~ DANNY'S CORNER ~
~ NOT STUFFING IT ~
Good morning and thanks for another day to seek and do Your will. It is of course as always brought to my attention that when my eyes first opened today I was abstinent, free of fear, all fear and given yet another chance to be of assistance to another human being, thanks.
In less than one hour I'm to call the folks to come and install the kitchen counter top which has been the big hold up and then on Monday the water will be hooked up. My home is a filthy mess and will remain so until the last ass has done its work and disappeared from my life. Now You know how much my attitude suffers at the first appearance of change. I'm talking about things being changed just because "it is time to change this, I'm tired of looking at it" type of change. I can't find a damn thing in this place I used to call home.
So, where is the woman You sent to run my life, hiding out somewhere in New Jersey with her women's circle stuff. Who will feel sorry for me and or tell me what to do, how to do it, when to do it, whatever it is? Is all this a cruel joke or some sort of dream from which I am not allowed to wake? I know by the time this is written at least I will have a better attitude for the rest of today. Thanks. I figure as dumb as my complaints are they are mine and to stuff them would cost me at least ten pounds, and I cannot afford them, so You have them.
So God of mine, here I am, waiting to see what or who You will send my way today for some sort of assistance. Please gift me with the wisdom and power to do so. Watch over my family, friends, fellow loopies, those who still pray to food plans, and the folks I could do without.
AND WHY NOT......Danny
~ FROM THE RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~
~ A NEWCOMER'S VIEW OF THE TOOLS ~
My name is Rebecca and I am a compulsive overeater...... Just a few simple words, but this is probably one of the first tools that we learn to use because it reminds us of who we are and why we are doing what we are doing. It is impossible to comment on any one tool being better or more "usable" than another... here are my observations about the tools as I am coming to know them as a newcomer, after two months in program.
Food Plan ---> This tool is essential to our recovery. A slogan I learned says it all - "IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL!"
Sponsorship ---> This is a hard tool for me to use. Finding the right sponsor seems like a very difficult choice to make. The one thing I have learned is that this is MY recovery and MY program... if I want to succeed, I cannot be afraid to continue seeking out the right sponsor until I find him or her.
Meetings ---> Attending atleast one meeting a week is the best thing I can possibly do for myself. Where else can I connect with other people that totally understand where I am coming from and how I feel and will never pass judgment on me?
Telephone ---> Picking up the phone and calling someone has meant the difference between bingeing and abstinence for me. If I feel an urge coming on to eat something that I know I shouldn't be eating, I can pick up the phone and call someone who will always talk me out of it. And by the time our conversation has ended, usually the urge to binge has subsided.
Writing ---> Many of us find it very difficult to share at meetings, especially as newcomers, because we never know what to say or how to say it and we often feel silly or stupid. Writing is a way to share our thoughts and feelings, and then we can decide if we want to share or not. If you let yourself be free and honest, it is amazing to read the thoughts that can come out of you.
Anonymity ---> Going to OA meetings and sharing your deepest, darkest thoughts can be very heart wrenching. Knowing that those thoughts remain in the room that you shared them in is probably the only way most of us allow ourselves to say some of the things we say in meetings. I realize now how key this tool is.
Service ---> Doing service can mean many things for many people. As a newcomer, I feel that I am not ready to do service because I feel that I have nothing to offer besides helping stack chairs at a meeting. I realize now that although I may not feel ready, there are many ways that I can do service, and doing service will make me feel that much more connected to my Higher Power.
Literature ---> Pick up any of the OA literature and read a few lines... I guarantee you will find something that pertains to your life!
~ THE TELEPHONE ~
I drive half an hour three times a week in the evening. I finally became willing to use the telephone tool during my drive. I got a headset and loaded my OA friends' numbers into the memory of my phone.
Last Wednesday I had a feeling of anxiety and decided that instead of a call that seemed like a service to others, I would call someone for me. (I felt needy.) I made two calls to people whom I trusted to help. I had the wrong numbers for both of them. So I gave up and called one of the ones that seemed like a service. He wasn't home so I left a message. When I hung up, the anxiety was gone.
The experience validated the mystery of the telephone tool, coupled with the service tool. I reached out for someone else and I benefitted.
~ WRITING A GRATITUDE LIST ~
When I start feeling like I am not connected with God/Higher Power, I make a gratitude list. I need to see what I do have today around me that I take for granted. Just saying the words to myself as I write the list helps me. To some people they might just be words on a piece of paper, but to me it is how I feel about all God has given me. I can take the time to say I am thankful to God for what I have today. Those words on that piece of paper I feel go directly to God.
My chip is something else I really use as tool when I know I am going to be in a situation where others will be using. I learned to use it as a tool because I heard so many different comments made by old timers about what to do with that chip. At meetings they would say things like, "if you feel you want a drink, put the chip in your mouth and if it dissolves you can take the drink." Or "if you can see your face in the silver chip, then you can drink." I no longer see me in the back of that chip, so I guess I won't take that drink today. I do carry it in my wallet and if I feel I need it in those sticky situations, I put it in my pocket where I can hold it in my hand as a reminder of who I am and what it took to get here and what keeps me here.
There are so many tools a person can use. They all work, but you have to use them. I can sit here and tell you how reading the BB or Sermon on Mount is a great tool to help you through difficult times. Doing Step One each day or a tenth step when you go to bed. Unless you use them, it ain't going to work. So work it for yourself. Create a special tool for you today, this minute, and make it your own. Tell others about it, pass the word on. Lend your powertool out to a friend today.
God, I love this program!
Blessings and I hope you get another day,
~ SPONSORING ~
I read in the Big Book about a psychiatrist who asked a friend that had been in the A.A. program for a while how he stopped drinking. This friend gave him some pamphlets to read. After reading the pamphlets, he hoped that one day he could stop drinking. The psychiatrist shared the pamphlet information with another friend who also was alcoholic.
On reflection, he realized that he had done his first twelfth step work even though he was not in program yet.
This reminded me of the different types of sponsorship available in O.A. Anyone who is in a program for only one day has something to offer someone who has not been in program at all. Someone who talks with a newcomer on the phone or at breaks or in a parking lot is sponsoring because they are sharing their program with the newcomer.
There are other kinds of sponsoring that are very important also. E-mail and writing sponsors help to work the tool of writing as well. A vacation sponsor is a real gift because it helps us to stay very close to the program when we are away. Besides these, there is the usual telephone sponsoring.
Any of the afore-mentioned methods provides us with a way to be consistent in working the program with the help that the program promises us.
The fifth tradition reminds us that we must extend our hand and heart to all who still suffer. Sponsoring is a wonderful way to carry the message and to apply the traditions to our own program.
~ SPONSORS ~
I have had sponsors that lasted maybe 2-3 months and they're gone. I found myself one day without one and I found a name from a different list. There was some talk that he could handle the rough and tough new members. Something said to give him a try. I had never had a male sponsor but I could try. I sent a note to him and did not even expect a reply, but I got not only a reply -- he said he would be my sponsor. No matter what I talked about, he answered with good information. I recently had neck surgery where they took out a disc, and I was wound up like a top. He gave me his phone number, and he and I have talked several times to keep me on track like I was on line, since it was two weeks before I could do my computer stuff. My favorite sponsor of the year is John (email@example.com).
I would like to thank all those who have come forward and help those who need help learning the ropes and getting on with their recovery.
~ ABSTINENCE (A PLAN OF EATING) ~
I am Tricia, COE, and I wanted to share about the tool of abstinence. I have seen a lot of criticism of 12 step, saying that it only "cures" 12 percent of people. By "cured," critics mean that people stay sober/abstinent. This struck me as highly ironic because the 12 Steps do not strive to produce abstinence. It begins with abstinence.
I struggled a lot with the concept of abstinence at my first new beginning in May of 2001. It sounded so harsh, on the one hand, but then no one wanted to tell me exactly what my abstinence should be. I thought I was looking for a food plan, which seemed simple enough. But I would still keep bumping up against what everyone else seemed to understand as abstinence, that I just didn't see.
Looking back, I think part of my problem was I had never really dieted before. So the idea of just a food plan was hard enough for me to grasp. I actually drifted pretty far from the 12 Steps by May of 2002. I seemed to be dieting successfully, but then I allowed circumstances to lead me back into complete relapse.
I found myself standing on the scale, dumbfounded by my first five pound gain in six months. For a moment I despaired. Why not just let it all go, if what I worked so hard to achieve is so quickly reversed? And then I relived the first step - because there is no limit to how much weight I can gain, and if I keep eating this way I will die early.
With this realization came a newfound freedom. Abstinence isn't about achieving the result of weight loss. It is about surrendering my desires to God. Abstinence is not EATING in a certain WAY. Abstinence is eating in a CERTAIN way.
The 12 Steps never have and never will "cure" anyone, for our only remedy is in remembering there is no cure, and that depending on God is freedom.
~ SERVICE ~
So many times I have read notices from OA requesting articles for either newsletters or Lifeline etc. My thought has always been that I am not a very good writer and that I will leave this to someone else to do. Wrong attitude for a 12 Step program. If I want to recover I need to do service. This is a fact that can not be denied. There are some parts of service that are easier for me to do than others. I am a dependable person so getting to a meeting on time, unlocking the door and setting up is no big deal. I am good at this. Getting up in front of a room and speaking leaves me weak.
What is so great about doing service in OA, is that there are enough types of jobs that everyone can find something to do that they can handle comfortably. It does not matter what you do. Every job is just as important as the other. The key is to do something. Service seems to be the forgotten tool yet it is just as important as all the others.
Thank you for letting me share.