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Daily thought/discussion post for 08/30/16

Morning Thoughts

On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives. Free of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives.

If we have to determine which of two courses to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then we relax and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.

As Bill Sees It - 243 - Alcoholics Anonymous - p86+87 (AA)

The Only Requirement

"At one time . . . every A.A. group had many membership rules. Everybody was scared witless that something or somebody would capsize the boat. . . .The total list was a mile long. If all those rules had been in effect everywhere, nobody could have possibly joined A.A. at all, . . ."

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions - p139+140 - from Daily Reflections (AA)
Commentary Here

Doing Good, Feeling Good

We examine our actions, reactions, and motives. We often find that we've been doing better than we've been feeling.

Commentary: The way we treat others often reveals our own state of being. When we are at peace, we're most likely to treat others with respect and compassion. However, when we're feeling off center, we're likely to respond to others with intolerance and impatience. When we take regular inventory, we'll probably notice a pattern: We treat others badly when we feel badly about ourselves.

What might not be revealed in an inventory, however, is the other side of the coin: When we treat others well, we feel good about ourselves. When we add this positive truth to the negative facts we find about ourselves in our inventory, we begin to behave differently.

When we feel badly, we can pause to pray for guidance and strength. Then, we make a decision to treat those around us with kindness, gentleness, and the same concern we'd like to be shown. A decision to be kind may nurture and sustain the happiness and peace of mine we all wish for. And the joy we inspire may lift the spirits of those around us, in turn fostering our own spiritual well-being.

Just For Today: I will remember that if I change my actions, my thoughts will follow.

Just For Today - August 30th (NA)

More Ups Than Downs

It's a wonderful feeling to know that you don't have to be a god or a goddess, a saint or a genius, to lead a reasonably happy, sober, healthy, communicative, constructive, and useful life -- with some laughter thrown in for good measure.

Grapevine - New Canaan, Conn., June 1974 (AA)

Atma's Thoughts

I have a lot more to say today, perhaps to make up for the past few days' brevity.

Today at AA, I met a woman almost 12 years my senior. She was pregnant and due and healthy at her age, and she achieved her childhood dream of just having a nice family, as mundane as it is, it makes her happy. How could someone like that and me have anything in common beyond alcoholism? She was raised Irish in Texas where she said she drank beer in the womb thanks to her mom being unable to quit during her pregnancy and she would come home from school to drink beer with a neighbor and watch Mexican soap operas. It's just how it was there and then. It was the norm. Unlike me, she never saw institutions or rehab or hospitals or detox.

But in her story, some similarities did show up besides the fact we're both now afflicted for life with this horrible, progressive, fatal illness. She ended her spree in the same hotel in Los Angeles I was in just months ago for a convention. We scored the same embarrassing high score on the infamous "20 Questions" test for AA. (17 out of 20, yikes, to think I blew through that many fuck ups in just a couple binges is horrifying.) and we both were diagnosed with moderate liver damage near 30.

We also both got help and both are achieving our dreams. In but a few days, it will be the start of my 6th year at my dojo, and for the next year I will be tested helping run the swordsmanship class to the best of my ability up to twice a week. After that, we can see if I'm able to lead full on. As dorky as it is, all I ever wanted was to be a glorious swordsman wielding weapon and glory and banner in battle. And here I am, at 30 almost to a tee, having faced death and come back to snatch that dream from even Death's grip. We both got our dreams. I will have more to say about this on the day itself, and it will be an emotional one, but this comes first. One day at a time and all. Perhaps my Higher Powers themselves sent me to this meeting today to hear this as I prepare to accept this role and fulfill something lifelong myself to let me know that while I shouldn't try to cheat Death again anytime soon, that m work here is not yet done, and far from it if even the Reaper himself can't claim me at this time.

I told her what my dream was and she told me to become the greatest swordsman in the world, and that no dream was too dorky or stupid, and to achieve it as she got hers, mundane or dorky or otherwise. A woman I knew an hour at best and barely knew each others' names got me more than most who have known me for years that haven't (thankfully) been through the horrors of the Fiddlers playing havoc upon their body.

Another woman said that in her day, she knew one of the men who finalized the Twelve Traditions of AA as they are now, and they originally wanted to keep 'weirdoes, drug addicts, women of the night, and queers' out and "Knowing what I must have done in blackouts, I would fit all those categories and more at least at one point in my life, and where would I be without AA if that man I knew didn't help convince them to let anyone in? Nothing more than dead." And then went on to say "I remember years ago, an oldtimer saying that alcoholism is where dreams go to die, but Alcoholics Anonymous is where dreams come true. And well, it worked for everyone I know so far." And she's been in the program for countless decades now, so I don't doubt I can get it, too, if I stay with them.

It only seems like we have no common thread, and even our alcoholism and our bottoms may not seem equal to one anothers'. But after a while if you sit and listen to those around you, you'll hear your story and more in people you wouldn't ever dream of talking to or doing more than walking past in your life ever. It's kind of amazing, here we are with a society, a program, a fellowship made in the 1930s after America was done reeling from The Great Depression, headed by a white cishet man as American as it could get, who was friended by the most ruthless of Wall Street and the like, and he understood that this was for everyone and that restricting even one means the whole of it fails and the blood is but shared collectively on our hands. Whatever Bill W's Higher Power was, he sure as shit had it watching over him, and this weirdo and queer is glad he did it and it got finalizes as is.

We all deserve to belong. And well deserve to have our dreams come true.

These guys are alright.


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