Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Featured Post: The Step of the Month
When I first heard about the ninth step, I wasn’t that concerned about facing the people I had harmed. After all I was an isolator. I stayed (and drank) pretty much by myself so who could I have harmed? My sponsor said, “If you get to step 9 and still can’t think of anyone you have my permission to skip to step 10.” He didn’t seem too concerned so I figured this might fall under the category of “more will be revealed.”
I later attended a 4th step seminar and started to list resentments. I hadn’t been subjected to any horrible mistreatment, but I sure had to put up with a lot of idiots! Of course, I never said anything to their faces but if I caught your ear I could explain in great detail what the other guy’s shortcomings were. But this step said I was supposed to do an inventory of myself.
By the time I had finished my list and done my fifth step with my sponsor I had a better idea of how I had harmed my family, friends and co-workers by my self-centered and often dishonest behavior. Suddenly facing those people didn’t seem like it was going to be that easy. My sponsor said that if I’d put my fears aside and give it my best shot, I’d be amazed before I was half way through. I knew I had heard that before and he said, “Yup, that’s at the beginning of ‘the promises’ that we’re always talking about at meetings. There’s a reason why they come in the big book right after it discusses step 9.”
Over the next several weeks I had a long talk with my ex-wife, wrote a letter to my brother on the west coast and composed an amends to my father who had passed away several years before. Now it was time to face my ex-boss.
I admitted, as I had rehearsed, that I had often given less than an honest effort on the job. I had been bitter about management in general and took every chance I got to criticize them behind their backs. I had also manipulated my time card rationalizing that it was the only way I would be fairly compensated. I now had to admit that this was stealing, and I wanted to make it right. By the time I left, my boss said I had made his day and he shook my hand and wished me well in my recovery.
I walked out the door feeling like the promises were really starting to come true in my life. It says, “we will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace” and it was true. I felt at peace with myself and no longer felt so compelled to judge others. I still have short comings and I still have bad days, everyone does. But every day I’m grateful that I put my fears aside and followed the example of the AA founders, my sponsor and those I’ve met along the path.
-Mike N, Sunday Speaker Meeting
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday, August 17, 2020
Meeting opened at 7:08pm
Opened with the serenity prayer, tradition 1&2 and mission statement. Our mission is to manage the property, finances and 501C3 for the RBA.
1. Members Present: Jim L, Rocky L, Curt T, Isaac S, Kate M, Jim B, Lori W Visitors: William S, and Joe R from squad 5C
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z,) *The city of Bloomington has mandated the RBA to cover the front parking lot from the street. Due to the high price of fencing, we discussed planting foliage instead. * Kate M made motion to plant shrubs/foliage, Jim B seconded, motion passed. *We will be looking at options and prices, and will decide what to plant after the next board meeting in September. *The coffee machine will be raised about 2 inches.
3. Financial Report *Curt T read the financial report*Coffee & Cleaning and pledge money decreased. Parking lot donations increased.*Discussion around the CD, and whether or not to use it to pay off parking lot debt. *Discussed refinancing the loan for the parking lot. Interest rate would decrease. *Kate M motioned that the loan be refinanced, Jim L seconded, board approved the motion unanimously. *Isaac S motioned to approve the financial report for July, Daniel seconded, motion approved.
4. Old Business * Kate M. read the July Board meeting minutes * Jim B motioned minutes be approved, Rocky seconded, motion approved.
5. New Business *The General Annual Meeting is September 26, 2020 at 7pm. We will be electing new board members to represent Wednesday night, Thursday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and Daytime. If you would like to run please turn in your name with desired representation to the secretary’s mailbox or give to Kate M. Secretary will hand out ballots in the 1st part of September. To be eligible to vote, pledges need to be paid up for the year and cannot be paid more than 3 months in arrears. To be eligible to run for the board, 3 years of continuous sobriety is required. Everyone who attends the general meeting will receive a raf le ticket. There will be some nice prizes, including a new electric snowblower. * Our service phone plan with pop communications needs to be redone.
6. Miscellaneous *T-shirts are available for purchase! They’re 100% ultra cotton. “RBA paving the way to Sobriety” is displayed above a pocket. A sample is hung in the hallway display case. Cost is $50. Money will go towards the parking lot debt. Please contact the President; Jim L if you would like one. *RBA WEBSITE is up! Go to rbaaa.org to check it out! The DRY SHEET is back! It will be on the website in September. Every month will correspond to a step & tradition. September is step & tradition 9. You can reference sources or be original. Please send AA related articles, reflections, and your experience, strength and hope with us. Send these to email@example.com.
-Kate M, Board of Trustees
The Tradition of the Month
A.A., as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve”
When I was approached about contributing a piece about the 9th tradition, I was at first unsure if I was qualified to do so. I am still relatively new to the program, having first started to attend meetings roughly 1 year ago. A.A. has been very good for me, I continue to recognize positive changes in me as person beyond just remaining sober. As a relative newbie I was not certain that I had any profound wisdom or insight on any of the traditions just yet, so I decided to write a brief summary of my own current understanding of tradition 9, followed by more insight on the tradition pulled from internet research (source included).
My Thoughts on Tradition 9:
In most societal organizations, a power structure of some sort exists at the top, from which strict rules, regulations, requirements, and punishment may flow from. A.A. must be the exception, because above nearly all else, A.A. must be welcoming. When people are put in power, they will naturally use that power to spread their own individual ideas and beliefs regarding how things should be run down throughout the organization, and members and newcomers who do not share the exact same ideas as those in power would surely feel less welcome. If a member chooses to defy the rules or requirements put in place by those in power, they can be punished or banished as the power structure sees fit. A.A. can never be organized in such a way, because a power structure would inevitably lead to lost members, either by their own uneasiness with the rules or by banishment for defying the rules. For example, what if a given person in power over an A.A. group or meeting decided that, for maximum inclusion potential, all references to “god” or religion must be removed from the meeting, both verbally and in written material? What if, on the other side of the same example, a person in power was a very religious man or woman and decided to require all attendees to partake in the lord’s prayer to close the meeting? In both scenarios, a segment of members or newcomers would feel pushed out. A.A. must always be welcoming to all of those who desire to stop drinking, and as such, A.A. ought never be organized.
Insight on Tradition 9 from roadtorecoverygroup.org: Reprinted from
At first glance, the ninth tradition appears paradoxical: AA ought never be organized, but it may create boards and committees. Boards and committees sound very much like organization does it not?
Two ways of thinking through this apparent contradiction relate to the phrase ‘as such’, and to the unique factor that bids AA’s together – their alcoholism.
Bill did not write that, ‘AA ought never be organized’, but that, AA, as such, ought never be organized’. There is a slight, but important distinction here. AA, taken as a totality, is not organized in the sense that ‘organizations’ usually are. That is, there is no governing body policing the membership and issuing edicts from above in accordance with a firm set of membership rules. Similarly, there exists no sanctioned processes whereby members (or groups of members) can be punished or expelled for not adhering to the demands and rules of the organisation.
So, in this sense, AA is not organized. Members (and groups of members) may do as they wish without risking either punishment or expulsion (Traditions 3 and 4).
Within this unorganized organization, what AA does have, is Traditions and a service ‘structure’. This structure does not function as a hierarchical means of maintaining authority (Trad. 1), but as a practical means of authorizing and enabling people to serve – those who serve been accountable not to a single point of governance, but to AA’s membership in general. And it is necessary for AA’s to serve in accordance with the literature – the Traditions and Concepts.
But without any form of organization or governance, how can AA be confident that the Traditions will be acknowledged? The simple fact is, as Bill warns, that just as disobedience to the 12 Steps may result in death for the individual, failure to largely conform to the 12 Traditions will result in deterioration for the group, and in tern, the fellowship itself. We remember, ‘that there are only two disciplinarians in AA, great suffering and great love.’
Similarly, why would AA’s submit to serve in accordance with our service structure? For the same reason: If the message is not carried, the telephone answered and the meeting not available for the newcomer, then individual sobrieties and the fellowship upon which they rely, will surely die.
AA’S maintain the ultimate imperative for sustaining unity through adherence to the 12 Traditions. No form of organised governance is required. Nor would it work. Experience has shown that the organised structures bring with them the risks of power and prestige – dangerous ground indeed for the alcoholic. And besides, in AA, alcoholics cannot, and should not, be dictated to.
-Pat B, Sunday Speaker Meeting
The last few months have been challenging for all of us. Your courage and commitment have made it possible to keep RBA’s doors open! Thank you for wearing a mask, cleaning and distancing!
*As of July 25, 2020, per the Governor's Executive Order 20-81, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless alone.
RBA is a public indoor space. Please wear a face covering while in the building, social distance at least 6 feet apart, wash hands/use hand sanitizer, help disinfect surfaces and high touch areas after your meeting, and stay home if you’re sick. We need to all share the responsibility of protecting each other from this contagious disease. Wearing a face covering is an act of selfless service that can keep our club and community safe during the pandemic. Many of our members are older and lots of people have underlying medical conditions, which would increase their risk of serious complications, including death if they were to contract the Covid-19 virus. If someone is not wearing a mask, please remind them. Let’s be respectful and courteous around this serious topic. Thank you!
-Kate M, Board of Trustees
Prayer To Overcome Addictions
I come to You as I come to no one else.
I am so sorry.
I have nearly thrown away my life, my body, my soul
But recognition of my addiction
has never given me power to control it.
You know this.
You never blame me.
You know the truth.
Addiction is an attractor field - a low vibrational level.
I wound up there because I was trying to escape pain,
Or I was trying to experience something transcendent,
And I got stuck.
But there is a better way to escape pain,
And there is a better way to touch rapture.
I can receive an authentic calling from You.
Therefore, I surrender myself to what I can be
—to that highest level to which You call me.
I demand, now, in this moment, Father, that You call me
—that You call me loudly.
You call me and raise me up out of addiction
—and into a higher level attractor field.
And as You raise me,
So do You raise all of Humanity out of addiction
—and into a higher level attractor field.
Together we rise, as one force in You, one at a time and together.
You raise me because I deserve a better life.
You raise me because I am ready to be raised.
You raise me because the world needs me.
I rise and keep rising; I do not fall.
I rise because You need me.
I am Your Thoughts, Your Voice, Your Hands.
I rejoice in my inherent holiness.
For I am where You reside.
You lift me because I have asked
—and because you love me so very much.
By Your grace, as I read this,
My mind and energy align with Yours.
By Your grace, the power of my mind
Is multiplied exponentially by all who read this.
Aligned with You, we are more powerful than any evil
— or any substance—
Can ever be.
Together WE form a conduit of love.
It reaches into my need for addiction and I am healed.
By healing myself, I help heal Humanity's need for addiction.
Joy fills my soul. My gratitude is infinite.
Thank You, Beloved Creator.
And so it is.
April 25th: Prayer for The Healing of Addictions
-Submitted by: Doug R, Squad 5C
Ninth Step Meditation
Reflection on the AA Promises
When we think of the Ninth Step we remember the AA Promises as shown below. This section of our Big Book is important to me because it details the rewards we receive after taking action in the program and thoroughly working the steps.
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half-way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
-Reprinted from the Big Book p 83-84
I believe my higher power led me to AA to find a new life in place of my old ways. For years I was a prisoner in my own mind believing I could find the answer to all my problems through dependence on alcohol and other worldly means. Working the first three steps helped me understand my strength and happiness were dependent on my relationship with a higher power. I learned that by placing my life and my will in the hands of God, I free my mind to focus on what I have control of. Unfortunately trusting God didn’t come easily at first.
In early recovery my head was filled with resentments, guilt and self-pity. These character defects were powerful and blocked conscious contact with my higher power. The step I needed to take was to map out an inventory of these thoughts and actions to determine the exact nature of my wrongs. I shared my findings with my sponsor, and we concluded my troubles were of my own making. My own selfishness, self-centeredness and dishonesty were the sources of my pain. I had struggled repeatedly to change people, places and situations to suit my will when the solution all along had been to change myself. This was a revelation to me because I truly felt I could be relieved of these character defects with God’s help.
With the help of my higher power I learned humility. I came to understand I had nothing to fear because everything happens for a reason in God’s world. Without fear I found the strength I needed to work towards my true potential. I also learned the danger of pride because I am nothing without my higher power and the many wonderful people God has placed in my life. This humility gave me the strength I needed to forgive those who harmed me and accept them as God intended. I then made amends to those I had harmed to free myself from the guilt and shame I had accumulated through my willfulness. After working these steps, I began to feel like an important part of something vast and beautiful. I came to believe we are all part of a higher consciousness and were intended to live together in God’s grace. Together with our higher power’s help we are meant to be happy, joyous and free. This is what the promises mean to me. This new life is immensely rewarding and can only be sustained by sharing our experience, strength and hope with others.
One other part of the Big Book I enjoy reading frequently is as follows:
“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.”
-Reprinted from the Big Book p164
This paragraph always helps me because it provides a concise summary of our spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides a high-level view of how we must change. When the promises come true for us it is because we have surrendered to our higher power, acknowledged we are human thus imperfect, and cleared away the wreckage of our past. The past we once worked so diligently to bury is now a useful tool to learn from. Our judgement is less clouded by self-seeking thoughts. We are better equipped to help others on their journey. This is what holds our fellowship together. This is how we find happiness as we continue our own journey.
-Joe R, Squad 5C
12 Step Lyrics AA
Step one was we came to admit,
we'd had enough of living in hell
and would do anything to quit.
Step two we came to believe because
with our higher power there is nothing we can’t achieve.
The keys to our future placed at our feet,
and with trust our higher power would be there to meet the moment of need.
Step three we made a decision
to turn our lives over to a God of our understanding
because we knew the way wasn’t working the way we were handling.
The problems seemed smaller,
and with our new faith we grew spiritually taller.
Step four opened our inner closet door
as we took inventory and then took it some more.
Learning times of sunshine can come after the rain had stopped to pour,
but our past we could not ignore.
Step five we admitted to God and another human being the nature of our wrongs,
into it deep now only completing this step helped me write this song.
Its suggested we get it out on the table where it belongs.
Step six we were entirely ready
to have God remove these defects of character
standing up to be who we really are not an actor,
removing the mask it's no longer a factor.
Believe in the process and you may come to find
your entire life has changed not just your present state of mind.
Step seven we humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings,
in this we allow for our higher power to assist with the work,
leaning on His trust and understanding
because we made a mess of our lives with our self planning.
Step eight we made a list,
and at this we thought of far more than the people we left pissed.
Digging deep for the pain we caused others,
instead of treating them like sisters and brothers.
One by one the walls will come down,
blockers will dissolve this is I believe where we start to evolve.
Step nine we made a direct amends
realizing not every apology will be met with a friend,
but we clean up our side of the street so things are right on our end.
It may take time but it's worth the price,
a little bit if pain for a future that's bright.
Step ten we continued to take inventory
and admit when we're wrong.
The days and ways we used to live are dead and gone.
Step eleven seeking through prayer and meditation
to elevate our spiritual situation
praying only for His advice and will for our life
and the power to carry it out right.
Step twelve we pass along the flame
forever touched our lives over again the same.
We give it away what we freely received,
to the next one suffering who just might believe.
-Will S, Squad 5C
Ninth Step Letter
I had learned In AA the importance of cleaning up my side of the street and taking responsibility for past indiscretions. I made amends to many of the people on my Eight Step list years ago. I started with family and friends because I felt a strong urge to acknowledge pain I had caused those closest to me and wanted to make things right. Most of these conversations were held face to face, but I had written a few letters to family members who had passed away years before. These conversations changed my life. I had no idea how heavy these burdens were until I was relieved of them. I felt closer to my higher power as I worked my way through the list.
Throughout the past few years I had been focused on Steps 10-12 until a short time ago. I have security questions setup on my computer, one of which asks for the name of my best friend from high school. Every time I was asked this question, I thought back to an incident from over 20 years ago which resulted in harm to this friend’s family. I haven’t spoken to these people in many years, but I knew I would feel better if I were to reach out to offer an amends. Below you will see my letter:
Dear Mr. and Mrs.,
Many years ago, you took a chance by allowing me the opportunity to use your cabin for a few days. I am sure you did this out of kindness and because you found joy in helping some young men have fun. You went out of your way to ensure we could take advantage of the nice lake by asking a friend to loan us his truck to move your boat in and out of the water. You had every reason to believe we could be trusted with this responsibility, and I let you down. I acted very selfishly that weekend and did many things I am not proud of. We caused damage to your boat, and I damaged your friend’s truck by driving it in to the ditch. This led to Mr. having to drive for hours in the middle of the night to ensure we did not cause any additional damage.
I had felt a lot of guilt and shame about that weekend over the years. I regretted getting behind the wheel of the truck after I had been drinking so much. I believed that alcohol was the problem and thought the damage was caused in a moment of weakness that could have happened to any young adult. I vaguely remember apologizing to you both on one occasion years later. I felt that by apologizing for drinking and driving I had done something courageous and respectful. You then asked me why I had not stopped your son from drinking and driving after that incident being as he was arrested for this some time later. I mentioned your son was responsible for making his own decisions and I believed personal accountability was important. I remember you stated I had a responsibility to help my friends make good decisions, and It was not appropriate for me to take rides from your son when we had both been drinking. I held steady with my beliefs and did not take this seriously.
I continued to carry this guilt and shame even after apologizing. I have had plenty of time to think about the true nature of these feelings. I now believe the damage done to your boat and the truck along with the trouble I could have helped your son avoid are all part of the same issue. I spent many years believing that my wants and needs were my only priority in life. I focused all my attention on what I thought would give me an advantage over others and failed to realize what was most important. This selfish way of living has harmed many people over the years, so I need to be willing to take action to ensure I am kind and caring to them if I want to be happy. I also need to admit when I am wrong and take responsibility for my actions.
I am enclosing a check to compensate you for the damage I did to your boat and the truck. I have no idea of how much you spent on these repairs so I ask you to please let me know if I can send additional payments. I also ask you to please let me know if I can do anything else to make things right. I can be reached by email at. Thank you for your time.
My friend’s father wrote back a short time later. He thanked me for reaching out and said he had moved on from this years ago so now I should do the same. He’s right, and I have. Regardless of the outcome I feel better because I did the right thing by making amends. The intent of the Ninth Step is to make amends to all people we have harmed except when to do so would cause additional harm. I’m sure I will remember more people to add to my list in the future.
-Joe R, Squad 5C
Recent Sobriety Anniversaries
Please join us in congratulating the following people on their sobriety milestones!
Greg S (8/10/19) celebrated one year during August!!!
Doug R (2/24/19) celebrated 18 months during August!!!
Pat D (8/10/10) celebrated ten years during August!!!
John A (8/26/03) celebrated 17 years during August!!!
Joe R (5/29/20) celebrates three months during August!!!
Joe R (9/10/07) celebrates 13 years in September!!!
Ninth Step Insights
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.