This Week's AA Grapevine Online Exclusives

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This Week's AA Grapevine Online Exclusives

Postby Thumper » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:17 am

With a full online subscription to the AA Grapevine, you could be reading or listening (audio versions) to this week’s online exclusives:

By The Grace Of God And AA
In order to hide from the world she took her first drink at the age of seven and ended up living for months in a closet. But sobriety has changed all that.

Letting Women Into Her Life
When she finally put down the drink, she was able to pick up something she had always longed for-genuine relationships with other women.

You could also, "Explore the Story Archive"

The Grapevine Story Archive is a treasure trove of AA history, members' reflections on the principles and practices of the program, and of course, thousands of personal stories of recovery. Here are just a few of those stories from February 1967:

** Please Note
** Anybody Seen My Dragon?
** My Name is…

Just teasing…

Enter now to win a free gift subscription to keep and share with your Home Group.

You can find the entry form here: http://www.e-aa.org/form_gv.php.

You can link to all that the Grapevine has to offer at: http://www.e-aa.org/grapevine.php

Peace and Sobriety,
Dale B.
E-AA Grapevine Rep
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Re: This Week's AA Grapevine Online Exclusives

Postby Thumper » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:23 am

Hi folks. My name is Dale and I am an alcoholic and your AA Grapevine Rep. As a reminder, all things Grapevine for e-AA are at http://www.e-aa.org/grapevine.php

For now, the subscription gift remains in place. Please enter at http://www.e-aa.org/form_gv.php
Your story could be published. Contact me for how to do it.

As an online subscriber, you get access to special content.

As an alcoholic, a parent and an advocate for teachers, I found this story profound and wanted to to share it (with permission).

Be it by contest winning, or on purpose, subscribe to the AA Grapevine. The content is life changing.

Peace and sobriety,
Dale B
======================================================================================
A respected middle-school teacher, admired wife, beloved mother finds herself in behind bars because of her drinking. Ironically, it’s there her freedom begins.
“You are hereby sentenced to sixteen months in the California State Penitentiary for Women for two counts of felony driving under the influence of alcohol.” As the judge read my sentence, my knees were trembling and my tears gushed out a flood of emotions, emotions I could no longer drown with alcohol. Just a few years prior to this moment, I stood in front of the chalkboard in my middle school classroom as a respected and admired teacher, mother and wife. Now I stood in front of the judge a shackled convict, alone, separated and spiritually bankrupt.

In college, I could drink on weekends and enjoy the occasional glass of wine, but in my mid-20s that all turned on me. I began sneaking alcohol and lying to my husband. Nearly every time I drank, I immediately went into a blackout. I did go to some AA meetings, but I was generally buzzed and never honest with a sponsor. I saw only the differences between other members of AA and myself. Over the next five years, I accumulated five DUIs. My husband ultimately divorced me and got custody of our children and I lost my teaching job and my home. All of the differences I saw when I walked into the rooms of AA became my reality. My family attempted an intervention and I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn’t want to feel, so I drowned my emotions in large quantities of booze. When doctors told me if I drank again I would die, I was drunk again within a week. Perhaps prison was the only thing that could save a drunk like me.

I arrived at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California and was immediately introduced to “hooch” (alcohol that is brewed illegally in inmates’ cells). This was my turning point. I asked myself: am I going to drink and continue doing what I have always done or am I going to use this time in custody to better myself? I didn’t drink. That same day I was walking the yard and I saw a group of women lined up at the chow hall. It wasn’t chow time, so I asked another inmate what was going on and she told me: “I don’t know. Some 12-step meeting.” I walked through those chow hall doors and was greeted by fellow inmates with hugs, respect and understanding. Those doors were that of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, where I felt safe and had this strange sense that God was with me and doing for me what I could not do for myself.

I attended that A-Yard AA meeting faithfully. The women that shared their stories have had an enormous impact on my life. It is only by the grace of God that I never killed or injured anyone while I drank and drove. Some women were not so fortunate, yet they were not sulking in self-pity. Instead, they worked the 12 Steps, made amends to their victims and dedicated their lives to spreading the message of Alcoholics Anonymous on the inside of those prison walls. Because those women were there and opened the chow hall doors each week for an AA meeting, I stayed sober, got a sponsor, and worked the Steps. When those floods of emotions came (and they did and still do) I could simply say: this too shall pass. During my incarceration, I received letters from members of AA in my hometown. They sent AA literature and even helped me start another AA meeting on A yard. Ironically for the first time in my life I felt free.

Yes, I was free in prison.

On May 2, 2012, I was released and the first place I went outside of those prison walls was to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. As I write this, it is a gorgeous winter day in Humboldt County. Life keeps getting better, one day at a time. I am now a counselor at a rehab serving clients being released from prison. I am of service to AA, I have a connection with my Higher Power that keeps me sane and sober, and my daughters and I have an amazing relationship. One day at a time I am living spiritually and never forgetting the women of A yard at the Valley State Prison for Women who helped me get through my incarceration sober.

Today I look back at my sentencing day. The true meaning of those tears I shed was that I did not have to hide or lie any more. I like to think that I am unique, that my story is more dramatic and painful than yours. But the reality is, I am just another alcoholic who needs both the Fellowship and the program of AA in order to survive one day at a time.

Sarah N., Eureka, Calif.
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Re: This Week's AA Grapevine Online Exclusives

Postby Thumper » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:29 am

I try not to post these long stories often but sometimes one just hits home with enough ESH that prompts me to share. These stories are only pushed to Online AA Grapevine subscribers. If you have not entered the April e-AA gift subscription contest yet, you can enter to win at http://www.e-aa.org/form_gv.php The winners will be drawn at the first of each month. There's a drawing every month, so keep registering until you win!

No More Excuses
Seeking to find a solution to the God-shaped void in her soul, she turned to AA and discovered a miraculous new life.

With many mixed emotions I took a leap of faith and walked into my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on July 17, 1992. I haven’t found it necessary to take a drink since that day.

AA and God are always tied for first place on my gratitude list. God guided me to AA’s firm soil so I could obtain a solid foundation and he continues to guide me through prayer and meditation. Filling the rooms worldwide are people who share their journey toward God’s love and acceptance without taking a drink. These AA members have shared their experiences with working the Steps and how they have applied them in their lives. I believe what I’ve often heard: “If you don’t see God, then go to a meeting.” When I leave a meeting, I feel better than when I arrived. That in itself is enough miraculous proof that God is always with me. Listening to others share their perceptions of the Big Book and a few of the other conference-approved books has motivated me to become a better person. A sponsor-guided trip through the Twelve Steps is nothing more than miraculous. I have done the Steps several times. I have then been able to take a newcomer through the Steps and share my experience, strength and hope. The Steps help me to incorporate the right thoughts, actions and words into my life if I am willing. The Twelve Traditions and The Twelve Concepts continue to teach me how to negotiate, how to be a team player and most importantly to allow someone else the last word.

A.A. is the greatest gift I have ever received. To ensure my continued sobriety all I have to do is follow the Big Book’s suggestion to trust God, clean house and help others. These are small deeds in comparison to what it took to maintain my active alcoholism. That was a dark, self-loathing form of perseverance that I never want to experience again. After being sober almost 25 years, the insanity of alcoholism continues to amaze me. It is sad that alcoholics are in the grip of a fatal disease and will do anything except reach out for help. Collectively, alcoholics go to hospitals with broken bones and unexplained bruises, get married or divorced in a blackout, have a family that is absolutely upside down because of the alcoholic’s drinking, become paralyzed from a drinking related accident, commit vehicular homicide, lose custody of their children, give birth to children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other illnesses caused by in utero exposure to alcohol, do violent things toward others with or without weapons, continue to drink even thought they just threw up, urinate in their beds because they are too intoxicated to wake up, drive with a Blow and Go and still go to bars, wake up and not know where they are or who they are with.

Sad to say this list is endless. After any or all of these things, only an alcoholic would maintain that alcohol is not the problem. Instead they attempt to rationalize their insanity. Alcoholics find excuses to be victims of any of life’s circumstances. “If you had my job, you’d drink too” or “If you had my chronic pain, you’d drink too.” Also to blame is the lawyer, the wife, the husband, the children, unemployment, the neighbor, the boss, the in-laws and the siblings. Rarely in an alcoholic’s mind is it his or her responsibility to live life on life’s terms.

I was the same way. Once I hit a parked car on my way home from a party. My reasoning for hitting the car was that the car shouldn’t have been parked there. I used rain and snow as excuses to stay at home to drink. My excuses were code for: “I will stay home and not bathe, I will stay in my pajamas and drink until I pass out…or run out...whichever comes first.” I was delusional, but things got even worse when I moved into denial. This meant that my delusions were beginning to shatter and I could see glimpses of what a sad and empty person I had become.

Denial meant the fat lady was getting ready to sing and I could no longer run from the truth. I could no longer hide behind the hole in my soul because the hole was now gaping. All of my previous rationalizations now were mere excuses. My alcohol-induced behaviors were slowly adding to the God-shaped void in my soul and working harder and harder on me physically and mentally. None of the outward consequences that I endured over the 16 years of my active drinking ever compared to the horrific feelings of shame and guilt that I felt. I don’t ever want to go back there—to a place where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror or look inward to find God. I think this is why I am not willing to cut off my lifeline to AA and the miraculous life that I never could have designed alone.

I will close with a brief story. I was thirty days sober when I attended my first Southeastern Convention. When Judy P. from Atlanta ended her lead, she said words with which I have ended every one of my leads since. So, echoing Judy, I sincerely say to you: “My prayer for you is that you never clean up so good in Alcoholics Anonymous that you forget what it feels like to be dirty.”

Pam S.
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