From my 1880s meditation book: "When we do our work in the great present...we are like to Him with whom there is no past or future...We walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in." G. Mc Donald .....sent by 12 Step Jan
To our Readers: If you would like to share an inspirational thought or a saying that perked your ears at a meeting and helped your recovery, please send it to .

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Same Time Next Year

To Mike & Virginia - Safe travels home and please keep in touch! You are my inspiration at our home group....All my best.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Since promising to add something to our blog fully eight days ago, and not doing so, missing this week's group meeting, and having to reinitiate my password today so I could log in, I'm ready to get started. It takes some time, sometimes, to fulfill one's word to others.

What I promised to do was pick one word, and add some discussion about it to get the blog going again. I didn't forget.

The word came up earlier this week, so it was worth the wait for this writer.

How about "discernment"? It's something that's working in my mind and helping me to carefully consider my journey.

Do you tend to commit to things then regret it right away? I do that all the time. It's from lack of consideration for others that I do so, and then have to figure out how to get out of it. Why do I say "yes" before I think about all the options and how it might affect my path or others in it?

If I were more "discerning", I'd be more careful.

That's it for the moment. Thanks for letting me share.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Year in Review

Last New Years we gathered with friends for an AA fellowship picnic in our local park under the majestic shadow of the Catalina Mountains. The location was chosen to accomodate the wheelchair of an AA member who was mostly homebound due to a succession of illnesses over the last years. In January and February, Michael and I raced stick boats along the washes, ecstatic with the unusual flow of snow -melt water, which in turn precipitated a rare spring burst of  glorious poppies that warmed the hills with their sun glow and filled our hearts with the joy of living.

Late  spring we returned to Ohio. Although the real-estate market did not improved  and we did not sell our house, the summer brought the very best garden ever, and we enjoyed several family and friend  gatherings  made the more poignant by realizing we might soon give up the freedom of having "our farm" in the country with its outdoor fireplace where so many marshmallows have been roasted by the little ones.  Several fawns and our three baby chicks grew up through the summer and provided daily entertainment.

Fall brought the north eastern spectacle of leaves turning colors so numerous as to bedazzle the brain, and an abundance of garden produce to share with neighbors, friends, relatives, and delighted strangers. When the birds began migrating, we, too, made our yearly pilgrimage south to Tucson.

During the late fall into winter our friend of the wheelchair suffered more reverses and although each time we visited he obviously was failing, he assured us that he was in no pain. Before Christmas he went to "Gods Hands". He died with more that three decades of sobriety; an exemplary member of AA. That and an untimely accident that totaled our car ended the year on a sad note. Thankfully no one was hurt and program friends rallyed in support, loaned a car "for as long as needed", and genuinely cared about our misfortune..

What is a successful year made of? Joy and sorrows, laughter and love, birth and death; all the range of human emotions, and friends and family to share them with. How blessed are we to fully partake  of of such a year? So Happy New Year to all our friends met and unmet. Now we busy ourselves about filling up another memorable one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Warm and Cozy

Thanks to the AA program and the folks who help me learn to live it, I don't have to search for entries to my gratitude list today, which happens to be the same list that I'd read to Santa Claus.

I am warm and cozy this Christmas morning wrapped in the knowledge that I'm okay, that I'm not alone, that recovery is happening, that at least for the moment, I'm not fighting anything or anyone and that I don't need a single thing not already in my possession.

So, happy holidays, my fellow travelers!
From this fluffy bluebird at a snowy North Rim, and me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


The Richfield Wednesday 8:15 p.m. meeting celebrates its 12th anniversary on Dec. 9th, and we will have a birthday party with cake & ice cream on Wednesday, Dec. 15th. All friends are invited!

Thank you for helping me stay sober today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Hello friends, known or known only in spirit. We awoke this morning to a blue-green sky heavily stroked with pink. The old warning, "Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning." rang in my head, but the sky was so striking I chose to let it lift my spirits anyway, and to deal with the weather change later. My heart is filled with gratitude for being able to walk out into the Arizona morning to inspect the lettuce and kale emerging from our winter garden and to be welcomed by the grandkids that live across the wash on this "grandma's morning to make Rorsachach pancakes" even though they are well into the age of self-reliance. We laugh together and they tell me things of their world. Michael and I then go for our first morning of volunteering at the local library followed by his workout at the gym and my Ti Chi. We are grateful to have the health to be able to do stuff,  made all the more poignant by a hospital visit to an AA friend.

We have often heard members lament at AA Meeting that we no longer have that many places to do service work now that "everyone goes to treatment". First off, not everyone goes to treatment. Many come directly to AA and need the welcoming hand of a fellow traveler. Then, of course, there is sponsorship, chairing meetings, secretarial duties, coffee making, and the other duties that keep meetings running. But an easy-to-forget place for service is visiting and/or taking a meeting to members who are hospitalized or home bound or to their caretakers. What better place to give back than to long time members who may have given years of service to others and find themselves incapable of going  to meetings.

Over several years now, Michael and I have been privileged to take meetings to several such homebound or hospitalized members. In their darker hours, the program offers encouragement and strength, a way to fight depression, and offers the promise of passing with the knowledge and dignity of having obtained a sober life.  For a small investment of time, their gratitude is contageous. One particular long time incureable, who has suffered numerous medical problems, one right after another, that would test the faith of most men, smiles and says, "I am in God's hands." Faith, too, is contageous.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Anonymity (click on photo for a surprise!)

Anonymity, that word most newcomers choke on, is a hard taskmaster sometimes, even for a seasoned AA. Michael and I believe in the wisdom of AA's concept of anonymity in the area of press, radio, and film. How many times on TV have we witnessed the infamous relapses of well known personalities who previously proclaimed AA responsible for their sobriety? Might that not turn someone away from seeking AA's help? On a personal level, we say AA is an anonymous program. Many of us choose to break our own anonymity if it will help another at work or in the community, but we do not have the right to break any one Else's without permission. We need to be especially aware that the newcomer might fear reprisal from their boss or public embarrassment if, for instance, we carelessly ask in a grocery store whether they are "coming to the AA Meeting tonight?", no matter our good intent. There is also the humility aspect of anonymity. The program suggests that we grow by becoming more humble. We give up "big-shotism" and boasting and learn how to do something good for someone without letting anyone know. Whew, what an order that is!

The place where we have been challenged to practice that concept is in trying to publicise our book, HOOT n GIN. We conferred with AA's General Office about mentioning the Twelve Steps, we used their disclamer, and we used the last initial of our name to be Anonymous. So far, so good. The book is made up of letters we wrote to each other during the first five years of our sobriety when we lived 500 miles apart. It illustrates how we supported each other and learned together how to change our lives by using the AA Program. Looking back at the letters we could measure our progress even when it was slow and painful. After making significant changes in our lives through sobriety we realized that letter writing so benefited us in that process that we decided to publish our letters hoping our experience might encourage others who are separated from a loved one to try this method of supporting each other and communicating what they are thinking or feeling in new recovery.

The anonymity factor has made it difficult to publicize our book to the very people for whom it is written. It seems inappropriate to mention it during a meeting, and it is not conference approved literature, so it is not accepted at the Central Offices. and Barnes and Noble both used our full names until we notified them to change them on the Web sites. We would appreciate hearing from others who have had similar experiences with keeping anonimity and hearing what their solution has been.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doing a "geographical" by traveling seems to fit my need at the moment. I'm writing to you because I can, and good news, I have found a 5:30 p.m. "As Bill Sees It" meeting tonight, OTR (on the road). I noticed no one has written since July - so thanks for tuning in.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Fourth

Happy Fourth of July to friends known and to those known in spirit! Between travel and a computer that has been under the weather, we haven't visited recently. Kathie spoke of family and that has been on my mind, too.

When we went to upstate New York to visit family and to get our yearly "Rent-a-Chickens" (as our kids call them) that my cousin loans us for the summer, both of my older brothers were hospitalized for serious illnesses while we were there. Time was when I considered myself "different" from my family, beginning way before my alcohol problem. (I remember my 10th summer when I became convinced that I was adopted, despite the strong family resemblances photos showed through the ages.) My introduction to alcohol just confirmed my black sheep status, for my family was adamently abstinent, having lived through families broken by its effect. Entrenched in my secret life I pulled further away from family, visiting only briefly through the next years of alcoholic marriage. Then came sobriety, a new life, and a sober husband my family adored. I found I had only put myself in a position of estrangement and rediscovered siblings that embraced me and sometimes looked to me for answers.

Today I have real feelings for my family. I care when one is sick. I transplant flowers my sisters-in-laws give me and smile at their blooms; exchange recipes and gardening lore; I respect my brothers' advice and when we gather we fill in the empty years of our relationship with stories we tell about or "on" each other. We laugh and accept each other's strengths and weaknesses. One of the sisters-in-law even said that she wished she was as close to her sisters as we are.

Michael and I are going to have a Fourth of July bash, a large gathering of Michael's family (That miracle of repaired family relationships happened with his sobriety, too. Go figure!) There will be good food, a bonfire, marshmallows to cook on sticks in the embers,and a general celebration of freedom. Michael's and mine will be a double celebration, the traditional one, and also for our personal freedom from alcohol that shut us away from joy of family.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yes, Home is Good

Posting a blog this morning is like getting back to a meeting I've missed several times; can't believe how much I rely on habit. If I get to a meeting today, it ups the odds I'll get to one tomorrow...hmmm.
Spent five days in Minneapolis with my brother and sister-in-law earlier this month. Occasion was my niece's wedding, which included one night of family dinner, next night of rehearsal dinner, next night of helping decorate the reception hall and picking up last-minute stuff at Mall of America and then, oh yeah, squeezed in a wedding ceremony the next noon before heading to reception, dinner and dance and then finally next day, the official gift and card opening. Phew.
All went well; I am reaping the benefits of the program's help in establishing neat relationships with family.
I also was aware of being perhaps the only non-drinker at all of this. One of the ways I know I'm alcoholic is I notice the drinking others do; I even notice if someone is NOT drinking. While the wedding party provided the liquor, they also charged 1$ a drink, their reasoning being it would cut down on consumption and help avoid anyone's drinking too much. Good idea, I mused, for the normies, but it wouldn't curtail a true drinker.
I came home safely, glad to have gone; happy to have participated in each event, but also a tad tired of having to be on guard so strongly for five days. I passed a bottle of champagne to the person next to me and poured a little water in my glass for the toasting; I carried a glass of beer to my brother, whose face turned to stone until he realized it was for him, not me, etc. I was truly grateful to repeatedly remind myself to stay "awake". However, I do not do these things effortlessly; I am not around liquor on a daily basis and prefer being freer of the constant stimuli.
I am so thankful for the AA program and Yea, god!