Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
When discussing anonymity I note some folks have a self-centered fear their illness will be expose to the public. I had this fear myself. This fear decreased as I grew spiritually within the program. I could not be of value to the still suffering alcoholic until this fear had been somewhat decreased. Also, I learned fast I could not carelessly use my illness to attain public attention. I must try to go humbly through my community practicing these principles in all my affairs.
I hear many things around the fellowship I have not experienced, nor would I have wished it had. I remember my parents and later my wife controlled me with the checkbook. This I deeply resented. When my wife handed me the checkbook and told me to take of myself and continued by saying she and our son would take of themselves, a fear came to being I had never felt before. In nature it was, how was I going to care for myself? I knew I could not continue drinking and care for my financial needs. I called an alcohol/drug counselor within one hour, as my wife had suggested. This call started me on a program within the fellowship that I continue today.
The issue of trying to control others continued until my work life ended in 1993 when the disability determination board said I was no longer able to work in a completive work environment. This attempts to control continued within my family and the fellowship. This character defect has often alienated family and fellowship members.
Seeking a Higher Power for spiritual self sufficiency gave me the self sufficiency in needed for living. Sharing my experience, strength, and hope with others suffering alcoholics has been my methodology for living without using alcohol for many years years. My relationship with a Higher Power is unique as my fingerprints and assume other alcoholics are also.
The principle in our fellowship we can choose our own Higher Power and we put all our principles above personalities give me the strength to understand I must surrender my will to give up the bottle and take on my own responsibilities to live a of service.
Any time I insist on controlling others or someone take my responsibilities I am have not asked my Higher Power to relieve me of that human bondage of self and I am still dependent upon other to relieve my alcoholism.
Any time I hear someone giving another instructions or someone asking for specific instructions I suggest the following reading:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could relieve our alcoholism
(c) That God could and would if he were sought.
Tell me what you did, not what to do. I hope that my character flaws are such that I can do the same.
One of the most important and often thought about of my fellowship experiences happened in 1984. I had just moved to the Pottsville, PA area. I was alone and went to meeting every night and picked up a few individuals that did not have transportation. One of them being Mike with a very Irish surname. My father had died in March and my father-in-law died the first of August. I had a very stressful job also. I was suffering from untreated Hypo Mania. As always I was going to a fellowship meeting a least two or three times per week and as always I had entered those groups as a member making coffee. One Tuesday night Mike was with me the topic (of the meeting before the meeting) how much dry time we had, Mike had 3 months, then I stated, “I have 8 years”. Mike came back with, “Man, I do not want what you have”.
This statement was so true He, for sure, did not want the serious mental disorder I had and still have. I must remember not to shovel my dry time down some newcomer throat, only share my experience, strength and hope.
The Manic Depressive must treat the variations in brain functions via the scarcely know methods that now exist and use the fellowship to treat the alcoholism.
One thing I know that causes these variations is stress. I must remove myself from all stressful situations until a more comfortable situation comes about.
An example recently: Asked how I was doing. I replied, “I was have trouble with Manic Depression” the reply, “Pray about it”. As if I was not.
I have been hearing much about sponsorship in my fellowship meetings lately. There a two things I find are not part of the fellowship. The first, suggestions are given as mandates. I may be understanding the pigeons incorrectly. But this is how I understand what they are saying. The other is I hear personalities quoted as gospel.
The first thought, I reference our most read literature from, page 89, “You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill.” We must not lose their confidence because we do not understand their illness. The individual being sponsored could have mental impairment plus a spiritual malady. I suggest no mandates.
The second thought, I again reference our most used literature from, page 87, “Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer”. Then I will quote a well know Buddhist Monk, “The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.”
“don’t try to be a saint by Thursday”
Bill W. A phrase Bill attributed to early members of the fellowship. Found in “As Bill Sees It” Page 181. It was first printed in the Grapevine in June 1961.
It means to me to avoid spiritual pride and spiritual dominance over others.
On the spiritual path no one has higher or lower status than anyone else.
– Nizam al-Din, “Fawa’id al-Fu’ad”
From Beliefnet daily e-mail
This is a statement from a religious person, however we do not follow religious precept, but it is suggested that if we see ideas from religion we can use, use it.
In our fellowship this principle is essential for the development of humility. As stated in our literature the attainment of greater humility is the principle of each of our steps. For without some degree of humility , no alcoholic can stay sober at all.
I try to look to all to see the value of their spiritual path.
When sharing my experience, strength and hope, I try to avoid using words like “success” and “failure”. I might come off as indicating that those who return to drinking are failures while those who remain sober are successes. When I look across a table in a fellowship meeting and see a person full of alcohol hanging onto the last vestiges of any self-esteem he or she may have, I do not see failure. I see a person who has the same illness I have. So little is known about the treatment of my disease that I think it wise not to classify the condition of another’s health.
Grapevine, October 1999