Todays Action: What an Order!

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
garden variety
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Todays Action: What an Order!

Postby garden variety » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:40 pm

Hello friends,

Here's a promise right out of the book: "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

Today, in my devotional reader called "God Grant Me" by Hazelden, the suggested action for today really hit me hard. It knocked the wind out of me.

I know inventories are well and good with step 4, but today I was asked to take action which was an inventory of a different kind. I'm not finished with mine yet, but I will post it if there are other brave souls willing to do the same. Even for the mid-timers and long-timers, I guarantee this exercise will make you squirm. Here it is:

"Today I will make a list of all the things I lost because of my addiction. I will share this list with recovery friends."

Holy cow! Or as the books says "What an order!" I don't think I ever did this kind of an "inventory". But you know this is really close in line with what Dallas and all of us have been talking about the past few days "Making a Decision" and then "Launching into Action."

So what do you think folks? Are you ready to get honest and be accountable with each other? Are you all ready to take action? I'm willing if a few brave souls are also willing "go live".

Even if you don't go live here, take the action on your own to see what you come up with. They say this at my home group:

"Remember well your beginnings, and the results will take of themselves."

God bless all,

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Postby anniemac » Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:06 pm

Wow. What didn't I lose? Ok, well, I didn't lose anything physical/material -- I didn't lose a car, a house, a job, money, etc.

What I did lose was:

~ myself
~ an opportunity to be a much better mother, daughter, wife, friend,
neighbor, co-worker, employee, person

Off the top of my head, anything else that comes to mind fits in to those two areas. I lost an entire life, a life I will never be able to recapture. That about sums it up, I think.

Thankfully, I now have the opportunity to build a new life from the ashes with a sense of appreciate that I never had before. It's all good.

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Postby Dallas » Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:53 pm

I lost my addiction. :wink:

garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:08 pm

Dallas wrote:I lost my addiction. :wink:

I did the exercise and came up with a whole bunch of stuff.

But that Dallas guy sure listed the best thing I lost - pretty clever pardner! I lost the thing that caused me to lose everything.

I got pretty detailed with this inventory. I'm listing about half the things here because I want the new person to know that just because I have some time being sober doesn't mean that I don't take the time to make detailed lists and take inventory. Like the new man or woman, I still follow instructions and "launch into rigorous action" each day. The purpose was for me to take action as suggested in the devotional. By doing this, I am "working a program".

It doesn't matter if I have 30 days or 30 years, its just as important for me to share experiences in hope that the new man or woman can identify. I also think the details count because it's more personal and meaningful to identify with specific things and not just general words. When I heard "my story" told by another human being, I really felt like I was right where I belong. It was a woman who told my story that I never even knew before - and I mean she told specifics - she trashed her family and life and cars just like me. It made me cry, and I realized why going to meetings was so important.

So this is not to compare "war stories" or say my destruction was worse or less than yours. It's just here to in hopes that it can help anyone who is an alcoholic to identify with another human being with the same condition, who was at first in a very hopeless place.

So what did I lose BESIDES THE ADDICTION? (Which is a really neat point that I hadn't thought of - Thanks again Dallas!)

- A very loving and pretty wife
- The respect of my 3 kids who are now grown (they're back to respecting me more now - because I respect them)
- The "wonder years" (say ages 6 -11) of those 3 kids as they grew up. Those are precious years that are gone forever. Drinking was more important.
- 2 (non-alcoholic) sweethearts before the wife
- A home in the city
- A home in the suburbs
- A condo in the suburbs
- New furniture and new wardrobe
- A masters degree (2- classes short) and the 65,000 student loan debt
- 2 "white collar" professions
- 1 "technical" profession
- About a dozen nice cars and trucks and a motorcycle
- 3 Mutual funds that were doing real good
- Good credit - (I filed bankruptcy)
- At last count upwards of about $200,000 cash just thrown away

Then it got to hurting me:

- 15% of my liver
- my stomach
- my mental health
- a best friend that I can never say goodbye to who died
- family members that I can no longer say thank you to who died

Then the worst:
- Any and all forms of dignity and self-respect
- my soul
- my favorite color - If you would have asked I wouldn't have been able to tell you.

The thing is, a lot of those things I lost have came back in different and better ways today. Maybe I could or should regret losing those things, but I don't today because it took me losing all those things to find this thing called sobriety which is a treasure. So the part of the promise "we won't regret the past" is true for me.

I know that all of these losses and many more can happen again if I don't "Make a decision" each day to remain under God's and AA's direction, and then take actions to change the self-centered things about me. I remember well my beiginnings. So the other part of the promise "nor wish to shut the door on it" (the past) is also true for me.

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Postby Dallas » Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:34 pm

Hey Paul!!!

Thanks for your message.

As I read your list -- I could see how, if I were new, or a potential prospect, and, I read your list -- I might identify with the things on your list and say "Wow! I relate! That has happened to me, too!" Those "moments of clarity" after the fog was beginning to clear!

One of the things that I've been noticing in and around the Fellowship that's near me -- is, how people with sober time could benefit from reading a list like the one that you've posted -- with a difference being -- "Things that I'm losing while sober -- as a result of untreated alcoholism."

It's kind of frustrating to watch people stroll into meetings who have put together some sober time -- and, they are still on a losing streak. And, one-day-at-a-time ... they are doing nothing to change the streak. All they are doing is going to meetings, and just not drinking. Their lives are headed down that spiral toilet -- sober -- and, in one breath, they share about how depressed they are -- and then, in the next breath, it's "But, thank God, I'm sober. I haven't had a drink today."

Gees. I wouldn't be able to last many days in that condition -- if I wasn't doing something to change me -- so that my conditions would change.

Maybe I should copy your list, and re-title it... and run off some copies and leave them laying around in a few meetings!!! :wink:

Thanks for being here Paul -- and, thanks for all that you do! :wink:


garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:07 pm

Hiya Dallas,

I was gonna go on about "Singleness of Purpose", but I'll just say that I'm with you on working a program. "Just don't drink" and "go to meetings" are things my non-alcoholic ex-mother-in-law might say to me. The bottom line is this - when it comes to drinking alcohol, I don't have a choice. Tell somebody who isn't a real alcoholic "just don't drink" and it might work. Tell me, and its a worthless piece of advice. Tell a newcomer that's a real alcoholic, and he or she might just end up dying following that advice.

I will drink again guaranteed - if I don't work the suggested program of recovery which is the 12 steps. And the book says this is a "lifelong process". I'd be like you and be gone in a few days without God's direction and action on my part.

The book says we have an illness that only a spiritual awakening can conquer. Dr. Silkworth says that unless we have a drastic "psychic change" we are doomed. Maybe the folks at your meetings that are "just not drinking" and "just going to meetings", maybe they aren't real alcoholics?

I also agree with you that you can really lose a lot and still not drink. When I first started working the steps, I think I said this before, I was doing it my way and in half-measures. Then somtime in my fifth year (the second time around), the urge and compulsion came back, and I was going to drink. You read that story about the car salesman and it says it all.

"Suddenly the thought crossed my mind..."

Then he goes on to put whiskey in his milk. That's me. That was me after 5 years of staying sober on going to meetings and half-measures. Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that my car might turn into a local saloon for a couple cold ones on a hot July Saturday night. Also leading up until then, I lost lots of things in sobriety (those I listed above was before I got sober). I was restless, irritable, and discontented. Like they say about some of us around here "the only that changed was my breath".

These days I keep trying to think about what to do about the types of people in the fellowship that you talked about that are discouraging. I know lots of guys and gals that have time way more than me, some with over 20 years - but I tell you what - I don't want what they have, and I would go to any length to AVOID it!

I know the answer is that I have to change my attitude. And I really do want to. And I am working on making progress. God as I understand Him took good care of me even when I was the worst unlikeable human being that walked upright. He tells me its my job to love those unloveable ones the same way as those that are loveable. That's how He does it. What an order!

But for me the real measure is how I do it in my innermost self. I know this happens to other people too. Here's what happened the other day.

I get on the circulator bus, and its hot outside and everyone is dying of heat and sweat. This lady gets on the bus, and she starts talking to another lady. And I can't help but hear her big mouth yapping to no end about trivial things. God shut up please you fat unlikeable idiot was a thought that was starting to brew in my head. But kind of suddenly another thought crossed my mind.

It was not so much like I had no right to sit there and judge this complete stranger. I just thought doesn't she deserve the exact same kindness and love that my Higher Power gives to me? But the problem was me (again!). The first thing I saw about this woman was her faults, her flaws, her "defects". And because she was not attractive and loud-mouthed - I started getting "unattractive" thoughts about her until, here goes again, I "intuitively" began to handle this kind of situation that used to baffle me. I still didn't get it perfect, but I think I got to first base.

I know I'm going on so you can stop reading and click somewhere else - sorry I'm so long today!

But anyway, a meditation came to me. My love, your love, and God's Love is a reaction to the good in a person. That's why I can be forgiving to an attractive person with a good attitude. But the thing that saved us, Dallas, was MERCY. Mercy is God's reaction to the bad in a person, and it makes that person good. With Mercy (and Grace), the worst of anybodies faults can be covered with goodness. And then I can react with love to the good about them that came from Mercy.

So maybe the secret for us, and those folks at your meetings, is to meet them with mercy first. That has to be a conscious reaction and response that will take lots of practice for me. Then I also have to ask God to give me the Power to make mercy my first response to people that have flaws and faults that I see first. Like the suspicious looking young "punk" who's got a ball cap on sideways giving everybody dirty looks with his pants sagging to his knees. God let my first reaction be mercy...please! I believe that in time love will come. Maybe?

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Who's riding in the bus?

Postby Dallas » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:35 pm

Thanks for sharing, Paul

I’ve pretty much let go of my efforts to try and convince those with time – that there really is a solution, other than going to meetings and white-knuckling it with a lot of God talk.

I try to keep my efforts turned towards reaching newcomers – and looking for the one’s who are interested in quitting for good – and, are interested in being sober and happy at the same time. And, letting them know that we have a real solution that works for those who work it.

I’ve been trying something different for myself lately, too. Normally, when someone doesn’t like me, or if they’re spending a huge amount of their time back-stabbing and talking bad about me – I would just ignore them and not pay any attention to them.

For some reason – a strange and unfamiliar idea came to me, of “what if I go out of my way to try and be nice to them and to do something good for them?â€

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