Americans admitted to general hospitals have alcohol problems or are undiagnosed alcoholics being diagnosed for alcohol related consequences.

  • Alcohol and alcohol related problems is costing the American economy at least $100 million in health care and lost of productivity every year.

  • Four in ten criminal offenders report alcohol as a factor in violence.

  • Among spouse violence victims, three out of four incidents were reported to have involved alcohol use by the offender.

  • In 1996, local law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1,467,300 arrests nationwide for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Monday, April 16, 2012

    The Monday Round-Up

    This week starts a new series at Cornerstone Church. The Book of James...

    I must try to love all humanity. Love comes from thinking of every man or woman as your brother or sister, because they are children of God. This way of thinking makes me care enough about them to really want to help them. I must put this kind of love into action by serving others. Love means no severe judging, no resentments, no malicious gossip, and no destructive criticism. It means patience, under standing, compassion, and helpfulness.

    And there is the thought for the day. I have a hard time not judging other people. Even when I am just as guilty as they are for their supposed transgressions. It's hypocritical, I realize.

    Perhaps there is something still in me that makes me feel better about myself if I judge someone as an idiot... The bad driver, the guy who lets his dog poop on the sidewalk, or the person who doesn't even acknowledge you when you say, "Excuse me." as you step aside so they can more easily make their way.

    Sure. There are plenty of grossly ill-mannered people out there. None of my business, though.

    Jay has enough to concentrate on with Jay. Petty annoyances just add to the stress and bad feelings.

    Patience is the key. Seeing folks for what they really are makes a world of difference as well. For better or worse, people are just going to be people.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012


    Terrible things could have happened to any one of us. We never will know what might have happened to us when we were drunk. We usually thought: "That couldn't happen to me." But any one of us could have killed somebody or have been killed ourselves, if we were drunk enough. But fear of these things never kept us from drinking. Do I believe that in A.A. we have something more effective than fear?

    They call them "yets". Something that hasn't happened, by the grace of God, but normally and eventually will if we continue on the same paths.

    What are my "yets"? Well... I'm lucky enough never to have been in jail, or gotten into an auto accident under the influence, or got into any fights (was present at pretty big bar fight one night, but smart enough not to get involved), or hurt myself badly from doing some stupid stunt to impress people, or gotten cirrhosis and died. That's the ultimate "yet". Death. There are plenty more. And the reason that they are still "yets" is that if I ever went back to my old habits, any of those could happen....

    Man, I really love that message.

    Work was chaotic, but my evening was very nice. :) Watched some TV, had a great dinner, and am now getting ready for bed.

    Goodnight, world!

    I said "Yet"... Not "Yeti".

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Restless and Compulsive

    What do men really want? What are we seeking? Many of us have felt driven and still feel restless or compulsive at times. We frantically followed our impulses to self-destructive extremes. Even those painful actions of our past were motivated, at the bottom line, by a spiritual search. What did we really seek in the bottle, or in the passionate bed, or in our work? Slowing down enough every day to let ourselves know what we are looking for gives us a much better chance of finding it.

    I did something a bit different tonight and shared from Touchstones... That's the daily meditation for men. I just really liked the message and identified with it.

    I've had a lot of people ask me over the years what I was looking for. Thing is, I'm not even sure I knew the answer to that. I couldn't slow down enough from partying, drinking, or seeking any other form of impulsive instant gratification to focus on anything important. Too interested in having fun and protecting my own ego to really grow.

    The steps taught me to slow down. That anything worth having requires patience, focus, and determination. They also teach me that even the smallest thing that I build or begin in recovery will come crashing down the moment I decide to go back to my old habits.

    I find diligence through God, meetings, and good, old-fashioned self-awareness.

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    This New World

    Having found my way into this new world by the grace of God and the help of A.A., am I going to take that first drink, when I know that just one drink will change my whole world? Am I deliberately going back to the suffering of that alcoholic world? Or am I going to hang onto the happiness of this sober world? Is there any doubt about the answer? With God's help, am I going to hang onto A.A. with both hands?

    I'm finally at a point in my life where I realize that there are just some things in this world I can't do... I can't compose a piano concerto. I can't manipulate that one little subatomic particle that turns lead into gold. And I can't drink. At least not without destroying what little I've built and bringing everything and everyone down around me.

    One drink is all it takes. One drink and that meltdown is right around the corner. For an alcoholic, you cannot stop at just one drink. For most of us it stops when we either run out of money or can't physically raise the glass to your head.

    I'm grateful for this new way of living that my Higher Power has not only shown me, but helped me to maintain.


    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Symbol of Life

    Here's one of my favorites from last year.

    For reasons that I'm not completely sure are appropriate to go into, I have to say that this has been the best day that I've seen in a very long time. I'm very grateful for it.

    Work went well too. On the way in, something odd happened though. In all the time I've lived in New Orleans, I've never run across a snake. I know they're around, but I've never walked up on one in town. Outside of town is a different story. I gave the guy a little nudge to get him off the sidewalk. People tend to freak out at snakes and I didn't want it to get hurt. I'm sure there was no cosmic meaning behind the encounter, but itis interesting what Joseph Campbell wrote about their symbolism.

    "The snake is the symbol of life throwing off the past and continuing to live."

    I can relate to that because, in a way, that's what recovery is about. Shedding the skin of our past selves and behaviors and moving forward into a healthy, productive way of living. I'm not a great interpreter, but that's what I got from it.

    Got the day off tomorrow. I'm going to a couple of meetings and I may try to make a New Year's party one of the groups is holding. It's my first Saturday off in a while, so I'm going to try and enjoy it.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Go Out and Do

    Never give up that child within you. The one who finds wonder in the simplest, everyday things. The inner kid who looks in the distance and says, "Wow. I want to see what that place is like." Even if it's driving 20 minutes down the road to sit in a park you've never been to.

    This world is so big. You only get one shot at experiencing it through your limited human eyes.

    I guess my challenge for tonight is to do one thing this week that you have never done. Whether it's a family activity, or just broadening your own horizons....

    Just go out and do.

    Take advantage of the one earthly life God has given you.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Playing Atlas (Badly)

    Pride stands sentinel at the door of the heart and shuts out the love of God. God can only dwell with the humble and the obedient. Obedience to God's will is the key unlocking the door to God's kingdom. You cannot obey God to the best of your ability without in time realizing God's love and responding to that love. The rough stone steps of obedience lead up to where the mosaic floor of love and joy is laid. Where God's spirit is, there is your home. There is heaven for you.

    The proud addict believes that there is no greater power than themselves. They are desperately struggling to hold their own sad little worlds together. They aren't happy worlds by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, most of them are just short of sheer make-believe. We try to maintain a facade that everything is ok. While playing Atlas (and badly) all we can think about is the next drink.

    I've found that the world my Higher Power has to offer is not only liberating, but much more beautiful than that dark, hellish place I locked myself in.

    Insanity is voluntarily living that hell to maintain a destructive disease. It's where Jay got by trying to run the show himself.

    I'm glad to finally have that horrible world off my shoulders.


    Monday, April 9, 2012

    All Things New, Pt. 7: Death to Life (Cornerstone Sermon Podcast 04-08-12)

    Love the useless facts (watch and you'll know what I'm talking about), but more importantly I love the message.... And I have had ladies' footwear hurled at me. You know who you are. Probably have no idea this blog exists, though. Ha.

    This message is about rebirth and resurrection. What better rebirth, next to our Savior, than the rebirth of our lives from addiction. Finding the right path and making this world a better place.

    You can't change your past. You can only learn from it and help others through your experience.

    The most profound thing I got from this sermon was that a significant sign of maturity is that we can't do it all. We don't know it all. We cannot possibly be in control of everything in our lives. We deal with the now. A philosophy from decades ago in the Big Book.

    Thank you, Rusty. It was a beautiful message and quite uplifting. I'll talk to ya in June!

    Goodnight peeps. And have a blessed day tomorrow. :)

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Happy Easter!

    Made my round of Easter calls today. Dad and Teresa are doing fine and enjoyed a nice, quiet holiday. Couldn't get through to my Bro. Uncle Ronnie is still at the total care facility getting physical therapy. He had some visitors and ate some ham and dressing. My mom was watching TV.....

    My mom... What could have been a pleasant "Happy Easter" call turned into a series of personal questions, complaints, repeating the same, identical personal questions 10 minutes later, and my favorite... "Are you going to take care of me when I get old?".

    It would be very easy to say that I would take as much care of her as she did of me when I was young. Instead, I stood silently for a moment and told her that I would make sure she was taken of. After all, no one else is going to do it. It probably means a nursing home near wherever I live. To illustrate how dramatic she can be, though, she isn't even 60 yet.

    I had to get off the phone. She isn't trying to be malicious. She's just a very scared, selfish woman. Here's her story in case you are curious... The Lost Mother

    Other than that experience, it was a very nice day. Got to talk to my fam and have some quality Easter time with someone special.

    Well. Time for bed. I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful time today! Goodnight...

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Back Again!

    When trouble comes, do not say: "Why should this happen to me?" Leave yourself out of the picture. Think of other people and their troubles and you will forget about your own. Gradually get away from yourself and you will know the consolation of unselfish service to others. After a while, it will not matter so much what happens to you. It is not so important any more, except as your experience can be used to help others who are in the same kind of trouble.

    I haven't written anything new for a few days. Where there's nothing wrong a little break every now and then, sometimes a break leads to procrastination and then complacency... In my opinion there's no worse enemy to the recovering addict than complacency.

    The passage for tonight is the day's meditation from the 24 Hr.s book.

    Alcoholics are pros at playing the victim when things go wrong. I know, for me, when things went wrong it was almost invariably my own fault. In realizing that and dealing with my personailty defects by working the steps, I've been better able to take what I've learned to other addicts and help in any way I responsibly can.

    There's a friend from my homegroup that I ran into yesterday who had relapsed. The poor gal was still detoxing. I saw in her what I must have looked like after alot of my binges. Clammy, sweaty, anxious, uncertain, broken.... I talked to her for a little while. Tried not to offer alot of advice, but I did offer several options. She seemed the most responsive to the idea of going straight to a meeting and talking with a female member.

    Hope nothing but the best for the young lady.

    Just watched "We Bought A Zoo" with someone special. Awesome freakin movie... Bad title. Now about to head to bed.

    Good night and God Bless!

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    The Saddest Amends

    Well I was all set to go back to writing tonight... I ended up having somewhere to be after work, though. It's turned into kind of a late evening so I'm going to post one more of my faves. This is from back when I was starting my amends. That one really opened my eyes.

    New post tomorrow night!

    Made amends with my biological mom tonight. This will be the only one that I openly write about.Someone asked me what amends could I possibly need to make with her. Simply saying, "I'm sorry." or "I was wrong about something." isn't what it's all about, though. There's decades of resentment and hurt in that relationship. I followed my sponsor's advice and told her that I didn't always know where she was coming from or what was going on in her life. I then told her I was sorry that I don't see her very often... Or call very often. And I told her that I know I wasn't always the best son. I think she got uncomfortable and changed the topic.

    Amends aren't about us, you see. They are for the other person. Yes, we stand to gain from them, but our benefits are purely spiritual. Someone told me how liberating this step is, but I have to say, this particular amends was sad. I'm not sure she totally understood what I was doing or saying, but I got the message across. The heartbreaking thing is, that due to her lifestyle... and our history, we'll never be close.

    In brighter news... I picked my chip up at the 12 and 12. That cheered me up. We had alot of newcomers, so we did a group conscience and decided to start back on the 1st step study for them. It was a great meeting.Well. I have to be up very early, so I'm going to head back and start winding down.

    Have a good night and an awesome tomorrow!

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Service and Perfectionism

    I've been looking over some of my old posts lately.... Here's another of my faves from last year.

    Today had it's ups and downs, but it was a good one overall. It was a very special day that I was not able to take part in, though. But... We take accountability for our actions and we learn from them. And we accept the consequences.

    Work was a little more eventful than usual. We had a guy in the dumpster pulling out food. Our boss went out, confronted him and basically ran him off. I was asked to watch him until he was gone. The guy apologized and said he hadn't eaten today. There was a buttload of unopened food in the trash. Not being able to do much for him, and knowing he had to eat, I told him to grab what he could carry. Also if he was going to come back for the rest, he should do it after 6 0r 7 pm. I know it seems gross or humiliating to let someone take that stuff, but he may not have eaten otherwise.

    It's sad as hell and says something about our society when a poor person thanks you for turning your head when they go through the garbage.

    Then, an elderly lady that I know and like fairly well had some kind of spell out front. We couldn't tell if she was having a stroke, a blood pressure drop, or a diabetic episode. She'd gone cold and clammy, unresponsive but somewhat aware, and her pulse was weak when I checked it. Her pupils didn't dilate, which was good. About as quick as it started, she came back. Pulse was ok again, she was able to communicate... She didn't seem to remember it, so I told her she'd spaced out and wasn't talking to me, which was just rude. She chuckled and at about that time the ambulance pulled up.

    I ask God to put me in situations where I can be of some kind of service to others, and today he didn't disappoint.

    Got to my meeting waaaayyy early, so I stopped at the park and enjoyed the serenity. When I got to where we meet, I was asked to read the preamble. Thinking I had enough time before the meeting started, I ran down the street to pick up something to fix for dinner. I got back to my seat just in time. Trying to catch my breath, I read. I love reading and giving out chips.

    The moderator was a guy I know pretty well. I always enjoy listening to him speak. His topic was perfectionism. One person shared that "great" is the enemy of "good". Eh... I can kinda see that. Another shared that perfectionism is an endless quest because it can never be attained. I liked that more. Most just shared about their close calls with drinking over the holidays. I spoke a bit. Talked about how hard they've been, but thankfully, I haven't had any problems with wanting to go back out.

    Anyway... I'm off tomorrow and I have a lot to do. I will, however, sleep in a bit. Looking forward to that.

    Goodnight, all.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    10 Things I'm Powerless Over in Alcohol

    I've been looking over some old posts. It's a great thing when you can look back and tangibly see how much you've grown. Here's one of my favorites from back in October...

    This one is going to be a downer. It will sound like a pity party (and perhaps it will be). Any active users out there can take it as a cautionary piece, though. So I'll print it.

    I met with my sponsor after work. Showed him my list of things I felt powerless over in active alcoholism. I decided to show it to him before posting it here. He liked it, and we discussed it in-depth, but he was looking for something a little different. I'll go into that in a minute.... And show you my list.

    After we met, I called Teresa and dad. Talked to them for a few.

    After I got off the phone and continued walking back to the place, an overwhelming feeling of loneliness came over me. It was a very palpable, almost physical feeling of pain. I say "was". I mean "is". These past few weeks have been horrendous in some ways. An emotional roller coaster. Not everything has been bad, though. I've had some really good times. I haven't let the bad effect my recovery. Actually recovery helps. I don't know what I'd do if I weren't active in the program. Well. I do know. I'd be drunk right now.

    It's a beautiful day, it's Halloween weekend, and I have no one to share it with. Or that wants to share it with me. It's nobody's fault but my own. I know that. But it still hurts like hell. Words can't describe how horrible it feels to have friends and the person you love most turn their backs on you. To be an outsider and no one will allow you to even look in. Take that as a word of advice that I can give if you are out there currently suffering the disease. It may not happen, but usually it does. You lose people over your addiction.

    When I was active, I was powerless over just about every aspect of my life. I showed my sponsor my list, and while he thought it was good stuff, he wanted something more specific. I think it's important to note that these are things I feel I was powerless over because I was too damn stubborn to work a real program and fix them. I'm not using "powerlessness" as an out or a justification. The list doesn't exactly match up with the subject, either, but I still got a lot out of writing it. Maybe you could consider them more symptoms of a disease I was powerless over.

    1) Lack of control over emotions. Anger, frustration, anxiety. When active or even sober and not recovering, I've found that I crumpled to these emotions very easily.

    2) Finding solace and escape in trivial things. Facebook, Doctor Who, video games. My sponsor said they weren't bad things to enjoy. Just not as a crutch and not to get away from feelings and reality.

    3) Inability to express emotion or love. This is something that has developed over many years and was compounded by alcoholism.

    4) Taking things like hobbies, etc. to extremes. Example: Being on vacation and spending more quality time with the camera than the one I should be enjoying it with.

    5) Compulsive and impulsive behavior. Regardless of the consequences.

    6) Withdrawal and seclusion from social interaction and from those I love. Such as coming home from work and automatically going to hide in my own little world to avoid facing people or situations.

    7) Doing things that hurt the ones I love. Whether intentionally or not, I still did some very hurtful things. Lying, manipulating.... You name it, I am accountable for it.

    8) Complacency. Before I realize it, it's already been there for a while. This has seriously hurt any attempt at recovery I've made in the past.

    9) Losing interest in things that seem too challenging.... or even scary. Facing my problems head-on being a big one.

    10) Lack of patience. Desire for instant gratification.

    I was told that these are problems almost every alcoholic faces, and was assured that it gets so much better as you work the steps. I'm on number one now. I was also told to keep the list and make a portfolio from all my written work. As I progress, I'll be able to look back and see just how far I've come.

    My new assignment is to write at least 5 (more specific) things I'm powerless over. The first one that came to mind was "drinking while knowing it would destroy my relationship". He said that that was what he was looking for. We're meeting again in the middle of the week.

    What Would a Mature Adult Do?

    I just got back in from my men's group. It was a birthday speaker meeting. This guy had alot of the same problems that I did finding recovery. He resisted, tried to do it on his own, went to meetings but never got a sponsor, didn't turn it over to God, relapsed... It's not a unique story at all. I've learned that most of the people who found success in the program had a pretty sticky time at first. That doesn't necessarily give one license to run wild with the idea that it's ok to slip and slide before getting a firm grip on sobriety. Other people suffer along the way. Our selfishness told us that we weren't responsible for that pain. I've come to discover that we very much are.Especially when we choose alcohol over the people we love. It may very well be the disease causing that horrible lapse in judgement, but at some point, enough has to be enough.

    That makes me wonder how many people question my recovery. It's only natural and very fair that they would. I can tell you that I never planned to be an addict. I didn't wake up one day in grade school and say, "When I grow up, I'm going to lay on the couch drunk everyday and watch The Price is Right." I can also tell you that it would be a pretty grim and somewhat cynical assumption that I would be an active alcoholic for the rest of my life. There's no difference between that and a death sentence. I plan to have a home and a family. It's something that I have always wanted, and now it's more than just possible... It's a certainty as long as I work my program. As long as I am recovering.

    The most profound thing I walked away with tonight was something our speaker said his sponsor told him. That when he was faced with a problem or conundrum to ask himself, "What would a mature adult do?" It's such a simple question, but I love it and plan to use it.

    The rest of the day was business as usual. Worked most of it. Went to the park before my meeting and saw my ducks... and squirrels...and nutria... The bus driver almost knows me by name now. Really nice guy. We chat and exchange pleasantries almost everyday. He is straight up, old school New Orleanian. I'm almost going to feel guilty when I get my car. I'm sure he'll understand.

    Have a wonderful night and God bless!

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    All Things New: Defeated to Conquered (Cornerstone Sermon Vodcast 04-01-12)

    It's my Monday round-up of inspiration! I so look forward to that Cornerstone sermon... And my daily meditation...

    Remember that the first quality of greatness is service. In a way, God is the greatest servant of all, because He is always waiting for us to call on Him to help us in all good endeavor. His strength is always available to us, but we must ask it of Him through our own free will. It is a free gift, but we must sincerely seek for it. A life of service is the finest life we can live. We are here on earth to serve others. That is the beginning and the end of our real worth.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    Give Yourself Some Credit

    You are a human being. You are capable of wonderful, spectacular things. Nothing we do that is truly worthwhile is possible without the grace of God. Don't sell yourself short, though.

    God has given us the power of choice and freewill. The good we do in this world comes from us... with His guidance. And we do our good in His name.

    God is all around us. His spirit pervades the universe. And yet we often do not let His spirit in. We try to get along without His help and we make a mess of our lives. We can do nothing of any value without God's help. All our human relationships depend on this. When we let God's spirit rule our lives, we learn how to get along with others and how to help them.

    I've found that I could not have been of truly effective service without His help. Nor could I help myself without the guidance of that Higher Power.

    You are your own person. That's God's gift. So what are you going to do with it?

    Goodnight :)