I Am Responsible

The Responsibility Declaration: “I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”

So it’s an exciting time to be an American, and with all that good (to me) news going on in politics, I can’t help but think of certain ideals.  This AA statement is one.  I’m not sure how the feeling of responsibility has come to me, but it’s there.  Probably as soon as I understood the program at all, I understood some of what has gone in to keeping it going.

Making sure that the hand of AA is always there isn’t very involved for me.  I think that, should AA falter or start to die out, I would do much more and really almost anything to keep it going.  I’m grateful that’s not necessary.  Primarily, I think the statement speaks to the person who is first looking for and contacting AA.  I am so fortunate that AA was and is so accessible to me.  Everywhere I’ve lived, there’s been a 24 hour answering service and an abundance of meetings.  I also have tremendous access to loads of literature and, of course, to thousands of people.  I realize not everyone in the world is this fortunate.  So first and foremost, I think I share in the responsibility to keep AA going.  Although contrary to so much literature, this does not say that we are responsible.  Here’s one place where I may need to act on my own.

There are a few places where I wonder about my responsibility.  For example, there are a few people in my life who I think could benefit from AA.  Yet I don’t tell them about it.

I also have a bit of an attitude and will rant a little about AA where I live now.  Sometimes, people say no!  It astonishes me.  When I got sober, I was told never to say no to a reasonable AA request.  I haven’t lived in that place for over ten years, so to be fair, perhaps this idea has faded from that AA scene also, but I really hope it hasn’t.  Mostly I’m dismayed when someone says no to leading a meeting by telling his story.  People will say things like that they aren’t ready.  Well, if I waited to be ready, I still wouldn’t have done it.  We need people who are willing to tell their story.  Not just some of the people, but all of the people.  If meetings were lead only by people who were “ready,” it would be just the most outgoing who spoke.

I’ve also seen it cause problems when someone asks for help.  And asks again and again and again.  For myself, I drank on and off for six years in AA, so I completely understand the chronic relapser.  But sometimes people run out of ideas about how to help, and we can even wonder if we’re doing harm after someone drinks yet again.

But those are side issues, and mostly I’m in awe and just very glad to be part of something as big and as giving as this.  I know for me that it’s an extremely important concept that to keep it I must give it away.  It’s a shame that I had to be devastated to understand this, but I do understand it, and so my life is worth living.

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One thought on “I Am Responsible

  1. The 12 steps are probably the greatest gift “God” has given to mankind, however, I found them to be a starting point to greater spiritual things. You know, what if….someone stumbled upon a Metaphysical aspect of “God” where IT is no longer sen as some punishing “authority figure” but Something that was entirely Pure and Loving? And that people like Eckhart Tolle are right, that you are NOT your “mind” be it “alcoholic” or what ever?

    I can tell you about how the “Woodstock/Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice/Easy Rider generation” gave me a big green light to “join the herd” by partaking in all sorts of substances…including alcohol to be accepted by my peers at age of 14. Or how I “crossed the line” by up-ending a bottle of Christmas Egg Nog at a friends house getting me totally inebriated. I didn’t know it had alcohol in it but I sure loved the effect. The truth about it was I was just plain unhappy with myself and my life. I had no “free will” and knew nothing about real choices. The majority of the human race don’t even have a clue themselves because they take life at face value and decide to join the rest of “the tribe” drinking cordially, using other recreational drugs, getting lost in this kind of experience or that…including sex and they’re always looking for “themselves” in all those experiences. I was doing it too. I think a lot of us between the 60’s and early 70’s were misled about things but that’s just my take on it. The saying “It’s all fun until somebody pokes an eye out” is also most appropriate too. You can kill somebody or yourself while under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. It has happened. You can get killed just having sex these days. Best case scenario, someone gets pregnant the father decides to do the next right thing and marries the girl. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    I have seen my share of tragic dysfunction in my teen years. Pregnancy, drug overdoses and suicide aided and abetted by movies that glorified the mentality of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” and other promiscuous behavior. Television shows that glorified “the happy hour” with a few “drinkie poos” before a business dinner only to show up at the table too drunk to do business. And the drinks are poured liberally. It’s only till a select few, hit a wall with “their way” of doing things that causes people to wake up and do something about themselves. If you’ve seen Denzel Washington’s movie Flight you know what I’m talking about. All should be a light in the dark to each other with attitude starting at home with parents that have half a brain but ignorance and environment can add up poor world view and ultimately how you view yourself which is always, more often than not dysfunctional and neurotic.

    Ultimately there’s not much to chose from when the “popular girl” in high school turns out to be a drug addict and a nymphomaniac or the good looking son of a substitute teacher that was supposed to be a “shining example” meets the wrong mentor and goes to federal prison for drug smuggling and oh, I also had a Civics teacher that partook in an illegal gambling operation that was run in the back of a local Bar – B- Que joint once a week and I’m pretty sure there was some drug use going on there besides the beer flowing freely from the bar keg. Lucky and blessed are the few that have hit the brick wall and fall amongst people that have already been down that road that knew what to do in such an event. The world is full of people that have made poor “choices” in their lives based on ignorance in situations where it’s impossible to know unless you’ve had the experience to back it up.

    I found out about A.A. as the result of the court system a big “no no” in the fellowship and it wasn’t about some traffic offense. I ended up in rehab and as a result of the group therapy I started to experience a total cessation of emotion and almost all thought with no identification of “me” at all. I didn’t know what this was at the time so I began to ask my therapist about it and he had no idea what I was talking about. I also asked the inmates there if they were experiencing any like symptoms and they said no and that they too didn’t know what I was talking about.

    I know now that this was my ego “dying” and of course, it fights very hard for it’s survival so I panicked because I thought it was some type of” mind rape” as a result of my staying there and left.

    I also attended my first meeting while I was staying there at a Catholic church where I picked up a white chip and won a Big Book in a raffle I consider that incident a preview of what was to come. But if it wasn’t for that incident I would’ve never known about A.A. being there. Many years later after much more drunken escapades and reaching a wall with that I finally turned to A.A. to put a stop to things as for the rest well I’m still the anonymous person that been posting my experience with A.A. and my end result with the steps and what subsequently happened after that.

    I stumbled onto this aspect of “God” as a result reaching the end of my rope in my “sober” life and of the 12 steps of A.A.as described out of The Big Book in 1990. I did the usual things that were suggested i.e. prayer and seeking a sponsor when that occurred, only to end up at a Big Book step study group that slyly took you through the steps because the ego is so sly and resistant to God. When I got a quarter of the way through the 9th step, I “confessed my former ill feelings” as said in The Big Book to a woman whom I thought was a “bitch” and she forgave me as well. I left the meeting to go outside into the patio when I started to feel a wet spot in the pit of my belly that shot down to the bottoms of my feet and back up through my entire body removing every fiber of fear leaving nothing but the purest feeling of Love I had ever known. It was dumbfounding and very shaking because I had never experienced anything like this…ever. If this was “God” it was way beyond my “understanding”.

    I basked in that experience for something like 20 minutes or so, then got up to drive home with a little hesitancy because I was wary of driving safe in that space, but I made it. I ended up taking a nap wondering if this would still be going on when I got up, and sure enough, it was. I went back to the club where I was going for meetings to share what had happened and as I listened to everybody share, and it was quite packed, the things that were coming out of people’s mouths had nothing to do with the God that had found me, like “belonging to A.A. is like belonging to the mafia” with lots of anger behind the tone of people’s sharing. There were one or two that talked about their current problem and I could tell that it was rooted in issues like co-dependency or just plain powerlessness. There was one woman at the meeting that the second she opened her mouth I knew she knew what I knew and had encountered, because there was a peace and a glow about her that was unequivocally from God. Life had changed for me. Some of which I have been posting on other sites, like time slowing down and no longer being “linear’, the Claire-audience incidences. One morning i woke up with a warm spot in my chest in the shape of an eye where my heart chakra had opened, and days of blessed silence where I would just go through the motions with no mind chatter at all, just serene bliss.

    After a while of being involved with A.A. I felt that there was something not quite spiritually right in there. Much like the “man behind the curtain” in The Wizard Of Oz. After that it became like living in The Truman Show with no spontaneity and just robotic responses coming from other A.A. members. Finally there was a situation that arose between the Big Book group that I was involved in and other A.A. members pushing them out that was started by this ex-physics teacher from Boston where I had no choice but to move on and so did the members of my Big Book group that I considered my home group. I had been back to visit other A.A. clubs and meetings and when I got honest with them they insinuated that I was “lying” and “politely” pointed out that I should go back to my “home club” and “face the music” as it were, but it is such an ensconced existence in A.A. that I was treated as “unwelcome” and a “new comer” and it was also “politely suggested” that I go on medication. I finally saw no point in going back anymore and fired the “Group Of Drunks” in 2010.

    “Luck” as far as I’m concerned has nothing to do with it. All events lead you exactly where you need to be and you may not be “kicked out” but you will be ostracized for not thinking “their way” and talked about in a negative way as “someone to avoid”. A subtle form of hostility and attack.

    As the result of my experience with the steps I started thinking about Jesus in a different way I also wondered if what happened to me was the way Jesus felt and Buddha as well because “Heaven” seems to be awfully synonymous with “nirvana”

    Another thing that happened was that I was given free will which isn’t necessarily a good thing to have in A.A. “You can’t say ‘no’ ” the first time I utilized free will I was asked to “do the chips” and quite frankly they had become a meaningless piece of plastic to me.

    So I politely said “no” when asked and the woman asking said the “programed” response “You can’t say ‘no ” to which I replied firmly but gently “Yes I can, no!” I had no freedom when I was chasing after a substance to placate my dis-ease and my ego. The Buddhists are right the ego is sensation oriented and it’s a living entity.

    When “they” say that “we go to meetings to get our ‘medicine’ it’s really just placating their ego which is the real problem. “The drinking was a symptom and the bottle a symbol” ~ The Big Book. Some also flee into guilt big time. My final judgement and experience said “Acquitted”

    I knew a man in A.A. whom I’ll identify as George A. He was an ex-pharmacist that had an n.d.e. as a result of a drunk driving incident. He never went into detail about that, but he shared against the grain at meetings a lot. The fellowship saw him as kind of a threat too because of that and George also identified himself as a recovered alcoholic as opposed to “recovering” He also came into A.A. after his experience and went straight into his 4th step and his amends which is really frowned upon too. He used to like to say “What if Alcoholics Anonymous closed it’s doors and there was no meeting to go to?” I didn’t put a judgement on it at first but I get what he was saying now. I often wonder where he’s at today. I also sat next to him after my experience with the steps and people started to shake their head and frown that I was and backing up what he was sharing.

    I found out that the reason the fellowship is so “difficult” is because a great majority of them have an inured and frozen thought system instead of a liberated one which is really at the crux of their “difficulty” and the more I pore over “outside” spiritual posts the more I say “Ah-ha” because they point to a great deal of things I resonate to which has really nothing to to with A.A. and everything to do with Real Recovery instead of an inured, frozen thought system.

    By it’s very nature books like A Course In Miracles would be considered a source of “controversy” in A.A. as well it should be because it’s very threatening to any belief/thought system and the way things are going the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous are going to have to deal with the human race’s growing spirituality and change their thought system and accept whatever “consequences” that come with that. because this isn’t the Jesus the fellowship “boo and hiss” about but someone and something totally different.

    Now all I find I can do is question A.A.’s thought/belief system because there is no “I” in God just like there was no real awareness that “I” was an “alcoholic” during that first encounter with rehab, they wouldn’t even let us admit that we were alcoholic in the therapy sessions. I’m not even my given “Christian name” which are really just symbols to convey an idea, one of the reasons I post “anonymously” on the internet. I can’t go back because they’d ask for a sacrifice by saying I “need to drink more” or some such gesture or action which I will not do. Call Shirley MacLaine LOL. After much research on A.A. reading posts and sorting things out I think being “ousted” like I was, was the best thing that could happen. Again all events lead right where you need to be. I just don’t want to criticize the fellowship anymore and send only love and close that chapter. Story over.

    “The word God has become empty of meaning through thousands of years of misuse. I use it sometimes, but I do so sparingly. By misuse, I mean that people who have never even glimpsed the realm of the sacred, the infinite vastness behind that word, use it with great conviction, as if they knew what they are talking about. Or they argue against it, as if they knew what it is that they are denying. This misuse gives rise to absurd beliefs, assertions, and egoic delusions such as ‘My or our God is the only true God, and your God is false,’ or Nietzsche’s famous statement ‘God is dead.’ “~ Eckhart Tolle from his book The Power Of Now

    “The search for truth started in the streets and I went through multiple phases: drugs, alcohol, religion, shamanism, spiritualism, politics, revolution and spirituality. I didn’t find anything there but brief moments of tranquility nothing permanent and tangible that could be called THE TRUTH so I decided to find the truth for my self by my self. But I couldn’t, so I surrendered. And there and then I realized there is nothing to “understand”. In an instant, the clarity of this truth was there in such an obvious way and interpreted intellectually in this way: the one that perceives, the act of perceiving and what is perceived are one and the same. Separation simply does not exist. There is nothing to “understand” or to “attain”. There is only the totality. Life is an indivisible unit.” ~ Cesar Teruel

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