Updated: Mar 1
Featured Post: The Step of the Month
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood
him. This step was essential for me when I first sobered up. I was still a very sick person and had many strong cravings and urges to use. In fact, many times, I would feel like my car was on auto-pilot to go to the liquor store, or drug dealer, and I had a hard time getting home safe after being out. I remember once being in a neighborhood that I used to buy and do drugs in because I had an appointment there. I felt a temptation as I was driving home to use, so I called my sponsor for help. She said, “You know better, don’t be ridiculous and get your butt home!” That is an example of turning my will over to a higher power. I wasn’t relying on my thoughts alone to get home. My sponsor and AA friends carried me a lot in the early days. I had to learn not to act on my own will, which was often telling me to use, and I had to get help to survive as my will to use was quite strong at times. I needed something other than myself to help me live free of drugs and alcohol.
For me, I made a decision right away to become a member of AA, attend meetings, and
work the steps with a sponsor. This was a decisive act that gave me a plan and a way of life
completely opposite to how I had been living. I also chose a loving and caring God to pray to, one without judgement or condemnation. My God was my friend who listened and cared, and helped me to not use and destroy my life. Between AA and God, I was equipped to handle anything that came my way. I wasn’t alone anymore. I was in a group of we, and prayed to a loving God, and these were both enormous powers higher than myself alone. Eventually, the will to use subsided, and I got better by working the program. The fellowship of friendly faces, my helpful sponsor and an all-powerful God directed me on a path of life that is amazingly wonderful, and I am so grateful.
I found I had to rely on AA and God for more than just a solution to my drug and alcohol
problem. I had more problems than alcohol and drugs and they were difficult to solve with
personal determination alone. My unaided will couldn’t repair all the damage caused by my
drinking and drug use. The loss and affection and trust from my family, the remorse and guilt, the bitterness and resentment. I had to depend on somebody or something else for all my problems. Sometimes it’s my closest AA friends or sponsor, and other times it’s worked out mainly with my higher power. In the beginning, our troubles are more acute without alcohol and drugs to kill the pain, and life is still unmanageable. Step 3 needs persistent practice as we try to make our will conform with God’s so that we can begin to use our will rightly. Our Big Book suggests, “Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us.” To make this possible is the purpose of AA’s 12 steps. Step 3 opened the door. In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause and ask for quiet, and in stillness, say, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will not mine be done.”
Peace and serenity to all,
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday February 8, 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:
Lori W., Dana Jo F., Norton L., Roger B., Rik L., Joe R., Will S., Jeff S., Bill M., Isaac S.
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z.):
Jerry was unable to attend this meeting but sent us an update via text message. Jerry replaced the light on the north side of the building during January. He plans to fix the paper towel dispenser in the women’s restroom in coming days. Jerry has also been modifying the back door to accommodate for the asphalt shifting, and he has a plan to fix it in coming weeks to ensure it no longer sticks.
3. Financial Report:
Jeff discussed the financials before a motion was carried to approve them. RBA paid the annual insurance bill during January along with a few other miscellaneous expenses, which resulted in a net loss for the month. We received $363 from the squads to pay down the parking lot LOC and Jeff processed this payment in early February.
4. Old Business:
A motion to approve the January board meeting minutes was carried. In January, the board discussed the meeting schedule on the RBA website and the Minneapolis Intergroup site. We decided to remove inactive meetings regardless of any plans for them to resume when COVID becomes manageable. Joe removed inactive meetings from the RBA website. He then reviewed the Minneapolis Intergroup site and requested updates to their schedule. Members and squad leaders should feel free to contact email@example.com with any updates needed on the meeting schedule.
5. New Business:
The board discussed the procedures in place at RBA to prevent the spread of COVID and to remain compliant with the policies set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health. The classrooms in the hallway were reconfigured to limit the number of seats and encourage social distancing. Signs were placed on the doors of and on the tables in the rooms stating capacity limitations. Board members have noticed these limitations have been ignored in some cases. Our plan is to create additional signs explaining how the chairs should be arranged in the rooms. Board members also discussed the feedback they have received regarding mask requirements. We have decided to visit each squad in coming weeks to explain the importance of the procedures in place at the club. Meeting attendees will be informed of the communication we have had with the MN Department of Health, during which they have asked us to explain the steps we are taking to ensure RBA is a safe place to meet. Meeting attendees should understand our mask, sanitizing, and social distancing policies are required by the state to keep the club open at this time, and failure to comply could result in temporary closure. Members and attendees who do not feel comfortable complying with our policies will be encouraged to attend Zoom/virtual meetings until the restrictions are no longer required.
The board also discussed cleanliness issues at the club. The floors are often unclean, and bathrooms need to be stocked more frequently. We have decided to speak with Jerry about the Jani King contract to determine what the scope of services includes. When this is understood, the board will provide feedback to the vendor or find ways to close the gaps to ensure the club is clean and presentable for our members.
The board then talked about technology updates for the administration of RBA. Will, our bookkeeper, bought a printer a few months ago which is no longer operational. A printer is needed to provide financial reports to the board and squad treasurers each month. For this reason, we approved $300 to purchase a new one. We discussed updating the club’s computer but decided to revisit this in coming months after the parking lot LOC has been paid off. Rik proposed the purchase of a Microsoft Office 365 subscription enabling RBA to leverage cloud storage and processing capabilities. Jeff agreed to research this in coming weeks.
Roger proposed we begin the planning of the annual banquet in hopes social gathering restrictions will be relaxed in coming months. The board agreed to set a tentative date of June 5, 2021. Roger will contact venues in coming weeks and report back to us with information.
We mentioned the need for speakers to sign up for the Sunday Morning Speaker Meeting. This squad is running low on volunteers for coming months and would appreciate anyone who is interested to email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to sign up.
The board was asked to focus on potential fundraising ideas to help us pay off the parking lot LOC before the end of the pledge year. These ideas will be discussed in future meetings.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was passed at 8:08pm and we closed with The Lord’s Prayer.
-Joe R, Secretary
Third Step Insights
Tradition of the Month
AA TRADITION #3
Short Form: (Pg. 562 AA Big Book)
“The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
Long Form: (Pg. 563 AA Big Book)
“Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.”
Wow!!! I had no idea that guys (ladies too) like me could once have been very well excluded from AA membership! Uninvited, uninformed, never informed, asked to leave, kicked out…take your pick. I’ll admit, I haven’t spent much time at all as an AA historian or done a lot of research on all of the tedious work that Bill and Bob and our first 100 did to give us this wonderful free gift. I was able to get all of that information as needed on speed dial from my loving Buddy and Sponsor and dear close friend Carl L.. My AA study program has stayed pretty much within the first 164 pages of the Big Book and the first 125 pages of the AA 12 and 12.
This writing takes me to page 561 of the AA Big Book. A gem I had honestly let slip away. THE A.A. TRADITION. I’m sure I’ve read it, probably more than once, but it escaped me that upon this one Tradition statement, all the other 12 traditions are based. The statement is short and simple and so much to the point that I’m glad Bill W. found it necessary to expound upon each Tradition on its own in the “AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” to make each one of them come alive.
TRADITION 3 (p566, 567 BB and p139 12x12) in its origin and purpose really surprised if not totally shocked me. If my fact checking is correct, the original Big Book was published in 1939 and The Traditions were not added until years later when first printed in 1946. Perhaps I’m the only one that thought after the Big Book was published, Bill W., Bob S. and the build up to the first 100 all hit the streets and the bars and the skid row missions for the grand scale start of the world wide recruitment mission that somehow found me several decades later.
Wrong! Between 1939 and 1946, AA membership was a VERY selective process. By Bill’s own admission, AA wanted only “Pure Alcoholics” within the membership. You could be a guzzler alright, with the normal complications of personal life and business that that would produce, but one must certainly have remained respectable. Did you know that in early AA each membership group had its own list of “Protective Regulations” to keep out bad people? I didn’t recall that. The now called “GSO” had the memberships send their lists in for review and safekeeping.
Would that have disqualified any of us? The AA membership didn’t want any beggars, tramps, fallen women, asylum inmates and the list goes on. This isn’t my list. It’s published on page 140 of the 12x12. Why? Bill goes on to explain. The early membership groups were terrified of breakage! The unspoken thought on their minds at that point was “who would drink next?”…in their own circles, let alone try to deal with the unknowns of a bunch of “lowlifes”. Can you imagine bringing one of “those types” into your home for a meeting??? Putting your entire family at risk???
Judgmental? Intolerant? Easy to say in hindsight for me, but what is the biggest detriment to many of our programs? Is it not fear? Especially fear of the unknown. These early birds didn’t have a fraction of the tools or the familiarity with them we have today nor ANY of the long term success stories we enjoy routinely. So to go from resistance to open arms in about 6 or so years is probably just another miracle of AA. It’s pretty profound…p.139 (12x12) ”You are an A.A. member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out”. Isn’t that a refreshing membership application requirement to some who may have been denied exclusive access to the world’s finest opportunities?!!
Then the reading goes on to tell what deep down all of us have longed to hear at points OFTEN in our lives! Paraphrasing: We are NOT bad people after all. Frightening people make astonishing recoveries, sobriety brings great workers, friends, relationships and eventually we even learn that there is not another shoe waiting to drop.
The overall theme of Tradition 3 as addressed on p.141 (12x12) is “Simplicity Itself”. Leave it to those early A.A.’s! So, what else could our 3rd Tradition membership requirement statement be in all of its simplicity?
THERE ISN’T ANY!
-Steve P, Squad 7G
Please visit the 'Resources' page on our website rbaaa.org and you will find a link to a detailed guide for sponsorship. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or would like to know more about how sponsorship can help you, click on the '12 Step Sponsorship Guide' towards the bottom of the page. Special thanks to Jim R for sending this in.
We have also added a link to online virtual meetings on our 'Resources' page. If you are interested in adding a virtual meeting to your schedule, click on this link at the bottom of the page (shout out to Will S for sending this link!!) A listing of virtual meetings is also available on the Greater Minneapolis Intergroup site, and a link to this has been provided towards the top of the 'Resources' page.
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 email@example.com. 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
Third Step Prayer
Recently a friend invited me to the casino which I thought was no big deal. We had, lunch, talked, and had a great time. I only had $40 on me so I didn’t think much of playing it, but what I failed to do was look back and remember.
Let me take you back a couple years. I used to gamble leaving my wife, and child at home. Going along with sharing with Alcoholics Anonymous, and AA I would also go to the bars lot during this time. The casino is really a double whammy because you’re losing money in gambling, and you’re also probably losing it at the bar. In my humble opinion the best you can do over time is break even. In most cases you will lose. This is true of the addiction of alcohol, in the end if you play long enough the “house” always wins.
After losing the $40 (returning to my story) I went home, and had a grievance against the slot machine for a week or two. I came to find, and realize in my head the thought if I’d only played $20 more I would have won a jackpot, or at least come out ahead “how dare that machine take my money” was my thinking. The disease of gambling is just like alcohol cunning, baffling, powerful!
So as logic would have it, I packed my imaginary bags, and headed back to the casino with $200. As stories would go there’s not much of a surprise here. But that’s really where the point lies. From an outside perspective, from a point of hindsight, it seems so clear what’s going to happen. I lost it all.
Today I’m thankful for these little wake up calls. I remember my past where I used to gamble $500 every couple days. This time losing $200 is a gentle wake up call, and was a small price to pay for the sanity to be restored in me.
Coming back to Alcoholics Anonymous, and the reason I write this story is because alcohol is the same in my opinion. Alcohol may only be worse, in one respect because you’re gambling with your life.
I’ve heard it said we often see the alcohol and it’s shiny wrappers looking appealing, inviting, luxurious. What we feel to reason is the hindsight and looking ahead to know the day after. The morning misery, questioning what we did the night before, the stale stench of cigarette smoke looming in the air. It’s all about perspective.
I hope this short writing gives you pause to think about your day, some choices and see there’s always time to pause. I believe there is almost always time to make another decision before it’s too late. Looking back over my life, and my past mistakes I can clearly see I was always given an exit opportunity. I wish I had I only listened. I often see now like the Big Book says: see “My experience can benefit another.”
Thank you for your time,
-Will S, Squad 5C
Reflection on the Third Step
I came into the program of AA with a head full of problems and years of failed attempts at solving them on my own. I read about the first step and knew I was in the right place because I had accepted the idea I could never drink again if I wanted to live, and the life I had was a complete mess. The second step gave me hope because so many AAs spoke of how their higher power had restored them to sanity. The third step was a little more intimidating, because the idea of giving up control to an invisible entity did not seem possible or helpful at the time. What I learned was the third step is the beginning of a process that would lead to a better life if I gave myself to it completely. By making a decision to turn my will and my life over to a God of my own understanding, I demonstrated a willingness to let go of the old ideas that led me to my bottom.
Self-will never produced a sustainable solution to the difficulties I faced. Early on I had trouble establishing and maintaining friendships. Eventually I came to believe respect was more attainable, because I could force this from some people instead of earning it. I argued with others frequently which sometimes ended in violence. I surrounded myself with people who would do activities I wanted to do, and if they did not like doing things my way, I had no use for them. This willfulness usually led to anxiety and tension which was quite uncomfortable. Eventually I tried alcohol, which seemed to be the answer I had been searching for all my life. When drinking I could relax and blend in with the group. I was usually less aggressive and was able to enjoy social situations. I then began to realize I needed more alcohol and added some drug habits to achieve the same calming effects. I used alcohol and drugs to control my emotions, but these chemicals took control of my life instead. Soon I believed my true problems stemmed from addiction and everything would be perfect if I could just sober up. I met a nice girl and thought a relationship would help me achieve sobriety, and it did for a while. I made that relationship my life and expected the same of her. Eventually she grew tired of living her life on my terms and we went our separate ways.
The willfulness that caused me so many problems in my social life carried over to my professional life also. In my mid-teens I got a job as a dishwasher and was extremely impressed with some of the managers I worked for. I wanted people to listen to and respect me in the same way, so years later I became a manager. Unfortunately, my direct reports thought less highly of me, partly because I was rigid and inflexible as a leader. I wanted them to complete tasks my way and would not listen to their suggestions on how to improve our workplace. I was overly critical of my coworkers’ shortcomings and confused their errors and feedback for personal attacks. I also gained a reputation for challenging my managers’ authority and overstepping my responsibilities. I was overly critical of direction I was given, especially if it meant I needed to change my daily routine. I spent a lot of time and energy convincing myself and others that my way of doing things was best, and thought my managers were abusing their authority if they disagreed. This constant need to be in control of situations was incredibly stressful and I was often exhausted. I could not wait until my workday was over so I could feel the comfort of that first drink or two. I knew I was making matters worse with my hangovers but convinced myself I was a victim who deserved any relief within my grasp.
For many years I believed the world around me and the people in it were the source of my problems, and my solution was to escape and hide. Something had always been missing from my life and I lacked the courage to figure out what that was. Eventually my drinking and isolation led me close to death. I was extremely sick and alone in my bed when I began to understand I needed help. What followed was a slow and steady journey that led to a better life. I first listened to doctors who helped me regain my physical health, then I found AA which healed my soul. Sobriety was not easy at first; I carried around a lifetime of baggage in my head and wanted immediate relief from my depressing memories and anxieties about the future. I shared my troubles with my new friends, and they told me to turn them over to a higher power. Fellow alcoholics helped me understand there is a spiritual solution to my problems. I began to trust this higher power more every day. I learned to accept the world around me for what it was instead of what I believed it should be. I came to understand the power of prayer and the importance of serenity in place of conflict. I learned the universe owed me nothing, and it was up to me to actively participate in the process of recovery. I began to realize my troubles were of my own making, and God would put people in my life to help me overcome these if I opened my heart. Making this decision to abandon self-will and trust God with my life is the foundation of my program.
One of my favorite daily reflections talks about the third step as being the keystone of the arch we pass through on the road to freedom from addiction. It states our program is simple; God is in control and he cares about us all. By making a decision to turn my will and my life over to my higher power, I leave behind selfish and self-centered ways that led to me to my lowest point. If I could accomplish this without exception, no other steps would be needed. I know this to be unattainable. For this reason, I work the other 11 steps which are like stones on an arch locked in place by God’s will. By opening my heart to him I learn to live happy, joyous, and free one day at a time. When I am troubled, I need only ask my higher power for guidance. I share my journey with others so they can find their own spiritual paths, and I listen as they help me stay close to God. God is the spiritual force that connects me to everything.
-Joe R, Squad 5C
AA Speaker of the Month: Katie P
Recent and Upcoming Sobriety Anniversaries
Please join us in congratulating the following people on their sobriety milestones!
Will S (02/14/14) celebrated seven years in February!!!
Doug R (02/24/19) celebrated two years in February!!!
Stacie L (01/03/21) celebrated one month in February!!!
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.