Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008-THE GREATEST OF ALL LOVES


"To fall in love with God is the greatest of all loves;
to seek him is the greatest adventure;
to find him the greatest human achievement."

St. Augustine

These words are found painted in dark green lettering around the perimeter of the narthex of our church high up on the light green walls near the ceiling. They are visible as one enters the church and "looks up".

The words and the thoughts they generate are captivating.

They call strongly to my heart. They speak to me of the miracle of my life - my journey. My journey took me to the depths of despair in alcoholism, then brought me to Alcoholics Anonymous and my greatest adventure.

In Alcoholics Anonymous I began the venture through the twelve steps leading ultimately to the 12th step. THERE, I had a spiritual awakening as THE RESULT of these steps, fell in love with God, and discovered His deep love for me.

This spiritual connection with my God is the greatest achievement of my life. It has made possible opportunities I would never have dreamed possible - chances to reach out to other dying alcoholics, possibilities to use the principles of the program in my work, at church, in all my activities. I always felt like a misfit, but now I feel I belong. I have found my purpose for living. I have discovered that the more I give, the more I receive back many times over. Satisfaction and fulfillment are mine. Blessings abound even in the midst of the ups and downs of life.

As I have often heard,
"God brought me to Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous brought me to God."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008-ACCEPTANCE


"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place,thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely, nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."
From "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict" p. 449 in the 3rd edition of the BB and titled "Acceptance was the Answer" p. 417 in the 4th edition of the BB.

Beautiful words, beautiful thoughts. There is such truth and therefore power in these words. Until I accepted, not just in my head, but in my heart, that I was an alcoholic, I was unable to surrender and find any sobriety. Until I accepted the people in my life just as they were, I could not find any real peace or serenity. My life and my relationships remained in turmoil.

For me, it was a relief when I finally got my focus off how I was going to change you and got the focus on how I could change me. Why? Because no matter how I tried, I was totally unable to force or even gently encourage anyone or anything to change. No one wanted any part of it. I wanted to change my husband. I wanted to change my children. I DID NOT want to change myself.

It seems strange that I so desperately wanted to change you, but not me. Well, I now know that the reason was that I did not want to look at myself; at my fears, inadequacies, and character defects. I wanted to stay in my self-created world of denial - clinging to the belief that I was a sweet, wonderful girl and not an unfit drunk. So, it was easier to look at you. I knew exactly what your defects were. However, it did me no good to look at you. Nothing changed and life and relationships continued to go "down hill" until I became willing to focus on the only person I could change - ME!

Today - I accept myself as I am - the good, the bad, the wonderful, and the ugly. I now try to go about the business of capitalizing on my assets, identifying my defects, and humbly asking God to grow the positive qualities and remove the negative ones.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008-CALLING ALL "PRAY-ERS"


Monday morning I will be reporting to the Chaplain of our local community hospital. I have met with him once and am proceeding with the next steps into a new career as a volunteer pastoral care assistant. I will be "in training" with him and with a mentor before being out on my own with patients.

When I took my third step, I turned "ALL" over to the care of God and have done my best to leave it there for 23 years. This is where He has led me today.

Please pray that I may have success in bringing the love of the God I have come to know to the vulnerable people in crises I will meet.

Thanks for the prayers from all you "PRAY-ERS".

Prayer Girl

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008-THE BEAUTY OF ART AND SCIENCE


“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious ... the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
- Albert Einstein

In the short time I've been blogging, I have come to understand that there are a lot of very artistic people in this community. There are photographic artists, wordsmiths all over the place, design artists (some of the blog sites are just incredibly artistic), and bloggers with the souls of artists......all beautiful spiritual expressions.

I love beauty, mystery, art,
and the haunting complexity of science.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008-MORE


I will me a child again
Back before the words "You can't"
Can't fly, can't dreams create, can't magic make
Whoever told me so?

Another parroting the same said words

The first to spill these words? A sage?

There never was one master great who said, "You can't"

I cannot "see" or touch the atom of a rose
Yet it's there in sweetness and velvet touch

I cannot "see" the giant moon string pull on the sea
Yet tides I watch crash in and out

I cannot "see" the distance cross the universe

Yet the stars do stretch to no clear wall

There is more than eyes and ears and nose and hands can know

I cannot "see" my feet lift off hard earth
Yet I feel me fly and soar straight out
I cannot "see" the passage out through space
Yet I sense and know the course to take

To farthest stars of brilliance bright
My mind feels me there where I wish to go

My mind is master of imagining

Only rigid chains of thought

Bind your feet to soil and rock

Only iron-solid suit of reason
Locks your mind to this small globe

Prayer Girl

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008-LIVING THE PARADOX


1. A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true.

2. One exhibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects.
3. An assertion that is essentially self-contradictory, though based on a valid deduction from acceptable premises.

I love the paradoxes
I have found in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. I find mystery in paradox and mystery is beautiful. There is mystery everywhere: in the power of God that releases alcoholics from the bondage of alcohol, in the total understanding one alcoholic can impart to another suffering alcoholic (even a total stranger), and in the "coincidences" (God things) that occur at just the perfect moments to guide and lead us. In AA, these things happen all the time. What an incredible way to live.

The very first paradox
was the overwhelming victory over alcohol I experienced as a result of admission of total defeat by alcohol. I was 100% convicted of alcoholism with a punishment of loss of everything dear in life, possible early death, and no possibility of parole. Nothing prepared me for the idea that anything good could come out of such a total failure. Yet, when I finally "gave up" and admitted my inability to stay sober, God intervened on my behalf and did for me what I was unable to do for myself. I stayed sober from that moment on. Triumph over alcohol was possible when I stepped aside and let God in.

I believed the very worst thing had happened to me - I had become an alcoholic. I found that totally unacceptable. I felt this was an unforgivable weakness. I had no strength to battle alcohol. I had nothing, I was nothing. Yet another paradox emerged. Working the AA program: working and living the 12 steps, growing relationships with other recovering people, going to meetings, all led to the emergence of a great inner strength I had never possessed. I found that my greatest weakness produced an unbelievable strength. I have no need to drink today, alcohol holds no power over me, I can deal with situations that in the past I would have run from, and I can effectively share my experience, "strength", and hope with others.

Another paradox
that remains a mystery to me, but I'm convinced of, is that I have to give away the gifts I have received in the AA program in order to keep them. I certainly thought that if I had something, gave it away, then I would no longer possess it. RIGHT? Seems perfectly logical! But, no, this spiritual program works in a spiritual way. What God has given
me, when I give it away, I not only keep it, but it is actually multiplied. What a marvel.

I love paradox. I love mystery. I love AA.

Prayer Girl

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008-WALKING THE FINE LINE


The longer I'm in AA, the narrower the road gets.
The narrower the road gets, the freer I become.

Fine line - - - Over the years in AA, I have come to understand that I am responsible. I am responsible for my thoughts, my feelings, and my responses. I have learned how to better deal with negative, crazy, unhealthy thinking when it occurs. (I may not be responsible for the first thought that pops into my mind, but I am responsible for the next thought I have.) Going to AA meetings, talking with my sponsor and other recovering people helps keep my mind straight.

My feelings are usually a product of how I'm thinking so when my feelings are depressed, negative, or morbid, I know I have to unearth my thinking behind these feelings and I do this by talking them out with my sponsor or another alcoholic.

I have to make choices of responses many times every day. The line I walk in choosing responses is a fine one that requires careful attention to my thoughts and feelings.

Another fine line I walk is the one I traverse as I set boundaries with others. The first thing I must do is "know myself" before I can begin to set a boundary. I have to know - "How important is it?" What are my true needs and wishes? It is a fine line for me between being flexible and being a door mat. I realize whenever I set a boundary I am risking the loss of a relationship with the other person. Self-worth, self-esteem are at stake when setting boundaries. Quite a fine line.

A fine line also exists between erasing the self-centered and selfish alcoholic nature - the natural state of the alcoholic - and the need to work a "selfish" program. I learned long ago that I must jealously guard my sobriety, my AA program. No one will do this for me and my life depends on it. I do this at the same time as I try to put the other person first after spending a lifetime of everything being all about me. This is the finest line of all in my opinion. The better I walk this line, the healthier I and my relationships with others become.

I ask God to help me walk these fine lines of my life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008-MORE FAVORITE AFFIRMATIONS

The symbolic meaning of elephants is, in general, strength and patience.
Elephants also symbolize good luck


When I arrived at the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was filled with self-loathing. I felt I was bad, stupid, lost, helpless, and hopeless. I couldn't stop drinking. I had no belief in myself, no belief that I could get well, no belief that I was worth saving. These were deep-seated feelings about myself that I had all my life and that became worse as the years went by and hit all time lows with my progressive alcoholism.

As it says in the "Twelve and Twelve" in Step Four, p. 48 - "...there is plenty wrong with us alcoholics about which plenty will have to be done if we are to expect sobriety, progress, and any real ability to cope with life." I quoted that phrase frequently for many, many years. I believed it then. I still continue to take action (plenty still needs to be done).

I got a sponsor, went to meetings regularly and frequently, worked all 12 steps, made friends in AA, immersed myself in AA thinking. As time went by, rather than doing less, I searched for ways to continue to grow (plenty still needing to be done). I began to sponsor others. I also began to do affirmations. Here are a few more of my favorite affirmations.


I keep it simple.

I stay in today.

I act rather than react.

I am changing and growing.

I choose a menu of hope today.

I treat myself with love, gentleness, and patience.

God directs my thoughts and actions today.

I allow myself to be a human being.

I absolutely insist on enjoying life.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008-UNNAMED FEARS

Why do ducks sometimes stand on one leg?
(See answer after first paragraph)

Unnamed fears

Before sobriety I prefered to leave my fears unnamed - that was just fine with me - If I didn't name them, they didn't exist. That was my brand of thinking, living in a total world of denial. The problem was - this left me totally incapable of finding any solutions. Who needed solutions when there were no problems? Just like when I was 5 years old, I lived in a world of pretend. The consequences? My fears and problems grew bigger and bigger and I grew sicker and sicker.

Answer: So they won't fall down.

I was in denial of many facts that led me into a world of confusion, despair, mental and emotional pain.
that I had quit my job because I couldn't work and drink too (I called it a nervous breakdown)
that the relationship with my husband was in serious trouble
that I wasn't able to properly care for my children
that I wasn't able to care for myself
that I was losing so much weight I looked like a stick
that I had health problems due to drinking
that I was an alcoholic
etc., etc.

Finally, I came to the jumping off point and made my first and most important admission. I named my fear, I named it alcoholism. I faced the truth that I was completely powerless over alcohol. Until I admitted complete defeat, I was helpless and unable to receive help from anywhere - from you, from God, from anyone.

Today, I am willing to face and name my fears as best as I can. It is the only way I can deal with my anxieties. When I name a fear, face it, ask for help, and listen for solutions, the fears are reduced to a manageable size. Today, I know I cannot do
this alone. I need the help of others.

Thank God for AA and the program that has allowed me to face life on life's terms rather than running, hiding, and remaining in that deadening state of denial - in ignorance, doomed.

I have hope today. The truth has set me free.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008-SOME DISTANT GALACTIC POINT


I shall be a shooting star
But see me not from some point of this orb
Falling into Oblivion

But rather from some distant galactic point

Racing outward – reaching heavenward

Stretching on and out

Swift-paced through space and time

A pulsing signal racing towards a sphere

Towards Earth - -

A pass point in infinity

Prayer Girl

I have to say that now that I've learned the simple process of including a photo in my blog, I would find it hard to blog without one. I've fallen in love with the idea. My blog might feel naked without it.

With that in mind, I matched the photo I found above with the poem written somewhere about 1970.

If I find that using a picture as part of the theme for my blog becomes a drag, then I'll just include one that I
really like.....no need for rhyme or reason.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008-WHICH ONE?


I hope I'm one with it's head above water.

I used to live with my head buried in the (water???)!
BUT.................NO LONGER!

Give me reality or give me ...............nothing!
Armed with my AA tools,
I am ready to face life on life's terms.

Which of these guys are you like?
Are you ready for life on life's terms?
Got your tools handy?
As friends in sobriety, I sure hope so.

Love you all!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008-THE PERSON MY DOG THINKS I AM


I attended an Alanon meditation meeting yesterday. Five minutes were spent in silence after reading a chosen passage from the Alanon Family Group publication "Having Had a Spiritual Awakening".

This is an excerpt from that reading:

"....prayer quoted from the window of a local pet shop: "Dear God, please help me be the person my dog thinks I am." This has been my prayer for the day and it has kept me smiling." "....."This joking prayer has helped me take myself less seriously..."

Some of my thoughts during the five minutes of silence:
1. Am I too serious?
2. How "light" or how "heavy" am I?
3. Do I laugh enough?
4. When I had a dog, my dog was always totally accepting, trusting, and affectionate no matter how I was feeling or acting.
5. How can I be less serious with more laughter and lightness?
During the discussion that followed, I thought about actions I might take to become a little less serious, laugh more, and be a little lighter.
1. I did affirmations for years and they worked so well I stopped them. Time to reinstate the practice.
2. I exercised regularly for a year and decided to change my exercise program, stopped the one I was doing, have not begun a new program yet. So... I need to get with the program and get back to regular exercise. I believe in the power of
endorphins to lift me up.
3. Laugh - watch funny shows or movies, read funny books or cartoons, talk with funny people who make me laugh
4. Stop procrastinating and get on with God's plan for me. I am applying to be a volunteer pastoral care assistant at our local hospital. I need to finish reading a book and write a two page paper as my next step.
I need to (four letter word) DOIT!

5. Stop comparing myself to others and falling short in the comparison. That's old behavior that I choose not to participate in anymore, but I tend to forget over and over. Time to get back to the right habits.
6. I need to visualize a bubble of light around me and let it do a little floating.

BTW - IT WAS A TERRIFIC MEETING AND.............................

Friday, September 19, 2008-BOUND BY A POWERFUL CEMENT


"We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. We are like passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain's table. Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us."
BB p. 17

This was and still is a most favorite passage. Even in the beginning when my brain was mush and I understood very little, I did understand what this meant. I was drowning in an ocean of alcohol with no friends, no hope, no love, and nowhere to go but down.

Then I found myself rescued by you in Alcoholics Anonymous. I came to understand that we shared a common salvation from certain destruction. Whether you were like me or very different from me, you reached out the hand of AA to me and I grabbed hold.

You became my lifeline. I am forever grateful and am bound to all of you in a very special way. A powerful cement binds me to those who welcomed me to AA, to my sponsors, my sponsees, and now to my blog friends.

Thank you for saving my life!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008



What do you see here? Do you see the profiles of two heads or a vase?

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
Wayne Dyer

I love this quote. I had it taped to the top of my desk for years and when I retired I left it taped there for whoever sat next at that desk.

Whenever I read this quote several thoughts always come to mind. One thing I always think about is the figure at the top which depending on whether you see the black or white as figure or ground, changes what you see. In one instance you see the profiles of two heads and in the other, a vase. Try it! (You have to kind of scrunch your eyes up and look sort of sideways....) I saw this about 40 years ago and it still intrigues me.

I have learned that I also have thinking that is often distorted, shifting from one viewpoint to another, often confusing.

My perception of people and events can cause me to feel anxious, hurt, angry, or sad. My thoughts often get me in trouble and I have difficulty changing my focus on my own. I need help. I need other people. I cannot do it alone. Boy, do I hate that idea. I want to do it on my own. BUT...........................I usually can't.


Here is the question:
How do I change my perception of an event, a person, a situation?

Well....... when I need to change my perception, a call to my sponsor or another AA or Alanon friend or talking to a sponsee usually helps. Bumping up the number of meetings I'm attending is a great idea. Reaching out to another alcoholic always changes my thinking.


When I find myself in a place that is hurting or confusing me, I need to take action and shift my perceptions. The things I'm looking at will change when I change the way I'm looking at them.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008-SMILE GOD LOVES YOU


On my bathroom mirror there is a sticker some kind AA person gave me in the very early days of my sobriety. The sticker has been there for 23 years. This tells you I have not moved in all that time and that the sticker is probably a little worse for wear. Judge for yourself.

This sticker is 1 1/2 inches square (not very big), but it stays affixed to my mirror as a symbol of the fact that someone cared enough to give it to me when I felt worthless and unable to care about myself yet.

Small sticker - BIG IMPACT on me.

So....................my post to you today is:

(And I do too!)

Trying to contact "Merely Me". If you have a blog, please send me the URL in a comment. Thanks!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - "The Turning Point"


At the beginning of "How It Works" are the words we are so familiar with, "We stood at the turning point."
I can identify many such turning points in my life and they remind me of Robert Frost's poem - - of his "two roads".

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In each case, my choice of the road taken has "made all the difference". I used to believe that I made many wrong
choices, but no longer think so. I believe my Higher Power, God, has had His hand on my life from the moment He breathed life into me. Despite heartaches, disappointments, frustrations, each choice I made brought me to where I am today and I dearly love my life today.

Is my life perfect? HECK NO! But it is a wonderful life.

Some of my roads taken:
I had been accepted into a Master's program in Clinical Psychology in my 20s and at the last minute I scrapped that plan to marry my first husband who I discovered almost 20 years later was an alcoholic. (Denial was my middle name.) I often
wonder what would have happened if I had followed the road to my counseling degree and become a clinical psychologist? I know I would have been good at it, but God has used my natural abilities in that area in AA, in Alanon, and with others He has brought into my life.

My marriage ended (I didn't believe in divorce) and I thought that the marriage had been a wrong road taken, but it wasn't at all - it produced my two children - gifts from a loving God. God blessed that road in His way. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Another road taken was my choice to use alcohol as my "final solution" to the "life problems" I had - my total inability to
cope with life on life's terms. It worked great for a few years and then did an abrupt about-face and nearly killed me.
Another wrong road, right? NO, not a wrong road. It led me to the greatest happiness, freedom, and joy I could ever have imagined. And that road led me to AA and later to Alanon.

I have often been lost in the woods (whether I knew it or not) and the loving hand of my God has always been there in my choice of the road taken.

Thank God for that!