AA Introduces You To A Sponsor……

AA (NA or OA) introduces you to a sponsor……

Many a beginner has protested against the idea of getting a sponsor. They think that once they have put down their drug of choice, everything else will fall into place. What that don’t understand is that it is precisely because of their thinking while active that they ended up in unhealthy and often dangerous situations. Once they humbled themselves and committed to speaking with a sponsor they discovered just how convoluted their thinking was.

The sponsor introduces you to the Steps……

As we began to speak with our sponsor, we realized that he or she was not giving us random advice or opinion. Almost immediately they began to take us through the Steps. We began to discover more and more about ourselves as part of the process. Our sponsor also reminded us that a personal inventory needed to assess our strengths as well as our character defects.

The Steps introduce you to God……

As we worked the Steps there was a recognition that we could not successfully navigate sobriety without assistance. In the past, we had relied on drugs, alcohol, food, people, places and things to assist us. In step 2 we finally surrendered and “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

God introduces you to yourself…..

Over time as we called our sponsor, worked the Steps and called upon our Higher Power something miraculous began to happen. We began to change. Long held resentments were dropped. Owed amends were made. We began to experience the hand of God more and more in our life. Our Higher Power began to reveal to us the possibility of the man or woman we were meant to be.

Personal Reflection: Is more work needed for me to come to know myself?

Smudges On The Mirror

Early recovery for many of us was a bundle of confusion. We had been so full of denial and self loathing for so long that we didn’t have much of an idea of who we really were. To remedy this, we were urged by our sponsor and others to make  a “searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Some of us wanted to avoid this process because we didn’t want to have to confront our character defects. We felt it would be too painful to face the truth about ourselves.

One member recently spoke about it this way. She described looking in a mirror that was so smudged that she could barely make out her reflection. That mirror was her life prior to entering the program. Every smudge represented a character defect.

So what do we do when our mirror is smudged? Why of course we clean it with some Windex. For her, every time she worked on a character defect, it was like a spray of Windex removing a smudge on her mirror. As she progressed in her Fourth Step work, the smudges on her mirror slowly began to disappear. For the first time in her life she began to have a clear view of who she was. For the first time in her life she began to like that reflection in the mirror.

Personal Reflection:  What smudges on your mirror still need to be removed?

Take Other People’s Inventory Until You Can Take Your Own

A newcomer doesn’t need a sign around his or her neck to be identified as one. Usually they’ve taken a seat in the back of the room. They are the ones who often bolt out of the meeting as soon as it’s over. If they do stay for the meeting after the meeting, they often begin to assess the other people who were present. They might judge how a person dressed or spoke. The newcomer might also freely express his or her judgment about what was said.
Usually though, no one corrects the newcomer. Yes, it’s true, they are taking other people’s inventories. Experience has shown that if we criticized the newcomer, it might turn them off to the program. Even if they accepted our criticism, they really aren’t ready to grasp the idea of taking someone’s inventory. They probably would say they are just expressing their opinion.
As they gain some time, that newcomer will begin to take their own inventory. When they do so, their eyes will be opened as to their own character defects. They will learn that we need to keep the focus on ourselves. As they work on their fourth step, they will suddenly stop judging other and begin to keep the focus on themselves.

Personal Reflection: Do I still take other people’s inventory?

Out Of My Mind, Back In Five Minutes

We are all going to have one of those days. From the moment we get up, nothing seems to go our way. We spill the coffee, are late for the bus, and late for a big meeting at work. And, it’s not even 10am in the morning yet. Later in the day, one too many things happen to us and we lose it. All our emotional sobriety gets thrown out the window. Right after that we toss out the Big Book. Forget about “let go and let G-d. We find ourselves right back to the way we used to be before we entered the program. However, there is a difference. We do have the capacity to catch ourselves. It make take 5 to 10 minutes or even half an hour, but we can return to our sober equilibrium. Once we do, we immediately make amends to whoever we might have hurt with our outburst. We also do a quick self inventory and see which defect of character emerged earlier. It would probably be a good idea to call our sponsor and talk about what happened. Many of us find journaling, prayer and meditation beneficial as well after such an event. We take comfort in knowing that we can reclaim our emotional sobriety whenever we are ready.

Personal Reflection: How do I reclaim my emotional sobriety after one of those days?

Our Gratitude Is Demonstrated By Our Actions

In recent years there have been a flurry of books on gratitude. Internet self help experts advice people to keep daily gratitude lists to record all that is good in their lives. In program, we too acknowledge the incredible importance of gratitude. We also maintain daily gratitude lists.
Beyond that, as part of our step work, we continue to take daily personal inventory. It is all well and good to write down 2 or 3 gratitudes in our daily journal. However, if after that we walk around leaking negativity, complaining, and judging others, are we really full of gratitude? It is only through a rigorous daily self assessment that we can ascertain how grateful we really are. It is also important to listen to the feedback from others regarding our behavior. When people indicate to us that we are being judgmental or negative, rather than getting defensive, we need to take the information and meditate on it carefully. As they say, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Finally, part of gratitude is being a gracious person who is willing to be of service to others. When you acknowledge that your cup truly does runneth over, then there is the possibility of sharing your good fortune with others.

Personal Reflection: Are your gratitude and actions in sync?