Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taking Commitments

Being a Pennsylvania drug rehab, we count on people from 12 step programs to come in and speak to our patients. They need to hear from people that have recovered from the disease of addiction. Below is a testimonial of one of our former patients. He tells how speaking at a drug and alcohol treatment center helped him also.

I have been told since the day that I got sober that one day my story is going to help save someones life. I never really believed the people telling me this. I always felt like I was a little bit worse than the other people in AA. That was until the other night when my home group in AA had a speaking commitment at a local treatment center. For the most part out of the 60 people it looked like maybe ten of them were paying attention to me. The others were talking or sleeping or laughing quietly at me. I know today that those are the people that don't make it. That is a story for another day though. When I was finished speaking I felt great. My story from start to finish was able to take me back to where I came from and where I am now. Often times in my sobriety I always think that I am falling short. That is until I hear my own story from my own mouth. What the miracle of the evening was, someone came up to me after the meeting and told me that his story is the same as mine. No money, in troube with the law, family won't talk to him, owns only the clothes on his back, and hates himself. He said his name was Adam. His next sentence was "I want my life to be like yours". I have to tell you that a tear came to my eye. Four years ago no one wanted a life like mine. I told this broken 22 year old guy that he can have what I have. It isn't that difficult. All you have to be willing to do is twelve simple things and your life doesn't have to ever be like it is now. I can honestly say that he seemed to believe me. I think that you can actually see hope in someones eyes, and that is what I left this kid with. I learned that nothing in the world feels better than the delivery of hope to another suffering human being. There is not enough money in the world that can bring that special feeling. This is a credit, for me, to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the wonderful people who have taken me in and built me into a man.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Giving It Up To Our HP

One of the hardest things we face is giving up control. Although we think we had our lives under control while we were using, we didn’t. We realize this when we get sober. Yet, even though we realize this it is sometimes a struggle to give up trying to control everything.

When we completely surrender to this disease, we know we are powerless but sometimes forget we are powerless over other things in our life. For example, being powerless over other people in our lives is a concept that we sometimes overlook. We may not like the things people close to us do but we must give it up to our Higher Power. The best solution to trying control is our Higher Power. Without giving it up to our HP, we feel crazy. Our thoughts get the best of us. We also forget that we are responsible for ourselves and not other people. Other people are responsible for themselves, unless they are asking for help of course.

We must constantly practice giving it up to our HP. It will get easier the more aware we are and the more we actually do it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Speaker Meetings

There are all kinds of different meetings that we can go to. There is step meetings, As Bill Sees It, topic meetings, and speaker meetings to name a few. What we want to talk about today is speaker meetings and their benefits. Typically, at a speaker meeting the chairperson chooses a speaker that will share their experience, strength, and hope with the group. Sometimes they can speak for a portion of the hour and leave the rest of the time for comments, or they speak for the full hour.

What are the benefits? One is to allow our listening skills to improve. It also allows us to hear from the beginning of someones life to present day. The speaker tells us what happened, what it was like, and what it's like now. For the newcomer this is where we are going to hear our own story told by another human being. They will tell of the total destruction that alcohol caused them. Even more important, they tell us the way out. What happened to them by attending the program. What the steps did for them.

Have you been to a speaker meeting lately? What do you like or dislike about them? Let us know.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Al-Anon: Helping Familes Recover

We believe that alcoholism/chemical dependency is a family disease. It affects the entire family. Because of this notion, a lot of family members go to Al-Anon meetings. Al-Anon is a 12 Step program where family members are strongly advised to go when a loved one goes into treatment or when the family is impacted by an alcoholic or chemically dependent member. It is a place where people go to share their experience, strength and hope with others who have a loved one suffering from this disease.

This disease can be very difficult for family members to understand, especially their role in the life of the addicted.

We watch a family member or friend suffer with this disease. We watch them hurt themselves, us and everyone around them. We try to reach out, we try to help but sometimes they don’t take our help. Even if they do take our help we are left with our own issues of anger, hopelessness and denial. That is where Al-Anon is helpful. We believe Al-Anon is an excellent resource for families to learn about the disease, connect with others and start the healing process.

Do you think Al-Anon is useful in helping families recover? Please share your experiences with us. We’d love to hear from you!

The Fellowship

The programs of AA and NA consist of two parts. The first part or the program is the steps of the process in getting sober. The other part is the fellowship. The fellowship consists of who we are talking with, hanging out with, and having fun with. In our active addictions we thought we had great friends. The people we saw and used with was all we knew. So many people when they share their stories at meetings will tell us when they got sober they didn't see those people anymore. It was as if they never existed. The reasons for this not seeing these people anymore are because now being sober we may be a threat to them. Most of us in active addiction don't want to take a look at ourselves, these using friends are no different.

When we find people in the programs, they are our new friends. These are people who have been where we once were. They understand us. These are the people that we are going to go to dinner, Christmas parties, and play golf with. The program is based on one alcoholic helping another. We can find these people in large numbers in meetings. Then we can commence to find a happier and joyous life with them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Going to Meetings

There are so many essential pieces to getting and staying sober. We hear about them all the time in meetings. That is what we are going to talk about today, meetings. Why is it so important? Simply stated, that is where everyone else that wants to get sober is. Going to meetings is where people who have one day sober go for help. There is no better way of remembering how bad our past was than to hear it from someone else.

Going to meetings is how we can give back what has been so freely given to us. When we are at a meeting and someone shares their pain, that is when we can be of maximum service. We can help people when no one else can.

If we don't go to meetings on a regular basis we begin to slip into our past. We think that "we can handle it". The problem with that is, we can't handle it. Not only have the programs of AA/NA expelled the drugs and alcohol, they can allow us to live happily. That is what we have wanted all along.

How has getting involved in AA/NA meetings changed your life??

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Freedom is a great feeling. As a society, living in this country, that is what we have. For some of us, a lot of years have been spent in captivity. The captivity of active alcoholism. Alcohol and drugs defined us. It told us what we were going to do and when we were going to do it. Our lives were goverened by it.

When we achieve sobriety though, we have personal freedom. We are no longer running our lives on when we are going to get our next drink or fix.

Let us know the personal freedoms you have experienced through sobriety.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do Not Drink......No Matter What!!!!

Going to a drug treatment center, getting a sponsor, and going to meetings are all important to staying sober. The only absolute in staying sober is that we cannot, under any circumstances, drink or use drugs. The program does not work if we pick up a drink. Many of us have gone back out thinking that if it gets bad again we can always come back. There are two delusions in the previous statement. First of all, it is not if it gets bad, it is going to get worse if we drink again. The second is that we are not guaranteed to make it back to the rooms or to a treatment center if we drink again. We may die. We may end up in jail. If either of those things happen to us, there might not be another chance for us. The bottom line is this. There is nothing out there that a drink will make better. To drink is to die.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Service Work

What is service work in terms of recovery and the rooms of AA/NA?? Well, it starts with just going to meetings. It shows the newcomer that there are other people out there that come to meetings and got better, and that maybe that can happen for them to. Where would AA/NA be without a coffee maker? Taking a job like that in your home group gives us a sense of belonging and a purpose. When we speak at a meeting that is a high form of service. That is where the newcomer is going to hear their story. This is often times how sponsorship starts. There is nothing more beneficial in the program than to sponsor someone and take them through the steps. Not only does it save someone else's life but the rewards for ourselves are tremendous.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

No Regrets from the Past

When we first get sober and truly surrender, some of us may experience the feeling of embarrassment or humiliation for what we have done in the past. We look back on the not-so flattering things we’ve done and cringed at the thought of our transgressions. This feeling is normal at first.

It isn’t until we hear those around us and share our experiences that we realize that all those things have actually made our story what it is. Sharing that story is the true gift. Even though we felt embarrassed, we share to relate to others and the beauty of the process is that someone else out there has been where we are. They can relate to us and us to them. Our shameful experience really aren’t shameful experiences. They are a most powerful tool in helping others. When a newcomer feels that they can relate to you, the process of recovery gets a bit easier for both parties.

Now, looking back on our past is not painful, it’s joyous because we know that all those experiences have helped us grow and more importantly, helped a newcomer realize they are not alone.

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for my new personality. Today I will attempt to be aware of my new personality. I pray that I do not return to my old ways.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Self-deception comes in many forms. Most of the time it creeps up on us when we least expect it. Some people come to the rooms of A.A./N.A. and work the program for a little while, never fully committing to the recovery process and after a while self-deception begins. A good example in this case of self-deception is when we stop going to meetings and think we don’t need them anymore because we learned enough or we think we’re “okay”. That kind of self-deception is what can make us use again. We lie to ourselves.

If we were 100% committed to the program we wouldn’t be deceiving ourselves. We would know that this disease doesn’t disappear. We constantly have to work for our recovery for the rest of our lives. It can be a beautiful thing if we have truly embraced the notion. To fight self-deception (which is part of our disease) we must always be honest about our disease and honest about our shortcomings. If you are honestly and whole-heartedly working the 12 Steps and going to meetings and talking to you sponsor and support group, it makes it virtually impossible for self-deception to come up.

Sometimes it will but when you are armed with the 12 Steps and the Rooms, you can combat self-deception and walk right through it.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for the pain of my illness. Today I will remember how good I have it.I pray that I not forget the great pain of my disease.

Monday, May 9, 2011

One Alcoholic Helping Another

This is the cornerstone of how we get well. There are so many people who talk about others in their life that tried getting them to see that their behavior and abuse of their drugs and alcohol was ruining their life. Many times our parents, wives and husbands, judges, and law enforcement have tried to get us to see this, but we never heard them or listened.

When we come into the programs of AA/NA, there are people there that have experienced and lived exactly what we are feeling. At first it is all about how to stop drinking. There is nothing quite like another person telling that story to someone that is suffering the disease of active addiction. Many times the feeling that comes to the sufferer is that someone finally understands them.

After the obsession to poison and kill ourselves with chemicals the benefit of other people does not stop there. What these people in our lives can do is to help us live life on life's terms. The delusion of thinking we know what's best for us seems to vanish and we begin to pass our thoughts through others before they become our actions. These are all humble steps that will keep us sober for years and years to come.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sharing with another Human Being

Being that it is the fifth month of the year we are going to talk about the fifth step of the program. It asks us to admit to God, ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. It does not ask us to write an autobiography and then read it to another person. What this event in our life is trying to accomplish is why we did the things we have done, either while drinking or not while drinking.

We are trying to uncover our character defects, or our sins. It will point us in the right direction as to why we did and do the things we do which are the opposite of what God's will for us really is. Alcoholism is a sickness of not only the body, but the mind too. Our minds have been warped. Many people share that even before they took a drink their minds and thoughts were of the abnormal variety. When they poured massive amounts of alcohol on top of that it was like putting gas on an already out of control fire.

Our sponsor, or a trusted person of our choice can listen to what we are saying and objectively help us on another path. We are going to have to trust in order to do this. Once this process is finished we can feel relieved for many different reasons. Two of them are that now we have someone we can trust and it begins to melt away the guilt of the past.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Some of us came to A.A./N.A. simply grateful that we were alive. Some of us didn’t know how to be grateful for anything. How could we be grateful when we saw everything wrong in our lives? When others spoke of gratitude, we couldn’t grasp the idea. It even made some of us angry because we had no idea how to be grateful.

For some of us, it wasn’t until we saw a Higher Power working in our life that we even knew how to be grateful. Others slowly but surely became more grateful for the simple things as our sponsor and support group pointed out the wonderful things in our life that we just couldn’t see. We were blinded by the insanity in our lives but the people around us helped us open our eyes and be grateful just to breathe, to be sober, to be living a life of recovery. Today and every day we stay grateful and even though in the beginning gratitude wasn’t something that came easy, now it is a part of our daily life.

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for a loving and caring partner. Today I will show my appreciation for my partner. I pray for the sensitivity to cherish my partner.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Alcoholism Does Not Discriminate

Recently in a meeting, one of our members told a very interesting story which a lot of us can relate to.

The person in the meeting told us that he was speaking at a Pennsylvania drug rehab as part of his service work one evening. When he was finished and the meeting was over one of the patients came up to him and said thank you and that he did a good job. He proceeded to let the member of AA know that he was an attorney and scholar of high standing in the community and that he should be proud that a man of his stature gave him such a compliment. Our AA friend made a very wise comment in the meeting, "But you're wearing a braclette with your name on it and I am going home".

That is what alcoholism does to us. It tells us that we are not as bad as everyone else because of our professional accomplishments or that we have a house with two cars in the driveway. What alcoholism does not tell us is how badly we are treating everyone around us. The bills can be paid, we can go to work every day, and drive the nicest cars, but the active alcoholic is a person destroying others lives. It is impossible to see in active addiction. When we come into AA and follow the suggestions this damage can be repaired.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spiritual Condition

In the book "Alcoholics Anonymous", on page 84 it talks about not being tempted or effected by alcohol anymore. There is a program laid out though through the first 83 pages that precede this. Those are the first nine steps or Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the beginning, we often think that we just need to stop consuming the chemicals that is making our lives unmanageable. We think that we wouldn't act or think the way we did if we could just stop. What the program teaches us is that it is a lot more than that. Alcohol and drugs were our solution to our inability to adapt to life. We did not handle life well and the only thing that made the feelings go away were booze and chemicals.

What we learn through the first nine steps is all the real reasons why we almost killed ourselves, or if you want our character defects. Even more important, how to overcome them to live a happy and purposeful life.

What the book says is that if we can keep in fit spiritual condition the obsession to drink and use drugs will not return. We will look at situations involving alcohol with a mind of neutrality.