Meeting Summaries 2021

Happy New Year!

1-3-2021 #204. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we had an “off-topic” meeting in which we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 16:1.  The document is an open-sourced and copyright free version of the AA Big Book, written in more modern language. Since we were reading the Original Manuscript, I thought it would make a nice contrast.

We liked it so much, that we discussed continuing to read it during our meeting instead of reading the Original Manuscript. What would everyone like to do?

1-10-2021 #205. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 24:1 “Surrender.” The document is an open-sourced and copyright free version of the AA Big Book, written in more modern language.

We discussed that it could be a great writing exercise to personalize the content for compulsive eating. Try it and let me know.

1-17-2021 #206. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 36:1 in the chapter “Soul Searching.” The document is an open-sourced and copyright free version of the AA Big Book, written in more modern language.

1-24-2021 #207. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 37:2 in the chapter “Soul Searching.” The document is an open-sourced and copyright free version of the AA Big Book, written in more modern language. The author of the document is James Ryan.

Today, we reviewed the definition of resentment, discussed the fear inventory and how to turn to God, rather than self when faced with the temptation to eat.

Rather than ask God to take away the feeling of hunger, ask God to fill our hunger.

The goal is to stop looking for an outside solution (the food) for an inside problem (a spiritual void).

1-31-2021 #209. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 46:0. We read and discussed the Step 4 sex inventory and Steps 5-7.

Next week, we will begin the chapter Restitution.

2-7-2021 #210. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 53:1. We read and discussed Steps 8 and 9: willingness to and making amends.

We are exploring other literature about making amends, forgiveness and restitution.

2-14-2021 #211. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 65:1. We read and discussed Steps 10, 11 and began Step 12.

The quote I read at the end of the meeting was:

The love of God is constantly inviting us to review our childish emotional judgments, & now to accept the good things of life & ourselves, of our being, of the people, & the cosmos, & to be grateful for them. Because gratitude, by all odds, is one of the basic dispositions for growth in the spiritual journey.

Fr. Thomas Keating

I liked it so much that I made a picture of it:

We agreed that we would continue to read the book, and discuss what we would like to read next once this one is completed.

Two books that I suggested are:

12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends – by Allen Berger 

12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone – by Allen Berger 

2-21-2021 #212. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the book Becoming Recovered up to page 73:0. We read and discussed Step 12 and how to sponsor and began the chapter If You Love an Addict.

2-28-2021 #213. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we completed reading and discussing the book Becoming Recovered . It was an excellent book and we all really enjoyed it!

There was some discussion about what we are going to read next. So far, this is the plan:

Next week, we will read an article by Dr. Elliot Dacher on Addiction Meditation and Contemplative Practice. It is only 7 pages, so if we finish it, I suggest that we read one or both of these to documents: The Big Book Bunch on Forgiveness followed by  another article from the Big Book Bunch on working the tools, called The Magnificent 7.

After that, there was some discussion about whether we should return to reading The Original Manuscript or read one of the other books that we discussed.

Here is the list of books so far that I have come up with:

12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends – by Allen Berger 

12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone – by Allen Berger 

Practice These Principles Living the Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues in 12-Step Recovery to Achieve Spiritual Growth, Character Development, and Emotional Sobriety By Ray A.    

This is another interesting book, but I have not prescreened it: Sobriety and Beyond by John Doe, Ralph Pfau

Plus, the NA 12 and 12, or their basic text. They have a strong focus on spiritual principles, which is very interesting.

I am not going to post the links, since the internet is very fluid and links are often changed or broken. However, there was a strong preference to finish The Original Manuscript first, since we already started it. We are up to Bill’s Story.

More will be revealed!

3-7-2021 #214. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we completed reading and discussing the article by Dr. Elliot Dacher on Addiction Meditation and Contemplative Practice.

The theme of the article is that as addicts, we have a “hole in the soul” that can only be filled through conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves and a spiritual awakening. Though the practice of prayer and meditation, we become connected to our true inner Source.

There was some discussion about what we are going to read next. I urge everyone to go on line and check out the various books that we have suggested.

Next week begins daylight savings time: Spring Ahead

3-14-2021 #215. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we resumed reading and discussing The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 8:1. This week, we read and discussed Bill’s Story. Next week we will read There is a Solution.

We agreed that we will alternate between reading “official literature” and “non-official literature.”

We agreed that we would start reading the books by Dr. Allen Berger in the order that they were published. After the Original Manuscript, we will read 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone – by Allen Berger.

Here is a great Step 1 exercise.

Just a quick reminder that our meeting will be cancelled on March 28, 2021 and April 4, 2021.

3-21-2021 #216. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 14:1. We read and discussed the chapter There is a Solution.

“beginner’s mind” is a concept from Zen Buddhism that refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.

We discussed another book The 7 Key Principles of Successful Recovery by Mel B. and Bill P. Please take a look at the book and see if it is something that might be interesting to read as a group.

Our meeting is cancelled for the next 2 weeks.

4-11-2021 #217. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 20:1. We read and discussed the chapter More About Alcoholism.

“beginner’s mind” is a concept from Zen Buddhism that refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.

We were very happy to welcome several new participants! Keep coming back!

4-18-2021 #218. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 20:1. We read and discussed the chapter We Agnostics.

We were very happy to welcome several new participants! Keep coming back!

We decided that next week will be go over various Step 2 exercises that are already posted in various places on the blog. This is a link to the document of all the exercises.

4-25-2021 #219. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed some of the Step 2 exercises from the document posted on the blog.

Some of us liked doing the exercises, and others did not. Next week, we will return to reading The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind.” We will read and discuss the chapter – How it Works.

“beginner’s mind” is a concept from Zen Buddhism that refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.

Please continue to help carry the message and invite new people to our group!

5-2-2021 #220. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 33:0. We read and discussed the chapter – How it Works.

Next week we will read Into Action.

Today we discussed:

  • what is a “pepper diet?”
  • what is a “spiritual sickness?”
  • the difference between “BEING” and “DOING.”

A “straight pepper diet” refers to having a voracious sexual appetite and an overactive sex life. It also can be defined as: “sex as often as you want, anyway that you like it.” It is generally believed that the phrase was coined by Bill Wilson.

During our group, we discussed that the spiritual malady is the negative internal state of disharmony or discomfort that occurs when we are disconnected from God, plagued by fear and when our lives feel meaningless and without purpose. It is the emptiness that we feel on the inside which drives us to fill that void through outside substances and or behaviors (i.e., food, drugs, gambling, etc.). However, as we discussed last week, the only thing that can actually fill that “hole in the soul” is conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, who can restore us to sanity.

We were very happy to welcome a new participant! Keep coming back!

5-9-2021 #221. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 41:0. We read and discussed the chapter – Into Action.

Next week we will read Working with Others.

Today the questions asked were:

  1. Why is confession so important for recovery?
  2. Why do secrets keep us sick and spiritually blocked?
  3. Why are secrets dangerous for addicts?
  4. Why is honesty necessary for recovery?
  5. Why is a spiritual experience necessary in order for us to change and recover?
  6. How does God discipline us?
  7. Why do we need God to discipline us in order to change?

Happy Mother’s Day!

5-16-2021 #222. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 48:0. We read and discussed the chapter – Working with Others.

Next week we will read To Wives.

5-23-2021 #223. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 56:0. We read and discussed the chapter – To Wives.

Next week we will read The Family Afterward.

5-30-2021 #224. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 62:0. We read and discussed the chapter – The Family Afterward.

Next week we will read To Employers.

6-6-2021 #225. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 70:0. We read and discussed the chapter – To Employers.

Next week we will read A Vision for You.

6-13-2021 #226. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 77:0. We read and discussed the chapter – A Vision for You.

We discussed: what are the components for successful recovery?

Next week we will read Appendix I and The Doctor’s Nightmare.

After we finished the stories from The Original Manuscript , we will read 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone – by Allen Berger next.

As a reminder, our plan is to alternate reading “official” program literature from any 12 Step program with other “unofficial” program/ recovery literature during our meetings.

6-20-2021 #227. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the first 2 stories from The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 11:0.

The 2 stories were Dr. Bob’s Nightmare and The Unbeliever. The last story was about Hank Parkhurst, who wrote the chapter To Employers.

There is a lot of information available on line, if anyone would like to know more about him. Here are 2 documents that I found on Hank P.

HANK-PARKHURST-NYS-AA2 (1)

big_book_facts_and_myths

6-27-2021 #228. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next 2 stories from The Original Manuscript with a “beginner’s mind” up to page 21:0.

The 2 stories were The European Drinker by Joe D of Cleveland Ohio and A Feminine Victory by Florence R. of New York City.

There is a lot of information available on line, if anyone would like to know more about them.

Here is a PowerPoint document on Women of the Big Book.

7-4-2021 #229. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next story from The Original Manuscript , Our Southern Friend. We read up to page 29:0. The author of the story is John H. F. (Fitz) M., from Cumberstone, Maryland. In the first three editions the story appeared under the section “They Nearly Lost All.”

In the beginning of the meeting, we also discussed the topic of wanting a sponsor with a particular political affiliation. Some very interesting discussion points were raised about “principles before personality” and tradition 10.

There is a lot of information available on line about this author, if anyone would like to know more about him.

I am including some of the documents that I found below:

Our Southern Friend part One

FITZ-MAYO-NYS-AA-3

7-11-2021 #230. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next 3 stories from The Original Manuscript.  We read: A Business Man’s Recovery, A Different Slant, and Traveler, Editor, Scholar, up to page 39:0.

The biographies of the authors of the stories are quite colorful.

William (Bill) Ruddell from New Jersey was the author of A Business Man’s Recovery.  Apparently, when the Alcoholic Foundation was established in the spring of 1938, he was appointed as a trustee. Unfortunately, he almost immediately got drunk and was replaced by Harry Brick, who was the author of the next story, A Different Slant.

It is suggested that Harry B. might be the “Fred, a partner in a well-known accounting firm” whose story is told on pages 39 through 43 of the Big Book. According to the information that I found online, he too did not maintain long term sobriety.

His story is the shortest in the 1st edition. He had only one point he wanted to make: Even a man with everything money can buy, a man with tremendous pride and will power to function in all ordinary circumstances, could become an alcoholic and find himself as hopeless and helpless as the man who has a multitude of worries and troubles.

The author of Traveler, Editor, Scholar was Jim Scott. The story was retitled The News Hawk in the 2nd and 3rd editions of the AA Big Book.

Since he was a journalist, he was recruited by Dr. Bob to serve as an editor for the stories that were submitted for the AA Big Book.

Next week, due to the religious holiday, we will be having an off-topic meeting. Rather than reading from the OM, we will read about the 12 Concepts. This is something that we have never discussed in our group.

I will try and attached the documents available on this topic.

This is the 12 Concepts and 12 Traditions of NA:

12 Traditions &

This is the document that I created to demonstrate the similarities and differences among all the fellowships on the 12 Concepts.

This is the classic pamphlet on the 12 Concepts:

3300 Twelve Concepts Illustrated

Living_the_12_Concepts (2020_10_12 17_33_08 UTC)

This particular document looks very promising:

CA-12-concepts-4-hours

p-8_thetwelveconetps (2020_10_12 17_33_08 UTC)

Sharing_the_Steps_Traditions_Concepts_Workshop (2020_10_12 17_33_08 UTC)

smf-91_en (2020_10_12 17_33_08 UTC)

BBA Concepts Handout (1) (2020_10_12 17_33_08 UTC)

12_Concepts_Overview

7-18-2021 #231. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we had an “off-topic” meeting in which we read and discussed the 12 Concepts for World Service. The 12 Concepts are rarely discussed in most meetings. I personally only have a vague recollection of what they are.

It is interesting that while the steps and traditions are the same in all fellowships, the concepts differ among each fellowship.  Today, we read the 12 Concepts for AA, NA and OA and observed their similarities and differences. I made this PDF of the concepts in AA, NA, OA and CA.

THE 12 STEPS — 12 TRADITIONS — 12 CONCEPTS

We then started to read the AA pamphlet on the 12 Concepts Illustrated. We read up to Concept 6.

We discussed that we would like to each continuing to read it during our meeting instead of reading the Stories from the Original Manuscript. What would everyone like to do?

Please listen to the playback recording and share your thoughts.

7-25-2021 #232. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next 2 stories from The Original Manuscript.  We read: The Back-Slider, and Home Brewmeister, up to page 47:0.

We discussed that we would like to continue reading and discussing the stories from the Original Manuscript and save the 12 Concepts for another time.

The author of The Back-Slider was Walter Bray was from Cleveland, Ohio. According to both of the sites linked above, Walter’s wife, Marie B., wrote the story “An Alcoholic’s Wife,” which also appears in the 1st edition.

The author of Home Brewmeister was Clarence H. Snyder. He was a very important contributor to AA.  He is responsible for the tradition of sponsorship in A. A. and rotating leadership within the groups.  Here is a link to an amazing biography of him. For anyone who is interested in the history of AA, it is worthwhile to read his biography.

8-1-2021 #233. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next 2 stories from The Original Manuscript.  We read: The Seven Month Slip, My Wife and I, and A Ward of the Probate Court, up to page 56:0.

The author of The Seven Month Slip was Ernie Galbraith, from Akron, Ohio, who was married to Dr. Bob’s daughter, Sue.

It is a bit of a sad story. Sue and Ernie had two children, a son (Mickey) and a daughter (Bonna). They divorced about 1965 and she married Ray Windows. On June 11, 1969, their daughter, Bonna, shot herself, after first killing her six-year-old daughter. She was 23 at the time of her death. According to Sue, Ernie never got over it. Bonna died June 11, 1969, and he died two years later to the day, June 11, 1971.

The story My Wife and I – was written by Tom Lucas, also from Akron, Ohio.

The author of A Ward of the Probate Court – was written by William (Bill or Billy) Van Horn (Van Horne?) who was from Akron or Kent, Ohio

We discussed that we would like to take a break from reading the stories and begin reading the book 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger.

After we read that book, we will read a book that is “official” program literature.  We discussed reading The Little Red Book, or, one of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions from any 12 Step Fellowship.

If we like reading this book by Dr. Berger, he has any other books that we might enjoy reading together.  

8-8-2021 #235. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next 2 stories from The Original Manuscript.  We read: Riding the Rods and Ace Full — Seven — Eleven, up to page 66:0.

During the week, we discussed that we would finish the stories in The Original Manuscript as one of the tools of recovery is the discipline of honoring our commitments. Cultivating self-disciple helps us to stay abstinent when we might feel unmotivated, uncomfortable or distressed. 

8-15-2021 #236. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the next 3 stories from The Original Manuscript.  We read: The Salesman and Fired Again, and The Fearful One, up to page 74:0.

8-22-2021 #237. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the last 2 stories from The Original Manuscript.  We read: Truth Freed Me! and Smile with Me, at Me, until page 79.

The story Truth Freed Me! – was written by Paul Stanley from Akron, Ohio.

The author of Smile with Me, at Me – was written by Harold Sears who was from Brooklyn, New York.

Next week we will finally begin reading 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger.

8-29-2021 #238. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed the introduction to our new book, 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger.

9-5-2021 #239. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed chapter 1 in 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger.

9-12-2021 #240. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed chapter 2 in 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger.

9-19-2021 #241. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we read and discussed chapter 3 and 4 in 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger. We had time to discuss chapter 3 but ran out of time to discuss chapter 4. We agreed to revisit chapter 4 and discuss it next week.

9-26-2021 #242. This is the link to the mp3. This week, we reviewed chapter 4 and then read and discussed chapters 5 and 6 in 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery by Dr. Allen Berger.