The New Book and Its Website

http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/

This is the website address of my latest book release: “Living the 12 Steps of Recovery – One Day at a Timeself-published, distributed by “Wing & a Prayer Publishing, LLC Spokane, Washington.

The book is a non-fiction work in a classical revival of the original 12 Steps and Traditions of the first Recovery Program from Alcoholism. Designed by the first 100 members of the Worldwide Fellowship of Alcoholic’s Anonymous, it was then graciously lent by that body to many other fellowships.

These 75 year old principles are presented as they were in the beginning; collated, carefully worded and reformatted into a collection of daily meditation readings with special appendices on the history, classical approaches and some new insight into the concepts of Prayer and Meditation. They are the principles that people in recovery have used to replace their dependence upon alcohol, drug use and patterns of addictive behavior.

The work is 465 pages, containing 12 stunning original drawings of people contemplating the spiritual application of each corresponding step and tradition. There are individual sheets between chapters for journaling and notes by the reader.

“Why even bother to do something like this when it has been done well enough in it’s original forms for the use of people in recovery for 75 years,” some have said.

Until now, they have not been presented in easily read, page length daily essays dealing ONLY with the principles themselves and not an author’s insight into their application. There are hundreds of books like that on the market, yet there are none that use a classical sonata format: Introduction – Expansion – Recapitulation that present these time honored methods in a daily rendition, with each corresponding step and tradition discussed for an entire month in a refreshing non-repetitive style.

Thus, repetition’s penetrating capability, a fundamental element of the program, subtly results in reinforcement and thorough comprehension as a result. You come out knowing the principles well,  just “as they were in the beginning.”

It is surprising to find how many people don’t know these practices well enough to discuss their actual meaning: the original intent based upon a thorough study of the many pieces of literature of AAWS, all on virtually the same subject matter.

The theory works. Over 200 readers, as of this writing, have added this reference to their collection and everyone of them say two things: “I read it every day” and “Its about time someone did this.” So metaphorically, it was this author’s intention to take a faithful favorite pair of shoes, re-soul them and buff them up, good as new, restored,..not re-written.

I hope you’ll find the time to look at the website, as we expand to include more examples from the book. This month on the blog, I will feature 3 pages from the 12 Principle Chapters, to orientate a potential reader to the content.

Thank you one and all for the chance to attract your interest,

Arthur Messenger

Author

****If you enjoyed the blog, take a look at the book**** http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/index.html
which is also available at Amazon KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V0CHY2

The Spirit of Christmas Present

Dear Friends~

Here is a story out of my archives that I wrote in 2001, my first year of recovery. It still gives me Goose Bumps.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and contentment to those who are struggling to live a life in recovery. I’m okay.

WHAT IT WAS LIKE

The first Christmas of my sobriety, my spirit felt like a wandering ship with no port of call. I was meandering aimlessly, and much like the ghost of Dickens Jacob Marley, I carried a crushing weight of chains formed from my deep, dark, resentments toward God, my apparent fate, and the people who had so wrongfully and bitterly disappointed me. Laden with cynicism, bitterness, and anger, I lived in a state of restless, irritable, discontentment. My body was suffering from uncontrollable weight gain as a result of Type II Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Chronic Insomnia and a myriad of other physical maladies. Alcohol had made both my physical and spiritual life so unmanageable; I felt I’d been given a view into the abyss of death. That Christmas, I had become the very visage of Ebenezer Scrooge. “Bah! Humbug!”

By my own foolhardy account, I had heroically saved my own life by agreeing to treatment. After release, I had bravely walked alone, through the doors of my first AA meeting. I did the 90/90 meeting program. Some days I needed 2 or 3 meetings, just to stay sober. Having read the book and done the first five steps in treatment, “I really didn’t need any condescending, self-deprecating old dry drunk to sponsor me in anything, thank-you very much”! I was told that I never had to be alone again, but I was just stubbornly fine by myself, “indeed”. I was sober, “doing the deal”, and that was quite enough …or so I thought.

The first Christmas and New Year’s I worked in the kitchen of the local Alcathon as much as I could. Though my efforts were acknowledged as service, I was really there because I lived alone, had no place else to go, and on those terms, was terrified of the compulsion to drink. I had turned my back on my family and friends. They had staged a nasty intervention, abandoning and betraying me in my hour of need. Since I was mistakenly convinced my resentments were totally righteous, I naturally deprived them of the sheer joy of my company. At least I was among the sick, like me. Delighted when both Christmas and New Year’s had passed, I was patronizingly grateful for having somewhere to endure them. ”Good Riddance to holiday rubbish”!

WHAT HAPPENED

I despised The Promises.  To me, they were idiotically extravagant. Were they being fulfilled among us? Perhaps, but let the weak and naïve have their miracles. Quickly or slowly realized, they were the morphine of A.A. as far I was concerned. Bill W. must’ve been thinking he had to create some S&H Green Stamp Program to bolster the fortitude of the inherently unresolved, and to sell his “Big Book.”

I knew better. It was just another battle of a lifelong struggle. Dignity, Honor, Love and Respect were to be the earned rewards through the endless but righteous suffering my fate left me to endure. I would do it, but there would be only rare pleasure in it. No leisure or rest for this soldier of sobriety. I accepted my lot,…. begrudgingly of course.

At each meeting I would here How It Works from Chapter V of The Big Book. A voice would read, “Without help it is too much for us, but there is one who has all power, that one is God, may you find him now”. In desperation, I sought to find “the God of my understanding”.  Beginning to pray, I asked only for the removal of the compulsion to drink, and slowly, it was removed. One day, I realized it’s near daily nagging was gone. It had simply vanished. During the few times it had ventured back into my consciousness, it would become more and more easily dismissed. I suddenly realized God was doing for me what I could not do for myself.

I embraced the program, opening my heart to the sober community. Soon, I met a woman in the fellowship whom I fell madly in love with. Then an excellent sponsor appeared for me. I got a Big Book, 12X12, other pieces of literature, and devoured them voraciously. I was feeling alive, my emotions were responding, and my health and well-being were returning. Everything seemed wonderful…, until it all changed unexpectedly.

The love that I thought had come to complete me by God’s hand exposed her hidden side. She’d been prospecting for gold, and in an overnight reversal dropped her feigned affections, having found a better vein to mine. I felt I had not only been deceived, but had lost my best friend and lover for she had proved to be neither and 1,000 miles away.

I clung to the program, grasping for my faith in God, but try as I might and pray as I did, I could not seem to escape the disappointment. Once again regret, remorse and resentments were finding their way back into my life. I was losing my faith in my God and had stopped praying only for the knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out. I was so afraid to “put it all on the line,” for I had felt abandoned by God once before in my life and it appeared I had fallen for the same “Kool-aid” again.

Still I believed. I believed that if I asked “only for the knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out”, I would never be disappointed in the message of the 11th Step.  Already, I’d experienced how I could depend on God for his help when the compulsion to drink had been removed. So I prayed, for the serenity to accept, the courage to change, and the wisdom to know. Though struggling, I hung onto my sobriety and my sanity.

The conditions became worse as the next Christmas approached. I became very ill. Then I experienced some financial difficulties. Though I was trying to hang on, I could feel my insane thinking re-emerging. Each morning and night, I prayed for a sign of God’s reassuring love, a strengthening power to shore-up my faith.

A month before Thanksgiving, my sponsor left on his fall vacation. Luckily, I met a very kind woman with 23 years in the program who agreed to act as my sponsor.  She taught me how gratitude should be specified in a list, then referred to and added onto when we feel there is little to be grateful for. I will always keep that list and continue to amend it; “counting my blessings”.

Like the year before, I worked at The Alcathon kitchen on Christmas Day. While sitting down for a break, I caught site of a man walking up to the counter whom I had never seen though his face seemed so familiar. He came back into the kitchen and began talking to me, introducing himself only as Martin, (pronounced Marteen). He was a truck driver from Arizona who was just passing through. Having never been to my city before, Martin explained that he was an alcoholic in his ninth year of recovery. He had a soft voice and a gentle smile.

While making a point of trying to help him feel at home, I introduced him to everyone that came in the kitchen. We continued to talk while I was working, covering several subjects pertinent to my life and sobriety. It seemed we had a lot in common. When he spoke, it was calmly, almost reverently to me about spirituality. Using a gesture, he would point his finger up to the sky whenever he would speak of God, never mentioning him by name. In time, we had covered most of the dilemmas that were eroding my faith.

He was unusually kind and understanding. All during that time he was smiling, and from time to time impishly looking as if he had known me all along. I remembered a poster I had acquired in college called, “The Laughing Jesus” and it struck me odd how much of a resemblance there was.

When I was done with my shift we sat at a table and talked of my lost love and her disappointing behavior. Martin explained to me that there were some things I would never know or understand and that that was okay. That was what Acceptance was all about. It had only been a small part of my life and not worth obsessing over. He then told me to be strong, and that he had faith in me; that he was sure that I would be all right. Tears welling-up in my eyes, it dawned on me that Martin was the miracle that I had asked God for. I had to leave then. We stood, and he hugged me like a brother. I could feel extraordinarily reassuring and unconditional love enveloping as my spirit was comforted.

We said goodbye. I turned and left. I walked a few feet and turned to waive…, but he was gone. It seemed he had just disappeared. I was certain that he was there. Then I wondered, could it have been that he was just there for me? Not very much later, I returned to look for him. He was gone and there was no truck parked outside.

WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW

I’ve told only a few people of this story; my sponsor and some others that I am close to. He was right. I do not have an explanation for some things, and as I recall Martin saying, Acceptance means: I don’t need one for I may never have one. I know that for myself, I had been told many times at meetings of the fellowship, “Don’t leave until you give the miracle a chance to happen”. In that chance meeting with Martin, I feel as though it may have occurred that Christmas Day. Like it had happened for Ebenezer Scrooge, the Spirit of Christmas Present had come to me in Martin, restoring my faith and giving me a chance to see life anew again.

Right now my faith is strong. When it becomes challenged again, I will think of Martin and how he came to visit me, renewing me with the message of spiritual awakening. He was doing for God what I could not do for myself, though I had asked. Given the chance, I will try to do the same thing for others.  I write to you in the diminishing twilight of a January night sky, wishing each of you a Happy New Year, and a visit from your own angel,… your own miracle. If you hang around long enough, you just might enough faith and acceptance to receive it.

diana Krall – Counting Your Blessings 2005

****If you enjoyed the blog, take a look at the book**** http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/index.html
which is also available at Amazon KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V0CHY2

The Conference Approval Show

So I called ahead to confirm my presentation to two of my areas 4 districts,  and the DCM set aside ten minutes of the meeting for my moments. With classic gullibility, I was expecting all the GSR’s, (a potential crowd of about 30) – about half showed-up. I could see from the get-go that the discerning body was armed with an attitude of reserved tolerance, but it could have been my defensive perception. I was a little nervous, the healthy kind.

If looks were bullets I’d have been shot at at least twice on my way up front to begin. You can imagine my audacity and all, trying to do something different! I dodged the bullets with an introduction and an immediate distribution of books, flyers and cards, feeling as though those that had birds for pets were already wondering if they could line the cage with my “junque,” or begin mentally doodling their “to dos” and grocery lists over the top of my lazer printed color brochures – like they had seen a million others. My perception was slightly inhibited  if you get my up-load.

I explained about my service history, my background as a writer, the brevity of the project and its simple learning concept of classical sonata form; all this while my time coach plant was pulling on her blouse’s collar and touching her face frenetically – like a pitching coach in the dugout. No spitting.

And then I struck an accord. You know, that moment in which the notes become harmony with proper pitch, an empathy between you and your intended listener humming the quiet aura of its presence. Though feeling a little unpolished and awkwardly out of practice, I reached across the gap of a potential 2-2 count, and hit a solid line drive for a double. I know – enough on the Sports Metaphors.

Somehow, I could see a room full of recovered scowlers switching to somewhat attentive listeners. It felt as though I had unconsciously uttered a few phrases of the language of the heart, which they felt through my own inhibited sincerity, reaching out and touching their spirits to carry the message: “You can take an old pair of shoes, re-soul them, polish them up and they look and walk like new,” I said.

Moments of history are not always filled with the blood, sweat and tears, the glamor and drama you think they might be. It had been six years leading up to this point, and the writing and writhing process might make as good a book as the actual work.

With a short question period it was over – nearly as quickly as it had started. The conference approval process had begun. All of my worrying, fretting and stress-conjuring anticipation had been, as usual, a lesson in patience.

I had done something no-one had ever done before, and with no degree or probability of success, quietly introduced its possibility finding some spiritual support. I sold four books, two of which were to members I would never have guessed. I had pegged them as “Bird Cage Liners.”

Now, “Living the 12 Steps of Recovery – One Day at a Time” was on the docket.

(website:http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/)

My cause had been shown and I would have my case heard again and again, under the unpredictable scrutiny of the groups and their members; a process of months, if not years towards the possibility of approval.

I know once again what it feels like to have a dream and face the guffaws, scoffs and chortles. You have your good work, your faith in yourself, your tenacity and resilience, and your God as your agent, albeit not all that vocal. Along time ago, I was a musician and singer-songwriter, stoking my star-maker machinery behind the popular song. I learned quickly: it wasn’t those with the most talent that won the prize, gpt the contract and tour, it was those who were tough enough to weather the rock throwing. the “nos” and the changes. There’s likely to be some of that ahead, but I believe in my message, my motive and an audience that’s building one reader at a time. There are zero bad reviews so far,…..on the book. Sny of you who blog know about Spam-i-sosis,…..there have been hundreds but also near that many new friends and readers.

Santa Baby

****If you enjoyed the blog, take a look at the book**** http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/index.html
which is also available at Amazon KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V0CHY2

Elizabeth’s “Risiliency”

Resiliency: after being bent, compressed or stretched, the power to recover in form or position; bouncing back from depression, illness, adversity or the like.

Elizabeth Edwards life will forever be a model towards the development of risliencie’s sought after quality, as she died from Cancer last Tuesday at the age of 61. She was surrounded by her family in their home at Chapel Hills, North Carolina.

Elizabeth’s life brought her a Tri-Fecta of misfortune; the sudden death of her son Wade at 16 in a bizarre 1966 car crash; a betrayal in her marriage, and finally, the recurrence of cancer after  a few years of remission. It took her life.

Elizabeth was brilliant and drop-dead-gorgeous. She met her husband and Vice-Presidential Candidate John Edwards in Law School, micro-managing his campaign in 2004. But on the day after the ticket with John Kerry lost she was diagnosed with a tumor in her breast. Not to be deterred from that quest. she waited a little to long to tend to it. In her typically resilient manner, she hadn’t believed it would be her end.

After receiving treatment, she went into remission and expected to be among the fortunate who left the nightmare behind, but fate had other resolutions in mind. When John led the polls in 2008 she fell, cracking a rib. The X-Rays showed the cancer had metastasized to her bones. The future was uncertain in time, but the outcome was clear: eventually it could and probably would kill her. In spite of it, Elizabeth had the power of spiritual recovery even in the face of that certain fate.

In an interview from Chapel Hill she said that Cancer had given her the right to say anything that she wanted:

“I’m not praying for God to save me from cancer. God will enlighten me when the time comes. And if I’ve done the right thing, I will be enlightened. And if I believe, I’ll be saved. And that’s all he promises me.”

Yet uncertain times came in the consideration of her faith; Elizabeth put serious doubt upon the death of her son, whose car had been literally blown off the highway by the wind, which she saw as the hand of God:

“What kind of God do I have that doesn’t intervene—in fact, may even participate—in the death of this good boy?”

Were it not for the central theme in the Edwards Campaign of a National Health Care Bill that Elizabeth had a blazing passion for, it’s conceivable that we would not have the present Law. Elizabeth’s work helped build the frame which eventually came to be law after a 50 year fight.

Her role as a wife came to task, for she knew about John’s affair before the re-occurrence of the cancer, yet they pressed ahead though she fell victim to her own ambition, bouncing back in true Elizabeth form, never letting the cancer’s eventual death sentence effect her tenacity for life, taking it “One Day at A Time”. But later, She had moments of reticence in thinking that had been the time during which she should have come forward, insisting on his stepping down. Remarking,”There are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like; it’s called being human….” she forgave him.

In her final moments, with John and her family surrounding her, she was more concerned about them then she was of herself, insuring them that she would be okay; that no matter where she was she would forever have her arms surrounding them with love.

We have all heard this observation: “People are beings of light, leading a human experience.” Elizabeth’s life was a human anomaly in that she suffered, but never gave into despair or misery, bearing her moments of strain alone, fortified by her faith,…….one of her own understanding.

Elizabeth was what we would all like to be: resilient. Able to bounce back from life’s surely arriving moments of challenge, taking them with acceptance and moving on to traverse the experiences we have yet to come in the spirit of recovery’s mantra: “One Day at A Time”.

To her good fortune, Elizabeth was neither an alcoholic nor an addict, yet as many in recovery she was a mother and a wife. A patriot of the noblest variety and a true example of seeking balance through courage, faith and perseverance, she was patient and tolerant, virtuous qualities we all seek to acquire.

She was human. Elizabeth was resilient. She is and always shall be an inspiration for adapting to my own life’s foibles and unexpected challenges, while I seek her model of enlightenment.

****If you enjoyed the blog, take a look at the book**** http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/index.html
which is also available at Amazon KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V0CHY2