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Daily thought/discussion post for 09/05/16

God's Gifts

We see that the sun never sets upon A.A.'s Fellowship; that more than three hundred and fifty thousand of us have now recovered from our malady; that we have everywhere begun t transcend the formidable barriers of race, creed, and nationality. This assurance hat so many of us have been able to meet our responsibilities for sobriety and for growth and effectiveness in the troubled world where we live, will surely fill us with the deepest joy and satisfaction.

But, as a people who have nearly always learned the hard way, we shall certainly not congratulate ourselves. We shall perceive these assets to be God's gifts, which have been in part matched by an increasing willingness on our part to find and do His will for us.

As Bill Sees It - p249 - Grapevine from July 1965 (AA)

Emotional Balance

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, . . .

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions - p83 - from Daily Reflections (AA)
Commentary Here

Not Hopelessly Bad

We find that we suffer from a disease, not a moral dilemma. We were critically ill, not hopelessly bad.

Commentary: For many of us, [NA] was the answer to a personal puzzle of long standing. Why did we always feel alone, even in a crowd, we wondered? Why did we do so many crazy, self-destructive things? Why did we feel so badly about ourselves so much of the time? And how had our lives gotten so messed up? We thought we were hopelessly bad, or perhaps hopelessly insane.

Given that, it was a great relief to learn we suffered from a disease. [Addiction] - that was the source of our problems. A disease, we realized, could be treated. And when we treat our disease, we can begin to recover.

Today, when we see symptoms of our disease resurfacing in our lives, we need not despair. After all, it's a treatable disease we have, not a moral dilemma. We can be grateful we can recover from the disease of addiction through the application of the [Twelve Steps] of [NA]/

Just For Today: I am grateful that I have a treatable disease, not a moral dilemma. I will continue applying the treatment for the disease of addiction by practicing the [NA] program.

Just For Today - September 5th (NA)

Working Incognito

My Higher Power works incognito, defying definition and requiring faith.

Grapevine - State College, Pa., April 1994 (AA)

Atma's Thoughts

Society at large has trouble with addiction and mental health and recovery unless it's marketable. A lot of anti-drug campaigns include the tried and failed "but please think of the children" mentality. Things nowadays like high fat and high sugar foods too now have a lot of marketable lobbying against them and are now included in taxing and forcing the money to go to dietary education or research. Smoking was cool and then when it wasn't, it too became glamorous to oppose.

Us alcoholics have a really weird, unique issue where we're in a society that encourages drinking. Alcohol culture is everywhere, from underage drinking taboos, to chugging at parties, to bar hopping and clubbing, to encouraging people to drink past their limits and to do dangerous things while drunk, to say that it makes you honest and if you wouldn't do it sober you must need booze to get the "real" you out, and anyone who doesn't participate in all of this is a huge wuss. Everything else? Yeah you're bad if you consume it overly much and are told to go on a diet or get into rehab or whatnot and clean up your act. Quitting booze? Not glamorous or marketable and it won't give you social justice brownie points that are so over-valued in today's cultural economy.

It's a huge reason I wound up like I did, beyond stress and bad coping skills and a history of it familialy. It's society telling me what I did was okay. Most people I meet in life would congratulate me for surviving it and then wonder how I'm not using my new, massive limits to be trashed constantly with minimal consequences unless I start to hit poisoning levels again. I'm a hero to some now, for fuck's sake, for the wrong reason; I out-drank them in ways most can only dare to dream of.

Unless it makes for a watchable and inoffensive romcom, like Sandra Bullock in 28 Days, then you're not going to see getting sober off alcohol as a cool or cute or correct thing to do. AA and NA both are still largely the butt of a lot of jokes on television and in movies, which is an atrocious thing to do to them and part of why I hesitated to start it and start attending it regularly is we've painted them as some weird God-fearing cult that prays the gay away but instead it's praying alcoholism away and they're constantly miserable and on edge, instead of showing them as they are, which is just people like you and me who want help and acceptance in a society that no longer welcomes them in through most doors and parties without thinking they need to highlight just how not-drinking they are, as if that's our true disease and not the stuff that almost killed us and what we stole and lied to obtain and went through some immensely horrible health related issues, some still lingering in many of us years later, to see the light and realize that this is all a bunch of bullshit.

So yes, it's true, we do learn the hard way, but what we've learned here sticks. At the time Bill wrote that, he had no idea just how many millions would recover in AA the whole world over (it's hard to find a place in the world now that DOESN'T have an AA meeting or two tucked away somewhere) and how many would come to recover in the sister program inspired by him, NA, and their other sister program of Al-Anon for those of us afflicted by those of us who are afflicted by these addictions and issues. Together, we've seen to the recovery of enough people to populate large chunks of Europe as is now. And that's pretty fucking incredible for a kind of person that needs hard knocks to see the light with.

But because of this, we only want to see that those who may need us can get to us before they ruin themselves to levels we did; only miserable and macho types insist that they need to have seen and felt the worst on multiple occasions to count as truly addicted. Those of us who have learned the hard way and gained this empathy, though, just want us to live in a world it's easier to say you fucked up and are able to get help rather than scorn for it.

It has to start within us though to affect society, but I believe someday, with enough of us, we can outnumber in recovery and those supporting us those that would laugh us off as a glum lot.

The only glum ones around here are society's dogs, in dire need of that bone of public and popular acceptance, and I refuse to sell out and become marketable just so I can help others.

[As for the movie 28 Days, I found it watchable enough but only because it's only kind of funny if you've actually been in detox/rehab to see what others seem to think it's like, otherwise it's an average romcom, though it gets a point for not completely shitting on recovery and making it a punchline like 99% of media does. You can take it or leave it.]


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