Growing up I just assumed everyone went to open AA meetings and everyone’s father took every opportunity they could to point out the consequences of bad choices regarding drugs and alcohol. I assumed every father taught their daughter how to change their tire, check their oil, balance a checkbook, and haggle for a deal. I assumed every father made their child read a section of the newspaper and give a quick synopsis of what they learned.
I assumed that every mother taught their daughter how to appear lady-like, how to keep their feelings close to their chest and never air their dirty laundry. I assumed every mother taught their daughter how to hide behind a smile and to be polite no matter what! How to be attractive to men…how to present themselves in a way that someone will someday want to marry and take care of them.
I could write a book on the good and bad lessons I learned from my childhood but the biggest lesson of all is realizing we are ALL IN RECOVERY OF SOMETHING and judgment is above my pay-grade…psssst, get that t-shirt here.
One of the most unique experiences I had was growing up in Alcoholics Anonymous…never as a participant, simply as an observer.
My father is a reformed alcoholic and drug addict..a success story of not only a 12 step program but of overcoming the odds of a horrifically traumatic childhood. He has been clean and sober for 43 years. Although he’s on the winning side of battling his demons he is continuously in the ring with them exerting every ounce of his energy to keep them pinned down. My father, BTW, is the greatest man I have every had the pleasure of knowing.
Since childhood I have had the honor of hearing the stories of many people battling those same demons and it’s left a huge impact on me.
My father gifted me a book that nearly everyone in AA has…”Twenty-Four Hours a Day” by Hazelden Meditations aka “The Little Black Book”
(Shop Local and get your copy from Harvey’s Tales located at 216 James Street Geneva IL. Call to reserve your copy at 630-232-2991 or visit their website https://harveystales.com/) Tell them Lola sent you!
Here is how the author describes it “Daily thoughts, meditations, and prayers for living a clean and sober life. A spiritual resource with practical applications to fit our daily lives.
The book has a new reading for every day of the year. On November 14th, my birthday, here is what the little black book had to say to me:
“A better way than judging people is to look for all the good in them. If you look hard enough and long enough, you ought to be able to find some good in every person. In A.A. I learned that my job was to try to bring out the good, not criticize the bad. Every alcoholic is used to being judged and criticized. That has never helped anyone to get sober. In A.A. we tell people they can change. We try to bring out the best in them. We encourage their good points and ignore their bad points. People are not converted by criticism. Do I look for the good in people?”
If you change a word or 2 in the above snippet it can relate to every human in every part of the world.
I am a firm believer we should be teaching our children the 12 steps starting at birth…remove the word alcohol and fill it with whatever affliction you experience and it gives you clear guidance on the human experience.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (or enter whatever you are battling) that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics (or whatever you are battling), and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I do not claim to know it all…in fact the more I learn the more I realize I know very little. What I do know though is everything in life is based in either love or fear…100% of everything in life lives in one of those 2 categories. It’s time we start asking ourselves which of these are we leading with. If the answer is fear, refer to the above 12 steps, and turn towards love.
Please share this with the people in your circle. Allow this to act as a salve for your inner wounds.