August 29, 2015 (this day)

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Trying to send PDFs to my Kindle to read somewhat comfortably.  I feel like I’m always trying to do the next thing with technology.  If I could go back ten years I could work it all perfectly.  Instead I know the technology exists to allow me to read PDFs on the Kindle, so I try.  With so-so results.

My life is mostly back to normal, though soon I have to (get to) travel again to see my daughter for her 30th birthday.  Her life has been one of the most complete miracles of mine, and, for the purpose of this blog, an extreme gift and miracle of sobriety.  I won’t take tons of credit.  I deserve none, in a way, because on my own I was incapable of sustaining my own life, forget about creating and nurturing another (and another – not forgetting my son but he’s not turning 30!).

Our meeting will have its birthday while we’re gone and Carole and I cannot remember if it will be 10 or 11 years old.  This is abominable, given the history buffs we can be.  We kept no record and just don’t know.  I wonder if I can go back in my checking to see when we first paid the church and the local AA office.

There are a few people from that time who still attend, but not many.  Some attenders and members of the group have died, some because of alcohol.  The church itself is in danger of closing and that would be a shame.  I’m not sure what would happen to the meeting then.  We started it on Saturdays because there were no early Saturday meetings in our area, and because we needed something to do Saturday nights.  Many people have shared since then that in early sobriety it became a safe place for them, because Saturday night can be a danger zone for alcoholics.  I can’t relate because I drank every day (and night), but I understand, and I’m glad.  And sorry to miss the anniversary.  And glad the meeting is healthy enough for the celebration to go on without us.  And grateful beyond measure for what we’ll be celebrating at the same time.

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Plumb Disgusted with Religion (Step Two continued)

Another crowd of A.A.’s says:  We were plumb disgusted with religion and all its works.  The Bible, we said, was full of nonsense; we could cite it chapter and verse, and we couldn’t see the Beatitudes for the ‘begats.’  In spots its morality was impossibly good; in others it seemed impossibly bad.  But it was the morality of the religionists themselves that really got us down.  We gloated over the hypocrisy, bigotry, and crushing self-righteousness that clung to so many ‘believers’ even in their Sunday best.  How we loved to shout the damaging fact that millions of the ‘good men of religion’ were still killing one another off in the name of God.  This all meant, of course, that we had substituted negative for positive thinking.  After we came to A.A., we had to recognize that this trait had been an ego-feeding proposition.  In belaboring the sins of some religious people, we could feel superior to all of them.  Moreover, we could avoid looking at some of our own shortcomings.  Self-righteousness, the very thing that we had contemptuously condemned in others, was our undoing, so far as faith was concerned.  But finally, driven to A.A., we learned better.

This paragraph describes my attitude to some degree.  I was only 16 when I first went to AA, and I was only just past being confirmed in the Lutheran church against my will.  The hypocrisy of that drove me away far and fast.  Yes, I could see that the Bible and the people were full of nonsense.

I didn’t spend too much time feeling superior to them, and I’m grateful that pretty quickly I understood the AA concept that these people I was criticizing were some of the best and brightest in the world, ever.

I still have a huge problem with the “book of rules” that comes with most religions.  I really don’t understand how some people can go along with organized religion.  Say a creed, for example, and profess to believe every part of it.  I just don’t get it.  Good thing for me I don’t have to get it, and I can attend AA with those church people and with atheists and everyone in between, and we can all keep each other sober, sharing our faith, whatever that may be.

August 11, 2015 (this day)

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A picture from a previous vacation.  I’m on vacation again, and trying to lessen my vacation anxiety, which finds many objects to attach itself to.

I went to one of the smallest AA meetings I have ever been to on this vacation.  There were two people there aside from Carole and I.  They said that they were trying to build the meeting up again.  We had a meeting of sorts for a while.  Carole and I have looked at the meeting list for this area many times, and I’m struck by how few meeting there are and how far people have to travel to get to them.  I’ve probably shared this before, but I’ve lived in several places in sobriety.  Five actual distinct areas, one of them very rural and some distance from a very small city.  But I have always had abundant, nearby meetings and so I’ve really had my choice.  I’m always grateful, but at times like this I’m super grateful.  AA without a choice of meetings like that is something I have never had to deal with.

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Decision Making

The AA way is to pray about it, meditate on it, and discuss it with trusted advisors.  It hoped that we might get an intuitive thought about which way to go, what to do.  It is promised that even if we make the wrong decision, we will learn from it and grow.

What a healthy way to look at things!  One of the things I appreciate most about AA is that it gives me these clues and this plan.  In most of my regular life, I don’t like indecisiveness and will try to make a decision one way or another quickly, if possible.  When I think of difficult decisions I’ve made recently, deciding two years ago not to go to Alaska then deciding one year ago to do it comes to mind.  I didn’t really pray, meditate, or talk about it much, mostly because I knew the right thing to do and I knew what was standing in my way, namely me and my character defects.

And some decisions really are bad, and cause suffering.  Given that, I understand the sentiment to be that we need to go on and do better next time.

Also this brings up the questions for me:  what is prayer?  What is meditation?  To be continued…