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Sadness. Feeling so sad for those who cannot or will not simply crack the Book open, get a sponsor and follow the directions.. Eventually I guess I got lucky. Well? This is chaotic watching these young people, this jockeying for recovery from any and all angles. This is what happens when everybody and their brother gets in on the recovery train. They take their butchered 12 Step Spiritual program and arrange it so there's money to be made but then? What about aftercare? They get dumped into AA as a new daycare center and what happens? These poor people think AA provides counselors, has upper management to direct court hearings and such. Believes AA has their own probation officers? These new people are not told the truth so they follow blindly, they never know when the 28 day program is over and their new life of accountability begins. They are now directed by a few wordy books of positive affirmations sure, but more than not the face to face support is driven by selfishness and self centered fear. It's not their fault really. There's no such thing as AA school. AA isn't an online credited course. The Big Book quotes are sure to inflame the still selfish and less fortunate members. Documented truth's like, "we're all children of God and have a right to be here" or "AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution, does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses or opposes any causes". And of course, "Our primary purpose is to help others to achieve sobriety". Oh yeah, lets not forget "recovered" or solved the drink problem and undergone a psychic change sufficient to overcome our alcoholism. Last but most important to me? "We stopped fighting anybody or anything even alcohol for sanity has returned". I'm an AA Big Book 12 Step sponsor or Spiritual advisor. When a new man askes for direction with the 12 Steps that's hopefully where I come in. Hopefully my own house is in order and I can see him. I open the Book to working with others or Step 12 always. I should put myself in his shoes the best I can so I can be of maximum usefulness. Does he have the capacity to be honest? Lets get one thing straight. The people who show up at Big Book are usually hopeless cases. Real alcoholics as described in the Book. They have countless outside issues that really aren't my problem unless they will keep him from trusting me and being willing to be honest with the Step work for himself. THE EXTREMIST To those who make it to AA hanging by a thread? Their hands are clenched tight. They trust no one. They are drawn to anyone they can somehow control. The talkers head out on speaker commitments and share their tale for laughs and hugs. The butt can is surrounded by those looking to throw in a piece of themselves and be noticed, accepted by others. The sex fiends are right off to the beach parkinglot after the meeting. They have nothing to talk about nor would they talk if they did. They communicate through sex. Touch me means you love me, you want me. Partners come and go without the simple exchange of a last name. And the Jesus crowd hangs together and seems to get a foot up on the 12 Steps. Not really sure why, maybe the Dr. Bob stuff they feel the need to mimic. They say oh no it's not a Religious "program" when they really have little experience with the actual "program" itself. They have lots of experience with the Religious fellowship surrounding it so incorporating the Bible or Gospel into whatever they're doing seems normal,,that's the program. WORKING WITH OTHERS So for me? I'm here for the 12 Steps. What sect or religious denomination you belong to is not my concern. What sexual preference or color of your skin? Nope..A language barrier can pose a problem but even then we have overcome such obstacles with willingness and a copy of the Book. Different cultures may at first appear complicated as the new man relies on his chosen identity for security. Only to realize I am not pressing anything but what the Book suggests and even then I live it first before I open my mouth. It's obvious to us we are on the same side. We may look and act different but we're in this together. I have supported a man's search for Spiritual guidance through Catholicism, Buddha, Various Shamans, Earth and Sky, Animals, Many forms of Christianity.. That's my job as an AA sponsor. To help the man find a power greater than himself that will solve his problem. I'm not the director or judge. I'm here to walk day by day hand in hand with the new man on our chosen Spiritual paths. There will always be those who demand belief in one and only one true God or deny a God at all. That's their thing. I give them plenty of room. I don't want to fight nor do I wish to be controlled. ANONYMITY, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF AA To thyne own self be true. Well, worshipping people and their opinions is what got most of us drunk. Always less than, never equal. We were safe if we could find overwhelming fault in others. Many times we chose another's fear, another's self seeking behavior was a quick fix. They're screwed up and we're ok. When I ask my God to direct me to what he would have me be? I usually end up wanting peace and understanding but when I'm dominated by others well, anything can happen. I HATE EVERYBODY EQUALLY Same old story, low self worth. I hate myself with my reoccurring regret, my guilt and remorse everyday. One instance is, my uncle hates Blacks. I'm weak so when I'm around him I hate blacks too. Even though my good friend from work is Black. My uncle dominates me, I want his approval, people dominate me. I need they're approval. At my best I stand for nothing and am all things to all people. The lady who lives behind my Mother inlaw is Gay or Lesbian however you identify.. I like her, she's my friend. Oddly she doesn't get along well with the other neighbors but with me we're always happy to see eachother. Wave or chit chat. My brother inlaw who still lives with Mom at 55 is born again and despises her always talking down and how the Bible is against such treacherous behavior. When he's around he's always trying to get me to co-sign him and his beliefs. I won't and then he turns on me. So everyone except him is going to hell.. The first guy I sponsored in AA that was Gay was odd at times. I prayed for direction a lot. No different than praying for anyone else really. I pray to keep it in the Book, I pray to not do or say anything harmful. And above all? I pray that we stay the course on the Spiritual path of Alcoholics Anonymous. We don't all the sudden change it to Gay's Anonymous and make being Gay the problem or symptom. Alcohol is a symptom while selfishness and self centered fear is the problem. Hearing his 5th Step was different. Not in the sex really but the emotional upheavals he endured or survived. Hey, back in the drinking days and even before? I'd have sex with anything but falling in love with another man was weird to me. But no matter, I'm not him. He's not here to become me he's here to become a better him. Which he did.. I'm a 30 year old white Big Book thumper and I met Duke in the Big House AA meeting and he wants to go through the 12 Steps. Duke is Black and late 60's. He was a handful really. I could hardly understand him with his inner city slang. I was uneducated,( 9th grade) a white trouble kid, reform school, thief, run away street nobody..I agreed we do the work and we began. Duke worked hard but got hung up on selfishness in his 4th Step. He'd explain himself and I just couldn't get it. A week went by and I was praying for direction also. Still we were stumped not being on the same page. I decided to pray to just believe that he believed what he was doing was right for him even though it seemed to stray from the actual directions in the Book. So he kept on with his 4th. Fear, Sex, a written Ideal. We did his 5th and soon after he was released. He was to stay connected with others from the group but I lost touch. I was bringing 30 guys at a time through the work at the prison. Maybe 3 years later I stop at a market for some smokes late and who's standing out around the corner shuckin and jivin with his high 70's polyester collar but Duke! He calls my name and the three of them come over to my truck like 3 James Brown impersonators. He had a big Duke smile. He said he missed me and the work we did in jail was the best thing he's ever done in his life and he's still sober..I was really taken back. He said all this in front of his friends. See Duke wouldn't let anybody know anything about him when we started the work. I felt like I really had a true friend. As I left It made sense. I take care of myself so others may benefit. Duke died not long after that but I make it a point to tell his tale. Knowing Duke was a highlight of my life back in 1986ish. I don't know all the answers that's for sure. But I do know what I've seen in my life and the lives of others in AA Big Book 12 Steps. We start out afraid of our differences. Religious leanings, Skin color, Age, Culture. rich poor obese skinny ugly beautiful loud quiet tall short handicapped burnt. My Puerto Rican buddy I used to bring to meetings hammered would forget his teeth and be spewing spit with spanglish on my shoulder while the speaker is speaking. Just nuts! But over time and to the amazement of pretty much everyone he stopped drinking. My uncle hated Puerto Ricans too. It's hard to imagine me choosing a short lived self esteem boost with my uncle rather than my friend of 12 years. A Russian guy got a sponsor and did a lot of Big Book work. He joined my group and every week shares his experience with the Step being studied. Except for a few words here and there I can't really understand a thing he's saying but he's happy and grateful to be here with like minded sober alcoholics. There's a bit of fun in it all. All the diversity. We're all so damn different, climbing out of pits of despair spread about all over the planet yet the alcoholism recovery is the same. It's the common bond that holds us together. We don't drink for one day. We trust a Higher Power, we clean house and we help others. Many of us are real damaged goods for sure yet here we are on the firing line of life with our experience strength and hope. The latest guys I've been working with for the last few years are really something man. All have at one time or another been young experimenting behind the barn while carrying the memory in sexual shame. All at some time made another who is Gay pay through intolerance for their own inner past feelings.. All have stolen, lied, cheated, assassinated a 2nd friends character only to live on with the overwhelming guilt. All lived with the fear of somehow being found out for what? They're not sure... All have drank themselves into oblivion powerless over any rational alternative. Ugh...the relationships ruined by regret. If only! Disappointed parents and siblings. Some of us have more than one blameless wife or lost wayward adult children. So much damage it can never be repaired. We have wished for the end many times and been saddened when we awoke again to face another day, the morning sun burning our skin. Yet we in AA live each day without one drink. We live one day at a time in the 12 Step process. We are no longer alone. The ex junky, the sober alcoholic? The prostitute, the married mother of 5. Asian, African, Irish, German, Mexican, Eskimo, Indian, Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern? We're all here in AA for eachother..... So if you want to think the color of your skin or sexual identity has to become apparent to everyone before the alcoholism can be addressed? You hate yourself so much you're sure the rest of the world will surely hate you too unless they accept you first? They need to like you so you can like yourself? Sorry but you're still worshipping people. You're on the wrong track. Oh you might get clean sure but get rid of the inner pain? That's a crap shoot. This is AA. In AA it's the Spirit, your own conception of a Spirit. Spirit that offers courage and strength to face life. We are willing nomatter our outward circumstance. We are willing to go back and pick up our Spirit, many have to go way back yes. I went back to 4 years old and there it was on the floor where I dropped it, where it fell out of me, where it was knocked out of my soul.. We pick it up and start over. We are not afraid to trust or listen. We come to our AA meetings and share. Here we learn to live with our new abilities. In this newfound courage to change there are many new coping skills, new directions, new life. Call it a new life worth living. And all we have to do is give it away. I was one way and now I'm another. BORN AGAIN So yeah. We're all children of God and all have a right to be here, I believe that's what it says.. There are no special circumstances. "No axes to grind no people to please". This is what is learned in the AA Big Book 12 Step process. Open the Book, seek willingness and you will find it. I don't care who you think you are, if you're a hopeless alcoholic? You're no different than me. Give freely what you find and join me today. We can walk the Spiritual path together, finish out the day as free men. Now although we all strive to live one day at a time in AA. It is wise to remember we're all in different days. It's just as important to learn to listen as it is to share.

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