DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Saturday, February 28, 2009

IT'S OVER WHEN IT'S OVER!!


Earlier today I read a blog--by my most favorite "tell-it-like-it-is" blogger Mary C regarding the sometimes seemingly unrelated practices to which some AA groups subscribe. I commented on her blog, then commenced to Email Mary, and tempt her into a more in-depth discourse. And THEN IT HAPPENED! I strolled into a meeting which is not on my 'regular' route, only to experience first-hand the following:

MEETING PROTOCOL???

Friday at 630 PM I left a meeting (not my 'regular') shaking my head in wonderment. Two great speakers! One of the speakers however, opined that he could have never got sober in his home--Chicago--where, he claimed, the meetings are labeled "B.C." meaning "Before Crack"! I had not heard the term prior to this evening. I can only guess that he does not agree with AA's "Singleness of Purpose" doctrine (is it a doctrine?)...

The same meeting ended with a familiar 21-year sober gal intoning the reasons--in her opinion--we pray the Lord's Prayer after the meetings: "For the poor suffering alcoholic still out there, for the starving children in Africa, and for our fighting men around the world". Then she said, "Grab the hand of the one standing next to you, and hold on as if your life depended on it." WTF??? ( She did not say WTF!) AFTER the prayer, nearly everyone shouted, "It works if you work it!", "Keep coming back!" and while shaking held hands up and down, some other chosen words. Question: who chose? Answer: probably some well meaning, well-heeled treatment center gurus, trying to remake adults back into children. Is my frustration showing??? -grin!

MOMENT OF TRUTH?

But ya know...during the Lord's Prayer, I looked around at the room full of nearly 100 people--ALL SOBER, most happy, except for a few newcomers, and I wondered, "Why should I care, or be concerned even? After all, they are sober. And the meeting is REALLY OVER BEFORE the Lord's Prayer. The prayer is simply a tradition of sorts, it is certainly not required, it is certainly not AA, I do not have to participate. In fact, it certainly is not universally practiced. Bottom line: That prayer has absolutely nothing to do with my staying sober!

Also, we have a Tradition which applies, number TWO, which states: "For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience."

So, if I do not like what goes on, I can show up at the group business meeting, and voice my opinion, and maybe (surprising how frequently I/we can do this)...and just maybe help to change the group policy on such shenanigans. Hmmmmm? I think in that particular group, I'll just "Let Go And Let God" or whatever we say...

AFTERTHOUGHT!

As important IS our Tradition Two, our Tradition ONE is before all else in our recovery from this dreaded, deadly disease, alcoholism. Tradition One states: "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity."

Did I read that correctly? (MY) personal recovery DEPENDS on Tradition ONE--"our common welfare?"! Fancy THAT! AA Unity! NOTE: WITHOUT Tradition ONE , our program of recovery--our Twelve Steps--are eventually worthless. HA! So THAT'S the answer -grin! Well, NOW maybe I can let the whirling dervishes whirl, while I exist in the peaceful knowledge that In God's world all is as it should be...must be! And I am free to, rather, I am exhorted to share freely what I have learned here, what I have been freely given.

Thank you, whoever read this far down the page--for that you receive my wish and my prayer for God to bless you, and also MY love for you all! (Whether you want it or not!!!)

Peace
Steve E.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"B"-- WHAT ABOUT US BANANS???

"Hey Steve, what about "B" for BANANAS???"

OK: One more "B" Word: BANANA.

I love bananas, especially when concocted into something called Banana Split! My gosh, how could I forget? In each of the past 20 years I have consumed 200 pounds of bananas. Total 4,000 pounds, TWO TON! Wow! I feel heavier than a moment ago--before the math problem was solved. One of the benefits of eating bananas:


po·tas·si·um (p?-tas?e-?m)

n. Symbol K
A soft, silver-white, highly or explosively reactive metallic element that occurs in nature only in compounds. It is obtained by electrolysis of its common hydroxide and found in, or converted to, a wide variety of salts used especially in fertilizers and soaps. Atomic number 19; atomic weight 39

Well, maybe I'll stop eating bananas? That Atomic number scares me -grin!

INVOCATION: WHO? ME? HA!

The Naples Group, which I recently joined (again) had their 55th anniversary dinner-speaker-meeting Thursday night. It is the group (I'm repeating...duh) where a man pulled me in the door almost 35 years ago. That year was their 20th anniversary, but I was unaware of such doings.

At a recent business meeting, I was asked to give the invocation at Thursday's celebration. This is an "honor-unique" for me. The "honor" is in being asked to do what heretofore priests or rabbis have done. The "unique" is that I said, "Okay!" without even giving it a thought. That's what we learn to do in AA--is say "Yes!"

Here is our Invocation--I needed to print it out, "stage-fright", ya know? Can you believe I wrote this?

"May the God Who is in this room, the God Who has a special love for us, that God Who brought us all together here tonight, may that same God protect us from all unnecessary anxiety, and may He BLESS US, and all those we love--now, and from now on."

The dinner was wonderful, and after that, the meeting. The dinner was limited to 160 people. Tradition here is, that after dinner about 100 more people come in for the speaker meeting. At the meeting, the librarian (Me, who else? -BIG GRIN!) did an "outstanding job" -grin! In keeping with the statement "We are not a glum lot"--BB page 132--I got to tell a funny joke (also a group custom) that a few had not heard previously. I may post that tomorrow night...hmmmmm. Yep, maybe so.

The seven of us group 'members' arrived at 3:30 to set up tables, and all the accouterments for the celebration. I find it is still FUN to work with other alkies on a project--in service. The spirit is always there when two or more get together!!!

Lots of long-timers were in attendance, one with 51 years sobriety. Countdown, etc., went well, newest person was 6 days sober(?). Catered food was Zee Best!

Anyway, time for bed, so "Steve, POST this darn thing before it grows into a real LONG BLONG...!"

Peace and Love to y'all, still and Evermore,

Sincerely,
Steve E
.

"B" IS FOR BLONG!

Selchi awarded me this ...well, this...AWARD, called "Best Blog Thinker", and I'm awed every time someone remembers me in this fashion--always so unexpected. Thank you SO much! I must postpone picking recipients for the moment, but soon...soon! Please visit Selchi HERE!

Announcement: It is with pleasure that I received the letter "B" from a very likeable 'woman'--SHAY (FireBlossom). Drop in on Shay, her blossom is blooming. The letter B will Be today's blog, my favorite "B" words, but there's only one Beethoven!

BEETHOVEN, BELOVED, AND
OTHER LETTER "B" THINGS...

B is for BEETHOVEN. During my years with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a goal was to play all nine of his magnificent symphonies, and after about eight years, it happened. The NINTH was on schedule, and was it ever the thrill-of-thrills for me. Even playing violin, I had goose bumps! Whenever I describe verbally to an audience, that experience, the audience gets goose bumps, they tell me so.

After his death in March 1827, documents were discovered in his desk--THREE love letters. The passionate feelings manifested in these letters were addressed to (very likely) Antoine Brentano as being IMMORTAL...

...BELOVED and The First Letter to IMMORTAL BELOVED July 6, in the morning, begins:
"My angel, my all, my very self"...

All three letters--not really lengthy--but R.E.A.L.L.Y. passionately written pourings of love from a tormented soul of the great genius, Ludwig v Beethoven.....read them here.

B is for BUDGET. WAIT! How in hell did THAT word sneak itself in here? OUT, OUT, brief budget!

Oh well, maybe, tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow...will creep into this petty mind a sense of what MUST be done. Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn, and cauldron bubble...THAT'S RIGHT, BURN the Budget...OUT, OUT damned SPOT! If the deed were to be done, it were better it be done ANON! NOW! Burn, Budget, Burn!


B is for BABY. How I love that sweet innocence of the man-or-girl-child, surely God's gift to Himself!
The smell (well, much of the time?) the upside-down freedom of total dependence. Yes, those sweet little tax deductions--GOSH!. I hope THAT page in the budget wasn't destroyed in the budget fire....

B is for BIKES and BIKERS. Ya know, there is as much camaraderie, caring, sharing, support, and love in the biking community--did I say as much? no there's MORE!--than in a room of Alcoholics Anonymous. Just an observation, not really a judgment. I LOVE my bike, ride EVERY day somewhere--ANYWHERE! Also I love AA! -grin!

B is for BEAUTY and BEAUTIFUL. I positively could not live long without the symmetry of a lopsided tree, uneven fields of flowers, meadows bursting forth, nature untended. The same need I have for paintings, art of every type, opera, symphonies old and new, ballet, ah! yesss--poetry, of course architecture. I never saw much beauty in the male form, after all I live in one. Blah! However, another story for me is the body of the female. How could I--or any man--live without access, sighted or otherwise to the gentle curves, softness of skin, the flowing hair, the rounded--you know--those contours--the sweet voice, the touch, the occasional hug of acceptance--I'd better stop this, won't tell you why.....NEXT!!! -grin!

B is for "BIG BOOK" of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is our/my bible. The first 164 pages outline a program for living which differs from anything most of us drunks ever really knew. The solution to all my problems is NOT there, but the "HOW" to solve any and all problems IS there. It is a program of action and meditation, and all in between. And unless I am an alkie, there is no way I could EVER understand it, nor how, nor why, it works. But for those who DO it, it does work. There is simply too much evidence that this is so.

B is for BLOGGING. This has become my passion, almost embarrassingly so. Ever since my introduction to this realm of special communication, I've been hooked! I never dreamed all my life, that one day I would meet, and feel so close to so MANY! And, the funny part is, I've never met even ONE of you. Yet, I experience here a wonderful, unexplainable, deep love for you people. Again, for those who do not do this, there is no way to impart what I've found: A new and close relationship with God; A new and close relationship with people on and off-line. OK! That's enough, before I get all gooey about this.

B is for BARN. Well, the horse barn is where I had set up my music stand, stool, and small table. Yep, that's where I practiced violin for several years--before it was suitable for the human ear. In winter (this was Ohio!) i remember standing right next to Pete, my favorite workhorse, and I could feel his warmth, I can feel it now. There were always some Muscovy Ducks around , a few dogs, numerous cats, and about eight horses, oh, and two Hereford steers, which my sister and I raised for 4-H club showing at county fair. A fairly warm barn, at that. And all friends!

B is for BLUE. This is my favorite color. The sky, all shades of blue from the darkness before that flash of 'first light', to the almost darkness of 'last light'--when the sun is going down in Texas. I wear blue almost sickeningly often--every day?

B is for BACK! What a thrill! And what a gift we have, to be allowed to go back. We may look back over a span of years which have been packed with so much life, so much hurt, so much pain, so much chaos, so much blood, so much fun, so much freedom, so much LOVE. And I have reached a pointin life which never should have, nor could have happened without the Traditions, especially Tradition ONE, which makes possible the practice of the Twelve Steps. Oh what gratitude we must have. I love our directive, to "Give it away, what has so freely been given to me..." and that is the way to be grateful. Hey, let me get BACK to the B program. Aren't we about done with this?

OMG, do I have eleven? Which one to remove...Hmmmmm? WOW, this IS a Blong. Hope you stuck with me here, but I'll understand if you could not.

Let God's Peace Be with you today, and stay sober with me, as we take on the day in a "B is for BIG" kind of way!

Love, from

Steve E.




Monday, February 23, 2009

DREAM ON...Zzzzzzzzzz


Chris, Brian, Peter, Meg, Stewie and Lois watch TV "Family Guy."

--Twentieth Century Fox


At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent. Barbara Bush (MILE 191)



DREAMS:

Sometimes I wonder if others dream this way. My slumber will initiate a story-beginning, real or imagined--or both. Somehow, or for some reason I then wake up. I'll call that chapter ONE. Then when I fall back under the sandman's spell, I'll continue the story, taking it up right where it left off. I must will this to happen, or it won't. The scenario is usually played out until I'm up and about. And sometimes I recall pretty much, if I do not leave much time lapse. Other times, well, forgetting is my forte. Ya know what I mean?

Just wondered if lots of people dream in "serial" format? About 40 years ago I recall having a 'drunk' dream, in which I spilled a quart of Early Times Whiskey all over my full dress suit just prior to a symphony concert in Music Hall. Even my shoes made squishy, wet sounds as I walked out on stage, and the smell!!! Wheeee!

I dreamed that every night for a blong time. And when I'd wake up, I would go back to sleep, and dream the same scene, right over from the beginning. Sometimes, even today, I think back, and wonder if that really did actually happen. I'll probably never know, as most of those guys are now dead. And I was not in condition those days (and nights!) to retain any reliable memory.

BLOGS:

Once again, I'm learning how important these blogs are--for most of us. In amongst the joking and the "B.S. in AA" (which I call my degree) I find a camaraderie unknown to me before, except in the rooms. I notice that bloggers are ever quick to jump out in front and be helpful. This is love, a free gift of time and effort.

Occasionally a blogger will travel far away from home, to just "be with" some of her (his?) friends. And this is love, the pure kind we give also to God, to just "be with" Him, not asking for a single thing, other than to be immersed in His love.


Others send packets of homemade items to bloggers who have only to ask for one. PG (Prayer Girl) received a box in December from Jenn (J-ONLINE), an assortment of hand-made (Jenn-made) goodies which was thoroughly appreciated. I marveled at this display of giving of material stuff. It is so easy to write to one: "Do this", and to another: "Don't do that"...but we're talkin' here about giving out of pure love for one another. In a way, that's how God gives to us--sobriety and peace. And He even "grants (that's 'gives'!) serenity" to some. "God, grant me the serenity...."

I'm tired tonight, just cannot think of anything to write. I do not want to fall asleep at my desk, or you might fire me! Soooooo....Love to all, from Steve E.

Here's a favorite Anthony De Mello quote to close:

Wisdom

It always pleased the Master to hear people recognize their ignorance.

"Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one's awareness of one's ignorance," he claimed.

When asked for an explanation, he said,
"When you come to see you are not as wise today
as you thought you were yesterday,
you are wiser today."

HONESTLY--TEN SECRETS???


HONESTY AND TEN SECRETS

CLEAN and CRAZY sent me this award for --well I don't know FOR WHAT! Except that I am an exceptionally talented, hardworking,Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent kind of guy. You all know this quite well, because I have been telling you this since last July!

I would like to present this AWARD to any recovery bloggers who wish to present us with ten "honest-type" secrets, which you would not normally tell. OK? Please jump in, it's fun--for me, anyway.

HERE ARE MY SECRETS:

1. I love my cat, Bert. He loves me, too. He is the only cat I ever had who showed the loyalty of a dog. Twelve years ago I rescued him from under a pile of wood--in the 'hood--and it was one of those cold, rainy, seldom-experienced days in Naples. I believe he never forgot. He was about five inches long. Meeeow!

2. Tonight I went into a chat area on The Second Road (TSR) with a woman named Alix. The participants were very friendly towards me, a "newbie". First time ever in a 'chat room', and I really, REALLY enjoyed it! I'll be Bach!

3. I like taking chances--no, not like raffle tickets! One recent morning before sunup, I rode for several miles in a 45 mph zone, doing 95 mph. Exhilarating! That bike is fabulous. I hope PrayerGirl does not read this particular blog.

4. At a concert in Elmira, NY many years ago (I was a newbie violinist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), my bow flew out of my hand. It went sailing like a rocket over the musicians, landed on the tympany with a 'thud'. During a section of music marked 'pianissimo' (means: do NOT sneeze -grin!). The guys handed my bow to the first trombone player, he to the clarinetist, he to the piccolo player, he to the oboist, he to the last of the violinists, who passed it up the line to MOI!
Yes...I WAS drunk, ya just HAD to ask, didn't ya?

5. At age 12, I was driving a two-horse team, pulling a heavily-laden, fully loaded hay wagon, from the "Back Forty" to the barn. Horses came across a nest of snakes, and went crazy, running in a gallop, and I thought I would die that afternoon. Lost the load, wagon was busted a bit. Later, when I met my father, the owner of the farm, I almost wished that I HAD died that afternoon.

6. My father was deaf and blind. He sired (little 'farm' talk there -grin!) four children, me the oldest, the dumbest, the "most sensitive" (know what I mean???), the alcoholic.

7. I'm still the oldest, dumbest, and "most sensitive"...but BY GOD, I DO NOT DRINK (hic!). And yes, it IS "by God"...and Alcoholics Anonymous!

8. Hope Linda S. Socha gets here to read this. She encouraged me to "DO it" in a blog comment. So I sent her a photo of steveroni on his Big Bike (with Big Book in the trunk). And, since my Emailing a "strange woman" my picture at midnight is a bit unusual for me, I might could label this happening as one of the "secrets", number EIGHT.

9. THREE men who I sponsor called me today--all THREE! If that cannot be one of my favorite, treasured, worthwhile "secrets" I dunno what....Also son and daughter connections happened today. a RED-LETTER one, for sure!

10. It is no secret that I really, truly LOVE all you bloggers (don't worry Prayer Girl, you HEAD THE LIST, Babe!). But HERE is the secret part. A "late-in-life" wish is to meet, greet, and eat with as many of you as possible sometime in next couple years.

It was looking like the 75th AA convention in July 2010 was going to be the first possible chance to do some of that. Then I received an invitation to join Annie's annual cookout somewhere in IL near St Louis...for THIS June 12-14, 2009. Ain't that just GREAT? I'm going to take my violin (well that goes everywhere I go), and my smiles, and my happiness, and my PEACE with me--hope PG drives -grin!--although I LOVE to fly, but in those Piper Cub-types or some of those by-planes.

10(a). Well, I stayed up so late, so now it's time to eat again. That terribly unhealthy American Cheese made in Wisconsin--of course! This is my last secret...I'm a secret "Food-a-holic" Binger. But just NOT ready to give it up and get sensible. Don't know if it'll EVER happen.

So that's my BLONG of a list, hope it wasn't TOO boring, and that a little bit of 'recovery' showed through, because that's what I am about any more--helping others who WANT help.

And when we all stay in the day in a sober kind of way--I am happy!

Sincerely,
Steve E.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

ALL AROUND THE TOWN

"FLYING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS"

STEVE'S MEANDERINGS

Couple things:

1. CLEAN AND CRAZY presented me with this "HONEST SCRAP AWARD", and truthfully, I don't know what it means. But it's gotta be GOOD, because it came from a neat-o gal, who obviously does not know me--since the award has the word "HONEST" in it's title -grin!

Seriously, I did not used to think much of these blogger award things. But I have come to realize--with a touch of humility--that who ever gives these awards has sincerely considered, and thought enough of another person to remember them in a very pleasant way. And I sincerely (honestly!) appreciate that, and thank you, C & C for being so nice to me. Nuff said...before my eyes get wet.

2. I just HAD to take myself off of FaceBook--it overwhelmed me--or maybe I overwhelmed me, but in either case, something had to go. And here I find myself all signed up on TSR, and have absolutely no idea how to begin on that one either. I'm supposed to put a blog up there, but cannot figure out where or when (title of a song!), so maybe some more research, and I'll figure it all out.

3. Riding my scooter is just SO much fun, I simply cannot explain it. I look for places to go each day, just for excuses to ride. It is rather large for a scooter, a Suzuki, Bergman 650 Executive, will do 120 mph, has terrific pickup. It is just like piloting one of those old pre-1940 airplanes. They used to call it "flying by the seat of your pants". And that's just the feel of maneuvering this bike around the town or on the X-way. Just a slight movement of the hips, and this machine will respond immediately, left or right, rolling there, stopping here. Crossing the streets in a flash, zero to sixty in 4 seconds, it is a wonderful, beautiful way to go. I strap my violin on the rear seat, fill the trunk with music, stand, light, tuxedo jacket, Big Book, 12X12, As Bill Sees It, Daily Reflections, and away we go!

NO, TUXEDO does not mean it's fashioned from a TUXEDO feed sack, folks! I just wanted you to know. However, I sure remember how my sisters had to wear dresses made from fancy-looking feed sacks. And they hated it, because that labeled us as "farmers", as opposed to 'refined' city folks. Well, we WERE farmers, dairy farmers, and I may blog about that this week...it's another one of those "stories", maybe even a BLONG! Whenever the city folks wanted to picnic, or pick berries, or swim in the ponds, or fish in the streams, guess where they ended up? Yep, the FARM! Our farm!

I sure am wandering tonight, and have not mentioned a thing about recovery. Guess that's because I AM one of those millions of men and women who have recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body. I keep reminding myself on the blog that March 18th, I will celebrate the 35th anniversary of my last drink...just so I don't screw up with a slip between now and then -grin! Ya wonder how I can grin about that? Well, I can, because the odds are pretty well in my favor--I just have that feeling!

And no, I do NOT "take it for granted". I continue to attend at least two meetings every single day, and am a participating member of a home group. And I have the best sponsor God could have given me. While on that subject...what a wonderful thing--sponsorship! It relieves me of many of the "hard" decisions. I simply say, "Don, what should I do about this (or that)? What should I say, etc." And he tells me, and I DO it. What could be more trouble-free than that?

Hey, it's time to hit the sack, or I'll NEVER make those two meetings in the morning.....Love to all of us, from all of us. God is smiling on all of us this day, and we shall stay sober--I just KNOW it!

Steve E.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

READY FOR A "GOD" STORY???

Are You there, God? Is it You calling me?

A SHORT "GOD" STORY

In a few minutes I'll be doing my vocals, and then I'll be singing. Please do not become excited, all you music lovers. I'm just going to be taking a shower! So this (NO WAY, Steve--grin!) may be a 'short' blog.


GOD AT WORK?

The following has to be a "God thing". About seven weeks ago, an older guy from my daily morning (7 AM) meeting did not show up. For some days, I wondered what happened, knowing (somehow, ya just know?) that he had not "gone out". I learned he had a colostomy. After a few weeks he was back in his familiar spot, in the same chair (colored 'green') and contributing in a feeble voice. Everyone, of course happy to see him in recovery mode.

Few weeks passed by again, and he was again missing from his green chair (this, in a room with about 90 people). The occasion this time was a repair of his open wound. A mutual friend informed me there was great chance--and hope--for full recovery. Well, the guy (Darth?) was at home again, being nursed by his wife and himself.

The mutual friend (my sponsor) and I were talking Thursday morning, and he told me that Darth would be returning to the meetings in about a week.


I said I would call 'Darth' that night, except that Darth hardly knew me (my defect). Darth has lots of friends there, old-timers (not simple "long-timers" like me -grin!!). My sponsor said to call Darth anyway - he would like that. I called, 7 PM, no answer, so I left a message. Darth is evidently an early-to-bed guy, he just got home from the hospital, after all.

Friday morning, who walks slowly and painfully into the room? He was holding his thumb and pinky up like a telephone in his ear. He was looking straight at me, and walked right up to my seat. I got up to hug him, and he would not let go. I detected a couple tears (both of us). He whispered to me this:

"My wife said to me 'why are you getting dressed? You just got home from the hospital last night!', and I told her I'm going to a meeting. She said 'no you're not', and I just left anyway, and came on over here to where I KNEW I was supposed to be. Steve, your call--which I could not answer--your call, and the message you left, was God talking to me, saying that I *belonged* here with my AA family this morning, and so thank you, and bless you, friend."


While I'm writing this short story, those "bumps of geese" -grin! are rising on my arms, back, and chest. Is God not working in our lives even when we are NOT? I really had hesitated to 'make that call' to Darth--first, because I just didn't know him that well. Second reason for (not) calling would have been my thinking: "Well, he's probably already in bed by now. F*ck it." So, again those two words which, when placed together form a sometimes difficult four-letter word--"DO-IT"-- were spoken almost out loud to me by You-Know-Who--I'll just abbreviate the name...HP!!!

Darth is loved by all, and he shared beautifully on our topic, Step Nine. Thank You, God!

God loves you all--and so do I! Have a SOBER weekend!
Steve E.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shhhhh! LISTEN! HEAR!


"Listening" or "Hearing"...or BOTH

First off, I am not a dictionary. Second, I would benefit greatly if I used one. Third, I would become so engrossed in words, I would quit every other productive activity--except staying sober. And that is only a 'maybe'. So this discussion will be one of interpretation rather than denotation. (See, I would be commenting on how close is the word 'denotation' to 'detonation'.)

These past few years I've been hearing lax interpretations of the Twelve Steps, my "rules" for living.

Big Book, page 59 states,
"Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery." OK? Now, I heard a guy on Thursday (today is Thursday!) say these ..."steps are mere suggestions. We choose to take them or not." (He has been in the program--sober, I'd guess. Maybe?--24 years.) I do not recall the words "MERELY suggested" in our Big book!

I shut my eyes, and prayed to God that someone new in AA was not listening, not paying attention, because the fellow DID sound authoritative, confident, and Program-knowledgeable. I had trouble waiting until he finished, to "jump in"--usually a mistake for me. But today, I was not doing the jumping! I believe god was "pushing hard"! It is difficult to set a room back on the A.A. track, when I'm the only one who recognizes, or is willing to address a problem, unless God is doing the driving. He was this time. (Thank god? -grin!)

People do not realize the seriousness of "playing with" the words, the meaning, of this Program, these Steps and Traditions. It was here for me when I came crawling in. My life was in chaos, my body in pain, my mind about gone, spirituality non-existent. If ANYTHING is changed, there will not be the help here which I needed to stay sober--for almost 35 years!

Remember, Alcoholics Anonymous is for those who want to STAY sober--OK? And that's what we're going to do again today. Right?

Be happy, friends, bloggers!
Sincerely,
Steve E.


Click on:
PHOTO CREDIT: LEONARD NEMOY

Thursday, February 19, 2009

PRINCIPLES BEFORE PERSONALITIES
















PRINCIPLES BEFORE PERSONALITIES

tradition twelve of alcoholics anonymous

Don't forget to check out Syd's blog on this same Tradition Twelve, if you haven't been there already. We both have thoroughly enjoyed this time with you in this two-sided study/discussion of the past three weeks. Thank you for staying with us--or it would have been lonely out here! -grin!

TRADITION TWELVE!
How many of these things ARE there???

This tradition, I believe, has much more to do with each of us personally. We are--each of us-- ambassadors for Alcoholics Anonymous, wherever we go, especially when we 'announce' ourselves as being sober members of AA. So if I am sober I must ACT sober, right?

Tradition Twelve states: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."

1. It behooves me to never, never, ever, ever break the anonymity of another AA member. It also behooves me to never say, even whisper, anything of the private life of an AA member, which could somehow, in some way injure, or hurt him or her. I am bound to not even hint by association that another is in (or 'out of') our program. It is the ONE thing that is honored, must be honored, by every AA member.

This IS our spiritual foundation. This IS the binding which holds us together, though in every other way, on every other issue I may argue and disagree. God will surely judge me in how well I perform--or not--in this part of my program.

Let's move on:

2. Recently a fellow, 17-years-sober--a self proclaimed guru in my 6 AM meeting--had rudely cut me off while I was sharing, before I had finished. This has happened more than several times during an eight-month period. So my sponsor said I must confront him, short and sweet, get it over with, and never mention it again. That I must not let someone get away with running over me or another. I said, "OK".

Well, the next morning, I thought long and hard about this for a minute or so, and remembered I had given up fighting anybody or any thing. So I decided to let go of the matter (again). But, the real decision to do nothing, was this: the fellow has quarreled with me several times in the meeting room. So, instead of fabricating a disturbance for our group, I am letting it alone. My sponsor (bless him) agreed that "I may be right". I'm calling this "placing principles before personalities". This is part of Tradition 12 for ME.

3. Among millions of AA members, of which I am, what...a micro-organism? (NOT orgasm, you people!) You would think I am not important, right? WRONG!! To a new person entering our room for the first time I am 100% of the AA he meets, sees, or knows, for that first hour. I am what I see as his 911 call for help, his 911 call for support, his 911 call between him and possible premature death, his 911 call between him and, yes, his GOD! I can be his 'angel'--several have (seriously) mistakenly called me that (or, more likely, the 'devil'), which will guide him back through the wall of hell, to a more pleasing place. Each of us is as important to AA as we are to the God Who made us. When I remember that, I'm in "Tradition 12" mode...

4. In regard to AA (and life in general--believe me!) I am confident and enthusiastic--REALLY! My brand of recovery is finally attractive enough to me and others, that I willingly and readily reveal my AA affiliation in private conversations. This may occur in grocery lines, parking lots, doctors' offices, or in the "bike maintenance garage" to a mechanic. It may happen in a church, a coffee house, a symphony rehearsal, or a line at the ATM.

I am never ashamed of AA, always ready to help another, or to spread the word where another may find me/us. And I'm always ready thereby to help ALSO that most important person...myself. Whenever I'm doing AA work, I have gotten--at least temporarily--out of myself, and into the spiritual life of my fellows. That is the best way for me to stay out of all kinds of trouble, mental, physical, moral...which includes spiritual.

5. In fulfilling my own AA responsibilities, I probably am a little bit lax. Did I say a little bit? Try "doing less and expecting more"! Always ready to help another, I sometimes shirk on performing my duties as best they could be done. I am a master of excuses, having culled the 'best of the best' from 25 years of practice "out there". I promise to do better in this activity. Ha! Maybe I'll volunteer me an assistant, some new guy who is feeling sorry for himself. But, as "head librarian", I still get to tell the jokes!

5. Many of us in AA complain rather constantly about the "way things are run", or the way work is performed, especially by necessary paid professionals. We complain about those who complain, and about those who do not.

Funny, I sobered up--only to find I was still exactly ME, the same as always, except I did not drink any more. Everything else was the same. I was still the same old ass-hole. There had to be some changes made. I had to realize that AA includes many who might never have associated with one another...well, isn't that true? It is for me! So I had to learn to tolerate, respect, and love each and every one of us. That is not easy in some instances, but IS necessary. "Principles, before Personalities." Remember?

I was exactly like that farmer on page 82 of the Big book, who, after the tornado, saw everything as "hunky-dory". I completely overlooked the chaos all about, the havoc everywhere. Actually, that WAS me--for a long time ("Blong" Time?). In AA. I thought 'not drinking' was about all I needed to do, to live that life of productive fulfillment. A rebuilding from the ground up was an absolute for me.

Through working over and over the Twelve Steps, and observing to my best, the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have built, and am still in the process of building, a new and better life for me and those around me.

I've NEVER ever been more happy, relaxed, serene, and at peace, than these past ten or so years. March 18 will be the 35th anniversary of my last drink. And it seems like yesterday. I continue to attend two or three meetings every day at this time, because I love them...and because I CAN!

And I am so full of gratitude, and love, that I'm fairly bursting with joy most of the time. Thank you all who have labored with Syd and myself through these traditions the past several weeks. They are not easy--but they ARE simple! AMEN!

Steve E

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A STORY: AA TRADITION ELEVEN

"Neither we teacher nor student be".
Simply, we're writing renditions.
Come here, you--sit with me...
While we ponder these Traditions.

TRADITION ELEVEN

Caveat: Understand please, the following is my own experience with Tradition Eleven, and what I learned very early in AA. It was not an 'easy' lesson, but an unforgettable one. This is not a "teaching" blog, only a discussion, albeit a "tad" one-sided, at that -grin!

SYD and I are writing in tandem, exercises on the Twelve Traditions. Please visit, if you have not yet, Syd's blog for an Alanon perspective of Tradition ELEVEN.

Tradition Eleven states: "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. "

A Short story: (When did steveroni EVER make a story "short"?)

Thirty-five years ago, a newspaper reporter in our village of 7,000 souls--Naples, FL (USA)--arrived at our home to take photos and do a piece on our family. Two beautiful children, a multi-talented (artist, writer, poet, decorator) wife, and me, a symphony musician-violin-playing-bartender, would-be hermit. Evidently, an editor thought we could be of some "human interest" for that week.

The reporter wanted a beer, and I--being one week sober--told her I had stopped drinking, and our house was, ahhhh...alcohol-free. (Realize that every fiber of my body was crying out for relief, for a quart of vodka!) Of course--just like today--I knew nothing about Alcoholics Anonymous--I had been to one meeting--except that today, I KNOW that I know nothing -grin!

Well, the two-full-page spread, photos (not of me!) and stories (of me) appeared in a thousand residences and the small library, beauty-barber shop, city hall (a real "hall"!) and all three churches in Naples.
Subtitle of article was something like "VIOLINIST-BARTENDER STEVE QUIT CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND QUIT DRINKING"

My wife, children and I thought it was a great article, honest, forthright. Friends called with congratulatory phrases all day. The rest of my family was mortified! My mother had told me one week before, "We're so happy for you to attend AA meetings...but let's not TELL anyone. OK?"

The 100 or so people of the AA community were aghast at the article, saying that I had left Tradition Eleven in shambles! I was ostracized! Thank God I had already a sponsor--a long timer--who set ME straight. He told me to ignore all the AA critics, the judges, the jury, the "AA Police" (as he described them). He said I had well-earned my seat in AA, and NOBODY could deny me. AND...since I had not mentioned "Alcoholics Anonymous" or any link to our fellowship, there had been absolutely NO breach of any tradition.

I can tell you now, all this was SOME introduction into AA for ME. Somehow we all weathered that tornado, and I never took a drink. Don't think I didn't WANT one! -grin!

Next Part:

Through the years I have been allowed to speak to groups about AA in a college, a university, several schools, and churches. In each instance I have announced my affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous--with as much humility as God would grant me. Occasionally, the question would arise, "You cannot tell them you're in AA, that's breaking the tradition". However, I have the confidence now--because I learned 35 years ago--to say to them, "Go to hell!" -BIG grin NO! I DID not, nor DO not say that. (But I sometimes wish. HEHEHE!)

But I CAN tell them that our tradition states: "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. " Important words: "...AT THE LEVEL OF..." and in these times is implied "television" and Internet" as being public forums equal to "press, radio, and films". "AT the level of..." lets me know I may break my anonymity in front of groups BENEATH the level of "press, radio, films, Internet, and TV....right?

I may invite you also to a line written by Bill W in the Grapevine October 1948 issue, as reprinted in LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p 90:
"...no member ought to describe himself in full view of the general public as an AA, even for the most worthy purpose, lest a perilous precedent be set which would tempt others to do likewise for purposes not so worthy."

There are some few yet even today--self-claimed AA celebrities--who seem to totter precariously on the brink of breaking Tradition Eleven. But I must remember always, to "Judge Not. Lest I Be Judged", and also "Live and Let Live".

And....No Matter What (NMW!) I love you all this mid-week day, and wish for all of us God's Peace. Let's all stay sober today--NMW! OK?

Steve E.

Photo Credit: Steve E. "DAUGHTER KATHY'S BACK YARD"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TRADITION TEN (PLUS)















A.A. HAS NO OPINION ON OUTSIDE ISSUES

Before I begin recalling any experiences I've had in regard to Tradition TEN, I need to write this. In some groups I have recently noticed infringement on our traditions. These traditions are the only guarantee we have for preservation of our unity, our very life-blood--the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A lonely feeling for me is to be the only person in a group who will point out the importance of the traditions. It seems many A.A. members have either never heard of them, or never paid that much attention. I also used to think, "Those Traditions are for the old-timers, the 'A.A. Police', the gurus, the groups". In fact, dear ones, they are for you and me. They are for our children, and our grandchildren who might one day have this, their only hope. The twelve are my only guarantee for the preservation of A.A. as I know it--a way of life which will produce freedom and happiness in my life. And I will become useful in helping others discover the God within them, and which will lead them and me to a life, beyond our wildest dreams!

Now that I'm off the soapbox, I'll write today's blog:

TRADITION TEN

Parts of the following are taken from literature which is listed under the following copyrights:
Copyright © The A. A. Grapevine, Inc., and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)

SYD and I are writing in tandem, exercises on the Twelve Traditions. Please visit, if you have not yet, Syd's blog for an Alanon view of Tradition TEN. I admire his talents on so many levels.

Tradition ten states: "Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy."

I have an opinion on almost everything. You name it, I'll tell you what I think of it. But no politics, please--if I tear up any more of those popular T-shirts, I'll wind up in jail! Oooops, that WAS "politics", I think. My bad! (My blog!)

1. Anyway, I DO have opinions on Tranquilizers, Doctors, Hospitals, Churches, Temples, Antibuse, Psychiatrists, Jails, Alcohol, Legalizing Marijuana, Vitamins, Alateen, The federal government, The state government, Government anywhere, even Alcohol. Alcoholics Anonymous does NOT have opinions on any of the cited institutions or products.

The problem arises if and when I give the impression that when voicing my own opinion, I am speaking for A.A. There I have a No-No. NOTE: There ARE people who speak on national TV as A.A. spokes-persons. And THAT'S called breaking this Tradition TEN (in my opinion -grin!).

2. There is NO SUCH THING as "A.A. Opinion" on ANY of the above issues, or anything else. OK?

3. Alcoholics Anonymous learned from a group from which it sort of sprung, the Washingtonian Society. Early in its existence, Washingtonians were almost all alcoholics. So successful were they, that they became involved in politics of the day, and more (read about this, page 178 in 12X12). Eventually, embroiled in controversy, they began to lose credibility, and ended up being somewhat non-functional as a life-saving program for alcoholics. The sayings, "Shoemaker, stick to thy last" and "Stick to your own knitting", apply to A.A., and become the goal--of Alcoholics Anonymous--to NOT become involved in outside issues.

4. Here's the rub. I am SURE that on occasion (I hope infrequently) I have breached this tradition--and maybe others--by declaring certain of my own beliefs--religious or political--to individuals or groups, not realizing it might be construed that I was speaking for A.A. Any time I hurt A.A., it is like kicking my own self in the leg...it hurts ME. Having taken this good look at Number TEN helps me to be more vigilant, careful. This moment, this peak of awareness I will not forget.

5. Most people with whom I associate are aware that I have been sober AND in A.A. for a long time. So when I'm in conversations with those who "R Not US", they tend to think, that what I say IS AA opinion. So I must make it so much more clear when my opinion is just that...my opinion, no more.

My prayer tonight is that these discussions which Syd and I have taken on, will tempt or tease many of us to continue to learn more of these traditions. We attend Step meetings, Big Book meetings, Discussion meetings. Why not suggest that our groups consider a Traditions meeting?

And why not right this moment know that Steve E. (steveroni) loves from his heart each of you bloggers, and wishes for you all--that Peace, which surpasses all understanding. Amen? -grin! (Get it?)

Monday, February 16, 2009

MADE A LIST...

A COMPLETELY INCOMPLETE LIST

As I read this morning a short Email from a blogger who lives in South Africa, I began to think of that 'other world', the one I know not. The world which is 'real' poor. Sure, most of us are not rich, and we have a small percentage of the truly impoverished. My 'want' comes not from "do I have enough for today". It is more like, "will I have enough for tomorrow?" Fear of the future during these troubles times. Wondering, "How will we make it next year?"

That spells to me a lack of faith, of trust, of willingness to let God take care of tomorrow, if I do my part today. This brings me again to the table of Gratefulness, to the realization that I owe my very life to Alcoholics Anonymous. That is the place God brought me 34 years ago, a shaking, sweating, mentally deranged and physically ill 'mess of pottage'.

So I have lived long enough to continue writing a completely incomplete list of my blessings:

A computer on which to write this list

Visit Syd on TSR chat tonight...Later: TSR would not let me in.

My ignorance--when will I learn?

Electricity to power our home appliances

Water, running at a turn of the faucet

Some of it HOT

A great king-sized bed to sleep on

With sheets and a 517 yr-old pillow

Well, it LOOKS like 517 years old

Mega grocery warehouses

Chili for dinner

Chocolate chip cookies from Anna

A.A. groups and meetings in Naples (all day)

Ethereal thickly-fogged beauty of pre-dawn

Chocolate chip cookies at A.A. (7 AM this morning)

Awesome church music with a children's choir at mass

Suzuki Bergman "executive" 650cc (scooter)

Gallon of gasoline is $2

$8.00 will take me 200 miles to visit my daughter

Shoes and socks on my feet

NOT second-hand

Busy retirement

Able to work, long past retirement date (play violin)

A terrific sponsor (I should call him?)

I DID! And it made me happy--and him, too!

The Second Road--TSR--(IF I can ever get on -grin)

Patience: Try to logon TSR again tomorrow!

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Grateful that a blogger let me know how obnoxious it is to "-grin" all the time! Thank you. I'll TRY!

And now, I shall pray for willingness to grow along spiritual lines, as I sign off on this day, and wish all of us to stay sober today, be at peace, LOVE...and BE loved (God IS "Love"!).

Sincerely,
Steve E.

Friday, February 13, 2009

FIRE-GIRL (DAUGHTER!)

A BRIEF GLIMPSE OF MY FAMILY

Note: If God had not pulled my pitifully fearful, paranoiac, struggling, human form into this thing called A.A., none of the following would have any relevancy in my life, today--or ever.

My daughter is a driver-engineer-paramedic, in other words, she's a Fire Fighter. She runs many calls, presently is assigned to a really busy shift.

I have more than a few stories which "Fire-Girl" has written about her "memorable" calls, lives saved, sometimes lost. FG writes of the aftermath of some of her 'runs', we call "the family afterwards". Often she visits in the hospital or at home, someone whose life has been saved. Sometimes she visits the spouse or other family members of a loved one whose life was lost.

Her empathy and compassion (she's simply your 'average firefighter') is astounding to me. I mean--I'm her father--a recovering alcoholic, whose entire prior life was dedicated solely to the satisfaction, pleasure and immediate gratification of.....ME.

The professionalism of these public servants we all know about. The inevitable emotional stress is almost always reserved for a later time, after a particular run, or end of shift. It is then that FG sometimes types a story to her Poppa (can you believe, that's me?). Often her written pieces involve survivors (or non-survivors) of vehicle collisions. Her descriptions of twisted, mangled humans, bodies broken and/or bloodied, would make salable writing if wrought in the wonderfully-keyed words of Mary L.A. (Mary Louisey).

I have FG's permission to publish her stories--unedited--so the following is an excerpt from a very recent "note to Poppa" from my daughter:

"...last shift in the late evening we ran a call in a very rough neighborhood - very poor area, lots of crime, etc.....small fire was in a very tiny little house... but boy it smelled good.... fried chicken!! Anyway, I made a comment about how good it smelled in there and those people wanted to fix me up a plate to take back with me. It was very touching and very humbling.... people who have next to nothing wanting to fix me a plate of food. I had tears in my eyes leaving there. "

Now, please slip back with me about 40 years. I was still 5 years away from my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and also my sobriety date. Daughter (future Fire-Girl) was about age 3.

Naples, a then-small village, did not even rate mileage signs on the highways e.g., "NAPLES 80 MILES". Along part of our Gulf-of-Mexico frontage was a 7-foot high sea wall bordering a smallish section of a 20-mile long, W.I.D.E. expanse of clean sandy beach.

Future-Fire-Girl, under 3 feet in length, many times stood on top of that wall, shouting out, "ONE...TWO...THREE!!!" It was Poppa's signal to get over there, because this was "jump" time...and she DID jump, right out into nowhere, expecting "Poppa" to catch her. And--even while drunk--I always DID! What faith! What trust! I recall thinking then, "If only I could trust GOD like that"! And now, 34 years after, I think, "If only I could trust GOD like that"!


And I urge (read: PRAY FOR!) all of you--and I, to come finally to trust in God, and believe fervently, that He can and will and does restore us to sanity.

"c. God could and would if He were sought."
(Not caught-grin!)

Peace, and Love, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Steve

Yep! I'M GRATEFUL!




YA REALLY WANNA TALK
"GRATITUDE"?

My home group, The Naples Group, will be having our 55th Anniversary Dinner the last Thursday of this month. A speaker--Barry W--from New Hampshire is featured.

At our recent monthly meeting to 'take care of business' (eight members attend, out of 150-200 regular meeting attendees) we were bandying about who we might ask to give the Invocation for this annual affair. A priest, a rabbi, a minister, were considered (none by name), when suddenly one girl said, "What about HIM"? And seven pair of eyes turned toward me. And, well, they appointed me, Steve E., to deliver the Invocation before the dinner-meeting. I truly thought they were joking. They were not.


I didn't allow anyone to see the tears forming in my own eyes, at being so honored by my peers. Probably I'm making too big a thing out of it. You see, this is the same A.A. group whose door I was pulled through that night of March 19th, 1974. At that moment, I KNEW that I would be resigning my position in that group the next day, March 20, 1974. And here I am, almost 35 years after, going to lead them in a 'short' prayer! God, what have You done for this formerly drunk hunk of flesh and bone?

I am grateful for many other things
--among them:

Music, which lifts me from this worldly world

I will get to ride to my meeting tonight

It is my home group meeting (Thursday)

I am librarian for this group

Never figured I'd be proud to be a librarian

I will tell my weekly joke tonight to about 200 people

They will laugh

Laughter is good

I use my computer for God's purposes

I have several 'families'

Prayer Girl and our children is one family

My early 6 AM meeting is my other 'family'

You bloggers are my 'DEAR' family

I love all my families

My families love ME!

I wear a beautiful solid gold cross

Anna gave it to me

Daily Reflections (A.A. Readings)

Anthony De Mello (Author)

The Cloud of Unknowing (Book)

Water aplenty

A roof that does not leak

A toilet that does--

A wide TV screen

I don't watch TV: well, VERY little!

Knowing how to pray

Learning how to meditate

Contact with God through others

I am most peaceful, most serene, most happy, most thankful, and I know that God is closest to me--at these moments in front of my computer. This is whether I'm reading you, blogging , commenting, Emailing--and/or praying with you. I love you, and Prayer Girl loves you.

MUCH Gratitude.
Steve E.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


There IS one rule, though:
1. There are no rules!

Parts of the following are taken from literature which is listed under the following copyrights:
Copyright © The A. A. Grapevine, Inc., and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)


TRADITION NINE OF A.A.

"A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve."

From "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"

WHEN Tradition Nine was first written, it said that "Alcoholics Anonymous needs the least possible organization." In years since then, we have changed our minds about that. Today, we are able to say with assurance that Alcoholics Anonymous--A.A. as a whole--should never be organized at all.

Then, in seeming contradiction, we proceed to create special service boards and committees which are organized. How, then, can we have an unorganized movement which can and does create a service organization for itself?

Well, my understanding is that certain special services--deemed absolutely necessary for effective and plentiful Twelfth Step work--will, by their very nature, need some form, some stability, some organization. Who is to complain? Whether I call GSO in New york with a question, or the local Central Office (Intergroup) with an order for materials, I expect someone to answer that phone. I expect that contact to be able to speak to me in a couple languages.

Also I can agree wholeheartedly that we need boards and/or committees, to plan for state conventions and other Conferences, and follow through to their completion. Now, these people are not usually paid professionals, but--again--are what we/I call "trusted servants". Their work is unimaginably valuable to their sobriety and to our fellowship.

OK! Now! How does this all affect ME? Well, I have to ask myself certain questions, or at least give myself some answers. The questions appear in the answers....somewhat...maybe!

1. I do not try to "run things" in my meetings, or A.A. in other places. (However, I DO see this being done. Only this morning, someone really yelled at me to "SHUT UP!" Shhhhhhhh, whisper--I had very quietly whispered four words to my seat partner. And ya know what, I didn't even THINK about that until now--no resentment, no feeling whatever. How's THAT for growing? Well, y'all don't know the "real" me!

2. I do not normally question the informal "rules" of some groups. I don't care if we say "The Lord's Prayer" or the "Hail Mary", quote the Talmud, or recite Homer's "Odyssey" in the original classic Greek. (I studied the Odyssey, Ha!)

3. I'm allowed to "do" A.A. without a godfather looking over my shoulder.

4. Mostly I am patient, and "sometimes???" humble, in any job I do in A.A.

5. I am responsible to those I serve in A.A.

6. Groups to which I have belonged were never organized. After almost 35 years, I continue to wonder how they hold meetings--consistently, and regularly, with speakers, chairpersons,coffee makers, etc. And how do we ever, ever, get anything else done? Beats me! (Maybe it takes a village? Ugh!)

7. I 'intuitively' know when and how to step down/away from a job in A.A.--long before burnout or even singe-out!

8. Important: Rotation of jobs in A.A. I know everyone should have a chance at these jobs. They helped me to grow...and do the same for each of us who is willing to give a little time. It also has a way of keeping me/us humble, leaving a job after a year or so, trusting that another can do it as well, maybe even --"Shhhhhhhhhhh, whispering-- better?"

That's my take on Tradition Nine. Click on: SYD and I have agreed to take the weekend off from Traditions. Back on Monday-Wednesday with 10, 11, and 12. Maybe this weekend I'll write about something other than A.A., such as "Staying Sober"...Humility"..."Working with Others"...BLOGGING!!!..."Helping others"...(NOT blogging?) Who knows? Reminds me of my page: YA NEVER KNOW!

Hey! Let's ALL OF US Stay Sober today, OK? And Happy Thursday to y'all!

Peace, and yep!...LOVE, from
Steve E.

WHO'S GOT NUMBER EIGHT??


Parts of the following are taken from literature which is listed under the following copyrights:
Copyright © The A. A. Grapevine, Inc., and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)


SYD (who, by the way, is F.I.N.E.) and I are writing in tandem, exercises on the Twelve Traditions. Please visit, if you have not yet, his blog for an Alanon view of Tr Eight.. I admire his talents on so many levels.

EIGHTH A.A. TRADITION

But first...a flashback to Tradition TWO:
Our traditions are not asking me to develop a belief in a Higher Power which I call God. The Traditions are saying there IS one--Period! When all is said and done, he is calling the shots--no one else: no matter how important I or you think we are. (I read that, or heard it somewhere...)

Tradition Eight states, "Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers."

Almost entirely unorganized, and completely nonprofessional, a mighty spiritual current flows from alcoholics who are well, to those who are sick. One alcoholic talking to another--that's all. No money, no commercial services are exchanged. Only happening is the wisdom of experience shared, strength passed on, and hope embedded.

I am NOT an expert on alcoholism, recovery, medicine, sociology (romances or finances), psychology or spiritual matters. I am NOT even an expert on A.A., and certainly not an expert on HUMILITY!!! All I've got is experience in staying sober, on day at a time....and that's the truth!

Only in our Big book are guidelines, actually instructions, on how any one of us will handle a Twelfth Step call (where we go to meet with another who asks for help). In fact, any A.A. would just not allow anyone to tell him exactly how to present our program to a prospect. The one-on-one thing is very private, and is likely blest by God...if He is invited.

I am aware that there was a time when Alcoholics Anonymous members ran homes, or farms for alcoholics. And the membership was up in arms, declaring that this was a "selling" of our Step Twelve activity. A.A. reacted out of fear (anybody recall that word? -grin!), fear that I, or you would next be running an A.A. business out of our homes, competing with other members for 12th Step work. Imagine! The implications are enormous.

Experience has shown that an alcoholic will not listen to a "paid" 12th Stepper. It is, however, really impressive to a new person to realize that, "Hey! These guys want to help me--for FREE. They won't even allow me to buy breakfast." That is the first thing I learned here.

The whole concept of one helping another, of God's gift of sobriety having come to me through A.A. people, has been well noted. This gift, freely given and then freely accepted by me, must be freely given away--in order for me to keep it. Sobriety' gifts, the results of staying sober, are metaphorically like the water in a pipeline, they keep flowing, until everyone is satisfied, or happy. And, unlike the water in the pipeline, the supply is never-ending.

Imagine one of us charging a surtax because a Twelfth-Step call came in after 1 AM.

Now, enter the professionals! Our clubs do need caretakers, we do sometimes need secretaries and maybe other staff, who must be paid. So what? I personally do not know more than two here in Naples area who get paid for working in the A.A. settings. I know a few more who should receive remuneration (big damn word!), but I leave that to the 'trusted servants' to deal with. Hey I'm ONE of them! Ha! Who would EVER have guessed that I might be called 'trusted' one day?

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you guys and girls. Let's stay sober now, and be (or act) HAPPY!

Peace, from
Steve E.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A.A. SEVENTH TRADITION


Parts of the following are taken from literature which is listed under the following copyrights:
Copyright © The A. A. Grapevine, Inc., and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)


SEVENTH TRADITION

"Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions."

Steve sez:

When I stopped drinking, I assumed the world was going to pat me on the back. At the least, was not I worth a little monetary handout? For being sober? For saving taxpayers the money it would have taken to lock me up for many years? You wouldn't miss a few bucks, along with maybe an award as a "good, interesting and honest blogger" --wait a minute! NO! We didn't have blogging in 1974--

There was not yet

an Internet.
but I had bet
I could get
good and drunk.
A little libation?
(A little donation,
that would do).
A little reward from you
for my being such a caring, sharing, newly sober member of--what was that again? Alcoholics Anonymous? Holy Shit! That sounded serious!

And it was! It was so serious that I'm still here, still sober, 34 years after. I have not killed myself, nor anyone else yet. But, IF someone had handed me a few bucks, I'd have taken it as an omen--to begin again that "one last fling" at pretending to be someone other than me. Nothing wrong here, just give me a dinner, give me a bed, give me shelter, comfort, a little credit, security...gimme, gimme, gimme. Well, 'Nobody' coughed up the loot. Thank you, 'Nobody'! You also saved my life, 'Nobody'.

It was and is so with our groups. Once my group accepts donations from an individual, business, philanthropy, or (shudder) government, we are beholden to somebody, somewhere, somehow. There is no escape from that axiom.

And where then goes the "God in charge of my group", Who meets with us in group conscience? Where goes our autonomy as is promised in Tradition Two? Where goes our justifiable JOY of having breached the walls built between each of us and God?

Our (my) independence shall not become dependence. And 'dependent'--that's where I've been all my 25 drinking years. Now, I have a piece of my mind back, along with 'peace of mind'--and that certain independence called free will.


The whole group-decision process, the carefully guarded quality of self-governance we cherish, would be in dire jeopardy if it were not for our Traditions. We are kept safe from ourselves (and others!) by virtue of strict observance of our beautiful Traditions.

Oh, something else. I've got to say this. In the beginning I was told that if all I had was a little loose change...do not put it in the basket. If that is all I have, AA does not want, nor need it. A dollar was customary 34 years ago. A dollar is no longer what it used to be. A pack of cigarettes probably costs at least $2 by now. A couple bucks is the (basket) norm today. My gosh how much does a 35 cent bottle of beer cost now? (I have not a clue.) Of course, this IS a private matter, but I had to bring up that we ARE self-supporting, even with no dues or fees! And coffee did not come down in price like gasoline.

I can also--if I'm broke or not!--make coffee, do dishes, set up room, wipe off tables and chairs, empty trash, sweep, mop, paint, be a greeter and meet everyone who comes in the door. this all comes under the heading "self-supporting"...


One more thing. It was the practice of my first sponsor, and adopted by me, that I neither lender nor borrower be. When, on rare occasion, I'm inspired to put some cash in someone's pocket, it is never intended as a loan. It is strictly a gift. That way, there is never hard feelings, misunderstandings, or problems, resulting from a necessary exchange of some bucks, now and then.

However, I frequently buy an A.A.-type book, or a special meditation book for another...and always, always it is with the sure knowledge that one day he will pass it forward to another.

Please do realize that A.A. in no way has anything to do with my own observations and opinions. Thank you for understanding this.


Even after the riskiness of writing my private thoughts on Tradition Seven...

I still LOVE you ALL. Believe that!

Peace, from me.
Steve E.