This is the first issue of the Journal, which was published as a text document and distributed by email. Rather than revitalise it with snazzy graphics we thought we'd show some respect (for a change) and reproduce it entirely in its original format. Enjoy!
------------------------------------------------------------------------- |o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o| |o o| |o o| |o M M EEEE EEEE TTTTT III N N GGGG o| |o M M M M E E T I NN N G o| |o M M M EEE EEE T I N N N G GG o| |o M M E E T I N NN G G o| |o M M EEEE EEEE T III N N GGG o| |o o| |o o| |o OO FFFF o| |o O O F o| |o O O FFF o| |o O O F o| |o OO F o| |o o| |o o| |o M M III N N DDDD SSSS o| |o M M M M I NN N D D S o| |o M M M I N N N D D SSS o| |o M M I N NN D D S o| |o M M III N N DDDD SSSS o| |o o| |o o| |o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o| ------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF THE MEETING OF MINDS GROUP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS O O O O /\ O O / \ O O / \ O O / \ O O / \ O O ---------- O O O O O O ISSUE 1 -- SEPTEMBER 1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women, who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. (c) AA Grapevine Inc. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- On the 19th of July 1993 four Scottish AA members met to discuss the formation of a new AA group. A fifth member was with us in spirit though unable to attend the meeting. Since AA has more than 2 million members and since 40 million people use electronic mail, it seemed likely that many AA's would have access to electronic mail, either through their place of work or study, or through use of a home computer. It was decided to found a group called The Meeting of Minds group. A private conference on a UK bulletin board was opened on Monday, 9th August 1993. On Tuesday, 10th August 1993, an entry describing the group's electronic journal was sent to the ADDICT-L listserver. On Sunday, 15th August 1993, a notice describing the group was placed in the alt.recovery usenet news group. Many AA members made contact in the first fortnight following the group's opening. Things were hectic and chaotic for a while. Thankfully we soon learned about the Lamplighters group, a strong and thriving AA email group that had been in existence for more than three years. We'd like to dedicate this inaugural issue of the Meeting of Minds electronic journal to our friends in the Lamplighters who gave us support and encouragement, shared their experience about email AA, and welcomed us with open arms. The Meeting of Minds group now runs a 'closed' AA email meeting which is a Step discussion meeting (at the moment). It also publishes this electronic journal every two months. You can contact the group by emailing to... AA@eclipse.demon.co.uk Items for the journal should be sent to... email@example.com ......................................................................... Group members of the Meeting of Minds group are... Alan San Antonio Texas USA Anastasia Glasgow Scotland Big A Cumnock Scotland Bobbi Massachusetts USA Eddie Glasgow Scotland Grant M. California USA Joe D. Glasgow Scotland Joe USA John Brandon Florida USA Mike Massachusetts USA Pat UK Pete USA Pete B. Philomath Oregon USA Ralph Paisley Scotland Reed Texas USA ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Lamplighters AA Email Group In the United States, we have had an on-line AA meeting that originally met on GEnie, an electronic mail service provided by the General Electric Company, but now crosses over into many mail systems. It started about three years ago, with a dozen or so members. It only lasted a few months because of a lack of participation by members--basically there weren't enough folks to keep it healthy if everyone wasn't real talkative. a few months later, Jack sent something to the Lamplighters mailing list by accident, and the group was reborn. We started off again with a dozen or so members and have grown steadily and consistently so that today we have more than 50 members. GEnie only opened up to the Internet a few months ago, but in that short time we've acquired several Internet-only members, as well as members from another service, America On Line, and are always open to anyone who's interested in joining us in staying sober one day at a time! We started off small and "nominated" (i.e. voted in while he was on vacation and wasn't around to object) our most organization-minded member to be secretary, and trusted him as our chief--and, for about two years, only--trusted servant. He did just what we needed to keep us alive through those initial growing pains: reminded us of our responsibilities to AA and the Steps and Traditions, and kept us talking so we wouldn't die out through silent apathy (a real concern for email groups). A few months ago, we finally felt the group was secure enough to expand slightly, and our first secretary was ready to step down; we elected Jack secretary, Laura as GSR, and a couple of other folks for jobs within the group, like helping newcomers with mailing lists, etc. Until very recently, we had to send group mailings using the 'blind copy' facility of email; an Internet -wise member recently set us up with a mail reflector address that sends the mail to the entire group, so we're able to do it with a single address now. I guess you could say our basic philosophy has been to move slowly and not try to grow too fast; we don't want the group to necessarily get so big that we don't know each other, or that it starts developing the political problems that sometimes occur with rapid growth. We have a basic list of group conscience decisions sent out to new members, and to date we've grown steadily and without any big problems. Any problems that do crop up generally show us something else we need to discuss and maybe develop a group conscience on. It's worked out quite well. When a new member joins, we send out an explanation letter, which is actually somewhat of a grass-roots hodgepodge of letters, and has been authored by many members over a period of time. The Lamplighters meeting is a discussion meeting and starts each week on Sunday morning, although it's been known to happen late Saturday night or even Sunday afternoon. the person who's the chair for the month posts the week's topic. Then, during the week, everyone replies who wishes to. There's a lot of great sharing on topic; there's also a lot of other sharing, since anyone is free to bring anything to the group at any time for discussion/suggestion/sharing. Cross-talk is not only encouraged, but welcomed; the best meetings seem to be when we get a big dialogue going amongst the group. Occasionally, some of us will move to a bit of private conversation; but generally it's all sent to the entire group, for even the "lurkers" in the back of the room to read and enjoy. There's room for just about any discussion here--and it doesn't have to be all serious, it can include the fun and silly! Having an AA meeting available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in our own homes and workplaces is a particularly wonderful blessing! We consider ourselves a "real" AA group in every sense of the word: we follow the Steps and the Traditions, and believe strongly in anonymity-- although not WITHIN the group; any member's identity is known to every other member. Because of the nature of GEniemail, which was our only home until recently, most of our last names are known as well. But no group mail is sent outside the group without (a) the permission of the author, and (b) the removal of any identifying information, such as names and IDs. In other words, we operate just like any other closed AA meeting; "Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here." We have not worried about money up to this point; because we're spread over such a wide area, we just haven't come up with a comfortable solution to the financial stuff. Basically, each person is responsible for their own email account, and if someday we work out a way to send contributions to GSO, that's great. Right now, though, we're content to share experience, strength, and hope, and since that's gotten a lot of our members more active in live meetings and helped us all to stay sober, that's okay. Today, we have members from all walks of life, at all ages, with lots of sobriety (some members have more than 20 years) to just a few months--but it's safe to say that we all can't imagine life without electronic AA anymore. Some deep friendships have grown inside the Lamplighters; some of us have even been able to meet in person. But whether we have met or not, we're there every day for each other. What a wonderful thing! The group conscience is that we're a closed meeting for alcoholics only. However, as of right now, any member can introduce any new member to the group; we have no screening process other than making sure the prospective member has a desire to stop drinking before introducing him or her to the group. We've had several people who had the desire but hadn't stopped drinking when they got here, just as in any closed meeting. Some have gotten sober, others haven't, just as in any closed meeting. We have no sobriety requirements or anything else that would violate the Traditions. We consider ourselves a closed meeting in the usual sense of the phrase. Our major concern is how to apply the Traditions in this format, in order to ensure that we're doing what the wisdom of millions of AAs over the years has taught us. That's the best guidance we could get. Unfortunately, in the medium of electronic mail, we have new problems that haven't been entirely solved to everyone's satisfaction. In a sense, we're helping to tread new ground. We suspect Bill and Dr. Bob would be thrilled to see AA spread throughout life in so many new and unique ways! No rules and regulations have been created just because one person made a mistake. Our existing closed meeting format was, however, accidentally violated, which is something we all need to avoid in order not to scare away people who are more concerned about their anonymity than some of us loudmouth types. We've obviously learned a new lesson about another problem with anonymity in this medium that we need, as a group, to solve through the group conscience. We really do try to act just like any AA group--which means that all the Traditions apply. It's how to apply them that gets tricky, when all our names are showing in bold letters in living color! We have also agreed to follow all 12 of the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous as best we can, including the 3rd Tradition which says the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. The 12th Tradition is really giving us a problem, though. And we are experiencing some of the same problems with it the early AA's had. How far do we go? And to which extreme? We don't know! And we want to do it RIGHT! We are all alcoholics, after all, still learning how to live sober. Thank God we don't have to do anything perfectly and can strive for progress rather than perfection. The Group has had a tremendous growth in numbers over this past year. And we have grown closer as a group, too. This group has been, and still is, a true blessing for us. AA is the place where misfits fit! The Lamplighters is another of AA's groups where this miracle continues. ## Laura, USA. ## ## Murray, USA. ## This article was compiled from separate articles from Laura & Murray. Any mistakes are ours, and not the fault of the writers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The 'ism' in alcoholism stands for "I Sponsor Myself"! ## Jack in INDY ## ........................................................................... Here is a gem. A member of my group shared last night that he has this taped to his mirror: Good Morning! I will be working with people, places and things today. I will not be needing your help, thank you. Have a nice day, God ## Daisie, USA. ## ........................................................................... Just a little poem I picked up from a television drama some years ago. ## Big A, Cumnock, Scotland. ## A man with too little has never enough And must always strive after more And a man with enough has more than enough And should daily give thanks for his share. I had too little but now I've enough And that's more than enough for me. If you have too little I wish you the same And a life that is tranquil and free. But if you have enough and it's never enough And, fretting you strive after more Then I wish you well in your restless hell, But you'll get nothing more from me! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SPONSORSHIP Sobriety doesn't bring with it immunity from all the trials and tribulations that can arise in our day to day lives. As soon as possible after coming into AA, finding a sponsor should be given a high priority. A sponsor is usually a person you can feel at ease with, someone you can trust and share your more intimate problems with. Someone who has several years of continuous sobriety, knows the value of sponsorship, and is prepared to give freely of his or her time when called upon. Such a relationship usually develops slowly, and it is most important that the bond of confidentiality that builds up between sponsor and sponsee is respected at all times. The purpose of a sponsor is, primarily, to guide the sponsee through AA's Twelve Steps, which are suggested as a programme of recovery. It is vitally important that this be done the AA way, not the sponsor's way. Patience, understanding, compassion and trust are qualities generally found in a good sponsor, qualities which take time to acquire. Having a sponsor doesn't mean that we cannot share some of our problems with other members of the fellowship, whenever the need arises. We may be sitting at a meeting feeling down in the dumps after having had a bad day, and it is understandable that we would want to unburden ourselves. One thing we should never do, and that is to turn to our sponsor only when HAVE to. Sponsorship doesn't work this way; the responsibility for keeping in touch on a regular basis does not lie with the sponsor. This supports what I have heard said many times at meetings, 'If you want help in AA, all you need to do is ask for it.' Keeping in touch with your sponsor on a regular basis, by whatever means you can, will be to your advantage, both in the long and the short term. The alternative to sponsorship would simply be more of a hit and miss affair, reverting to type. You know, the times when you were on your knees after a drinking session, mumbling all the right words for all the wrong reasons. Praying to God, 'Just get me out of this mess, and honestly I won't do it again' was the usual plea. Of course, He didn't and I did. If we want to bring about change in our lives, we need to know how we can do this, how we can lead a sober, happy, contented and manageable way of life on a daily basis. The course is mapped out for us in the form of the Twelve Steps of recovery, and we can look upon a sponsor as a map reader. Knowing the course and the direction you want to go in is half the battle. A good sponsor can help you to avoid the obstacles and pitfalls that can and do come our way in sobriety. What we do learn is that we are no longer alone, and that no one else can do things for us. But if we put our trust in our sponsor, and turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him, good things will come to pass, and we will achieve things beyond our wildest dreams. Take the first step in the right direction and find a sponsor. ## Ralph, Paisley, Scotland. ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hello out there other AA's. I thought there must be some other E-mail AA groups out there besides ours, but I hadn't heard of any beside the one that we have here, called the Lamplighters, and the new one on America Online. We have been operating here for several years on GEnie, and just recently on the Internet. It's good to know that more E-mail recovery is going on. Hang in there! ## John, USA. ## --------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Thoroughly have we seen a person fail who has rarely followed our path." --------------------------------------------------------------------------- "A sober man may become a drunkard through being a coward. A brave man may become a coward through being a drunkard." ## G.K. Chesterton ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .#############. SOBRIETY .###################. ANNIVERSARIES .####%####################.,::;;;;;;;;;;, ''''''''''''''''''' .####%###############%######:::;;;;;;;;;;;;;, ####%%################%######:::;;;;;;;;@;;;;;;, In the next issue ####%%################%%#####:::;;;;;;;;;@;;;;;;, we'd like to start ####%%################%%#####:::;;;;;;;;;@@;;;;;; recording the `####%################%#####:::;;;;;;;;;;@@;;;;;; achievement of `###%##############%####:::;;;;;;;;;;;;@@;;;;;; members reaching `#################'::%%%%%%%%%%%%;;;@;;;;;;' their AA birthdays `#############'.%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%;;;;;' `#########'%%%%#%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%, -that includes 90 `#####'.%%%%#%%%%%%%%%%%%%%#%%%%%%, days and 6 months- `##' %%%%##%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%##%%%%% ### %%%%##%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%##%%%%% If you'd like to be ' %%%%##%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%##%%%%% included, please ' `%%%%#%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%#%%%%%' send a note of your ' `%%%#%%%%%%%%%%%%%#%%%%' sobriety date, we'll ` `%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%' hold onto it until ` `%%%%%%%%%%%%%%' it's time. ` `%%%%%%%%%%' ' ' `%%%%%%' ' We don't want to ' `%%%' ' embarrass or upset ' .%% ` anyone by listing ` %%% ' them against their ` ' ' wishes, so please ` ' ' send the sobriety ' ' ' date if you want ' ' to be included. ' ' ## Balloons by Murray, USA. ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ AA in Japan There are a few English AA meetings in Japan. Most are in Tokyo, about 1 a day. In the Kansai area (near Osaka) there's 6 meetings a week: Wednesday and Friday nights in Osaka, Tuesdays and Thursdays Noon meetings also in Osaka, Sunday meetings in Kobe, Monday meetings in Kyoto. Due to my schedule and the distance involved, I usually get to 3 meetings a week, sometimes less, occasionally more. It's a small fellowship down here, with meetings averaging 3-6 people. Most meetings are 1 hour long, except the Sunday night Kobe meeting, which is 90 minutes. We usually go around starting with a chairman who asks people to read from the literature (How it works, Steps, Traditions) and then usually picks a topic, shares on it and then people around the table share their experience, strength and hope. If there's a newcomer, it's a 1st step meeting. About 1/2 of the people have 5+ years of sobriety, and about 1/2 are less (usually within the 1st year). I'm in between--I'll be celebrating 3 years of continuous sobriety in December. There are quite a few Japanese meetings here. I used to go to a few a week, but I haven't recently. Japanese AA is quite strong. Big meetings, a service structure, and even institutional meetings and such (going to hospitals, etc). My Japanese is better than when I came here, but I don't consider myself fluent. I can get by talking one-on-one with most people but at meetings, with slang, (and of course, the normal disjointed talks by us alkies) and the local dialects I often find it difficult. Still, it is AA-- the warm loving fellowship is there, and even if you can't understand what they're saying, you can see it in their eyes. ## Dave, Japan. ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have this poem hanging in my computer room, I like it... ## Bobbi, USA. ## THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND 'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer Thought it scarcely worth his while To waste much time on the old violin, But he held it up with a smile. "What am I bidden, good folks" he cried, "Who will start bidding for me? A dollar, a dollar"--then, "Two!" "Only two? Two dollars, once; three dollars, twice; Going for three--" But no, From the room, far back, a gray-haired man Came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening the loose strings, He played a melody pure and sweet As sweet as a caroling angel sings. The music ceased, and the auctioneer, With a voice that was quiet and low, Said, "What am I bidden for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. "A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice; And going, and gone!" said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply: "The touch of the master's hand." And many a man with life out of tune, And battered and scattered with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, Much like the old violin. A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; A game-- and he travels on. He's "going" once, and "going" twice, He's "going" and "almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd Never can quite understand The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought By the touch of the Master's hand. by Myra Brooks Welch ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From "The Sunday Mail", 28th August 1948 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COME TO SCOTLAND ## By a "Sunday Mail" Reporter ## Six men who met in a Church vestry in Perth this week-end made Scottish history--when they formed the first Scots branch of Alcoholics Anonymous. Most unorthodox movement in the world--it began in America--Alcoholics Anonymous has as its only members people who are addicted to alcohol. They set out as drunkards to help cure one another, to the extent of being prepared at a moment's notice to go out at any time of the day or night to help a "brother" in distress. "The service might consist of several members sitting up all night with an alcoholic, sitting on his chest if need be and giving him the small supplies of liquor prescribed by a doctor - without taking any themselves," a member of the new branch told me. "There is no compulsion on members to obey any rules. The decision is left to themselves, but if any member feels he needs help, all he has to do is telephone other members and they will come at the double." == No Subscriptions == He told me that the experience of members in the past had shown that there was nothing that put a stop to alcoholism so much as the opportunity to study alcoholism in others. That put an end to alcoholism in the observer, and the "patient" who ultimately became an observer was also cured. "If you are doing your best to get another man out of a pub you haven't much time for drinking yourself," this AA member told me. Most unusual feature of the newly-formed Scots movement is that there are no subscription fees and if a hall is chartered for a meeting the cost is paid by members passing round the hat. == More Branches == Scots doctors and clergymen are keenly interested in the movement and were responsible for the formation of the Perth branch. Feelers have been put out from other Scots towns including Edinburgh, Dumfries and Glasgow, where branches are likely to be formed in the near future. Asked how often the Perth branch would meet my AA member smiled and asked, "What do you think? Just as often as we're needed." There are only two other branches in the area of the British Isles. One is in Dublin; the other in London, with 60 members. No member of the AA will attempt to tell you that you are, or are not an alcoholic. This you must decide for yourself. == Questionnaire == Here are test questions: Do you need a drink the morning after? Do you lose time from work due to drinking? Is your drinking harming your family in any way? Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily? Do your nerves suffer as a result of continuous drinking? Have you less self-control after drinking? Do you drink to obtain social ease? (In shy, timid, self-conscious individuals). Do you drink for self-encouragement? (In persons with feelings of inferiority). Is drinking affecting your peace of mind? Is drinking making your home life unhappy? Is drinking jeopardising your business or job? Is drinking affecting your reputation? Alcoholics Anonymous are not a reform society and do not want uninvited to "save" anyone. Above all they do not want to interfere with the majority to whom drinking is a pleasant and harmless recreation. An alcoholic is one who repeatedly drinks more than he intends or wants to, although knowing by past experience that he cannot control his drinking. Finally, he becomes aware of a pattern or habit in his drinking problem which he is powerless to change with any degree of certainty or permanency. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are two things that are bad for the heart; running up stairs, and running down people. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stick with the winners! AA has only three 'official' slogans--they're listed on page 135 of the Big Book--but it has many other sayings that have embedded themselves into the fabric of our Fellowship. Some have come from AA literature, some have come from the historical development of AA (the 'four absolutes'), some are used commonly outside AA and have been adopted because of their helpfulness, and some seem to have been passed on by word of mouth alone from the very early days of the Fellowship. I think the saying, "Stick with the winners!" is probably an adopted phrase because I've come across it in so many places outwith the Fellowship. Whether my guess about its origins is right or wrong, it was a saying that troubled me a great deal in my own early days. It was frequently used by an old timer in my first group for whom I had enormous respect. He had taken me under his wing and took me to meetings for months. I was mostly silent and he talked a lot. Although he was not formally my sponsor, I recognise now that he was my first and wisest sponsor. ńStick with the winners!î was one of his favourite and most repeated sayings. Before he retired he had been a bookmaker and perhaps this was the appeal of it for him. It upset me because it seemed to put you in a different category from me. You were winners and I wasn't. I was therefore a loser. At that time I was a real loser because I couldn't stay away from the drink, despite doing three, four, or five meetings every week. But I didn't like to be reminded that you sober members had something I didn't. I had been promised that I was no longer alone, but I felt isolated because I wasn't one of the winners. If there were winners, I thought, then this is some sort of race. I couldn't compete; I had come to AA because I couldn't cope with just about everything, so I certainly couldn't cope with competition„I could only lose. Every meeting held hope for me, but there was also despair when I gazed into the winners' paddock at the joyful sobriety of„it seemed to me„everybody but myself. At that time I didn't understand why I couldn't stop drinking and felt it was lack of effort in applying the lessons being taught to me by other members. Today I know differently; effort is only part of the process and the secret is surrender. But then it was different. My life was a wasteland. In the distance, the very far distance, was hope of recovery; in the foreground there was the desolation of the last drink, the devastation of failed promises and broken dreams, and the terrible presence of pain and hurt in my egg-shell relationship with my wife. "Stick with the winners!" is not something that I say at meetings, simply because I remember the confused mental wreck that I was. I never discussed how I felt about that saying with anyone at the time. I bottled it up and drank liberally from the bottle. If I had asked about it, if I had talked about, I know I would have put my mind at rest more quickly. What I did was tussle and gnaw and poke at it until I found a way of understanding the saying that helped me. I'll share that understanding in case anyone else is going through what I put myself through. There is no competition within the Fellowship because we're in this together. The Twelve Steps are written in the plural; it's 'we' and 'us,' not 'I' and 'me.' We share triumph and failure; I am strengthened by your triumph and you are saddened by my failure. There is a race in the Fellowship but it's called the human race. When I joined the Fellowship I left the rat race and rejoined the human race. In my opinion I was never a loser after I joined the Fellowship, I was simply limping towards recovery. The other runners--far swifter than I--frequently came back to pick me up when I stumbled and support me on my way. Today I'm still limping along; the difference is that I haven't actually fallen over for some considerable time. Sometimes I need you to wait for me, sometimes I have to crawl, and sometimes I need carried when my strength runs out. But I know now that speed is unimportant, only progress on the journey. And whatever progress I seem to be making--even when I'm being carried--my heart is flying. The only winners' paddock in this race is made of pine and six feet under ground. The Fellowship isn't a competition, it's a way of coping with our common problem, it's a way of travelling together. By thinking this way, I'm no longer upset when I hear the saying, "Stick with the winners!" but am reminded of some of the things that are important to me in Alcoholics Anonymous. I know that when I think this way I'm doing some of that 'sober thinking' we talk about at meetings. ## Eddie, Scotland. ## ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------Recovery Bulletin Board Systems--------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The following is a list of recovery Bulletin Board Systems taken from the Black Bag Medical BBS List © Edward Del Grosso M.D. The complete list (which is very long) also contains medical, fire/EMS, science, AIDS and disABILITY related bulletin board systems. Recovery Connect (102/541) 310-322-2745 V32 CALAN QUICKBBS 03/04/93 Steps of DC West (102/402) 310-436-9535 1200 FIDO 03/01/93 LifeLine Home of RecoverNet 310-823-6686 HST CAGLE WILDCAT 03/06/93 24 Hours a Day (143/302) 408-448-1126 2400 CASJO REMOTE 03/05/93 Higher Powered 408-737-9447 HST CAPAL PCBOARD 03/05/93 Recovery (125/9) 415-255-2188 V32b CAOAK REMOTE 03/19/93 12 12 New Beginn(125/1212) 510-834-6906 V32b + CAOAK REMOTE 03/05/93 Recovery 1 BBS (202/905) 619-523-1961 V32b + CASDI EZCOM 03/19/93 Feel Heal Ordeal (102/484) 818-952-5157 2400 + CAGLE REMOTE 03/05/93 Quick Facts 202-289-4112 2400 DCWAS GALACT 03/04/93 Venice Recovery (137/408) 813-492-9592 HST + RBBS 03/18/93 Easy Does It (132/131) 603-228-0705 HST OPUS 03/09/93 The Right Place (107/818) 201-947-8231 V32b + RYBBS 03/08/93 The Diner 908-418-4354 V32b NJNBR PCBOARD 03/10/93 The Recovery Room (2613/207)716-461-5201 V32b REMOTE 03/03/93 Recovery NorthWest (105/62) 503-231-3852 V32 + ORPOR REMOTE 03/02/93 The 4th Dimension 503-236-5068 2400 ORPOR CUSTOM 03/19/93 Promises (116/3000) 615-385-9421 V32b OPUS 03/05/93 Stepping Stones (3615/14) 615-977-7359 V32b OPUS 03/09/93 EM LEPC 713-341-4437 2400 TXHOU TAG 03/19/93 Recovery Corner (130/911) 817-447-1619 V32 + REMOTE 03/04/93 Navy Drug and Alcohol 703-693-3831 2400 DCWAS WILDCAT 03/18/93 Adult Child of Alcoholics 703-821-2925 2400 DCWAS RBBS 03/20/93 Seattle Recovery 206-646-2854 2400 WASEA QUICKBBS 03/20/93 Olympia Recovery 206-923-1457 2400 QUICK 03/09/93 Spokane In Recovery (346/22)509-325-1058 HST GALACT 03/01/93 Addictions (342/22) 403-460-8357 V32b MAXIMUS 03/14/93 NOTES: BBS software used Socrates SOCRATES Total Communications System TCOMM Opus OPUS The Bread Board System TBBS Wildcat WILDCAT Rybbs Bulletin Board RYBBS PCBoard PCBOARD RemoteAccess REMOTE Spitfire SPITFIRE GT Power GTPOWER QuickBBS QUICKBBS Fido FIDO Maximus MAXIMUS Tag BBS TAG Image BBS IMAGE Simplex SIMPLEX Telegard TELGARD Remote Bulletin Board System RBBS Auntie AUNTIE Galacticom GALACT Super BBS SUPER Feather FEATHER Ultra BBS ULTRA Custom or Unknown CUSTOM Red Ryder RED NOTES: Modem Codes 1200 1200 Baud 2400 2400 Baud V32 CCITT V32 9600 bps full duplex V32b CCITT V32bis 14400 bps full duplex HST USR Courier HST The numbers following some of the board names are network addresses for those boards participating in the International Fido Network. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24...24 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Twenty-Four Hours... Twenty-Four Hours... Twenty-Four Hours... "We are never satisfied with the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten it on its way; or we recall the past as though to arrest its too rapid flight. So foolhardy we are that we go wandering about in periods of time which do not belong to us, and give no thought to the only one that does. So frivolous we are that we dream of those times, which are no more, and thoughtlessly overlook the only one that exists. The reason is that the present generally hurts us. We hide it out of sight, because it distresses us; or, if we happen to enjoy it, we regret to see it vanish. We try to make it endurable by looking to the future, thinking to create a situation from things beyond our control and in a period of time which we have no certainty of reaching. "Let each man examine his thoughts, and he will find them all preoccupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; if we do it is only to obtain the light wherewith to organize the future. The present is never our goal; the past and present are our means; the future alone is our objective. Thus we never live, but only hope to live; and as we are for ever preparing to be happy, we shall assuredly never be so." ## Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Birthday I do not know how pain and fear Have somehow brought me safely here; Nor can I say why terror's tree Has thrown a shade to shelter me. How is it that where silence grows Its silent storms I find repose? And after breaking quite apart Why is it that still beats my heart? I do not know whence came such power To search my rage and find a flower; Nor can I guess how then from me It drew a note for harmony. But sparks like these have found a way To fuse and light another day Wherein I step to seek that friend Who yearns, like me, this bright day's end. ## Anonymous Member, Scotland. ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _ , ' ) / Hello, my name is Herm, I am an alcoholic. /--/ _ __ ______ I began my recovery on April 2nd 1990, / (_</_/ (_/ / / <_ and this is how it happened. I began the drinking stage of my disease back in late 1965, stationed in Vietnam. From there to Japan where, in less than two years, I was full blown alcoholic. I had gone from a beer or two a day to quite a bit of whisky every day, along with beer. Sometimes a quart or more of booze. Blackouts. I thought they were a part of drinking, and everybody got them. I came home in July of 1968, loafed for a few months, then began a job. I missed a fair amount of work, due to drinking. This continued for the next 22 years. I got other jobs, but the drinking remained a major part of my life. By 1990, my marriage was in bad shape, my job was not going well, and my health was going bad. My mental health was gone. Enough background. April 1, another normal Sunday, drinking, among other things. And at night, as usual, another argument with my wife. Nothing serious, but I was annoyed at how often this took place. When all had gone to bed, I stayed up, glass in hand, and tried to puzzle it out. What was wrong in my life? I did not actually believe in God, nor did I actually pray that night, more like I sought out whatever was there, and pleaded for an answer to the insanity I saw taking place. I did not know the insanity was in me. Monday morning, and up for work, but not for this lad. My wife went into her job, I stayed home. I called in sick. As soon as she had gone, I started drinking. In a few hours, I was very drunk, and I could see it. I could see myself exactly as I was. One time happy, laughing, then a mood swing, and crying. I was also scared. I had never seen myself like this, others had, but this was new to me. Well, I had seen my father drink himself to death, I had seen the insanity he went through right before he died, and I saw I was the same. I determined to end it all, and what better way, but by an overdose of alcohol? Not to happen. I tried, but a Higher Power was at work. I distinctly heard a calm voice from within, telling me I did not have to do this, there was a better way, and I already knew what. At first, I did not know this better way, then the voice continued, and I heard the word AA. Ok, doctors and others had talked to me about AA, but I was not one of them. I now saw that I was. I did a couple of things. I called my doctor, told him I was alcoholic, and would go to the rehab. I called work, told them what I was, and where I was going. And then I went. I am sober today, by using the steps, working the program, doing what I have to do, and doing it one day at a time. I cannot yet claim complete happiness in all things I do, but my worst day sober is better than my best day drunk. I love email groups, I am in a couple, Lamplighters is one, and a very good one. I consider it my home group. ## Herm in Pennsylvania, USA. ## ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Q--How many alcoholics does it take to change a light bulb? A--Just one, but the whole world has to revolve around him/her! ## John, USA. ## ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I have a poem that my cousin sent to me when I was at a very low point in my life. I had just gone into a detox and thought at the time that this is the end. Little did I know (at the time) it was just the beginning of a new way of life. Somehow this poem made a difference to me, so I share it with you. Maybe it will make a difference to someone else. ## Bobbi, USA. ## I'M SPECIAL In all the world there's nobody like me. Since the beginning of time, there has never been another person like me. Nobody has my smile, my eyes, my hair, my hands, my voice. I'm special. No one sees things just as I do. In all of time there's been no one who laughs like me, no one who cries like me. And what makes me laugh or cry will never provoke identical laughter and tears from anyone else, ever. No one reacts to any situation just as I would react. I'm special. I'm the only one in all of creation who has my set of abilities. Oh, there will always be someone who is better at one of the things I'm good at, but no one in the whole world can match the quality of my unique combination of talents, ideas, abilities, and feelings. Like a room full of musical instruments, some may excel alone, but none can match the symphony sound when all are played together. I'm a symphony. I'm special. Through all of eternity no one will ever look, talk, walk, think, or do like me. I'm special. I'm rare. And like all things rare, I am of great value. I need not attempt to imitate others. I am special, and precious, and of great value JUST AS I AM! I am beginning to realize that it's no accident that I'm so special. I'm beginning to see that God made me special for a very special purpose. HE MUST HAVE A JOB FOR ME TO DO THAT NO ONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD CAN DO AS WELL AS I. Out of the millions of applicants only one is qualified for this special job, only one has the right combination of what it takes. THAT ONE IS ME. BECAUSE...... I'm Special. Author Unknown ---------------------------------------------------------------------- | Human Brain Not Yet Obsolete | | | | I have a spelling checker, | | It came with my PC; | | It plainly marks four my revue | | Mistakes I cannot sea. | | I've run this poem threw it, | | I'm sure your please too no, | | Its letter perfect in it's weigh, | | My checker tolled me sew. | | Arthur unknown | ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I am a Native Texan. Ever seen a cowboy movie? That's some of my unique ancestral history. I guess I am the first in a long line that wants to put an end to that kind of life. I am in Dallas, actually Irving, home of the Dallas Cowboys--Superbowl Champions. My wife and I are in our mid 20's with 2 boys under 3. She attends her program (Alanon) too! This is my second marriage. Kind of goes with the territory is what I've learned. I also developed insulin dependent diabetes or was diagnosed 5 days after my last drink. I always wondered why I felt like shit after a good drinking binge. I've challenged with both of these diseases for the past 3 1/2 years. And I'm pretty sure with the way things are going that I'm gonna live to over 100. Our meetings in Texas are 1 hour long. Lately they've been getting kind of structured, more so in the Dallas than in Lubbock, Texas, where I sobered up. Lubbock is way out in West Texas. I'll try to tell you more later. Anyhow, gotta stop, I need to put a young boy in the bed. A departing thought on anonymity... Anonymity humbles me and is a form of humility, ever reminding me to place principles above personalities. This is way I asked THE question. ## Reed, USA. ## ---------------------------------------------------------------------- My name is Arthur. I am an alcoholic who came to his senses, at least partially, more than 17 years ago. My drinking had started in the small town of Alloa (pop 14,000) in the centre of Scotland. I had practically no choice but to become an alky because Alloa had at least 4 breweries and two immense whisky bonds. So you see I had to give them the benefit of my thirst and try to drink them dry. In the fullness of time I moved across Scotland to Cumnock (pop 5,000) in Ayrshire, the heart of the Covenanting movement in the 17th century, and which is surrounded by innumerable graves of the brave martyrs who died for the freedom to worship in their own chosen fashion. Robert (Rabbie) Burns was born 16 miles away and, although he had the name of a boozer, was a very caring individual who tried in his own way to benefit mankind. There are about 14 pubs and clubs in this small village and I proceeded to destroy my job prospects immediately by getting to know each and every one of them on a very intimate basis. Eventually, a small spark of reason remaining in my sodden brain led me to AA and I am trying my very best to repay, in various ways, the debt I owe to my family and society in general by sticking to the precepts and principles of our God-blessed fellowship. Then my heart gave out suddenly, in l990. I found that my mother Group suddenly became inaccessible because I couldn't climb the stairs involved and I joined a newly formed Group in the neighbouring village of Auchinleck, where I have been the elder statesman for three glorious years. God Bless all who are, like me, still trying to improve the quality of their life by keeping up their membership of AA. ## Big A, Auchinleck Saturday Group, Scotland. ## ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Fellowship VapourWare Inc. announce the imminent arrival on the market of the StepIt Lite Mailer package for email AA members. Features... => a send button with built-in delay feature that does an automatic eighth and ninth step if you don't abort your message in time; => automatic blind copy of outgoing mail to sponsor's email address; => resentment detection parser with emotion level configuration and smilie insertion option; => Bleeding Deacon macros for speedy quotations from the Big Book, 12 & 12, Conference Guidelines, and the World Service Handbook. Currently under development, and due for release in the coming months are specialised 'sobriety stage' versions... <> StepIt Pro, with automated Fourth Step archiving and a resizable Fifth Step buffer for autobroadcasting the archive. <> StepIt Thumper, with the full text of the third edition of the Big Book and a cross-indexed quotation seeker. <> EgoTrip Mailer, with talk-you-down autoflames in multiples of 100K. (This software requires StepIt Thumper and co-processor.) / All 'sobriety stage' mailers will feature the new Guideline parser \ \ heuristics developed exclusively for Fellowship Vapoureware Inc by / / Spiritual Logic Associates. We can also upgrade your hardware to \ \ 11th Step power by the installation of our HP protocol suite card. / Contact us NOW be emailing to... ...firstname.lastname@example.org