RBA Dry Sheet: July 2021
RBA is looking for someone willing to coordinate content for the monthly Dry Sheet publication. The Dry Sheet includes articles written by our club members about AA related topics as well as videos about the steps and traditions. We also post the minutes from monthly board meetings and sobriety anniversaries for club members. The coordinator would be responsible for asking AA member to write articles each month, gathering videos, and finding other fun content for our readers. All content would be sent via email to the person in charge of the website, and they will post the Dry Sheet on the first day of each month. The current content coordinator spends about 1 1/2 hours per month on these tasks. This person has been providing content for a year now, and would like to offer the opportunity to someone else. If you are interested or have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Featured Post: The Step of the Month
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Whenever I hear people discuss the seventh step, the conversation inevitably focuses on the word “humbly”. Humility – like surrender – is not something I had longed for before I got sober. My sponsor helped me out with surrender. He suggested that since I had just admitted that what I was doing wasn’t working, maybe I could think of it as “trying something different”. That took the sting out!
It turned out that, like many, I was confusing humility with humiliation. I found a definition of humility that I liked; “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” That helped me connect being humble with the effort I was putting in to become less self-centered. Again, this seemed a less objectionable way for me to think of it. It occurred to me that this was the first time in the steps that I’m asking God to do something. I can’t very well command Him to obey me! Perhaps humility is the right way to approach it. I found another word that I’ve come to like even better – deferentially. Now that I’m thinking of myself less, now that I’m working on being less self-centered, now that I’m trying to turn “my will and my life over to the care of God”, it may be time to consider being willing to “defer” to a higher authority.
If you asked me about automobile maintenance, I would happily regale you with my opinions and bits of information I’ve overheard. However, if I’m sitting next to an actual mechanic it would make sense that I defer to him – he’s better informed. If I do defer it will demonstrate some humility as I would love to step up and play the expert. In the same vein, I should be willing to defer to my Higher Power, especially as I’ve seen the results of believing myself the ultimate authority. Am I willing to step back and not let my self-centeredness and righteousness that I recently inventoried get in the way of doing the right thing – and achieving some recovery?
To me, asking Him to remove my shortcomings is the next logical step in following through on my third step decision to turn over my will and my life to God’s care. As my faith grows stronger and my conscious contact with Him progresses, I find the willingness I need to “get out of my own way”. It surprised me to realize how much I was using my non-healthy habits to protect my self-image and defend my fantasy of superiority. When I can swallow my pride and humbly defer to Him I find serenity, I don’t get angry as much and I’m generally nicer to people. Have my shortcomings disappeared? Not at all! I asked Him to remove them but apparently I still have some access to them. I get angry, I judge others, I feel sorry for myself. But it’s much less often and I more quickly recognize what I’m doing and pause, “and ask for the right thought or action”. To me finding humility and becoming willing to defer to a higher authority was an integral part of my recovery. I’m a better, happier person with no desire whatsoever to pick up the bottle again.
-Mike N, Sunday Speaker Meeting
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday June 14th, 2021
Meeting Opened at 7:00pm
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:
Norton L., Joe R., Jeff S., Rik L., Lori W., Dana Jo., Roger B., Isaac S.
Jerry Z., Maintenance., Will S., Bookkeeper
Visitors: Steve P., David, and Danny
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z.):
Jerry has many projects in process and completed a few throughout the past month. He cleaned the AC compressors based on recommendations from our HVAC vendor. Jerry also cleared weeds from the back lot. He then repaired a rubber membrane that was damaged on the roof above the rear entryway, which should eliminate the leakage we have noticed occasionally. Jerry recommended we make some additional repairs to this roof section, and the board will discuss these in the future. Jerry made additional progress on the back door replacement. He provided an estimate of $1,400, which may change depending on the specifications relating to city codes. Jerry plans to do some research to determine which class of door is required in coming weeks. A new door handle will also be needed, and arrangements must be made to install the lockset. Our goal is to have a new door installed before winter, and we are on track to reach this.
3. Financial Report:
Jeff provided a report on the may financials. Receipts for pledges, coffee/cleaning, and the parking lot were below expectations during the month of May. A possible reason for this is many squads missed the deadline for submitting collections, in which case RBA will recover some of this shortfall when the June collections are counted. Expenses were reasonable; the club incurred an infrequent expense for HVAC maintenance, and we were charged for two visits from Spruce Linen because of our four-week delivery schedule. Our waste disposal vendor was acquired by another company recently, so our Treasurer and Bookkeeper have offered to monitor any billing changes and report back to the board. The financials for May were then approved without objection.
4. Old Business:
A few ongoing items were discussed during the board meeting. First, we decided to take inventory on the many file cabinets containing meeting materials throughout the club. Signage was posted, and only a few cabinets were claimed by active meetings. For this reason, the board approved cutting locks and cleaning out the unclaimed drawers and containers in coming weeks. Other ongoing cleaning projects were discussed; Jeff and Roger plan to make progress on the game cabinet near the soft chairs and get started on cleaning out the cupboards in the front classroom. The board decided the various games and the many toys are not being used, so we can remove them in coming weeks to make room for other items. Also in May, the board briefly discussed the annual summer picnic; this has been scheduled for August 14th and Bill M. has been working with his group to plan the event. Lastly, Joe reminded the board his last month of coordinating content for the Dry Sheet will be August 2021. If the board decides to continue publishing this, a new content coordinator will be needed. Help and training will be available. The minutes from the May board meeting were then approved.
5. New Business:
Steve P from Squad NA1 visited the board meeting to discuss the Narcan demonstration that was held in early June. A volunteer named Randy A. showed club members how to administer Narcan in an emergency. This person plans to return in coming months for a second session. Steve passed a basket during his Wednesday squad meeting to collect donations to give to Randy. Steve is now asking the board to approve an additional contribution from the RBA general fund. The board tabled this discussion for a future meeting.
Danny and David visited the board meeting to propose a new Big Book Meeting at 7:00pm on Sunday evenings. This will be an open mixed meeting. No start date has been decided, but the goal is to hold the first meeting within the next four weeks. The board unanimously voted to approve this new squad, and Jeff designated it as Squad 6D. This will be added to the meeting schedule when a start date is decided. Danny and David intend to be the first pledging members. Will and Jeff will coordinate a new mail slot and a pledge recap report will be provided going forward.
Bill S, Squad Leader for the other Sunday 7:00pm meeting, plans to resume holding meetings in person at RBA in coming weeks. Bill has been notified of the new squad that will be sharing the club with his group at that time.
Roger and Jeff provided a brief recap on the annual banquet. This event was a success, and we received much positive feedback from members. A final accounting recap will be provided during the July board meeting, though we are optimistic about having recovered a large percentage of the cost for this event through ticket sales. Donations were also given during the banquet to help pay for the blacktop project. Cards were passed around for the board to thank some of the individuals who helped make this event possible.
Fellowship events were discussed. Dana Jo mentioned the possibility of hosting a karaoke night at the club because many members enjoy this. The board then talked about our plans for the Gopher State Roundup that is scheduled for Labor Day weekend. Club members have pledged funds to ensure RBA can pay for a room and provide refreshments for visitors. For this reason, the board will find individuals to organize this event to ensure all members who wish to attend Gopher State will have a place to gather. The group in charge of organizing the roundup itself have notified us of their intention to provide more details on reservations and schedule of events in coming weeks.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was passed at 8:07pm and we closed with The Lord’s Prayer.
-Joe R, Secretary Board of Trustees
Seventh Step Meditation
RBA members had a chance to gather for fellowship in early June at the Knights of Columbus Hall for the annual One Year Banquet. This event was a huge success, and we would like to thank Roger B. for coordinating it. We hope to have as much interest in upcoming fellowship events.
The Monday Night Big Books Greatest Hits meeting is in the process of planning the annual RBA Summer Picnic. We hope to have more information posted on this event soon. The date has been set for August 14th, and this will be held at Bush Lake Park in Bloomington. Updates will be posted on Facebook and throughout the club when available.
The Board of Trustees is planning to host a hospitality suite at the upcoming Gopher State Roundup. This event has traditionally been held on Memorial Day weekend, but the 2021 roundup will take place on Labor Day weekend. Please stop by the DoubleTree in Bloomington and enjoy fellowship with AA members from all over the five-state area. Many wonderful speakers will be featured at this event as well. Please be on the lookout for more information including signup sheets to help at this event.
We are pleased to see many Squads returning to the club for in person meetings. A lot has changed over the past 15 months; some of our squads have grown and need larger rooms, while many new and exiting meetings have been added to our schedule. For these reasons, we ask that everyone be patient as the Board of Trustees coordinates room assignments. Please be willing to move to smaller rooms if a larger squad is in need of the main meeting space.
-Joe R, Secretary Board of Trustees
Seventh Step Prayer
Tradition of the Month
“Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”
Attend any A.A. meeting, and you may be amused that, we, almost like robots, collectively reach for our wallets or purses as soon as we hear the words “in accordance with the seventh tradition.” This is the tradition about passing the baskets.
When asked to write about this tradition, I thought it was pretty simple and straight forward. While nobody is trying to make a profit here, stuff like electricity, coffee, and rent all costs money, so we need to donate for it, case closed.
While that is true, like anything else, it goes a little deeper than that.
I had never given too much thought to the words, “declining outside contributions.” I mean, I knew what it meant, but I never thought hard about why that would be bad for A.A. If “the more money the better” applied to cancer research and other charities, why not alcoholics anonymous? With more money, more materials could be printed, we could pay for more organized visits to jails and detox facilities, we could do all sorts of things, where is the harm? The harm is the distraction that would come with all of this money, because A.A. has such a noble purpose, and so many members, the amount of money that the organization would accumulate over time would be massive. That much money leads to that much debate about how to spend it, as well as suspicions about either real or imagined corruption/embezzlement. Frankly, I can see why the founders of A.A. decided that allowing a group of addicts to raise mass amounts of money and then decide what to do with it was a very bad idea. By declining outside contributions, and staying, well… poor, A.A. would not be distracted from it’s primary purpose.
Another benefit to declining outside contributions is that the integrity of A.A. is very difficult to question. We aren’t asking anyone for money, so even a cynical person would have to admit that the purpose of the organization would have to be pure.
One aspect of the seventh tradition that I particularly like is that it is not mandatory, not because I don’t want to contribute, but because it only further emphasized the purity of the primary purpose. Prior to A.A. I looked at any request for money, via basket passing, direct mail, online, etc, as proof that the whole thing was a fraud and that whatever or whoever it was just wanted my money. I was a very cynical person, so even at my first couple A.A. meetings, I thought “I knew it” when I saw the baskets. “Once again, it’s all about the money” I thought. Then I saw two things:
1. Some people skipping it, for whatever reason
2. The final amount in the basket, it was nowhere near enough to be making anybody secretly rich!
Now, again, to be clear, I ‘m not saying I don’t want to have to contribute, nor do I believe that it is a good thing when the final tally in the basket is on the small side, but the fact that you aren’t lectured if you choose not to donate further proves that A.A. is there to help people recover form alcoholism, not make a bunch of money, and that newcomers can’t use the basket as an excuse not to go.
Tradition Seven does more than keep the lights on, it keeps up the A.A. reputation of integrity, and it keeps us focused on what’s important.
-Patrick B, Sunday Speaker Meeting
Seventh Step Insights
Reflection on Step Seven
In early recovery my head was full of depressing memories and anxieties about the future. When I shared these feelings with my friends in AA, many of them assured me all I needed to do was turn them over to my higher power. I wanted to trust this advice because many of these people had been through the same struggles but found a better life through working our program. I tried many ways of coping, such as prayer and meditation, but I could not seem to escape the persistent ruminations. I wanted immediate relief without a lot of effort, much like the feeling a few drinks used to provide. My sponsor’s advice was to work the 12 steps to the best of my ability and to be patient, so that is what I did. After reflecting on my past wrongs and seeing how my actions affected my circumstances, I felt better about my chances of recovery. I then accepted the idea that I needed to make drastic changes in my life if I wanted to be happy, joyous, and free as promised in our Big Book. The most significant of these changes was to learn the value of humility. I needed to embrace the belief that God is everything and that I am nothing without a spiritual connection to this higher power.
Selfishness and self-centeredness were the keys to my survival before AA. As I child I wanted to have everything my way and did not outgrow this as fast as most people do. I needed attention and would go to any length to get it. I was a jealous person who would point out flaws in others if they had something I admired. I stole from many people because I felt I deserved more than my fair share. I had an extreme appetite for food and took more than other people because I wanted it more. I rewarded myself with pleasure because I believed I was exceptional in so many ways. I indulged in alcohol and drugs because I believed they made every experience extra special. I blamed others for my problems because I could not possibly be in the wrong. For most of my life I was like a bottomless hole that consumed everything without ever filling up. I consumed more of everything to make me happy, then could not understand why I continued to feel miserable. My friends and family avoided me because I brought misery everywhere I went.
Eventually I was able to put the cap on the bottle and abstain from drinking. I felt a newfound freedom. Life seemed so much better without the constant need for chemicals. I reestablished a relationship with my sons, and we became active in the community. I started a new career that was far less stressful than what I had been doing. All of this was made possible by the constant belief that I was an exceptional person. My ego fueled me through the many changes in my life. I compared myself to others who struggled with addiction and thought I was superior because I found abstinence without treatment or AA. I believed I was the best father in the world because I pushed my sons to be overachievers. I received a few promotions at work and earned a reputation as someone who was fearless and bold. I was quick to point out the flaws in my coworkers hoping this would further set me apart in the race for success. Every minute of every day was spent feeding my ego, and once again I began to implode. My sons became fearful and mistrustful of me because of my constant need for them to make me proud of my parenting skills. I had a reputation as a micro manager at work and did not allow my employees to grow organically. Instead of building my team up I tore them down in hopes that I would receive recognition for being the only skilled employee. I could not be satisfied regardless of how much validation I was receiving. The feeling of elation I found in early sobriety began to wear off and gave way to isolation and misery. My sanity began to slip away. Finally, my manager suggested I see a doctor because I could not continue working for my company unless I was ready to change my ways. The doctor prescribed medication, but also advised me to join a 12-step group to complete my recovery.
The most significant piece of my recovery has been establishing a connection with my higher power. While working the steps I was told God could relieve me of the burden of self I had been carrying all my life. I came to believe that my troubles were not unique, and they were opportunities for me to grow stronger. I learned that if I demand perfection in myself and others, this will always lead to unhappiness. I began to understand that I am no more or less important than anyone else in this world, which seemed to lighten a heavy load I had placed on my shoulders. I discovered that constantly rewarding myself with drugs, alcohol, food, money, attention, or any other worldly items will never replace the spirituality that nourishes me. The path I found to happiness was through simplicity. Simplicity for me means enjoying each moment as it comes without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I have learned through AA that I can trust God to give me exactly what I need when I need it. Trusting God means being kind and tolerant towards myself and others. I keep my heart and mind open to my higher power and embrace the connection I have to God’s creation. Occasionally I am overcome by selfish desires and this connection begins to fade, but if I go to meetings and work the program, I find my way back to God’s light.
The seventh step keeps me centered. I no longer exalt in my accomplishments because I understand my higher power is responsible. I also no longer wallow in guilt or shame when I make mistakes, because I know these experiences are God’s way of helping me learn. By asking God to remove my shortcomings I surrender my will to the spiritual force that holds our universe together. Prayer and meditation devoted to this step have helped me abandon the belief that my life is ruled by chaos. Everything happens for a reason in God’s creation, and I have no control over many of the events that shape my life. I have chosen to trust that my higher power will guide me towards serenity. All I must do is let go.
-Joe R, Squad 5C
Speaker of the Month
Recent and Upcoming Sobriety Anniversaries
Please join us in congratulating the following people on their sobriety milestones!
Nick J. (04/20/21) celebrated 60 days in June!!!
Bev H. (06/06/89) celebrated 32 years in June!!!
Bill M. (05/01/03) celebrated 18 years in May!!!
Jim L. (05/01/87) celebrated 34 years in May!!!
Jerry Z. (06/14/09) celebrated 12 years in June!!!
Tim N. (05/24/71) celebrated 50 years in May!!!
John G. (09/09/20) celebrated nine months in June!!!
Bonita H. (06/26/02) celebrated 19 years in June!!!
Billy (03/08/21) celebrated 90 days in June!!!
rbaaa.org thanks you for visiting the Dry Sheet. Please feel free to submit content for the following month by email to email@example.com . We welcome and enjoy all submissions. rbaaa.org would also like to thank those who submitted items for the current month's edition. These articles will help many on their journey in recovery.