Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Featured Post: The Step of the Month
Step 2, The Invitation to Hope
In Step 1, we finally admit we were powerless over alcohol and/or drugs and our lives have become unmanageable. We acknowledge that our best thinking isn’t enough to enable us to stop drinking and using. We can now surrender to the belief that we can’t do life like this anymore. But what then? Where do we turn now?
Step 2 says: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This step invites us to see that even though our lives are damaged sometimes seemingly beyond repair by our addiction, there is something that can help. Step 2 is about hope.
But what does “Came to believe” mean? How do we do that past tense thing? The writers of the steps had already done it themselves, but they don’t specifically tell us what to do or how. I think this is because the belief that higher power exists and can help doesn’t necessarily come overnight. The awareness of a higher power isn’t always a “white light moment” like in page 14 of Bill’s Story. And most people take some time to “get there”. As such, Step 2 is written to suggest it is a process or an evolving belief in a higher power.
Many do come to AA with a strong belief in God, so this step is easy to get hold of. Many others show up with a broken, rejected, or denied “God concept” and a few others believe in nothing. But most people, even agnostics, believe in something or at least the possibility of something however unknowable it may be. The Big Book invites those of us who struggle in this way to “try it on” or as some say, “act as if”. We are invited to come up with our own individual concept/definition of what that higher power is. Some eventually call their higher power God.
For me, I came to The Program somewhere between broken and agnostic. I had grown up in the Lutheran Church even attending grade school through third grade within the church. I had many instances of falling away and coming back through my adult life – letting logic, science, and a whole lotta self-will lead me astray. I believed “if it is to be, it is up to me” – I am in charge of my world (and everyone else’s for that matter). Of course, that, among other things, led me to unhappiness in life, restless, irritable, and discontent as I ventured into alcoholism and opioid addiction.
While early in Intense Outpatient Treatment (IOP), they told me the goal of treatment was to build my own program of recovery outside the treatment center walls. I constantly pondered this, resisting anything to do with AA or NA or any “A”. This was because of the “God thing” of course. One night two gentlemen came to our meeting to tell their story. They were from a local AA meeting. For some reason, my mind was open that night. I went to their meeting which became many more meetings. Throughout the following months, my mind opened more and more, but more importantly my heart opened to the possibility of a higher power.
My higher power was the meeting for a while, then I heard and adopted “Good Orderly Direction”, landing on what I see and feel now. For me it feels like a flame in my chest that I can see in my mind. It connects me to all things. It’s like a pilot light that becomes a roaring flame when I am talking or working with another alcoholic. The joyful and peaceful grace of my Higher Power that I call God is more than I ever dreamed it could be.
Step 2 is one of my favorites of the 12 steps. I like to think of it as an invitation. For me, it is an invitation to open my heart and mind. An invitation to try. An invitation to be willing. An invitation to hope.
-Doug R, Squad NA1
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday, January 11th, 2021
Meeting Opened at 7:04pm
Opened with the Serenity Prayer and AA Traditions One and Two. Our mission is to manage the property, finances and 501C3 for the RBA.
1. Members Present:
Isaac S., Norton L., Joe R., Bill M., Rik L., Jeff S.
Guests: Will S., Jerry Z
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z.):
Jerry replaced a cracked toilet and shut off valve in the women’s restroom during December. He also replaced the shut off valve for the coffee maker in the kitchen. Jerry plans to repair the back door in coming weeks if needed to ensure it opens and closes freely. He has been monitoring the back area for water seepage and none has been found recently. Jerry plans to repair the light on the side of the building by replacing the fixture. He also plans to inspect the circuits in the kitchen and possibly separate these to ensure the breakers no longer trip when using multiple appliances.
3. Financial Report:
Will summarized the December financial reports by stating we had an uneventful month without unexpected expenses. Jeff paid $738 and $1,675 towards the parking lot line of credit based on donations from the months of November and December. Funds from the October sale were submitted to the treasurer during December and were included in the payments towards the LOC. The board discussed then agreed the funds collected for the Children’s Christmas Event during 2020 will remain as a separate line item on our balance sheet and used for this event in 2021. A motion to approve the December financials was seconded and carried.
4. Old Business:
The t shirt fundraiser has been discontinued and all remaining orders have been filled. Sample shirts were removed from the glass case in the hallway. The Wednesday night NA meeting approved in November met once in January and was well attended. A motion to accept the November board meeting minutes was seconded and carried.
5. New Business:
Norton met with the fire officials in December and they provided occupancy numbers for the club. These numbers were used to create a diagram showing the capacity for each meeting area, and this diagram can be found in the glass case across from the women’s restroom. The classroom capacities were previously listed as 15-16, but the board is asking to limit group sizes to 10 ensuring adequate social distancing.
The MN department of health relaxed restrictions related to COVID-19 prevention, so beverages will be allowed once again. Members will be urged to remove masks for only a short time when drinking beverages to promote a safer and healthier atmosphere in our club. The coffee making equipment will be returned to the kitchen after the board meeting.
The rbaaa.org website was updated during the month of December. An option to submit electronic donations was added for the convenience of our members. The board was asked to encourage members and friends to submit writing to be published in the monthly Dry Sheet. The board was also asked to consider finding a capable individual willing to be a backup user for the many applications utilized by our website and social media.
The board discussed the status of meetings scheduled at RBA. Some of our groups have been inactive or meeting virtually since the beginning of the pandemic. This creates an issue when visitors come to RBA for scheduled meetings only to find them unavailable. The board agreed it would be helpful to review the intergroup website to ensure their meeting listing accurately reflects what is available at RBA. Stickers have been placed on the mail slots in the back room to ensure flyers are not distributed to inactive meetings.
A motion to grant board members preapproval for emergency expenditures was seconded and carried. Board members will now be reimbursed for expenses up to $200 and officers up to $500 without prior authorization. Members and officers have been asked to send email notification when these expenses arise. Receipts will be required prior to reimbursement.
An engagement letter was received from the tax preparers RBA has utilized in previous years. The board agreed to engage their services for preparation of forms for tax year 2020.
A motion to adjourn was seconded and carried at 8:10pm and the board closed with the Lord’s Prayer.
-Joe R, Secretary
Second Step Meditation
Tradition of the Month
There is no one person in charge of AA. The leaders are but trusted servants. What a thought... What an idea!
We place in charge a God of our understanding. A loving God as he may express Himself in our group conscience.
I highly doubt AA would have survived as long as it has if any one person were in charge. But placing AA in the care of God almost ensures it's survival in my opinion. Human nature can be flawed, but a God of our understanding surely can take care of AA.
I have been a trusted servant for meetings, and constantly reminded myself that I am not in charge I am but a trusted servant, someone officiating the meeting not leading it. What a humbling thought.
Where we place principles above personalities, and trust in a God of our understanding, I believe we remove a lot of obstacles that could come in the way of officiating a meeting, or running the business of AA.
I often pray to a God of my understanding, simply to know his will for my life and the power to carry that out. The second tradition plays a big part in that.
In a way a God of our understanding becomes the leader for meetings, the source of inspiration for donations, in the governing body of AA formal meetings. I think that is a very cool thing. It's unlike any other institution, or governing body I know of.
As I take some time to reflect on the second tradition I'm humbled to know a higher power is in charge. Left to our own wills and devices, I believe that AA would not flourish the way that it does. To survive a pandemic, to survive a recession, or any other obstacle the hand of a higher power surely must be involved. And it is!
What a comfort we can know by releasing this control to our higher power as we understand Him.
I'm thankful to be a part of AA, and forever grateful for my sobriety. How great it is to have a club that we can go to, and a place where we can meet in common to fight this common battle. Whether it be alcohol or drugs we're all there for the same reason to stop using.
The governing body is beautiful, this gift is ours to give away freely to the next suffering person. All the while ensuring it survival leaving it up to a higher power of our understanding. I think that is a very beautiful thing. I am humbled to be a part of it.
-Will S, Squad 5C
Coffee is back!
(We all know that an AA meeting without coffee is like a day without sunshine...)
Minnesota restaurants can open at 50% occupancy/mandatory face coverings/6-foot social distancing, and hey – WE CAN DO THAT!
So here's the “Coffee during Covid” procedure:
1. Slip down your face covering,
2. Sip your beverage,
3. MASK BACK ON!
Please share with your squads:
Thank you for helping us reduce the balance on our loan for the Parking Lot repair. After the last Board election, we owed about $14k. Now, a few months later, through the contributions of Squads, individuals, and a couple of significant benefactors, the amount owed is down to about $11k. Watch the RED in the thermometer graph in the hallway increase! If every Squad and every individual pitches in and designates to the Parking Lot fund, we'll meet our goal of having a -0- balance this year!
-Norton L, President
rbaaa.org Website Updates:
We now have the option to accept donations electronically through our website. Feel free to submit pledges, coffee and cleaning, or parking lot donations by clicking on the blue “Donate” button at the top left corner of the home page. As always, please use Google Chrome or Safari as your web browser.
Please be sure to have your squad name/number ready when processing your donations. This can be found on our meeting schedule or by asking your squad leader/treasurer. We use this info for bookkeeping purposes and to ensure we track voter eligibility for board elections as required by our bylaws. Pledging members will still need to submit pledge cards to their meeting's treasurer annually.
Donors have the option to submit one-time or recurring donations through our website. We currently accept donations via credit/debit card or by ACH. Please feel free to send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations take 10-14 days to process and will be added to your squad’s monthly reports when deposited in the RBA bank account. Thanks for supporting RBA!
-Joe R, Secretary
Second Step Insights
Our Successes build one upon another.
That‘s a quote from a NASA video explaining how they have gone from putting a person in orbit to landing on the moon to the building of the International Space Station and now sending robotic spacecraft to the surface of Mars.
Isn’t it the same way with us. Especially people in the AA program? We take the next right step in our daily life. We start to build from a misery filled existence to one in which we are useful and experiencing a fulfilling life adventure. It’s just like NASA one step at a time, one day at a time building a new life and reaching out to touch others lives as well.
-Tom S, Big Book's Greatest Hits
Reflection on Step Two
For many years I believed I possessed all the knowledge and intellect needed to thrive in life. I believed I had all the answers, and my perspective was absolute. When faced with challenges I could not overcome I blamed the cruel and unfair circumstances I was placed in. I often thought life would be so much easier if only the people, places, and things around me would conform to my idea of how they should be. I could not understand the need for religion or a God and thought these concepts were for people who lacked the capacity to find logical explanations for worldly phenomenon. This obsession with self-reliance led to extreme isolation and misery. I forced my family and friends out of my life and was left with alcohol as my only source of comfort. I used alcohol as a solution to my problems for years, but these problems only grew worse. I constantly deceived myself into believing I could stop drinking and regain my sanity at any time. I almost died learning that living life on my own terms would never produce the results I hoped for. The solution I found was a spiritual existence and a reliance on a power greater than myself.
Religion has always been confusing to me, which I admit to being my own shortcoming and no reflection on the institution itself. In recent years I have decided to keep an open mind about religion even though I am not ready to devote myself to it's study anytime soon. As a young child I simply could not see the wisdom in many of the adult subjects from the Bible we studied on Sunday mornings. As a teen I came to view religion as a tool used by others to force their will upon me, and I rebelled against it as I did with all authority. In college I studied history and how religion had been used to divide people for thousands of years. I also studied science which provided alternative explanations to an all-powerful creator watching over me. Years later I decided to give Christianity another chance and read the bible; I found it to be extremely helpful in places but somewhat muddled in others. I remember thinking that a book inspired by an all knowing and all loving God should lay out a clearer path for how I should live. My path to spirituality led me in a different direction that I found to be immensely rewarding.
My spiritual journey became a priority for me when I reached a low point in my life. At that time, I found little pleasure aside from the brief moments of relief I felt after the first few drinks of each day. I struggled to understand why I should live without purpose. I was very lonely and began to question the point of existence itself. Coincidentally, I then signed up for a literature class to fulfil liberal arts credits towards my degree. My plan was to take this pass/fail and put little effort into it, but what I learned changed my life. I found that since the beginning of time people have been searching for the meaning of existence just as I was. One of my favorite books was about a person who committed horrible acts during his journey towards self fulfillment, but found redemption through love and service to his fellow man. Another book I remember had a character who struggled to embrace the expectations of the rapidly changing society around him; in the end, he found comfort in the moments he shared with his family, friends, and the restorative power of nature. These and other books helped me understand the concept of spirituality in my life. I came to understand that I found inspiration in imperfect people who struggled and grew and learned as I had. I began to understand the delicate balance and spiritual connection I shared with the people, places, and things in God's world. This connection would become what I know to be my higher power.
Alcoholics Anonymous taught me that my mind and my way of living brought me to my lowest point, so I would need the help of a higher consciousness to restore my sanity. I learned that God could be trusted with all the energy of the universe, so this same higher power could be trusted with everything outside of my control. My higher power manifested itself in the people I met and the groups I attended. I saw how this spiritual way of living brought hope and joy to so many members in AA, and those members were willing to show me how to achieve the same. A friend in recovery once helped me understand my higher power by suggesting I write everything I loved about God on one side of a page, then everything I disliked on the other. When finished I was to rip the page in half and throw away everything I disliked, then what remained was my conception of a power greater than myself. I also learned AA does not require us to subscribe to any higher power other than our own. Furthermore, God does not show favoritism towards the spiritual path followed by the most people, God loves everyone unconditionally. I once depended on alcohol to heal me from the inside out, but AA has shown me spirituality is the only sustainable way to accomplish this.
-Joe R, Secretary
AA Speaker of the Month: Sandy B
Recent and Upcoming Sobriety Anniversaries
Please join us in congratulating the following people on their sobriety milestones!
Tom V (10/01/2020) celebrated three months in January!!!
Jeff S (01/06/2012) celebrated nine years in January!!!