Updated: Dec 5, 2021
RBA would like to thank Timothy C. from the Saturday night 6pm group for volunteering to coordinate content for the Dry Sheet going forward. Reach out to Timothy directly, or email email@example.com with submissions to be included in future editions.
TRANSFORMATION: SETTING ASIDE EVERYTHING WE THINK WE KNOW TO BECOME ANONYMOUS
Most of us have probably attended a significant number of meetings where we read How It Works. We often refer to The Twelve Traditions as “Why it works.” How a thing works and why it works are usually two different ideas. Here let’s give some attention to the transformative power of the 12th tradition, especially the parts about anonymity and working these principles in all our affairs.
Tradition 12: “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.”
Undoubtedly, alcohol is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Before recovery, people suffering from alcohol addiction carried the selfishness blamethrower, which kept wellness as far away from them as possible. The big book reads that we had a thinking problem, not a drinking problem and that drinking was but a symptom of our thinking problem.
Conversely, before recovery, those suffering from people addiction habitually lose themselves in the selfishness of other people. They continually walked directly into the blast of the blamethrower until, over time, recovered and realized that, as they say in the Friends of Lois Program, The Three C’s: they didn’t Cause it, Couldn’t control it, and couldn’t Cure it. Alcoholism has to run its course, and to try to save the alcoholic from themselves is impossible. Throwing a pillow under the alcoholic when they are falling toward their bottom, my sponsor explained to me, can kill them. We have to let them hit the concrete, she explained.
One of the hardest things I’ve done in my entire life was to let alcoholism take its course in the life of someone I loved desperately. Ultimately, she drank herself to death, but I knew that she had a higher power God and that it wasn’t me. Part of How It Works reads, “Probably no human power could have relieved us from our alcoholism.”
My sponsor explained to me further that she was holding on to the bottle and drowning. I was holding on to her to save her from drowning. She said if I didn’t let go of her, I would drown right along with her. I prayed about it steadfastly and received a message from my Higher Power about the course of action I was to take. I truly Let Go and Let God. This was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.
It is not a moral weakness to be an alcoholic. I eventually came to believe that I would no longer judge an alcoholic for drinking themselves to death, just as I would not judge someone who was suffering from obesity that died of a heart attack. Alcoholism and heart conditions are both diseases.
But where does the 12th tradition fit into all of this? My sponsor said that if God took away all my character defects, I would disappear (or become anonymous), AKA, become the hole in the doughnut.
If there is one who has all power, and that One is God, then what is my role in providing service to those who reach out for help? Fleshing this out was simple but not easy for me.
I’ve heard it said that it is none of my business what others think of me. That has brought me some peace. I started to believe that it is also none of MY business what I think of me. Instead, I thought it was only my business what God thought of me.
Whether they know it or not, perhaps when someone reaches out for the hand of help, it is probably the case that God is directing their attention to you. Some people think they are not ready to sponsor, but if God puts it on someone’s heart to ask you for help (because they are attracted to something in your life), who are you to tell them no? Praying about your answer and telling them no afterward is not YOU telling them no, but is your Higher Power telling them no. God led them to you to hear a no and go to the next person and learn how to accept the no answers of life. You are not Omni-responsible. God is. When the Big Book reads that there is one who has all power, it might mean that you don’t get any (control). Thus, we are back to the hole in the doughnut thing. That’s the anonymity part.
Steps 1 to 11 are there to clean and keep our gifts clean in preparation for Step 12. Step 11suggests we seek through prayer and meditation ONLY for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. We can only do this by becoming invisible ourselves. We have to get out of our own way to be of maximum service to our fellow and our Higher Power.
When I (as a Messenger) tell my story, it’s a story about how all roads lead from and back to God. God gave me the 12-Step program, and the 12-Step program and Fellowship gave me God. When we surrender our will and life to the care of God as we understand God, our problems are no longer ours. Most of us can’t get out of our own way because of fear. The program founders begged us to be fearless and thorough ‘from the very start’ of getting out of our own way (beginning Step 4) because they knew from experience how fearful they were and how it kept them in a self-imposed prison.
Consider the Serenity Prayer. Perhaps you have not because you ask not? Anonymity is a gift, not a curse, from God. The smaller I get, the bigger God gets. God GRANTS us serenity and acceptance; both are gifts from God (our part is to be willing to ask for it). Courage is a gift that we received from God, as is wisdom. Profound principles that rise out of working Steps 1 through 11 allow us to pass on these gifts through step 12 (if we get out of our own way to do so).
We are the Messengers, not the Message. If people remember us more than our Message when we tell our story, we have failed them. If you get out of your own way and realize it’s not about you, you can’t fail them or yourself. You’re in charge of what you say; people are in charge of what they hear.
If everyone has turned their will in their lives over the care of God, they will hear God’s will even if we say everything wrong and they don’t understand anything that comes into their ears. God can transform everything! Remember that it’s not possible to be off your spiritual path. All mistakes are blessings in disguise. As Bill W.was fond of saying, “In God’s Economy, nothing is wasted.”
The Highest Degree of Self-Esteem comes from God-Esteem.
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday November 8th, 2021
Meeting Opened at 7:08pm
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., Roger B., Bill M., Cherisse K., Trunette S., Rik L., Dana Jo F.
Jerry Z., Maintenance, Will S., Bookkeeper, Timothy C., guest
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z.):
Jerry completed some substantial maintenance projects since the last board meeting. He installed a downspout on the back wall of the building to prevent water runoff from the roof from pooling by the back door. Jerry also repaired many cracks in the asphalt and placed boards under the dumpster castors to prevent further damage to the parking lot. He then installed a threshold in the front door frame to make this more accessible for wheelchair users. Jerry reinstalled the third urinal in our men’s bathroom. He cleared many leaves from the porch area. Jerry plans to focus on pest extermination and kitchen cabinet repairs in coming weeks. The board asked about creating a shelter in the smoking area in the rear of the building, and this will be considered in future board meetings.
3. Financial Report:
The board approved the financials for October. No significant unexpected expenses were incurred during the month. With October being the first month of the pledge year, a significant increase in donations were received compared to prior months in 2021. It’s worth noting that RBA received at least $1,000 in additional pledges during October of 2021 compared to October 2020. Our bookkeeper noted that over $2,000 in online donations were received during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The parking lot LOC balance is very close to being paid off, and we hope to begin calendar 2022 debt free.
4. Old Business:
The minutes from the October board meeting were reviewed and approved. Last month the board discussed the quality of the coffee served during meetings, so board members have since worked together to ensure this was remedied. Members are encouraged to use the appropriate amount of coffee when brewing based on the size of each batch. A sign will be posted detailing the number of coffee bags needed for each batch size. Other items that carried over from the October meeting such as fellowship events and board elections will be noted in the following section of these meeting minutes.
5. New Business:
Timothy C. joined the board meeting as our guest to discuss taking over the Dry Sheet Coordinator position for RBA. He attends both AA and Al-Anon meetings and plans to encourage members of each to contribute articles to the monthly publication. Timothy will submit all content to the firstname.lastname@example.org around the 20th of each month for publication on our rbaaa.com website. The board approved this unanimously and we thanked him for volunteering.
Officer elections were held for the new 2021-2022 fiscal year. The board elected Norton L. to be our President, Roger B. as our Vice President, Jeff S. to the Treasure role, and Joe R. as Secretary. All four officers will transition off the board in 2022, so the remaining members should feel encouraged to learn the responsibilities for each position if they are interested in taking over next year.
Fellowship events were discussed. Bill M. and Cherisse K. provided a detailed accounting of the revenues and expenses from the annual picnic that was held during the summer of 2021. The Monday Night meeting attendees did a fantastic job of raising funds to cover the expenses and enough to kick off the event in the summer of 2022. The BBGH meeting also agreed to contribute some of the proceeds from the raffle to pay down the line of credit on the parking lot. Members liked having the picnic on a Saturday rather than on Sunday as was the tradition prior to 2021. Dana Jo then provided a recap of the Fall Festival; our members enjoyed the food, weather, and fellowship. The children’s Christmas party will be held outside again in 2021 due to health concerns.
Jim Barnes, our librarian, is interested in transitioning away from this position in coming weeks. For this reason, the board approved Doug R. taking over as librarian. Doug will work with Jim to learn our suppliers and the other details of the job. The board also agreed to assume oversight of the library and merge the bank account into our general fund. Doug will partner with our treasurer going forward to pay for inventory and account for the funds submitted to our library donation box. Board members expressed interest in expanding the variety of our library inventory, and they were encouraged to work with Doug to make this happen. We also plan to provide envelopes in the library to ensure club members are noting the purpose of their contributions to the library fund; this will help the librarian track and order inventory. The board then discussed asking the new librarian to take charge of adding members to the honorary mention plaque hanging on the wall by the library.
The Quale family’s donation of $1,000 was discussed. Rod and Lori generously offered to fund RBA’s hospitality suite at the Gopher State Roundup. This event was cancelled, and most of our expenditures were refunded to the club. Rod has given us permission to repurpose the funds towards paying off the parking lot, and we are grateful to him and his family for this!
The meeting was closed with The Lord’s Prayer at 8:16pm