FIRST THINGS FIRST
Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job, wife or no wife, we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98.
Read AA Big Book Chapter 7. Working with Others.
Mature life is More than just a social hour in a room.
Step Three. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Habituation transformation from bad, alcohol, to good, Higher Power.
Allegiance to God as we understand Him.
Replace the AA We term with I
Dependance on God
Manage life on life’s terms
First Thing First
You are never gonna get
Everything you want in this world
First things first
Get what you deserve
It began when I was twenty-one years old
And my mom and dad were begging me to go
So I left a note and we went and hit the road
Me and Chris and all the stuff I own
I went out to find my soul and left the only comfort that I’d known
It wasn’t ’bout a girl or even California bleeding
It was all about me choosing where to go.
Self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help, we find that bit by bit we can discard the old life, the one that did not work, for a new life that can and does work under any conditions whatever. – AS BILL SEES IT, pp. 10, 8.
Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it is not strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins. – TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 65.
This is where long-term hope is born and perspective is gained, both of the nature of my illness and the path of my recovery. The beauty of A.A. lies in knowing that my life, with God’s help, will improve. The A.A. journey becomes richer, the understanding becomes truth, the dreams become realities and today becomes forever.
Path to Faith
True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every A.A. meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him. – TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33.
Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Therefore, Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every A.A. meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33.
Humility appears to be the key character component to getting sobriety started, and to keep it progressing. Sally N.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am having trouble with personal relationships. I can not control my emotional nature. I am prey to misery and depression. I can not make a living. I feel useless. I am full of fear. I am unhappy. I can not seem to be of real help to others. I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity if I am just willing to stop doubting your power. I humbly ask that you help me to understand that it is more powerful to believe than not to believe and that you are either everything or nothing. (Big Book p. 52:2, 52:3, 53:1, 53:2).
Unfortunately in the ways of our world, all the way back before the time of Christ and preceding the prophets, we are temped to lose faith at times when we need it most. This is the human dilemma. It takes strength of character and faith in the Higher Power to get through every day, especially the worst of them.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28.
This transitions us to prayer:
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
Waiting Here for You
If faith can move the mountains
Let the mountains move
We come with expectation
Waiting here for you, waiting here for you.
Come to our Gathering to hear how Faith is Never Alone, and Good Works accomplished with Love will bring Faith!
Peace and Joy! Pastor Michael Hanus
So there is more going on here than helping out. Eventually we come upon our Step 12.
Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This step prepares you to embrace all 12 steps as you continue your journey into a life of acceptance and understanding. It also encourages you to help others and to empower them as they discover the benefits of AA. – Recovery.org
Step 12 Prayer:
Dear God, Having had a spiritual experience, I must now remember that “faith without works is dead.” And Practical Experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. So, God, please help me to carry this message to other alcoholics! Provide me with the guidance and wisdom to talk with another alcoholic because I can help when no one else can. Help me secure his confidence and remember he is ill. – A.A. Big Book Page 89:1.
Faith Without Works is like a Submarine with a Screen Door
Lets Keep It Simple
A few hours later I took my leave of Dr. Bob. The wonderful, old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, “Remember, Bill, let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple!” I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him. – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE, p. 214.
“The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demand that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it, by the alcohol route. And we are not successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual rules, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. … There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone.” – DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, p. 308.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Psalm 128:2.
Happiness is Fulfillment, this is an overflowing and differs from trying to fill a void. Pastor Michael.
I got a homesick heart but a long ways left to go
I’ve been doing my part but I ain’t got much to show
So I’m asking you to show me some forgiveness
It’s all for you in my pursuit of happiness
Chasing that life, moving on cause I had to prove
There ain’t no life worth doing what I did to you
So I’m asking you to show me some forgiveness,
It’s all for you in my pursuit of happiness.
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 1 Recovery Prayer
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.
I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand
The true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction. Amen.
“I am so grateful the holidays are over and behind me.” Anon.
“Alcoholism is a Progressive Fatal Disease for which the Cure is to Stop Drinking.” Shirley.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).
The Story of twin brothers and their boxing careers.
Powerless – Rudimental
You held it all and I was by your side, powerless. I watched you fall … It’s really a sad story … .
“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Rom. 7:18.
Finding Freedom from Guilt through the Blood of Christ.
Just as I Am
I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms
Praise God, just as I am.
Admitting powerlessness is absolutely essential to breaking the addiction cycle, which is made up of five points:
– Reaching out to an addictive agent, such as work, food, sex, alcohol, or dependent relationships to salve our pain
– Temporary anesthesia
– Negative consequences
– Shame and guilt, which result in more pain or low self-esteem.
Understanding the addiction cycle is important because it helps explain why the admission of powerlessness is the first step to recovery. Otherwise, we remain caught. If we rely on willpower alone, then the only thing we know to do is to escalate our addiction to get out of the pain. Step 1 calls us to do less – to yield, to surrender, to let go. – Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 22-23.
What Are the AA Promises?
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has a set of principles to help alcoholics in recovery become productive members of society. These AA promises derive from Alcoholics Anonymous twelve steps and twelve traditions. Let’s break the AA promises out so they are easier to digest.
The AA Promises:
1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
4. No matter how far down the scale we have gone
5. We will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us -sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. – Alcoholics Anonymous p. 83-84.
What do the AA Promises mean?
The AA Promises are meant to be a promise for recovery. The AA promises usually begin to come true after an alcoholic has worked through the steps thoroughly and begins to apply them in their life. When it says that they will be “fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly” it means that the AA Promises will happen, but the time frame in which they present themselves are different for everyone. The AA promises will always materialize if the alcoholic works for them. This means that if you are working the twelve steps to the best of your ability and are as honest as you can be while working them, you will receive a spiritual awakening or experience, which then leads to a total personality change.
– WaterShed Treatment Programs.
performed by When in Rome
If you need a friend, don’t look to a stranger,
You know in the end, I’ll always be there.
But when you’re in doubt, and when you’re in danger,
Take a look all around, and I’ll be there.