FROM THE EDITOR:
We would like to welcome all our new members of OAsis. We hope you enjoy your time here and contribute as often as possible to our special group by sharing with us often.
As always, your suggestions, submissions and input are always welcome. If you have stories, articles, tapes or suggestions you'd like to submit, we will be happy to include them.
OAsis is a support group designed to be as much like a 12 Step Meeting as possible. We suggest one-way sharing with the group and all other responses to the shares of others sent privately. If in reading our newsletter, you find articles that inspire you to share, we welcome reading your experience, strength and hope related to that article.
In loving service,
Cyndi & Heidi ....Oasis Editors
The Oasis Newsletter
OUR TOPIC ~ ACCEPTANCE & CHANGE
"Then one day in A.A., I was told that I had the lenses in my glasses blackwards; "the courage to change" in the Serenity Prayer meant not that I should change my marriage, but rather that I should change myself and learn to accept my spouse as she was. A.A. has given me a new pair of glasses."
~ Big Book ~Page 419
1. How do you practice acceptance when something hits you out of the blue? (ex. a death, an illness, loss of job, etc.)
2. Is acceptance in difficult situations easier for you now that you are in recovery?
3. Does acceptance get easier to practice the longer you are in program?
4. Are you or were you afraid to live life on life's terms? Why? What were you afraid of?
5. How do you meet life on life's terms now? What suggestion would you offer to a newcomer?
ADDITIONAL TOPICS FOR SHARING
1. Big Book ~ Page 342: "The horrors grew. Inner horrors. On the surface it looked as though I was more or less keeping it together, but day by day I was dying inside, filled with fears I couldn't name but which shook me to the core. My worst fear was that I was an alcoholic."
ESSAY: What fears shook you to your core? What was your worst fear? How did OA help to change that?
2. Big Book ~ Page 336: "I used to thank God for putting A.A. in my life; now I thank A.A. for putting God in my life."
ESSAY: How did OA put God back into your life?
3. Big Book ~ Page 356: "To most of us, making amends will take the rest of our lives, but we can start immediately. Just being sober will be making amends to many we have hurt by our drunken actions."
ESSAY: How is making the choice to stay abstinent, just for today, an amends to someone else or even ourselves?
4. For Today~ Page 178: "FOR TODAY: What do I need to write about? I do not have to be afraid to look into my heart and put down what I find."
ESSAY: Have you ever been afraid or negligent to write down what you really are thinking when you know you really need to write? Why? What ultimately happens when you finally break and write it down?
5. For Today ~ Page 116: "Expressing my feelings, especially the negative ones, does not come easily. I want people to like me. I prefer to please rather than anger or upset a friend. There are some things, however, that are not worth the price I have to pay for them."
ESSAY: What are something's in your life that would not be worth the price you'd have to pay for them? What actions do you take to insure this doesn't happen?
PLEASE JOIN US FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOLLOWED BY THE SERENITY PRAYER:
God, Grant me the Serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Speaker: Clancy I.
Meeting: St. Belleview, NE 1983 - Clancy talks about how alcohol changes our perception of reality.
(You may have to copy and paste into your web browser if transfer doesn't occur by clicking on link.)
* At the end Clancy talks about the invisible boat. He relates the boat to our recovery and the work or lack of work we put into our program.
This talk is well worth the time.
July 3 ~ For Today ~ Page 185
. . . I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.
~ Just For Today
How is it possible to be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful? There is surely no threat in beauty.
It was a fear of living, actually, that made me hide in food. To be afraid to live is to be afraid of everything - good as well as bad, beautiful as well as ugly.
In giving to the world, it is I who must make the first move, I who must run to meet life with a smile that says, "I'm happy to be here." To like oneself, to enjoy life and to have enthusiasm for its precious gifts is to give to the world.
FOR TODAY: Freedom from food obsession restores to me my God - given right to enjoy the beauty of this world and not to be afraid to show it.
DEALING WITH CHANGE
I don't know why, but I fear change. Even if I think that the changes will benefit me, in some way, I tend to feel some fear as I contemplate and anticipate changes in my life and routine.
Part of it may be because I like knowing what to expect. I am a person who prepares things (my end table has about ten lists on it, right now, as I prepare for various events of my life) and I can't prepare these if I'm not familiar with what will happen. Change brings with it the possibility of new routines, new effects, new interactions and, inevitably, new problems.
Some people welcome changes. They actually seek them out, either from boredom, or because the people or events in their life leave them needing or wanting to change. Some actively seek these changes, but, for the one who forces random change, the change doesn't always make a positive impact. They flit from circumstance to circumstance; like bees grazing every flower in a garden, and, for them, the changes they make can become yet another substance which anesthetizes the pain of life, which they are unable to deal with in a healthy way.
But changes come to everyone, so it is better for us to learn to explore the right way to approach the changes we will face. If we think carefully about the right reasons for change, and the right way to accept the process of change, we will be better able to put it into perspective within our lives.
In my opinion, change is needed when the old ways aren't working, and there is an extent to which that is true for all of us (or why would we be in Program?)
The beginning of the change process might be an honest look at our lives, to see what needs to be changed. Is our food plan the right one for us? Have we been honest in the way we work it? Is our sponsor helpful? If so, are we following what he or she advises us? Are we honest with our sponsors? Are we in healthy relationships, and are we behaving in healthy ways, within them? Is our job the right one for us, or are we just going through the motions? Are we being wholehearted in our approach to Program, and/or to our spiritual journey? Are there character defects which we cling to, long after we know they are truly hindering our progress?
Once we identify changes that are needed, how do we know what changes to make? I believe that is an individual answer, and it comes to us by asking wise friends, and by prayer and meditation. We look around at those whose lives we admire and think "I want to be as serene as _________. I heard she was able to make the change I am thinking about by ________. So that is what I will put into practice in my own life". I think that this process is flexible, and that we may have this inner dialog many times in a day, while we contemplate various changes in our lives.
When I am in the midst of a planned change, I need a constant, strong connection to my Higher Power. I need to be focused on that HP as much as possible, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the effects of the change. I need the foundation of prayer, and of scripture and to be around others who believe the same way I do. It helps me to journal my feelings, during every step of a change. When the first feelings of "did I do the right thing" sweep over me, it is helpful, to me, to look back at that journal and be able to see the reasons that I gave for making the change, and for choosing the option that I am now experiencing.
And, little by little, as I accept the change, and the impact it makes on my life, it becomes slowly woven into the fabric of my life in a way which makes it part of my new routine, and is no longer a change for me. I can see it from a more objective perspective, and can evaluate whether it was the right decision for me. If it wasn't, maybe the positive process of this change will have convinced me that I can survive changes, and be less apprehensive about the next one in my life.
But what about the changes that I do not plan? Those are the ones which frighten me most. Those are the ones which give me the most pause, because I go through life, with certain expectations, and, when those unplanned changes come, I am left feeling adrift and unprepared for their impact on my life. The process of change has been uprooted by a spontaneous event, person or circumstance and I am forced to quickly react to its emergence in my life.
But, if we reflect, after we catch our breath and take stock of the situation, these unexpected changes can be processed in the same way as the ones we purposely plan. We can take a look at our lives, and think "what purpose can this change have? What needed changes can be brought about because this has happened?" or, if we can see no positive outcome from the change we can think, "how can I make this into a positive experience?" or "what is the least amount of negative impact this can have on my life?" Once we begin to assess the effect of the unplanned change, it can be placed into the same process as any other change, and be faced with the same mindset as our other changes.
The key, in my opinion, to facing these unplanned changes is that same strong connection to our HP. No matter what, we can remain focused on the positive energy that we get from this connection. I find that my faith becomes much stronger in adversity, and in the changes that I am forced to make as a result of it. If I look at my circumstances, I can get angry, frustrated and depressed. But if I think about my HP, and about the positive things in my life, and ask HP to guide and help me through the change, I am able to re-frame each step of the process of change in a more positive and productive light. I am able to find joy within the pain of sorrow; hope within the emptiness of frustration, and I am able to find strength when my own resources seem to have failed. Our Program teaches us to "accept the things we cannot change", which is a good lesson to learn, and it encourages us to move on from there to have the "courage to change the things we can". Let us all look within ourselves, and pray for that courage when we need it, and to embrace the connection to our HP which makes that courage possible.
Submitted by Donna
~Serenity Magazine ~ April 2005
Big Book ~ Page 417
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God's handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.
For years I was sure the worst thing that could happen to a nice guy like me would be that I would turn out to be an alcoholic. Today I find it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. This proves that I don't know what's good for me. And if I don't know what's good for me, then I don't know what's good or bad for anyone. So I'm better off if I don't give advice, don't figure I know what's best, and just accept life on life's terms, as it is today - especially my own life, as it actually is. Before A.A. I judged myself by my intentions, while the world was judging me by my actions.
WE CLOSE WITH:
THIRD STEP PRAYER
God, I offer myself to thee,
To build with me and to do with as thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
That I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
That victory over them may bear witness
To those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.
Topic/Newsletter Editor Oasis
Cyndi and Heidi, Coordinators, OAsis