Featured Post: The Step of the Month
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”
After taking my first 5th step, I read what the book of Alcoholics Anonymous said about step six and seven and raced out to make my amends! Big mistake! I slunk back not the rooms and asked what I did wrong?? I was told to get a sponsor.
I came into this program so broken and beat down that I was very ready to do Anything! I asked “How do I get one?”
I was told to look for someone who had the eyes I wanted to have. I looked at many pairs of eyes at meetings. Some looked scared, some looked bored but a few looked pretty happy about where they were, I picked a lady that had very kind eyes and told her my life story and what happened. She didn’t laugh or lecture but just smiled and we started over at the beginning! She was a blessing, one of many that first year. I lost my job, which, turned into another blessing as now I could go to an AA meeting every day!! I learned to be accountable to the group.
She brought me back to my 5th step and we did another together where I discovered more of my character defects. We started to go through every one, slowly and thoughtfully. We prayed for willingness on my part and guidance on her part, We looked up the word defect: a shortcoming, inadequacy, a fault, a blemish ….to fail
I knew all about those words!! I was So ready to change.
We read in the 12X12 that this 6th step separates the men from the boys OR: It’s time to Grow Up!! I was to work towards a New Me! Kind, Helpful and Happy. She emphasized the “How” of the program-
I knew I needed a different attitude! (My Mother told me that all of my childhood!)
Going to lots of meetings I learned that the steps were like the arch that we were walking through. The 6th step was part of that top curve of the arch. Without this step and the next one, the whole arch would topple and so would me and my program!
I learned to pause when agitated and not to reply right away and to KMS (Keep Mouth Shut) I would say that alone averted 80% of my problems with my new attitude.
I found that rarely was my opinion wanted or needed, unless I was asked for it. Even then, I need to pause, ask God’s help and very carefully and quietly suggest not lecture. Nothing good ever came from my previous behavior. (Temping though it was at times.) I remember her saying “Thoughts and feelings are Not facts”
My sponsor said I was working towards a “New Me” —-Kind, Happy and helpful to others-pretty much the opposite of who I was now! I was to look at things from a different angle, Instead of saying “I gotta go to work,” I was to say “I GET to go to work! Another change in my attitudes! There were even more that she inserted in a timely manor. Slowly, very slowly I changed into someone new.
Today, I still have some of those defects-they sit on the back burner of the stove waiting for God to remove them. Meanwhile, some situations pop up with someone-and they turn that burner up on high! I can feel that in my body, my jaw tightens and the adrenaline starts racing through my body! I view that as God’s warning, I no longer have to react to anything.
I have learned to act my way out of the situation and return to peace and serenity by simply saying to myself “Thy will, not mine be done!’’ My very favorite part in the book that applies to this step is on page 419 of our Big Book. “How Important Is It, really?? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety? And when I place more importance on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level-at least for the time being!”
This program not only saved my life but has certainly softened my relationships with others, especially my family.
I am and continue to be entirely ready to have God remove ALL of my defects of character.
I am grateful to All of you who have helped me during my journey in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Bless You ALL!!
-Bev H, Squad 7G
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday May 10th, 2021
Meeting Opened at 7:01pm
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., Bill M., Isaac S., Rik L., Lori W.
Jerry Z., Maintenance., Will S., Bookkeeper
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z.):
Jerry has numerous projects in process. He researched estimates to replace the back door and RBA may incur costs around $1,500 for this in coming months. Jeff and Jerry plan to speak with a club member who may be able to get us a discount on a door. Jerry plans to research building codes for commercial door specifications in coming weeks. This project should be completed before winter to correct the dragging issues resulting from the placement of the door relative to the blacktop. Jerry is also planning to clean the condensers on the roof as recommended during our recent HVAC inspection. He plans to purchase a new hose for this job and for use in watering the new shrubs in the front lot. Jerry then provided updates regarding the janitorial services by stating our new cleaner is doing a nice job. The Sunday morning meetings have been unable to access the club due to the time lock not functioning properly, so Jerry updated a setting to ensure this is corrected going forward. We also decided to make a door key for Pete A. as a redundancy to ensure these members can get into the club for their scheduled meeting.
3. Financial Report:
The financials for April were satisfactory. Our janitorial provider gave us a 50% discount due to service interruption during the transition from the previous cleaner to our new contact. We incurred a quarterly expense for coffee and cleaning supplies and the annual webhosting fee during the last month. We paid down our line of credit for the blacktop repairs by $635. The trustees agreed to encourage members to help us pay off the line of credit this year and increase monthly donations to cover other expenses. We continue to spend more each month than we collect which could lead to future shortfalls if other extraordinary repairs are needed. The April financials were then approved.
4. Old Business:
Numerous items discussed during the April board meeting were resolved throughout the previous month. Shrubs were planted to satisfy the City of Bloomington’s requirement for a barrier between the road and our front parking spaces. The bookcase was removed from the back area to improve the appearance of the meeting space and create room for other items. Dana Jo and her group did a wonderful job of cleaning and removing clutter from the kitchen.
The minutes from the April board meeting were reviewed and approved.
5. New Business:
The board discussed continuation of our cleaning and decluttering projects at RBA. We decided to determine which of the many locked cabinets around the club are in use by active squads. It is believed that many cabinets have not been used for years, so the board would like to offer them to other squads. Jeff and Roger also volunteered to clean out the cupboards in the front classroom in coming months. There are many items scattered on top that could be stored inside after removing unneeded items.
Bill M and the Monday night squad are planning the annual RBA picnic. They plan to reserve a venue in coming weeks and announce this event at the upcoming annual banquet. Bill will get a deposit from Jeff when needed, and squads will then begin fundraising to make this event a success. Members are excited for the picnic and other fellowship activities, so the board fully supports these efforts.
The board is seeking a volunteer to coordinate content for the monthly RBA Dry Sheet. This person will find members to contribute articles for the step of the month, tradition of the month, any other program related items of interest. Joe R will continue to publish the content on the rbaaa.org website unless our volunteer would like to learn also. Working on the Dry Sheet is a wonderful twelve step opportunity that would require a minimal time commitment. The previous content coordinator will train the incoming volunteer and is always available for questions.
Roger provided updates on the annual banquet. Kate M created a poster with event details and pictures of the raffle prizes to be displayed in the main room. Prizes include a cooler, flat screen TV, programable coffee maker, pressure cooker, and many gift cards. Roger distributed banquet and raffle tickets and will follow up with us regularly to get an idea of how many people plan to attend the event. We are looking for one male and one female honoree to speak for 2-5 minutes at the banquet, so send suggestions to Roger. Roger is also asking for suggestions for a guest speaker who can give a nice 30-minute talk on recovery. Kate M. and Dana Jo have volunteered to decorate the room on the day of the event. Jeff S. has volunteered to provide information at the banquet on how to donate to RBA and what these donations can do for the club. Roger would also like us to provide information about the RBA website, Dry Sheet, and social media accounts to banquet attendees.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was passed at 7:48pm and we closed with The Lord’s Prayer.
-Joe R, Secretary
Sixth Step Meditation
The RBA Experience
The RBA Club
I was impressed when I first walked into the RBA building. The 12-Steps were painted right on the walls. No one was about to change their mind. No alterations could be considered. Leadership of the RBA was never going to modify the principles of this program. It was like the 12-Steps had been chiseled in stone - an immovable, unchangeable contract for recovery.
A contract for recovery, yes, but for those whose lives have been radically transformed through the 12-Steps, it’s more than a contract. It’s a covenant. Contracts are sometimes broken, violated or renegotiated, but a covenant is a forever-indenture, where one party would give their life for the other. A covenant is like a contract on steroids. God is especially good at covenants.
There’s a lot of “God” in the 12-Steps, starting with the Power greater than ourselves that can restore order to our lives. (Step 2) My best thinking got me in more and more trouble all the time, so maybe it IS time for a change. I think I’ll step out of the driver’s seat and let God take the wheel. (Step 3)
We admit our wrongs to God, and ask Him to repair our defective character. And if we come up a little short – if we don’t always hit our goal – God can help with that too. (Steps 5, 6, 7)
If we diligently pursue these things, fulfilling our half of the covenant, God has proven to be faithful with His half of the covenant. The AA Promises tell us that we will be amazed before we are halfway through. Now we can see that the program is working well, indeed so well that we want more. If I spend more time with God, maybe He’ll have more good stuff for me! (Step 11)
Life is so much better this way that I think I’ll tell my friends, and also anyone else who needs to be lifted up. (Step 12)
I have been told that fewer than 10% of treatment facilities rely on the 12-Steps nowadays, which leads me to the question, “Without the 12-Steps, what could they be teaching?” I’m grateful that our club proudly displays the 12-Steps, painted right on the walls, as a foundation of substance on which we can rebuild our lives.
-Norton L, President - Board of Trustees
Sixth Step Prayer
The RBA Dry Sheet is looking for someone to coordinate content for the monthly Dry Sheet publication. This responsibility should require a minimal time commitment. Each month before the 20th you will need to ensure all the content for the coming month has been submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing. The current web team will publish the content on the website, unless the new Dry Sheet content coordinator is interested in learning how to do this also. The current coordinator spends about 1.5 hours per month finding members to write articles and copying links to content from the web. Training will be provided. This is a wonderful 12 Step opportunity as many people really enjoy reading the Dry Sheet. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in taking on this responsibility or if you have additional questions.
This is a reminder to purchase your tickets for the Annual RBA Banquet to honor our friends who have achieved one year of sobriety since our last banquet. Tickets can be purchased at meetings for $20. Raffle tickets are also available; one entry for $1 and six entries for $5. We have many nice prizes including a TV, programable coffee maker, pressure cooker, Igloo cooler, and many gift cards. If you have achieved one year of sobriety since our last banquet held in 2019, see any trusted servant before or after your meeting to get your name added to the list of honorees. Our honorees have inspired us with their efforts, and every member is looking forward to celebrating these accomplishments on June 5th at the Knights of Columbus hall.
Tradition of the Month
“An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the aa name to any related facility or outside enterprise, less problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.”
Why Tradition 6 Is Important:
Even worthy projects such as starting a 12-step club or supporting a shelter for abused spouses should not be entered into as a group project, but rather as an effort of members as individuals, if they so desire. Invariably, these situations can involve struggles over finances and control and can divert a group and the fellowship away from its primary focus on recovery.
Members come into the rooms each week seeking help from the experience, strength, and hope of other members. This process can be interrupted if the group spends part of the allotted time for discussion of outside activities. When a group's discussion becomes dominated by outside issues, it robs individual members of their meeting time. In short, tradition 6 ensures unity within the group
So the first thing I ask myself if what is the primary purpose of AA. I believe it is to carry the message to the next suffering person that they might be relived of the burden of alcohol.
To share our experience, strength, and hope to help another with the same problem that they might also be saved from the sinking ship.
Lending the name of AA could deviate from that purpose and draw in controversy which would distract from the primary purpose, and could jeopardize AA. No monetary gain could possibly be worth losing AA as a whole.
Our common responsibility I believe is to share our program open and honesty so that others might be saved.
I came to read that a distilling company once approached AA about a campaign they had wanted to launch luckily AA turned them down. The idea was that the campaign would ask people to drink more responsibly, and thus get the approval of AA. I’m sure it would have been a lucrative deal for AA, but they made a great decision to say no.
This is just one example or putting the recovery of an alcoholic before monetary gain. To save one is priceless, and is the primary purpose in my opinion.
In the end Alcoholics Anonymous must place responsibility to the suffering before profits to ensure it’s continued survival for generations to come.
-Will S, Squad 5C
Sixth Step Insights
Reflection on Step Six
One of the most memorable moments during my recovery was the feeling of relief I experienced after doing my fifth step. Sharing my darkest secrets with another person and acknowledging my shortcomings before God felt like unloading a heavy weight I had been carrying around for years. I then continued to share shameful memories from my past in meetings and with friends hoping this would further lighten my spirit. Eventually I came to realize it was time for me to move on from my past and focus on the present. Moving on meant making some serious changes in my approach to daily living. Change had always been a source of fear because I found comfort in routine and predictability. Alcoholics Anonymous helped me realize that my routine up to that point had brought nothing but loneliness and misery. My character defects of selfishness and self-centeredness pushed friends and family out of my life because they grew tired of living their lives on my terms. Step six helped me understand the importance of being willing to let go of these shortcomings. Letting go of my old ways meant replacing them with the virtues I had found in my higher power.
My fourth step inventory helped me understand how I had embraced character defects to cope with fear and feed my ego. Working the sixth step later helped me understand how my higher power could provide relief from the burdens of fear and ego. I came to understand that throughout each day I needed to focus on being kind when I felt anger towards others. Furthermore, for years I excused dishonesty by convincing myself that my friends and family would be hurt more by my truths, but step six taught me the importance of trust and accountability. Before recovery I used my love and affection as tools to motivate my children. I withheld kindness when my kids did not conform with my ideals, thinking they would change to please me. The sixth step helped me realize a parent’s love should be unconditional, and providing love and support is the best form of guidance. Self-righteousness was also a defect I struggled with; I believed my viewpoint was absolute and everyone who contradicted me was of inferior intellect. The sixth step helped me understand my stubborn nature prevented me from learning new and exiting ideas throughout each day. Additionally, self-pity was a favorite tactic because feeling like a victim provided an excuse for me to isolate. This tactic seemed absurd after the program showed me my troubles were of my own making. This self-serving nature blinded me from the most wonderful parts of God’s world that existed outside of myself.
I was introduced to the sixth step during a fourth step workshop but did not fully commit to working it until sometime later. The event that helped me understand its importance was quite random, but it turned out to be another incredibly significant part of my recovery. I had just finished eating dinner with my sponsor and we were talking in the parking lot of the restaurant before going to a meeting. I allowed myself a rare moment of vulnerability and told him that I didn’t feel like I understood the program of AA well enough to make a meaningful impact on newcomers. Until that point, I was usually quiet in meetings because I was afraid of sharing something the old timers would disagree with. I was also very shy during fellowship activities because I lacked the courage to engage in conversations. My sponsor’s advice to me was to simply be more kind and welcoming to newcomers. He assured me that none of us work a perfect program and that perfection is not required. The effort we put forth is what matters. He also assured me that it doesn’t cost a thing to be nice to people. He then mentioned he knew I was able to smile because he had seen me do it before, so I should try greeting newcomers with a smile. Soon after I began to smile more and engage in conversations. I found that setting aside my fears and being more attentive to the needs of others gave me a feeling of joy and satisfaction that I was unable to achieve through my own willfulness in the past. I also learned that willingness to set aside my character defects and embrace change led to positive outcomes.
When helping others work the sixth step, I tell them it is so very important, yet often under appreciated. Our Big Book explains this step in a few paragraphs, which is comparatively short. The seminar I recommend to AAs covers the sixth step in minutes. We often read that willingness to have God remove our defects is all that is required, and perfection is not important. I completely agree with this, but my favorite writing about step six can be found in the Twelve and Twelve. The first paragraph on page 63 states the following:
“This is the Step that separates the men from the boys.” So declares a well-loved clergyman who happens to be one of A.A.’s greatest friends. He goes on to explain that any person capable of enough willingness and honesty to try repeatedly Step Six on all his faults – without any reservations whatever- has indeed come a long way spiritually and is therefore entitled to be called a man who is sincerely trying to grow in the image and likeness of his own Creator.
To me this means the amount of recovery I gain from working the sixth step, and the program of AA, depends entirely on how much effort I put into it. A friend of mine once told me I didn’t come into AA on a winning streak, so if I wanted different results then I needed to take different actions. This meant undertaking significant changes in my life. Trusting God to remove my defects of character has made all the difference in my life. Being open to the will of my higher power has led to happiness I never thought I deserved before working the steps.
-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 30 days in May!!!!
rbaaa.org thanks you for visiting the Dry Sheet. Please feel free to submit content for the following month by email to firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.