Summer 2016 Shareguide - Elkhart Alcoholics Anonymous
The phrase "God As We Understand Him" is perhaps the most important expression to be found in our whole AA vocabulary. Within the compass of these five
significant words there can be included every kind and degree of faith, together
with the positive assurance that each of us may choose his own.
Bill W. Grapevine Copyright © AA Grapevine, Inc, April 1961
Most people today have some knowledge of A.A. and that the twelve steps has something to
do with God. Common discussion at meetings include words like moral inventory, making
amends, and living by spiritual principles. God is often a topic of conversation, our literature is
spiritual in nature, and the Big Book alone mentions the word God almost 300 times.
The Big Book was written to educate Alcoholics and
their families come to terms with the possibility
that they may be “suffering from an illness
which only a spiritual experience will conquer.”
The Big Books….”main object is to enable you
to find a Power greater than yourself which will
solve your problem.”
“Many times we watch a mans hopes rise as we
discuss our alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God….”
Big Book p 44 & p45.
Much to our relief, we discovered we
did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception,
however inadequate, was sufficient to
make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. Big Book p 46
The day Eby Thatcher sat in Bill Wilson’s
kitchen and suggested, ”Why don't you
choose your own conception of God?" has
probably saved hundreds of thousands of
hopeless alcoholics across the globe.
In A.A. spirituality comes in all brands, from
traditional to unusual, and everywhere in
between. This Shareguide issue offers information, ideas, and thoughts from our diverse membership on spirituality and God
as we understand him.
People take different roads
seeking fulfillment and
Just because they’re not on
your road does not mean
they are lost. Dalai Lama
In AA we have two dictators, we profit
and grow through both. One is John
If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were,
Barleycorn, who is never very far from
we believe there is no middle-of-the-road sothe elbow of each of us. The other is
lution. We were in a position where life was
“The Father of Lights” who presides
becoming impossible, and if we had passed
over all men. God is saying to us
into the region from which there is no return
“Learn my will and do it” And John
through human aid, we had but two alternaBarleycorn is saying to us “You had
tives: One was to go on to the bitter end,
better do God’s will or I will kill you!
blotting out the consciousness of our intoleraWilsons closing address at St. Louis, 1955 (AA
ble situation as best we could; and the other, Bill
Comes of Age, p. 255)
to accept spiritual help. Big Book Page 25
The twelve simple words of the
First Step embrace a whole philosophy of life. Books could be
written on the subject of personal
surrender suggested by the first
six words. “Admitted we were powerless over alcohol.” The next six represent
our acknowledgment that we have not
yet learned to handle our affairs wisely;
“….that our lives have become unmanageable.” The First Step prepares us for a
new life, which we can achieve only by
letting go of what we cannot control and
by undertaking, one day at a time, the
monumental task of setting our world in
order through a change in our own thinking. This is only accomplished by surrendering to a Power greater than ourselves.
ven those of us who have no
particular religious faith, or
who have lost faith we once
had may reach such extremities that we cry out in desperation for
help. We pray involuntarily, we pray to
Something, some unknown Power to
relieve us of our unbearable burdens.
Before the 12 Steps, in my confusion
and despair I ask for help in this way,
but the next moment I would begin to
worry again about what was going to
We are imprisoned by our
own inability or unwillingness
to reach out for help to a
Power Greater than Ourselves.
We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which
faith can be acquired.
If what we have learned and felt
and seen means anything at all, it
means that all of us, whatever our
race, creed, or color are the children of a living Creator with whom
we may form a relationship upon
simple and understandable terms
as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try. Big Book P 28
I guess you would call me Agnostic, but I do believe in a Power
greater than myself. I call that Power, God. I have no religious
affiliation nor can I describe this Power in words. I call him God
for lack of a word to describe it. But I do know one thing for
sure, this Power has transformed my life. As a direct result of
working the 12 steps, I have had deep spiritual experiences
that removed the obsession to drink, rearranged my thinking
and how I live life. I do get uncomfortable when I feel judgment
from others that my faith is inadequate. Nothing useful come
from Intolerance of the faith of others or the lack thereof.
Skeptics Prayer: I don’t
know if you exist. I think you
may only be a myth. I do not
know. I think there must be
something greater than myself, and I am a seeker of the
truth. So whatever and
wherever you are, I ask you
to reveal the truth to my
heart and clear away the
clutter in my mind. Amen
I am somewhat conservative in my belief in God. I
was raised in the Church and feel strongly about my
faith. However, I am an Alcoholic so I need the support of people who understand my disease and my
fellow believers at church do not understand. I also
have dedicated much my spare time to helping
those find freedom from active alcoholism. I feel it
is my responsibility to be there for the newcomer. I
love my God and my Church, but I also love Alcoholics Anonymous. I do not allow my Christian faith
cause conflict with my fellow in AA friends, and for
me faith alone did not solve my alcoholic problem.
“Prayer is not a check request asking
for things from God. It is a deposit slip
– a way of depositing God’s character
into our bankrupt souls.”
Sand into pearls,
Coal into diamonds.
Just think what He
can do with you!
Upon entry into AA, I was given some tools that I could
use every day to help me stay sober. One was the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the
things I cannot change, the courage to change the
things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
But I couldn't pray because my mind was so clouded
and foggy and I was riddled with anger. So my Sponsor
suggested that I use it as a poem. I recited it first thing
in the morning, throughout the day, and before going to
bed. I was willing to do the footwork in a way that made
sense to me. It helped me in my path of coming to believe in God of my own understanding.
who art in
know my name?
BIG BOOK TENTH STEP PRAYERS
P. 84 Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and
fear. When these crop up, we ask
God at once to remove them.
P. 85 Everyday is a day when we must
carry the vision of God’s will into all
our activities. “How can I best serve
Thee--Thy will (not mine) be done”.
Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is
still sick. The answers will come IF your own house is in order. BB p.164
In June 2010, AA marked its 75th anniversary. TIME takes
a deep look back at the history of the self-help group
AA is a secular organization, holding as one of its principles
that "belief in, or adherence to, a formal creed is not a condition of membership." But the roots of AA were grounded
in religion. Co-founder Wilson had a spiritual awakening
after he was hospitalized for his drinking in 1934. He and
his wife Lois joined the Oxford Group, a nondenominational
Christian movement popular in the U.S. and Europe in the
early 20th century. The AA tenets of self-examination, acknowledgment of character defects and restitution for
harm done to others grew out of Oxford Group teachings.
Today, four of the 12 steps in the AA program mention God
directly, and the 12th calls for a "spiritual awakening as a
result of these steps." As the Oxford Group grew, it suffered
from infighting and debate about its purpose. AA, on the
other hand, has maintained a stable structure and agenda
for most of its existence. "The Oxford Groupers had clearly
shown us what to do," Wilson said in 1955. "And just as importantly, we learned from them what not to do."
Is sobriety all we are to expect of a spiritual
awakening? No sobriety is only a bare beginning; it is only the first gift of first awakening.
If more gifts are going to be received, our
awakening has to go on. As it does go on, we
find that bit by bit we can discard the old
life—the one that did not work—for a new
life that does work under any conditions
whatever. Grapevine - December 1957
We finally saw
that faith in some kind
of God was a part of our
make-up, just as much
as the feeling we have
for a friend. Sometimes
we had to search fearlessly, but He was there.
He was as much a fact
as we were. We found
the Great Reality deep
down within us. In the
last analysis it is only
there that He may be
found. It was so with us.
Big Book P 55
God, He is beyond
Lord, Make me an
instrument of thy peace!
That where there is hatred,
I may bring love.
That where there is wrong,
I may bring the spirit
That where there is discord,
I may bring harmony.
That where there is error,
I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt,
I may bring faith.
That where there is despair,
I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows,
I may bring light.
That where there is sadness,
I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek
rather to comfort,
than to be comforted.
Synonyms: Contemplation, thought, thinking, musing,
pondering, consideration, reflection, deliberation, concentration
The Prayer of St. Francis was first published in 1912 in Paris by
a well know religious group. Since then it has been accepted
and adopted by many other church followers. The Peace Prayer was also adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as a teaching
tool in the art of meditation. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are recommended reading for anyone studying the
steps and this prayer is used in the study of the 11th step.
The cool thing about this
prayer is that anyone of any
The goal of meditation faith can utilize it for focus,
is not to control your mediation, and relaxation.
Most of us have clouded our
minds and thoughts with
mass doses of alcohol. The
It is to stop letting
practice of mediation helps
them control you
heal our minds emotionally,
physically, and spiritually.
As beginners in meditation, we might now reread this prayer several times very slowly, savoring every word and trying to take in the deep meaning of each phrase and idea. It
will help if we can drop all resistance to what our friend
says. For in meditation, debate has no place. 12 & 12 p.99
than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting
that one finds.
It is by forgiving that
one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one
wakens to Eternal Life.
—Saint Francis of Assisi
Tradition Nine—A.A., as such, ought never be
organized; but we may create service boards or
committees directly responsible to those they serve.
(Tradition 9 - Long Form) Each A.A. group
needs the least possible organization. Rotating
leadership is the best. The small group may
elect its secretary, the large group its rotating
committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board
are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A.
Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A.
contributions by which we maintain our A.A.
General Service Office at New York. They are
authorized by the groups to handle our overall public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principal newspaper, the A.A.
Grapevine. All such representatives are to be
guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders
in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.
Editorial: We are not organized as a management team, but we do form committee's. We
form committees to assure one person does not
hold authority, and we answer to AA as a whole.
One of the most valuable resources of Alcoholics
Anonymous is the experience of those who have
gone before us. Sharing our experience with
someone who is stepping into a service roll is
truly the heartbeat of AA. Thinking of the future
of AA and others stepping into a service roll
(spirit of rotation) becomes a solid foundation for
continued healthy growth for the AA Fellowship.
The spiritual principle of rotation in Alcoholics
Anonymous provides us with a growing pool of
people whose primary aim is to serve the AA Fellowship. Willingness and generosity to share
both success and failure is crucial in order to preserve what we have been given. Mentorship and
sponsorship is important in a service roll too, so
whatever your job is in AA remember, someone
will follow in your footsteps.
Be a Service Mentor. Share freely!
We have had positive results from the Saturday Night Speaker Meeting time change and
attendance has remained steady. After a recent Saturday night meeting several people got
together and went to the Jazz Festival while others stayed behind to enjoy a beautiful summer evening of fellowship on the porch of Serenity Hall. In July the CSO hosted the speaker
meetings and introduced a new Speaker-Discussion format. This consisted of a 30-40 minute speaker on a topic with comments after. At the July 2nd meeting the topic of Gratitude
was introduced after the Speaker. On July 16th, speakers gave leads about how to have fun
in sobriety. On July 23rd three speakers will take the podium with a brief lead on the topic
of Service. We are excited to see the new ideas our groups have planned for Saturday Night
over the next few months. The month of December is still open for any group to take.
message continued on back page
Reflecting on her life upon incarceration,
a local AA member writes from her heart from
a cell at the Elkhart County Jail.
Hidden Hope, broken dreams,
Life is never what it seems.
My thoughts linger, I cannot sleep;
For all I’ve cost my kids, I weep.
Of all the things I wish they would not have endured,
They fell victim to my society, their innocence so pure.
I had the weight of the world on top my shoulders;
The little issues then are now huge boulders.
If I could turn back all of time,
A new meaning to life, positive focus I would find,
One that would help my grip on a world so round.
Highlights of happy times and one’s family bound.
Saddened I chose on that’s caused so many tears.
As all this didn't happen overnight.
I must slowly face my burdens and make things right.
I’ve shortchanged my children, this I know;
Downward no longer exists, up is the only way to go.
I know now what I must do.
Gather the shattered pieces and make our lives anew.
CSO Message Continued:
There are so many opportunities for
service in A.A. There is a huge need
for women to take meetings to the
Elkhart County Work Release Program. Speakers are needed at treatment centers; volunteers are needed to communicate with the public
and area professionals.
The Shareguide is also looking for
writers and volunteers to gather
content and of course we always
welcome your letters & articles. The
CSO is also looking to hire an Office
Manager for about 3-4 hours per
week. The candidate will need experience with Excel & Word, have
basic bookkeeping skills, and a
sense of commitment. If this sounds
of interest to you or someone you
know, please contact the CSO.
Service the Heart Beat of A.A.
CSO Office & Bookstore
gift that can
anyone is a
949-1/2 Middlebury St.
Elkhart, IN 46514
Check out our website for
meeting schedule, and up to
date information & events