My name is Doug and I am an alcoholic. When I entered into a Rehabilitation Program, I had no idea I was signing up to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am one of the lucky ones, my higher power provided me with the willingness to accept my illness, listen and do what I was told. My first “real” A. A. meeting was the Saturday “Wake Up With Bill W” meeting, I can vividly remember all of the other 13 alcoholics that were there, I was greeted as soon as I walked in, handed several business cards, felt welcome and safe, albeit nervous. Of course the meeting was all about me, I cried and gave my first mini-lead (without knowing it). The group secretary would not let me leave the meeting without obtaining a sponsor, I did my first 7 steps with that sponsor.
Since my rehab met everyday downtown and I had to be up anyway, I first started my day at the BRC every morning at seven. I was given a roster and quickly learned everyone’s name. I shared probably too often, but felt comfortable doing so. After several weeks, I felt that I had 20 plus sponsors as well as my primary one. I listened and learned….getting down on your knees every morning and evening helped you with humility….you go to meetings to see how people stay sober and see what happens to people who don’t go to meetings….and that, I would always be green, among many others.
I met a former co-worker at the BRC S.O.S. (Saturday evening meeting), and he has helped me greatly in the program and in developing those important fellowship bonds.
Eight or nine months in, I was actually asked to help make meatballs for the annual Spaghetti Dinner and was overwhelmed, I was still somewhat out of my comfort zone when it came to socializing with others before and after the meetings. However, I put on my big boy pants and went and made meatballs! We were in need of some additional ingredients and I was volunteered to go to the store with my new sponsor’s sponsor. He is one of those big guys/trusted servants with 30 years of sobriety, I was a little intimidated, but went and we had a great conversation. This past year, I once again helped to make meatballs, this time, two “newbies” were there and I felt so happy for them, on the same journey as I and all of others in this wonderful Fellowship.
You know it’s funny; almost my entire life growing up in Bainbridge, I thought it was the most boring place to live and yet not even a mile away for at least a few of those years was an amazing sanctuary that I could’ve been a part of had I known how much fun and eventful the BRC was.
I originally got sober at rehab in Florida but had to return to Ohio every couple of months for court. While I was here in the early months of my recovery I was very apprehensive about going to meetings. Despite what people might think or say about my personality I’m actually very much an introvert, so venturing far from home, around a lot of strange new people was a big fear for me. I would avoid going to meetings in the beginning but once I realized I truly needed them I did some research and found the BRC. To my surprise it was right down the road! After a few “Ok, I’m really gonna go this time, I can do it no big deal”, I muscled up enough courage to go to a 7am meeting on a weekday. When I went inside it was small and cozy and I enjoyed that. Also knowing it fit less people so I wouldn’t have to be awkward around a lot of strangers for an hour. The meeting was actually fun! Hard to believe I know, but it was, and it also made my whole day more positive. There were some really nice inviting people there who didn’t judge me and laughed at my jokes. Not to mention the inspiration and wisdom in the room. I kept coming back even though I was sometimes uncomfortable and nervous around people.
After permanently returning home to Ohio for Probation, I couldn’t wait to get back to that meeting. And now that I was on court order, I knew I’d have a place to go every week and more time to check out other meetings there. The next room over had games, cable tv and a pool table. If I was ever bored or having cravings I could go there any time of day, rain or shine to find peace.
As someone who is now a secretary for a meeting at the BRC on Monday nights, I can say with complete honesty that the “welcome home” feeling that the BRC and the AA’s in it gave me is a huge reason I love AA. I encourage anyone new to the program, or trying to find a place they can feel safe, cared for, and included in, to go to any one of the wonderful meetings there.
It’s a great stepping stone into the Fellowship of AA. I’ve met most of my friends there, I met the greatest sponsor (my sponsor) in the world there, and created a wonderful life within the BRC.
I just want to say that I do not like change. It’s something that is hard for me to accept, but I immediately knew upon entering the BRC that I was going to love this particular change for myself. My name is Carson B., I’m 26 years old and I’m an Alcoholic, and I’m also a happy sober guy today. Lastly I’d like to thank the BRC for existing, you saved my life and I am forever grateful!
First Step Prayer
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction,
I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.
Second Step Prayer
I know in my heart that only You can restore me to sanity.
I humble ask that You remove all twisted thought and additive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.
Third Step Prayer (Page 63 – A.A. Big Book)
God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
Fourth Step Prayer
It is I who have made my life a mess.
I have done it, but I cannot undo it.
My mistakes are mine, and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory.
I will write down my wrongs and the exact nature of my wrongs.
I pray for the strength to complete the task.
Fifth Step Prayer
My inventory has shown me who I am,
Yet I ask for Your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and You.
Assure me, and be with me, in this Step,
for without this Step I cannot progress in my recovery.
With Your help, I can do this, and I do it.
Sixth Step Prayer
I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character
which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery.
Help me to continue being honest with myself
and guide me toward spiritual and mental health.
Seventh Step Prayer (Page 76 – A.A. Big Book)
My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad.
I pray that You now remove from me
every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding. Amen
Eighth Step Prayer
I ask Your help in making my list of all those I have harmed.
I will take responsibility for my mistakes,
and be forgiving to others as You are forgiving to me.
Grant me the willingness to begin my restitution.
This I pray.
Ninth Step Prayer
I pray for the right attitude to make my amends,
being ever mindful not to harm others in the process.
I ask for Your guidance in making indirect amends.
Most important, I will continue to make amends by
staying abstinent, helping others, and growing in spiritual progress.
Tenth Step Prayer
I pray I may continue:
To grow in understanding and effectiveness;
To take daily spot check inventories of myself;
To correct mistakes when I make them;
To take responsibility for my actions;
To be ever aware of my negative and self-defeating attitudes and behaviors;
To keep my willfulness in check;
To always remember I need your help;
To keep love and tolerance of others as my code;
And to continue in daily prayer how I can best serve you, my Higher Power.
Eleventh Step Prayer
As I understand You, I pray to keep my connection with You open and
clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers and meditation I ask especially for
freedom from self-will, rationalization, and wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of correct thought and positive action.
Your will Higher Power, not mine, be done.
Twelfth Step Prayer
My spiritual awakening continues to unfold.
The help I have received I shall pass on and give to others, both in and out of the Fellowship.
For this opportunity I am grateful.
I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day on the road of spiritual progress.
I pray for the inner strength and wisdom to practice the principles of this way of life in all I do and say.
I need You, my friends, and the Program every hour of every day.
This is a better way to live.
When you break down human emotions, you have two things:
Love and fear.
They cannot coexist; where one is, the other cannot be.
As we walk through this world, we can be struck sometimes with love, and often with the forms of fear.
Love comes in many forms, such as joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, honesty, selflessness, gentleness and forgiveness.
Fear has many forms, such as anger, bitterness, hatred, loathing, dishonesty, revenge and calamity.
If we are struck undeservedly by a stranger with unrelenting bitterness or anger, how we respond is what matters.
We have a choice, every day, every minute, and that choice is to respond by planting a seed of love or a seed of fear.
May I respond with Seeds of Love.