Monday, December 17, 2018

Become The Being That God Created

When I first walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous I had no idea what to expect. Though quickly I was able to see what worked in others -  a belief in and dependence upon God.  As Bill once said "Would I have it? Of course I would."
          The Sixth Step of the program of  Alcoholics Anonymous is "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."  We learn through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous that alcohol is but a symptom of our true malady, our true malady is in fact self-centered fear. We are afraid we are not going to get what we want, afraid that we are going to lose what we have.  Once our fears are triggered we reach for our character defects in an attempt to satiate our human instincts.  The dictionary defines defect as, "the lack of something necessary for completion or perfection."
          We learn in the Fourth Step of the program that it is necessary to find out what it is about us that keeps the Grace of God from our lives. It is in doing this that we discover the exact nature of our wrongs, as we make the list of our defects. In the Fifth Step of the program we confess our character defects.  Then, in the Sixth Step, we are entirely ready and willing to have these defects removed.
          It is our character defects that keep us from the perfection of God - from becoming the human being God created each of us to be and not the self-centered people who care only for their human desires and what they think they need in life.  A person who is willing to use almost any means necessary to fulfill their desires is sick.
          With all of our human flaws we can become the being God created us to be when we turn from our human nature and surrender to His will.

Written by Armand

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Trust In God

      There is an old Biblical story which relates to having trust in God.  When the Jewish people left Egypt, "The Exodus", God had prepared a land for them - The Promised Land.  The Promised Land was an eleven day journey from Egypt. Moses sent a scout from each of the twelve tribes to explore The Promised Land and report back. They reported that the area was magnificent, a land flowing with milk and honey, but the people there are powerful and the cities well fortified. What's more, "we saw giants seven to nine feet tall". This caused fear in the people. The only scouts willing to face their fear (by trusting in God) were Caleb and Joshua, both willing to enter The Promised Land. The Jewish people decided not to enter. For the next forty years the Jews wandered around in the wilderness until all those who were over twenty at the time had died.  Once again, they stood at The Promised Land and only Caleb and Joshua who were over twenty from forty years ago were allowed to enter as they had been willing to face their fears by trusting in God.

           We each have our own exodus from our own addiction. We became weary of wandering around the wilderness alone. We were ill. We were finished. We face our fears by trusting in God and we enter The Promised Land - a land of serenity, peace and joy. Are you ready?  Have you come to believe that a power greater than yourself could restore you to sanity? Have you come to trust in that power?

Written By Armand

Monday, December 10, 2018

Power Of Prayer And Meditation

Eleventh Step is the lifeline for the alcoholic.  "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out."  Prayer and meditation were not something I initially incorporated into my practices of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Why?  I don't really know.  The only answer that I can come up with is that at some level I was still defiant, egotistical and lacked the humility necessary to pray and meditate daily.  I was talking the talk but not walking the walk.  I had worked the previous steps well and certainly to the best of my ability.  I was excited by the program of AA and all the promise it held for me but I have learned through experience that the human nature is a strong foe, unwilling to pray and meditate daily to improve on a conscious contact with God.  I had taken many people through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.   I had read the first 164 pages of the Big Book hundreds of times and attended so many meetings that I can't begin to guess how many.  But prayer and meditation at the level necessary to perceive and do God's will, well that was not in my thoughts and therefore, not on my agenda.
                  Then one day, after a decade of sobriety, I came home from the gym and stepped out of the car experiencing such sever pain that I fell to the ground.  I was unable to move for what seemed like such a long time but in reality was only a minute or so.  I had suffered from back problems most of my adult life but I had never experienced such severe pain.  The subsequent M.R.I. disclosed seven herniated discs, an arthritic spine, spinal stenosis, degenerative vertebrae and a degenerated left hip.  This left me unable to function.  I spent the next twelve months of my life incapacitated, ten months of which I was unable to sit as I had to stand or lay.  The medical community offered me a solution of surgery with a 15% chance of some improvement, heavy blood loss and five to six hours on the operating table.  The surgeon said that the surgery was so difficult that he would only encourage it if I could no longer tolerate the pain.
                 I was directed to a kind and loving doctor who has the ability to identify emotional blocks that prevent healing.  After some months of treatment and with some improvement he said to me as I was lying on the table, "I am picking up energy of a resentful nature."  As soon as he said this I instantly and clearly identified my mom, my dad, and my sister - all of whom I had made amends to and prayed to forgive but at some level deep down inside the cells of my body I was unable to bring about the healing needed to release this resentful energy.
                When I returned home I immediately began to pray and meditate and did so on a daily basis as I was unable to function, in severe pain and incapable of complete forgiveness for my family.  After several days I experienced a forgiveness for my family emanating from deep within.  This experience of forgiveness, through the grace of God,  was brought about by the daily practice of prayer and meditation.  On the 14th of June in the year 2001, while meditating, I knew for the first time in my life that my life was worth something.  I had never had that feeling before.  At the age of 54, after 11 years of sobriety, I had self esteem.  My prayer for you is that if you haven't already you will incorporate daily prayer and meditation into your life

Written By Armand

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Real Problem

What a beautiful program Alcoholics Anonymous is. Not only does it relieve our uncontrollable use of alcohol but is applicable to each and every problem in our lives.
We come to A A because we desire to stop drinking alcohol and are unable to do so on our own.  Alcohol severely impacts our lives, our minds, and our bodies.  We discover through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous that alcohol, of itself, is not and was not the problem - it is but a symptom of the problem.  The real problem with us as alcoholics (and addicts of any and all types) is self-centered fear. We are afraid we will not get what we want... and afraid to lose what we have.
When any of our human instincts are threatened we overreact until we make the decision in the Third Step of the program to turn our thoughts and our actions over to the care of God. Once we do this we are on our way to a serene and peaceful life.  The integration of the remaining steps into our lives leads us to a life in which we are praying and meditating on a daily basis.  When praying we ask only for the knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out. Remaining in that present state of mind, in the will of God, we do not drink. In God's hands all of our problems are solved.

God is the solution to the real problem. Once we are in His will we do not overreact when we think that our human instincts are threatened as we are trusting in His safety and serenity. May you find Him and his comfort now.

Written By Armand

Monday, December 3, 2018

What Was Our Choice To Be?

I had admitted I was alcoholic. I believed in God. I drank twice while a member of Alcoholics Anonymous - once for thirteen months and once for ninety days. Only after the second relapse did I fully realize that I had to make a choice. As the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous says, "When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn't. WHAT WAS OUR CHOICE TO BE?"

Early on I chose - God is everything. When I made that choice I had no idea of the power of the human instinct, how pervasive it is and how difficult it would be to turn from my nature and to live in the will of God. The second relapse brought me to a state of reasonableness in which I clearly saw that the surrender had to be absolute. In Bill's Story in the "Big Book" it says "Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all." What will you chose - He is and He is everything or the nothingness which envelops one in the darkness? 

Written by Armand

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Self Centeredness

When I become angry or resentful, it is in that moment that I manifest my human SELF-CENTEREDNESS.  In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says "that we think is the root of our troubles."  It also goes on to say "It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.  To the precise point that we permit these do we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile.  But with the alcoholic whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave.  We found it fatal!  For when harboring such thoughts we cut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit."
           The solution to our alcoholism is a vital spiritual experience.  We must give life to our relationship with God.  We accomplish this by turning from our human nature and living in the will of God.  We receive God's will through inspiration conditioned by prayer  and meditation.  We can't possibly be in the will of God when we are manifesting SELF - CENTEREDNESS in our lives , but by sobrogating our human nature to the will of God we cannot possibly manifest the SELF - CENTEREDNESS of our human nature in our behavior.

Written by Armand

Monday, November 26, 2018

Forming And Sustaining Relationships

        The chapter on the fourth step in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions describes our dysfunctional relations well: "But it is from our twisted relations with family, friends, and society at large that many of us have suffered the most. We have been especially stupid and stubborn about them. The primary fact that we failed to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being."
          I went through my entire life unable to interact with others on an intimate level. I was incapable of allowing others to experience me as I truly was and I was unwilling to allow others to share with me their own true self.  I would present to the world what I thought the world needed to see about me so I could feel good and safe about myself.  In the past, the relationships I did have were of the type which, when I was done taking that which I wanted from them and them from me, the relationship was over.  I was incapable of FORMING AND SUSTAINING RELATIONSHIPS in an honest and caring way with other human beings.
          The greatest gift I have received from developing a personal relationship with God is the ability to interact with other human beings at an honest and true level - therefore forming and sustaining relationships that are caring and loving, loyal and trust-giving. My landing on such soil from which these relations sprout was done simply, but not easily, by going through the twelve steps of the program of AA. This can occur for any who return to the being God created and meant for them to be. When this does occur, human potential is maximized and becoming a recovered, unbroken being is completely possible.

Written by Armand