Alcoholics Anonymous
Experience, Strength & Hope
from members

Charactor Defects and The God of My Understanding
  The God of my understanding gives me the peace and serenity that can only be found by trusting and relying on Him.  When I am doing that I am also able to be in service to my fellows.  The work that comes before that ability (Steps 1-5) are not easy but necessary for my wellbeing. Once having completed these vital requirements the 6th and 7th Steps the next actions that I face and are covered very well in two paragraphs on page 76 of the Big Book.  When I am willing to have God remove what He finds objectionable in the 6th then I have a prayer that asks Him to do whatever He wants with me.  There are times when I find myself using my so called 'good' qualities for purposes that are not beneficial to God, me or my fellows.  I use the word 'whatever' in place of the phrase "every single defect of character which" in the 7th Step prayer.  That covers it all for me and when I truly am open to God I know that my motives will be right and that I will be given a second to think before I act or react in a way that will cause harm.  I do this along with the 3rd Step prayer every morning before my feet hit the floor.  The very idea of my working on my defects and shortcomings is pretty laughable in light of the mess I made of my life before finding AA and God.  If I could have done that I wouldn't need to be here, wouldn't need the instruction book (BB) that teaches me how to live and certainly wouldn't need to go to meetings to hear solutions.    Today I am so grateful that I have all these things in my life and that I continue to need them to keep me in fit spiritual condition.  Thank you for allowing me to share what has been so freely given to me.   ps: I would caution anyone taking the 12x12 as anything other than what it truly is....in the words of Alcoholics Anonymous that book is "An interpretive commentary on the AA program".  This phrase defining the 12x12 is in the list of 'Other Books' available to us from GSO in the front of the BB. Soberly submitted by Arlene C. Ormond Beach, FL  DCYB124@cfl.rr.com

My spiritual experiences are completely of the educational variety - I've not had the white lightening experience, although I've had quite a few "ah hah" moments.  These to me are spiritual experiences.  I find that anytime I am willing to do something I normally wouldn't do, this is a time for me to recognize, that my higher power is blessing me with his presence.  Anytime I am able to look outside of myself and see a larger picture, or do something for another, anytime I do this willingly, without regret, without complaining, these are all NEW to me.  Whenever I am able to feel peace in the moment when things aren't going the way I think they should, or want them to, these are the experiences of the educational variety that allow me an opportunity to recognize my willingness. ...and the abilities that I am given.

All of these circumstances and situations that I deal with on a daily basis, are so different from how I have ever handled anything, if there wasn't anything in it for me, if it wasn't going my way, and if it didn't look or sound like something I wanted, I didn't bother, I considered it a waste of my time.  Not so today, I do whatever I can, whatever is in front of me, and even if I don't like it, or feel like doing it, I do it anyway, because the footwork is mine to do, and the results are not up to me.

I have truly been blessed in this way of living it, and it is so far from how I would ever do things or consider doing things.....My best ideas got me drunk, and miserable and in all sorts of unhappy situations, which only compounded my life and my unwillingness to live.  My HP's ideas were for me to get to AA, to learn, listen and do as others have done or are doing, to get a piece of happiness, I only once thought getting drunk and loaded brought me.

AA is the absolute best I'm ever gonna get, and I'm lucky to get here, to learn how to live one day at a time, and to be surrounded by the language of love that is spoken here.

(Soberly submitted Rikki of La Habra , CA )


Well, as of January 29th, I am happily married to my best friend.

 I must admit that at times old habits are hard to break and I keep waiting for the shoe to fall and he turns in to a toad like some of the other men who've passed thru my lifetime.

 I work daily however to not do that, and just enjoy the love and security (emotional) that Les gives me.  Sometimes it is overwhelmingly good.

 We've had more snow in this part of Montana (the North East Corner, 70 miles from Williston, S.D.), since the early to mid 70s.  We've had a decent week, but I have been told March and April can still get nasty, so, yesterday I traded my Pontiac Grand-Am in on a Ford F-150 4x4 Pick-em-up truck.  No more getting snowbound for me. Yea, LORD I know....watch out what I say, 'cause you'll prove me wrong just to spite me. LOLOLOL

 Tomorrow morning I am going to a long over due f2f meeting in Sidney, 26 miles from the house, and I am really looking forward to it.

 I need my HP GOD and my AA Program to balance me out.  I've tried living since getting sober at times one without the other, and for me that just doesn't work.  They work hand in hand if I do my part in working what I'm being taught daily.  The promises keep unfolding daily too.  Some times in small bits, sometimes in bushels.

 Just like with the car vs truck......I didn't panic, I didn't grab a 6 pack to help me make a decision....I prayed about it, and I sat down in my quiet time and thought it all out.  I took myself looking, knowing I didn't have a lot of money, or the greatest trade in, but Let Go & Let GOD...if it was meant to be, it would happen & I would find something.  I did.  It's even one of my favorite shades of blue and my payments for one year are well within my budget.

 My friend Tim with the liver cancer, called today and said he got a bad report from his doctor.  I'm/we're losing him, but not sure how soon.   His tumor has grown and his "count" isn't good at all.  I cracked jokes and also talked about how glad I was he was up to having made his oh so wanted trip to Memphis a couple of weeks ago.  He wants to come and see Les and I.  I want him to also, but not with as cold as it is here.  I'll talk to my hubby tonight and put a game plan together.  Then, I started to tear up, and so did he, and I told him it's okay....we can cry together....we'll go thru the roller coaster ride together, but today, I've got my Mr. Timothy as one other patient calls him, and for that I am grateful & blessed.

 It'll snow again, and the wind chill will cut right thru us, but that's okay.  The sun was shining and the sky was sooooo blue today I was outside planning on how I want to rearrage our flower beds, make new ones framing the walkway up to the front door, and maybe extend our deck out a bit.  That is once all the snow is gone so we can see where things actually are.

 Yesterday when I was driving over to Williston I saw two HUGE Bald Eagles that were looking for brunch, and thought how awesome that was, and then on my way back there was one just sitting soooooo proudly in a tree, taking everything in and saying "yea, I know I'm beautiful."

 Life is wonderful.  Not perfect, but perfect would be oh soooooo dull.

 I hope this finds all of you counting your blessings even with the speed bumps of life, and the new comers, as I was told by my sponsor early in to my sobriety.....DON'T walk away 5 minutes before the miracle, and oh how true that is.

 As I say....the program will work if  you work it, and it won't if you don't SO WORK IT!!!!

 (Soberly submitted by Jacki from Montana)


The majority of my adult life has been spent in AA.  (currently, that is 65% of my entire life!)  The reason I've spent all this time in AA is because I had a living problem.  I did not think I had a drinking problem, but I knew beyond doubt I had problems with people.  I learned, &  it is most definitely a process, to know me, & as a result, I have a pretty good idea of how you work (just an idea, nothing is cast in stone), to become responsibile for my own actions, & most important, to acknowledge & accept a higher power.
 What is today like & how does AA relate to my life at this point?  I attend AA meetings.  I don't sponsor the way I used to.  I have narrowed down what I am most reliant on in terms of doing life & recovery.  I do AA, Alanon & church.  I focus on my close relationships & developing new ones that are either healthy or where I can be useful as it relates to my walk with God.  Everything else?  Depends.  It if doesn't take too much time & won't yield the kinds of results I need to see,  I don't spend alot of time on it.  I'm 64 years old & am not going to live forever.  I feel I need to make decisions based on what is available to me.  I have learned to do this as a result of sobriety, the SUGGESTED program of recovery & what my higher power (who I call God) would have me do.  Ihave a brain, I can make decisions.  Most times I make good ones, but from time I really go bust with a bad one.  A comment about sponsoring & working with newcomers - & bear in mind, this is an opinion based on my own personal experience.  If someone comes to me, wants to be sponsored, then forgets to call when I ask them to, doesn't care to do the steps, read the book or go to meetings, I un-sponsor them pretty quickly.  It's the same way with the God stuff.  I'll reach out, share with you, give you the information,etc.  Whether you decide to accept & act on it is up to you.  I don't twist anyone's arm.  Maybe I'm not the right person for you, or maybe you're just not ready.  I move on, whether you do or not.  AA works for some people, but not for everyone.  I'm mostly talking about newer folks, not people with 5-10+ years of consistent unbroken sobriety.  If you have 10+ years of continuous sobriety & you don't know where to go for the answers, there is probably not much I can do to help anyway. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have never been good at taking directions.  Can't tell you why, but I haven't been.  I'm good with concepts, but specifics?   Eh - I would never have been a good scientist!  That's probably why I do well with music. Everything is subject to change of course...... Soberly submitted by Ann S. California


Joy in the Midst of Difficult Circumstances

Talk about a mouthful of words only to just repeat the Serenity Prayer or perhaps the prayer of St. Francis to say the same thing.


Today I was reading spiritual principles within the Life Recovery Bible.  I have had a cumbersome, I won’t even say difficult, situation that has arisen in my life.  It’s a challenge but if I ask for direction and actually FOLLOW direction, I can get through any situation.


Even with the direction of my God, I can get down and depressed about how things are unfolding.  Is it the work involved with the situation?  Or is it the attitude that I have during working through the situation?  To be honest both seem to apply to me right now. I really feel inadequate to accomplish the task, however, there is peace if I just persevere and take my time; I can feel like I’ve walked through this situation unscathed, sort of.


In recovery I’ve found that if the answers were just given to me, I would never learn the life lesson to help me to grow.  So today, I had to acknowledge step 3; I turned my life over to God as I understand him.  Having acknowledged in the steps prior, that I have NO power to control any situation in my life;  I have NO power to control outside forces that could impact my life; my life management skills were beyond rusty.  These are very powerful admissions of powerlessness.  So what am I afraid of?  I know I can’t do it without the strength of the Creator.  So why do I hesitate to move forward with the task in front of me?


The answer to both of those questions is one of my biggest challenges, fear of failure.  I’ve accepted that it takes the strength and courage of the Creator to walk me through absolutely everything in my life.  I’ve found that the joy that I experience now is from the inside not the outside.  I know that the Creator acknowledges the difficulties I face because he answers my prayers.  I also know that he promises me victory in the end.  It does not mean that I won’t feel uncomfortable; because I will we call it change and uncertainty.


Even through change and uncertainty, I’m not alone.  I have the fellowship, my sponsor, and the most powerful tool is meditation time.  If I really want to get through any situation with grace and dignity, I need to use the tools that I have been given.  I know how to pick up the phone.  I know how to get my happy ass to a meeting.  I know how pray and meditate.  There is no reason for me to fear except fear itself.


Right now, I need to ask the Creator to change my attitude towards this situation.  Once the Creator has removed helped me remove “me” from the situation, clarity and my blessing are right there on the other side waiting.  I want to remain green and teachable, so I need to sit my happy ass down and let the Creator lead and guide.  That’s what step 3 is saying anyway!  Duh!


“The process of recovery is a time of learning to find serenity while also accepting life as it is. “


"Minus faith, there is no life, only existence."

While in my disease, all I had was existence. I relinquished what little faith I did have in God for the love and caress of the drink. I had open the door to a living hell and stepped in a willing participant. There I stayed no matter what the cost to my family, my career, or even myself. I could not see the way out because I was participating in my own death, my own failure, and my own human weakness. The more I longed for a way to get out and hide from situations that hurt me emotionally and spiritually, the deeper I traveled towards the abyss of just existing.


During my internship of human failure and detachment of life, I found it hard to believe in anything divine such as angels or mercy. Spiritually drained and emotionally beaten, mercy found me anyway. My angel saw the struggle that I had between life and death. That day was the turning point of this tortured soul’s journey towards recovery. My human nature wanted to stay with my companion alcohol, but my spiritual nature had had enough. Where I had no hope, no faith, and no willpower of my own the merciful hand of God reached in my hell and saved me.


Equipped with only a half-hearted spiritual desire to change and a willingness to stop the pain in my life; I had to acknowledge and most importantly, accept I had a serious problem with alcohol during my life. I found guidance and help with my turmoil in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I found a God that I now understand. I partnered with my God and a spiritually strong sponsor to go through the steps. Through prayer and meditation I find strength, courage, and faith that surpass my own understanding.

I no longer have to just exist, I live. I don’t have to control anything, however, I have hope. My life is not steak and roses – if it is, the steak has rocks on it and the roses have permanent thorns. Faith is a key to successfully working my program in AA. For some of us faith comes easily. Others of us, myself, that have experienced betrayal, faith is a struggle.


Today, it is still easy to lose faith when I get troubled or burdened with life. There are days I feel like faith has just slipped away. Those are the days I feel anger towards God and my fears escalate. I stay sober for myself; however, I’ve dedicated my sobriety to my daughter, family, and friends that endured the pain of my disease. We shouldn’t be surprised that we face times when our faith seems to disappear; I view it as a test of fire. In order to make a diamond you will need a lot of heat.


Thank you for letting me share,


DOS 9/25/04



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