About this Blog

This is meant to be reflections on my modern-day experience of being a longtimer in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. The title comes from some cryptic advice on how to become an oldtimer. Much of what is written and findable on the web and in books, etc, deals with the experiences of the early oldtimers. Much of that deals with their thoughts and concerns about the ways in which they saw AA changing.

I went to my first AA meeting in 1978, and I had my last drink to date in 1984. I was just under 22 years old at that time. I have lived more than half of my life sober in AA, and all of my adult life has been spent this way. I feel beyond a doubt that it is the AA program and people that have enabled me to live to any good purpose, and that I owe it my very life.

I’ve grouped the posts under several categories. My Story is the very long version of, well, my story. That is a “lead” in AA, and it tells “what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like today.” Step Six is where I’ve worked my way through the step line by line over a five month period. This being the third time I’ve undertaken a formal reworking of the steps, I thought I would start out in a different manner, because my reworkings before have started with Step One and ended with Step Five. I work the other steps, but I haven’t formally looked at them in a long, long time. I’ve now worked through Step Seven and Step Sight in the same way, and am working on Step Ten. Step Eleven has my recent thoughts on prayer and some of the newer prayers I’m experimenting with in my new quest for serenity. This Day is where I’m trying to comment on the day in a more bloggy fashion.  Words to Live By has the quotes, poems, verses and things I’ve collected over the years that don’t come from AA but that help me reframe my life in the quest for serenity.  Everything Else is where everything that isn’t my story, step six, step seven, step eight, my day or step eleven is going, for now.

Many people come here seeking information about AA Meetings. I urge all of you to contact AA. You need not fear doing so. I am no expert or authority, but I’ve written what I know to be generally true of AA meetings in a special page AA Meetings, Meeting Formats, Kinds of Meetings.

I’ve set out to gather some other lists.  I’ll keep adding to Discussion Meeting Topics as I discover new ones.  This is the most popular page in my blog, which surprises me.  I’ve been writing on most of those topics in turn, and, for me, it’s filling the role of sort of gathering my thoughts and understanding on these important concepts at this time.   A list of Character Defects is difficult to write.  Maybe that’s why people search for one so frequently.  It’s my understanding that there’s no definitive list, and really all lists are tools to help us get to the bottom of what’s wrong with us.  Sometimes a different wording of the same thing strikes a chord within us when before we couldn’t understand.  With that in mind, I’m trying to keep the list from being repetitive while at the same time including as much as possible.  It’s most definitely a work in progress.   For some times I’ve been collecting Prayers and Meditations that I’d like to learn and so be able to use them when I need to, kind of like the prayers I memorized as a child.  I rotate one in the sidebar and it helps me to write it out and look at it when I look at the blog.  I’m also keeping a page of them.  These are only prayers that appeal personally to me, seen in the light of my AA program.  The Menopause Chronicles details my journey down that path.  It has a huge impact on me right now, but I understand that not everyone will want to know about it

Anonymity: The June 2008 issue of the AAGrapevine published guidelines for anonymity on public web sites.  It says in part that

“Someone using their full name and/or a full-face photograph would be in violation of the Eleventh Tradition ……. our [last] names and pictures as AA members ought not to be broadcast, filmed or publicly printed.”

I will stick to those guidelines.  The names I use are chosen by a random name selector, and have no relation to the actual names of the people I write about.  Of course people who know me read this blog.  If you know who I am, please feel free to share the link and my name, as I do not think that violates the tradition.

Tradition Ten:

“Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

I wrote about this here, but I think it’s important enough to put on the “about” page.  I understand that some bloggers take this tradition to mean they should not voice opinions on religion, politics, or anything else.  I disagree.  If I come to see that I’m wrong about this, I will remove those topics from the blog.  I would never jeopordize AA, it has saved my life.  I believe that the tradition speaks to AA groups, not anonymous individuals.  Here are some quotes from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

  • nations and groups torn assunder
  • others fell apart
  • the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are [not] going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act
  • when it comes to A.A. as a whole . . . we do not enter into public controversy

My religion and my politics are very important to me, and they are a big part of my story.  Anyone who has not experienced AA needs to know that AA in no way tells us what to say or what to believe.  In fact, it’s often in the rooms of AA that I learn to take a kindly view of people I disagree with.  We are more the same, after all, than we are different.

About Comments

I welcome comments and I even welcome comments that are critical of AA.  I am happy to participate in meaningful discussions about AA, including discussions about what’s wrong with AA, and I do publish those comments.  Comments that simply bash AA, though, are useless and I trash them.

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19 thoughts on “About this Blog

  1. I don’t know who you are, but I do know where you’re coming from… you’ve got a great blog going here, I hope you can find the support and community necessary in here to make your Recovery that much easier and to maybe help others in theirs…

  2. This is a very good blog. For those of us in families with alcoholics, we walk the line of being supportive and wanting to kill them! For instance, my brother has been clean for eighteen years — from alcohol, all manner of hard drugs and even cigarettes. He works a great program. On the flip side is my brother in law Milo. Milo has all the arrogance and none of the compassion. Milo shows up for holidays in a nasty, surly mood. I try to be really thoughtful about it — and have hosted holidays with non-alcholic drinks. My brother Wayne is a riot — he will say, “go ahead, have booze, let everyone drink” because he is working a good program and can deal with the reality of life. But Milo — he is so surly and rude to everyone around him at holidays, and it seems to be a direct result of having to watch someone enjoying a glass of wine. So thanks for this blog. The more people talk about it — the more normal it becomes for people to just deal with it. Alcholism is forever — it’s been around forever — and will be around forever. Thanks.

  3. God bless you, Lydia. Its important that you tell you’re story and share the lessons you learn on your journey. My dad was an alcoholic from the of 13 until a few years before he met my mom. He would tell me stories about what he was like then and things that happened. He would share with me how much he regrets the things that happened. And even though he’s too proud to admit it, I believe he wishes he could fix the damage alcohol caused him.

    His stories are the main thing the kept me from going down that road. And as my children age, I plan on sharing with them the stories from grandpas life. As Churchill once said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

    Peace and Love.
    Jeff

  4. Oh, dear. Something else to worry about. I didn’t think about violating my own anonymity as I always tell people I’m an alcoholic if they seem interested in the topic. My blog is brand new and I’ve probably made lots of mistakes already. My email is my last name, so duh?? Now what.

    • Heidi, don’t sweat the small stuff hun, and its all small stuff. You haven’t published a book telling details and using the AA name. To identify yourselff is perfectly acceptable…to publicly bring “AA” into it is the nono. You are doing nothing wrong. relax and enjoy!! The above is In my humble opinion

  5. Wonderful site Lydia! Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope! I am a recovering alkie of 14 years, and finding someone and something new is exciting and always adds more humility for me as well as more focus on my program. I work best in structure and I soooo like the way you have your blog structured! Thanks so much for the prayer section. It is really awesome to have that variety all in one place! Please continue sharing since you are touching many peoples lives in a wonderful way, and helping both sober and using alcoholics to find the way…It is a God given gift…keep sharing!
    Sue

  6. Lydia, I entered the words “AA gratitude list” on a search engine and was lead to your blog. I’ve not read much, but enough to know I will return here often! I am attending my 3rd AA meeting today in an attempt to reach 90 meetings in 90 days. I have 5 weeks of sobriety and have been in recovery for a bit over a year. I was afraid of AA and unsure if I “needed” it to be a part of my life. I now feel without a doubt that AA will forever be a part of me. I am grateful for AA and all that I have been introduced to involving AA. Thank you for taking so much time in serving others on their journeys!

  7. Hi, Lydia! I searched for “AA meetings topics” because I am chairing tonight and choosing the topic and just have no idea what I want the topic to be. I recently got my 18-month chip and am working on step 6 & 7. I’m so happy to have found this wonderful blog!!

  8. Wow, thanks for this blog! I run a meeting, and I was looking for a new (ish) topic for it, and google took me to you! Which is awesome because I write a recovery blog on WordPress as well! Thanks for this awesome post, hopefully you will come over and check mine out (I have a lot less sober time than you!)

  9. Great site, thank you! I also found it while searching for topics for my own group! Yes there is so much confusion around anonymity, to the point where members don’t give their surnames to other group members. This is really awkward if, for example, you phone the hospital enquiring after a member who is hospitalised. The anonymity is really only at the level of press, radio, tv and of course these days the internet etc. I have now bookmarked this site, and will return often.

  10. You’ve commented on my blog a lot over the years but, strangely, I’ve only just found yours (I still don’t really know my way around the wider world of wordpress, outside of my own blog that is, haha). I’ve spent nearly a third of my life in AA and am now reaching the status of long timer, too, I guess. Something at times I never thought would happen. I look forward to exploring more of your blog and finding out about your experiences.

  11. Hi Lydia

    I wanted to let you know that I appreciate reading your new posts and I’ve added your blog to my ‘blog roll’ so your new posts will appear as a link on my site.

    Hope that is OK!

  12. I share some of your difficulty with new people, but I also know how little things can be huge in AA
    Great example this week in a blog called Postsecret Not just AA, but somebody writes hoe one hug changed the course of their day
    Howard

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