What do you think?

Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery
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Postby Dallas » Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:32 am

Hey anniemac,

Thank you for your kindness and the generosity of your efforts to look up those definitions. I appreciate it and I appreciate you, very much!!!

I think I've suddenly noticed what I do that's different... and it's probably why it's difficult for me to understand the acceptance concept in regards to discussing it.

I re-read the message, and took another look at the 3 A's -- Awareness, Acceptance and Actions, that you mentioned, and I guess it's there... that I do it differently. I've been doing it with the 2 A's -- Awareness and Actions. (AA instead of AAA). I don't think about or focus on the Acceptance. For me, if there is Acceptance, it has always come to me after the Actions. It's a "take the actions and the results will follow" approach. And, it's interesting that even though we can do something differently... some of us will can still end up with the same results. :lol: Peace, serenity, calmness, undisturbed, relaxed, happy, joyous, sober, safe, sane and free. :wink: I guess, that's another example of "more than one right way" and a "more than one right answer" paradox. :wink:

Years ago... I spent a lot of time studying motivation. For a long time, my thoughts had been "if I can just get my brain more motivated... then I can accomplish more." So, I sat around for hours, days, weeks, months... and finally years... trying to "think myself" into motivation...to take certain actions. And, then one day... I got a clue that "motivation follows action -- and never preceeds it." So, I tested the formula... and sure enough... when I would force myself into physical action... first... then the motivation that I desired would follow.

I guess it's kind of like the concept of "I can't think myself into right actions but I can act myself into right thinking." Meaning: if I first take the actions... the thoughts will follow. And, since, whether it's motivation, or acceptance... they are both states of mind... or thoughts and attitudes which have been influenced by my own unique perspective and perception -- my perception, perspective and attitude can be changed by a specific course of actions.. And, for me... this is the uniquesness of the spiritual program of action that I have received in A.A.

Before my exposure to AA, I spent my life... with "self trying to fix self." Or, using my head to fix my head. And, I couldn't move forward with positive results and lasting changes. That's kind of like me trying to use my head to acquire acceptance. :wink: I've tried and tried and tried that... and I couldn't get that to work for me. So, once I surrendered in trying to "myself fix myself" and "my head fix my head"... it was suggested to me... to "just take the actions instead of thinking about it." And, after trying the course of actions first... everything that I desired began to flow naturally.

Another example for me is resentments. A state of mind: being resentful. I couldn't think myself out of my resentments. I tried letting them go... and they always came back to me. I tried "letting go and letting God"... and, sometimes... after brief relief... they always came back to me.... usually bigger than they were when I let them go! And, for a while... I even got angry with God, because, it was like "Hey God? All these other people can let go and let God and they get relief!!! And, when I let go and let God... it gets dumped right back into my lap big time!!! What gives here? Why are you treating me different?"

After just about losing it... and giving up... an answer came to me, almost like it was God, saying (but, it was probably the voice of my Sponsor, saying) "Hey Dallas? Haven't you been listening? I gave you tools to use... and instructions on how to use those tools. Stop asking me to give to you... what I gave you tools to give to yourself!!! Take the actions that you're supposed to be taking and use the tools that have been provided to you. I'm not going to use the tools for you and I'm not going to take the actions for you. If you are miserable. If you are drunk. If you are sober and unhappy... that's a choice that you made... when you waited for me to do your job for you!"

And, ever since then... I stopped asking for the things that I was supposed to create myself. So, rather than asking God to grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change... I stopped trying to change things I can't change! :lol: Once I did that... it wasn't a problem. And, I started asking God for the knowledge of His will for me, and the power and courage to carry it out. The answer I get back when asking, was "I gave you 12 Steps to use as a design for living... and as tools to manifest the things that you pray for. Use them."

I was thinking of the line on page 83, BB, that says: "The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it." To me, that means... "If the spiritual life is not a theory (thoughts)... and I have to live it (doing)... The spiritual life is not something I think about but something I do (actions). And, if I'm taking the actions... I'm living the spiritual life... rather than thinking about it." :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:


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Postby Molly M. » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:58 pm

Hey Dallas and Anniemac;

I love reading your guys discussions--I always learn from them.

In reading your posts, I've been reminded how different we all are. For me, if I don't have acceptance around an issue that is disturbing me, I am very likely to take inappropriate action. I am truly one of those alcoholics described in the BB who runs around trying to arrange everything just right so that I'll be happy and if I'm not happy my first assumption is that it is a person or situation that needs to be fixed not me. So before I take any action I need to use the first 4 columns of my step chart to gain acceptance that that person or situation has a right to exist as it is without my interference and the last column to figure out an appropriate action. I guess in a way that I am taking action to find acceptance so I can take action :shock: :D

The thing is that I need both. If I have action without acceptance my actions are usually not so good :oops: :oops: And if I gain what would pass as "acceptance" without the stepwork, it's usually a very miserable martyr like acceptance because it's not accompanyed by any positive acceptance. For me Awareness and Appropriate Action are so intertwined that it's very difficult to figure out where one begins and the other breaks off.

BTW I just woke up in Taos, NM this morning. The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, the mountains are in the background. I'm gonna have a long gratitude list. I love vacation.

Molly :D

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Postby Dallas » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:58 pm

Hey Molly!!! Glad to see you jumped in here!!! It's always good to hear how others are doing things.

For me, one of the greatest benefits that I've received from the daily Step 10's --- "throughout the day" and at night --- is: I no longer think about the actions that I need to take. They've become habit and it seems as though the action process kicks in automatically. Using the spot-check inventories of Step 10, as soon as the disturbance appears I'm able to automatically move to "my part" in the disturbance, and as far as the process goes... ignore the "who" and "did what" that might have set me off. I simply remind myself that the inventory is mine... not the other persons... and, that whatever they might have done has nothing to do with the way that I feel inside. And, it goes along well - in my understanding of pages 84-85 BB: "We react sanely and normally and we will find that this has happened automatically." :lol:

Also, in the same paragraph, as the sentence above, on pg 84, that starts with "And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone -- even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned." That's awesome! And, it's also the realization and fulfillment of our Step 2, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

For me, sanity is equal to "sound thinking." I can't say that I had much "sound thinking" for most of my life, up until I got to Step 10. In looking back at the choices that I was making for most all of my life... they had been "choices and reactions based upon unsound thinking." After I got to Step 10 --- there was a dramatic change in my "choices and reactions to life." And, it happened automatically... as a result of taking the first Nine Steps. Then, in Step 10, I'm admonished... to keep doing what I was doing to get what I was getting... by the time I got to Step 10. :wink:

Throughout the BB, I don't seem to recall any place... that says that I'm supposed to be seeking peace of mind, serenity, acceptance, freedom from fear... or... to even be happy, joyous and free. (Among the other Promises that's often referred to on pages 83 & 84).

What I do recall seeing in the BB, is that I'm to clean house (Steps 1 through 9) Trust God (Steps 10 & 11) and Help Others and to Live these principles daily in all areas of my life. (Step 12). And, when I'm doing that... I don't have to worry about myself and I don't have to be trying to get what I automatically get from working those Steps.

For me... I was told in Step 4, that "we have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will towards all men, even our enemies....." And, I'm reminded in Step 10, that "Love and tolerance of others is our code."

If my fear has been removed... how can I feel threatened? If I feel threatened... it means I'm in fear again. The book doesn't instruct me to seek serenity, acceptance, patience, tolerance, or peace of mind... when the fear returns. It tells me to do what I did the first time the fear was removed... and that's to "ask God to remove it." I've tried that... a whole bunch of times... and for me... it has always worked! It even worked when I didn't believe in a God! Imagine that! I didn't believe... but, I took the action anyway... "asked God to remove the fear" and bammm! My fear was removed! Those were the experiences that I was having that caused me to believe in God! And, those were my experiences that caused me to trust God. And, guess what? I wasn't even trying to believe in God or trust God! It happened to me automatically.... as a result of taking certain actions.

If acceptance were a problem for me... I wouldn't look to get or have acceptance. I would do what I did in Step 4... take my inventory. The reason I would do that... is I already know that a need for acceptance... is a result of being intolerant and having a lack of patience. The interesting thing is... I don't need to seek tolerance and patience! :wink: They are produced automatically... when I'm doing what I've been instructed to do!

"The Spiritual life is not a theory." If I am living the spiritual life... I don't have to practice the virtues of a spiritual life... I simply have to practice the spiritual principles... and the virtues flow out of me automatically. I believe that this is what's meant by "to be rid of the things in ourselves that were blocking us."

And, that for me... is what keeps me so thoroughly amazed at this whole deal!!! It is so simple... that absolutely anyone can do it!!! And, anyone who does it.... will automatically get all those positive results! And, if that isn't a God thing... or a God gift... that is total "equal opportunity for all"... I don't know what is!!!

It's so simple that it's absolutely mind-boggling amazing! It takes no smarts! It takes no intelligence! It's available to anyone. And, it only requires persistent effort towards taking consistent, continuous, simple daily actions! I love it!!! It was a gift from God, to me, through A.A!


PS: Molly!!! Enjoy the vacation!!!

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Postby anniemac » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:42 pm

Ah, I finally have a few minutes to get back to this interesting thread!

I agree, Dallas, that all the acceptance in the world is not going to fix a flat tire. I guess I get a little esoteric (if that's even the right word) when I think of "problems", and I do know that I can get easily hung up on semantics. That being said, my thoughts on the flat tire are:

If I have a flat tire, I don't necessarily have a problem. I have an event, or a situation. It becomes a problem when I act like a maniac about it, internally and/or externally. So, as you said Dallas, if I can "accept" (it is what it is, and I can't change the fact that my tire went flat) the situation, then I can quiet myself internally and hopefully externally also.

The tire still needs changing, acceptance won't change that fact. But it will change my outlook, and my outlook is really where the problem lies. A flat tire is just an event. I don't consider it a problem when the traffic light turns red; that's what lights sometimes do. Tires sometimes go flat. It's only a problem when I make it a problem, and working through acceptance, I can eliminate the problem that I am creating.

I wonder if that makes any sense!

As for needing to Accept before getting to Action -- I see your point Dallas. I moved on to Step 4 without really having been convinced of 2 and 3. So I suppose I did get in to action before I accepted a HP. Maybe it's more about ease and comfort -- when I am in acceptance about something, action flows much more easily.

I tend to agree with what Molly said - if I take action without having acceptance, my actions may not be good ones. Like the other day when a car was blocking my access to a parking lot. I became Aware of the situation, there was clearly a car in my way and this was going to slow down my progress. However, I skipped right over Acceptance -- the part about calmly accepting that there was a car in my way and that I was not going to get to the place I wanted to be quite as quickly as I had desired -- and went right in to Action, which was to yell at the man who was blocking my access. :oops: So for me, had I gone through the Acceptance part of the equation, I would not have behaved. I still got the desired result - the man moved his car...yet the way I went about it was not in the highest good for all involved.

Maybe what that means for me is that the Acceptance part is the part where I stop and breathe and reconnect to the Universe if for whatever reason I have lost that grounding connection. And if I don't do that, I am plain old Anne, self will run riot to the max.

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A different spin

Postby Dallas » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:26 am

Oooohhhh!!! I happen to have a fresh... real live problem I could use for today... but, I better post that somewhere else... where it won't get our theoretical problems off track! :lol: :lol: :lol:


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Postby anniemac » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:10 pm

:D Not looking to be difficult, really I'm not :D

To me, the Steps ARE about acceptance. I am powerless over the flat tire. Acceptance. Turning my will and my life over to God as it pertains to my emotional disturbance is all about my acceptance. Being willing to have God remove my defect of being in emotional disturbance about it, is me accepting that God is in charge to do with me (and my defects) what God will. To me, the Steps are rife with acceptance.

Dallas, would you be willing to spell out how you would apply the Steps to this situation? I really think we are saying basically the same thing, with different words and perhaps from different angles.

Sometimes it's not obvious to me how the Steps apply to day to day circumstances, outside of 3 and 11.....which to me, are all about acceptance! LOL :P

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Postby Molly M. » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:52 pm

WOW, what a thread. :shock: :D :shock: :P :lol:

I know it's unfashionable to differentiate between men and women and I am not trying to make an absolute statement by any means, but it does seem like this discussion might have it's roots in the different male/female approach to solving problems. I know I'm opening myself up for attack and I agree we are first all alcoholics and the steps apply to all of us. However, men do have a tendency to work out their states of mind and emotional issues (like acceptance) through action and woman often need to work out their state of mind and emotional issues (like acceptance) before we take action. In both cases we are applying the steps according to the BB and living a spiritual life.

I simply would not function well in sobriety if I didn't get to acceptance before I acted such as the example I gave before of driving on the rim to get back at the flat tire.:roll: :oops:

On the other hand, it doesn't sound like Dallas would act if he waited for acceptance--but by changing the tire he is able to find acceptance of the situation.

Dallas I would also be interested in seeing how you would apply the steps to this situation--simply because I think we're a little different and I don't think I was aware of these possibly different needs.

As always, you guys rock. :D

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Postby Dallas » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:57 pm

Thank you Anne! :wink:

I do know that you are not trying to be difficult. :wink: And, I'm sure that you know the same about me. :wink:

I will be most happy to write about applying the 12 Steps to both, the flat tire and the disturbance... (if there is or was one). Of course, it wouldn't be necessary to apply the 12 Steps... if there wasn't a disturbance.

And, I would assume that if a person is in such spiritual condition "in the moment", that the flat tire didn't bother them, they probably do already have all the peace of mind, serenity, patience, tolerance and acceptance that they would need to meet the situation in peace.

An example (which I wasn't going to mention here -- at least one of the examples that I wasn't going to mention :wink: ) is:

This weekend I had the time of my life at an A.A. convention. It was absolutely wonderful! On the way home -- my transmission started leaking transmission fluid -- warning lights came on -- and I stopped to put some fluid in it and hoped that it would fix it. No big deal. I did feel grateful that it wasn't a bigger problem... but, acceptance didn't even cross my mind.

About 10 miles down the road... I stopped and bought a few quarts of transmission fluid... to be sure that I wouldn't get stuck in a situation without it. It was hard to find the fluid I needed, and I thought the store should have had a better selection... but, no big deal. And, acceptance didn't even cross my mind.

About 15 more miles down the road... on the Interstate... transmission fluid started spewing out... warning lights came on... and tons of smoke that looked as if my car was on fire... started blowing from the car.

No big deal. Maybe I was on fire. I didn't know. I didn't get upset or distrubed. And, acceptance was the last thing on my mind.

I pulled to the side of the highway to see how bad the damage was and simply made a decision that it would be a better investment to call a tow truck rather than to drive the car.

My cell phone wouldn't work in the remote area that we finally landed. I borrowed a friend's cell phone... and his phone worked just fine. I called another friend in the city that I live in, and asked them to contact a certain tow company and inquire how much it would cost for them to come and get me and how long I would be waiting.

No problem. Three hour wait and a bunch of money. Not distrubed. Acceptance didn't even cross my mind. I informed my friend that we would probably be home by 10 pm, and we were going to have to wait.

An intuitive thought came to mind that I should move the car further away from the highway. Good thought! 10 minutes later... a truck rolled up right where my car had been sitting. Had the car been in the same spot... it's possible that it could have been hit. No problem. No thought of acceptance.

Ten minutes after the ten minutes... a big truck, with a trucker in obvious road-rage was inches away from the tailgate of a trailer that was being pulled by a small car, with a family inside. The small car couldn't move over because another big truck was blocking it from moving over. The trucker was yelling and honking his horn (like an alcoholic who needed a drink... or a sober person who needed some acceptance!) ... and appeared to be scaring the crap out of the family with kids in the car.

I did become disturbed at the trucker and, once again, acceptance didn't cross my mind! I would rather have seen him arrested for assault with a big truck and terroristic threatening. However, I was grateful that I was sitting beside the road... or I might have tangled up with the big truck, and it would be someone else writing this! (If it got written).

Earlier in the day, when I left the convention... I had decided to go a longer route home. About 30 miles away from the convention... going around a curve... suddenly in front of me I saw in the road, a motorcycle that had been cut in half, one rider was face down and not moving and the other rider was face up and barely moving a leg.

Debris was still blowing in the air... the accident had just happened. I slammed on my brakes and pulled off the road and got out of my car to see if I could help. No thought of acceptance. I was worried for the two riders and was afraid of seeing what I was seeing. My first thought was "I'm going to have nightmares over this one!"

There wasn't anything I could do to help. EMS had been notified. They were on their way. Other people had blocked the traffic so that it wouldn't move in either direction and run over the riders or the accident scene. This was another very remote area... and I estimated that it would be at least a couple of hours waiting for the accident to be cleaned up and the injured persons to be removed. I didn't think of acceptance but I sure was experiencing gratitude that I wasn't one of the riders and that I wasn't in the middle of the accident. Once again, I didn't think about acceptance.

I decided to turn around and go back to the original way I was going to leave to go home. It would take another 60 miles. I didn't think about acceptance, I just made a u-turn and headed the other way.

Then... I ended up on the highway waiting for the tow truck!

I didn't think about acceptance. I was having some sensitive thoughts and memories of past similar situations... felt some sadness, but mostly what I was feeling was gratitude... and I wasn't trying to feel gratitude... it was just naturally happening.

So... I didn't think about acceptance... but I was aware of all the goodies from Step 10 that I was getting as I was automatically practicing Steps 10 & 11 in the situation. Steps 10 & 11 kick in, most of the time, automatically, because I've disciplined myself at using them. I was calm. I had serenity. I had peace of mind. I wasn't disturbed. I was reacting sanely and normally. I wasn't fighting anyone or anything. I wasn't resisting. I wasn't denying anything. I hadn't harmed anyone and my actions were not a result of character defects... so, my natural thing to do, was to see how I could be more effective and understanding. I was watching, listening and paying attention... as I was automatically asking "God? What is your will for me in this? Is there anything I can do to help?"

So... sorry to get away from the theoretical flat tire :lol: I just thought that perhaps sharing my experience in a real non-theoretical situation might be a clue as to how I would probably handle the theoretical flat tire! :lol: :lol:

If someone were to say to me "Well, see!!! You had acceptance!" That's fine with me.... I didn't see it that way! :lol: I saw me doing some other stuff... that's specifically mentioned in Steps 10 & 11.

Now... there was a time in my life... my sober-life... :wink: that I hadn't been making consistent persistent disciplined efforts to make Steps 10 & 11 a habit... so that I could respond "automatically."

During the pre-phase of my development :wink: I was trying to get patience, acceptance, to show love, to show tolerance... and really work hard at trying to "accept things I could not change."

And, I wasn't getting anywhere with it! It was too much of a struggle! And, when ever I would get things like "acceptance"... it would faintly linger... and was always sure to pass! :lol:

However... disciplining myself with the Steps or as page 88 would read:

"So we let God discipline us in the simple way that we have just outlined."

What does that mean? What was just outlined? It was Eleven of the Twelve Steps!

And, how do I let God discipline me? Through the Eleven Steps.... that were just outlined. And, then... the Eleven Steps provide a foundation and structure to my day to day living.

This is also written about and explained in the first couple of paragraphs on Step 10, in the 12 & 12.

And, when I do that... I begin to respond automatically... in positive ways... without having to think about it. I am not living what I have learned, day by day, in fair weather and in foul! And, the first Nine Steps prepared me for this way of living.

I'm not sure if I should mention this or not... it will probably start another discussion topic... :lol: But, "I'm not powerless over the flat tire!" And, "I'm not powerless over the transmission." :lol: :lol: :lol:

I realize that some 12 Step Fellowships are "powerless over people places and things".... and, I've even heard some A.A.'s who've adopted a way of living as "powerless over people, places and things" ... but, that is not the A.A. program of recovery. :wink: I'm powerless over alcohol. (Step 1).

Thanks for letting me share!

Next time... I'll share about using the entire 12 Steps to remove the disturbance... :wink:


Note: I'll proof read and edit this later for errors! Gotta go!

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Postby anniemac » Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:22 am

You said it, Molly - WOW, I am loving this discussion!

Molly, I happen to agree with you, and I have taken quite a lot of flak over it, too. My experience is that men and women "do" their recovery a little differently. Same steps, same results, but coming from different angles. Not meaning to generalize, but when I say that to anyone, the women tend to agree, and the men tend to disagree. I guess cause they've never been women! Now, if we could find a man, who was previously a woman, got sober as a woman, then had the operation to become a man, maybe we'd know for sure. :lol: :lol:

Dallas, LOL, you beat me to it!! Reading your post, I'm thinking "he didn't even think about acceptance, because he already HAS it as a result of all the hard work he has put in to his recovery thus far."

First off, I'm glad to hear that you made it back from the Convention safe and sound, and I'm glad you enjoyed the time away.

You said that you were practicing Steps 10 and 11 during your extended trip home. I see where Step 11 came in - the intuitive thought to move your vehicle came from your conscious contact. I'm not understanding, though, where Step 10 comes in. Mind giving me more detail so I can grasp it? I can understand concepts, but applying them can confuse me. Same thing used to happen in math class - I understood the problem on the board, but just could not translate it to the homework problems.

OH, and my mistake - no, I am not powerless over a flat tire. I am powerless over the fact that the tire went flat. I have full power to change that tire so therefore I am not powerless over it. Just that it happened in the first place (unless, of course, I was silly or defiant enough to drive straight through a pile of broken glass, in which case I would have had power over it happening as well).

And now, I accept my powerlessness over my eyes that are closing, so I am going to take out my contacts and hit the sack! :wink:

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Postby Dallas » Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:01 am

Hmmm. That's an interesting way to look at it.
I've never even considered looking at it that way.
I think I'll pass on this topic.

Thanks for letting me share! :wink:


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