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October 1965

Carrying the Message

Acceptance

After being sober for a few years, I found myself all mixed up and hurting. I wanted to find a way out. It started with jealousy, self-loathing, inertia, depression and the desire for oblivion. By some miracle, I didn't take that first drink.

I took a written inventory, went to AA meetings and called my sponsor. I talked to a doctor and my husband, both of whom were sympathetic, but not understanding. I read the AA books and talked with other members. I guessed that I must be in some sort of conflict to cause such mental confusion and fog that even my Higher Power couldn't get through to me. I did remember to try and be honest, open-minded and willing.

I was looking through some back issues of the Grapevine, that were given to me to pass on when the article in March, 1964 (page 35) titled: "The Will to Live" attracted my attention. As I read, I got a wonderful glow, for here was someone who really understood. In bold print were the words, "You are accepted."

It dawned on me that I was accepted in my group. I became glad that I was still sober. The mental fog began to lift and the sunlight of the spirit warmed me.

The words in our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (page 92) came to me, "It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are deeply disturbed, no matter the cause, there is something wrong with us." Also if you cannot change circumstances try changing your attitudes toward them. I didn't know what was wrong with me and I didn't know what attitudes to change.

In another book I read that fear is also a stimulus to courage. I had never thought of anger or fear as being basic instincts to produce courage, so necessary for survival. I had suppressed these emotions, mistaking them for hate. When anger broke through, I hated myself for not being serene, and when I thought I was serene, I hated myself for being too relaxed to do necessary things!

Serenity now means accepting myself as a sober human being with emotions to be used for good; with courage to keep learning and living one day at a time, the AA way.

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