Issue 2 - February 1994

The Electronic Journal of the Meeting of Minds Group of Alcoholics Anonymous

This is the second 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!

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   |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|
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   |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|
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   |o                           OO   F                              o|
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   |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|
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   |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|
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          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 2 -- FEBRUARY 1994

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   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.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
H.A.L.T.

Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness/Thirst. These are some of the
main dangers that could possibly lead to my taking that first, fatal drink.

Why hunger? In my experience, I very rarely drank on a full stomach. I
identified with the physical part of this threefold illness more or less
right from the start of my drinking. I was physically sick on a regular
basis. How I got around this was by not eating when I was going for a
drink. As you no doubt gather, I suffered from the mental part of this
illness from early on in my drinking career. So, yes, I better watch hunger.

Why anger? Anger has to be spelled with a capital 'D.' It is so dangerous
to this alcoholic. Every time I got angry, I went for a drink. Nearly
every time I got drunk, I became angry at the people I loved most, mainly
my wife and family.

Why loneliness? When I was lonely I began to feel sorry for myself, so I
went for a drink to get rid of those terrible feelings--and so into the
usual pattern.

Why tiredness and thirst? When I was tired, my system was run down, so it
was so easy to go for a drink. When I was thirsty I did not think about
tea, coffee, water, etc. My first thought was to go for a drink.

So yes, I better H.A.L.T. when I get any of these feelings, and THINK,
THINK, THINK back to my last drunk and the hell that had become such a
regular part of my life until I got sober with the help of the
Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, and a God of my own understanding.

                                                  Joe, Glasgow, Scotland.
=========================================================================
                           ME & MY BIG BOOK

      "...though you be but one man with this book in your hand...
                  ...More like a letter than a lecture."

Strange, but that particular phrase never really jumped out at me
--until now!

The Big Book is very personal for me. Much of my love of that book centers
around Chapter Five. I heard 'How It Works' read many times before I was
ready to admit I had a problem, and many more times before I was ready to
do something about it. I absolutely hated it! In fact, I used to sit there
and hum "Just follow the yellow brick road" from the Wizard of Oz under my
breath. I thought "How It Works" was just about as real! Once I was able
to take the first three Steps, no matter how poorly, the first part of
Chapter Five became a guarantee for me--if I followed the path and worked
the steps you had worked I could get what you had. Talk about expectations!
Wow! I had already decided I didn't want or need anything you had. That
was because until I gave up, I could never see what you had that I wanted
and needed. You had sobriety, and that included that indefinable quality;
call it serenity, peace of mind, or spirituality, whatever--you had it,
and I wanted it.

The Big Book is full of things I can do to get what you all have. It tells
me what to expect if I do those things. It also tells me what to expect
if I don't do them, and continue or return to doing things my way. I've
had experience with both. I prefer what happens when I follow directions!

The first time I came into AA, things happened so fast and so beautifully.
As long as I didn't drink, went to meetings, and tried to improve,
obstacles seemed to dissolve before me. Life turned around completely and
I had a lot of success both in the program and in my work and living
situations. After leaving AA, it took me many years of trying to get back.
I now give myself more credit for trying than I did during that time.

I believe I really did make some sincere effort but was unable to
surrender again. I also believe that it was a miracle that got me back.
Nothing was really any different or any worse during my last drunk.
It sure wasn't any better either, but there was no single event that
precipitated a new surrender. It just happened. I did cooperate though.
I took my newfound willingness and ran with it. I followed every direction
to the very best of my ability and began working my program again on a
daily basis. The program worked and I began slowly to get a little better,
first physically, then mentally, and finally spiritually. Things didn't go
fast or smoothly for me, as they had done the first time, but I kept on.
In fact, many things haven't gone at all as I would have expected or
wanted during the time I have been back, but I can see the progress and
I remain grateful and willing on a daily basis. Some days I even do a
pretty good job of it, but not too often! There are a lot more days where
I have to stop and make many corrections along the way.

Whenever I wonder if things are really working at all, I can return to the
Big Book. Usually I can find an answer to any problem there. If nothing
else, reading the Big Book will help to put my mind back in a positive
mode for recovery. Sometimes that, and time are the only solutions.

There are other times that I may find my answer right here in a note from
a Lamplighter or at another meeting. I may talk to my sponsor or another
friend in AA. Sometimes I'll see another alcoholic that is not nearly as
well off as I am and end up doubly grateful for my own blessings.

At the end of it all, I believe I am still here on the earth for a reason.
There is no earthly reason I should even be alive. I remember towards the
end of my drinking when my doctor said to me, "Mike, you've used more
lives than a cat and I don't know how many more you might have." He was
telling the truth, and I'll always be thankful that he could see
something in me that was worth saving. There were times he thought more
of my life than I did - he always came, no matter what time of the day or
night, and put in some long hours working on a 'hopeless' drunk that most
people had given up on. He's non-alcoholic, but learned a lot about this
disease just working with me. He now, hopefully, can continue to learn
about it from the recovery side as he continues to be my physician--I
know he was as happy as I was at my last anniversary. I guess he thinks
I'm here for a reason too.

I intend to stay willing and continue to follow the path of recovery.
Perhaps my only reason for being here is to carry the message to one other
suffering alcoholic. If that should be the case, I want to be sure that I
carry the right message. "...though you be but one man with this book in
your hand..." The Big Book met me right where I was when I came into this
program, and it continues to meet my needs as I go along the way. It says
many things to many people, and yet it seems to work just fine for all of
us, provided we try to be honest, open minded and willing.
                                                               Mike, USA.
=========================================================================
                             _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
                             _H_U_G_G_I_N_G_

 1  Feels good.
 2  Dispels loneliness.
 3  Opens doors to feelings.
 4  Offers a safe alternative to alcohol and other drug abuse.
     (Better hugs than drugs.)
 5  Builds self-esteem.
     (Wow, he/she actually wants to hug me.)
 6  Fosters altruism.
     (I can't believe it, but I actually want to hug that old son-of-a-gun.)
 7  Is democratic; anyone is eligible for a hug.
 8  Is ecologically sound; does not up- set the environment.
 9  Is energy-efficient; saves heat.
10  Is portable.
11  Requires no special equipment.
12  Slows down aging; huggers stay younger longer.
13  Helps curb appetite; we eat less when we are nourished by hand when our
    arms are busy wrapped around others.
14  Eases tension.
15  Fights insomnia.
16  Keeps arm and shoulder muscles in condition.
17  Provides stretching exercise if you are short.
18  Provides stooping exercise if you are tall.
19  Offers wholesome alternative to promiscuity.
20  Affirms physical being.
21  Demands no special setting; any place from a doorstep to an executive
    conference room, from a church parlor to a football field, is a fine
    place for a hug.
22  Makes happy days happier.
23  Makes impossible days possible.
24  Imparts feelings of belonging.
25  Fills up empty places in our lives and hearts.
26  Keeps on working to dispense benefits even after the hug's release.

                                                Hugs from John in Florida

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                          The Only Requirement
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
The first flush of sobriety was, in my experience, full of surprises, the
majority being of the pleasant variety. I didn't find it too difficult to
accept what was happening to me a day at a time, and took my luck as it
came. In my enthusiasm for the present I could have all too easily
forgotten my mistakes and blunders of the past. At least I could try to
be vigilant on a daily basis to avoid taking the first drink.

I couldn't blame alcohol for all my past problems, money, or rather the
lack of it at crucial times in my life, and in the lives of one or two
bank managers, was at the root of some of the evils of the day. The
mental gymnastics came much later, when I found drink was a necessity
but I wasn't. My boss, my family, my friends could and did manage much
better without me, I eventually became aware of my true worth... zero;
I was serving no useful purpose on this planet. It is important that I
should not forget these experiences of the past.

Fortune favours the brave I believe. Three  months after my last drink, I
was fortunate, although I don't claim that I was brave, but I did get a
job. Starting work on the last week of the month meant that I had to work
for five weeks before I got my first pay check.

However, I coped with this situation quite well, after all I was now a
working sober alcoholic.

In the course of my work transport did pose a problem for me, but
remembering the phrase I had read in the Big Book; 'There is a solution,'
I paid a visit to a local bank where the manager, after I had explained
the whole situation to him, was very understanding and extremely helpful.
At the time, I thought helpful bank managers were a dying breed. I put all
my cards on the table, I really needed a car, a second-hand one about 150,
I said. He went on to explain that there would be one requirement, (I
thought for the minute he was going to ask me if I had a desire to stop
drinking), but no. What was required of me was that I was to make a
deposit of at least 50 pence. My mother used to say; 'Never look a gift
horse in the mouth.'

I deposited the 50 pence, and in no time at all the bank manager had a
bank book made up for me, and I signed a bank transfer form to have my
five week salary paid straight into my account. 'Come back and see me
when you have found a car you would like to purchase,' the manager said.
The deal sealed, we shook hands and I left his office.

Have you ever experienced walking on air? It wasn't long before I was
driving on it. Within two or three days I had made a deal with a friend
to buy a Hillman Imp for 150. Back at the branch, the bank manager
genuinely seemed as pleased as I was when I gave him the news, but after
all it wasn't really his money, was it? I was handed the 150 and I duly
purchased the car. I was a sober, mobile, working alcoholic. This
particular experience was only one of many truly great experiences I had
in the first flush of sobriety.
                                                Ralph, Paisley, Scotland.


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*                     COMPUTER-SPEAK LINK TO AA HELP                    *
*            Sober alcoholics set up electronic home network            *
*************************************************************************

A Paisley man is helping to pioneer a unique new way to help people beat
the booze.

He is one of a small team of five sober AA members who have set up the
first electronic AA group in Great Britain right here in Paisley.

Working from his home in one of the big estates in Paisley he helps to
run a weekly AA meeting for people all over the world by using electronic
mail.

All you need to become part of the group is a home computer and a little
bit of cash to cover the cost of using the system--the equivalent of a
typical bus fare into the centre of town.

Since it started in August this year the group has grown to 17 members.
As well as the five Scots there's members in England, Texas, Massachusetts,
California, Oregon and other parts of the United States.

Buddie Rennie, one of the founder members, explained how the system worked:
"Electronic meetings are much like live meetings," he said. "A sober
member kicks off by sharing what he or she used to be like, what happened
and what life is like now.

"Or there might be a discussion on coping with life's problems without
drinking, or an in-depth discussion of one of the AA's 12 steps.

"Anyone else at the meeting can pick up the discussion, share a problem,
or say nothing. There is no pressure to join in the talk.

"It only takes four minutes for a message to travel from Scotland to
America. So members can exchange mail as frequently or as rarely as
they like.

"They can sit down at their computer, log on to the mail service using a
modem and collect their mail and then log off. Costs are therefore low,
usually not more than a five minute phone call to London at cheap rate,
say somewhere between 20p and 30 pence.

"Messages are read and answered at leisure. Replies are transmitted next
time they log on. The total cost for the electronic mail is usually less
than a typical Paisley bus fare," he added. "An electronic message can be
reflected to the entire group, or sent to an individual member. Like any
meeting members can turn and talk privately in order to seek or give
particular help.

"The setting up of the group--the Meeting of the Minds--was a real team
effort and although things were hectic and chaotic to start with we have
now settled down with the help of the Lamplighters group, a strong and
thriving group that had been in existence for more than three years.

"We now run a closed AA email meeting which is a Step discussion group at
the moment. It also publishes this electronic journal every two months.
You can contact us by mailing to AA@eclipse.demon.co.uk Items for our
electronic journal should be sent to journal@eclipse.demon.co.uk."

Alcoholics Anonymous first came to Scotland in 1948 and there are now well
over two million sober alcoholics world-wide who have managed to recover
from the scourge of alcoholism by supporting each other in applying the
12 steps of the AA programme.

               from The Paisley Daily Express, Saturday, October 16, 1993
*************************************************************************

          o-O-o-o-O-o        Cycle of Events        o-O-o-o-O-o

I just want to pass on that the odometer on my bicycle just clicked over
3,000 miles in a four year period. (Don't bike much Dec-March/April) This
marks a real change, since when I got out of the Marine Corps I vowed I
would NEVER exercise again, except to bend my elbow. (Remember those
macho, beer drinking days.)

Total mileage includes a trip the whole length of the C&O Canal as well
as a 350 mile trip from Seattle to Vancouver B.C., hopping ferries along
the way. With tents, pots, pans etc. Never in my "before days" would I
have contemplated biking ten miles let alone 350 or 3,000. 'Tis a
marvellous gift of sobriety to pedal slowly through the landscape. Very
slowly in my case. Not bad for a 49 year old, formerly bloated guy. Just
think how many miles I can do when I stop smoking. God Bless All.

7 Bob B., USA.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carrying the message

My name is Grant, and I am an alcoholic. I am 51 years old and live in
Sacramento, California. I recently retired from government service after a
career of 30 years as a professional consultant and budget analyst. I have
been sober continuously since October 24, 1989. I am married, and have a
21 year-old son.

I joined AA as an act of desperation at the end of a drinking career
which spanned 3 decades. In the nearly 4 years I have been a member, I
have found an inner peace and way of life which I never believed could
exist. My program is based firmly on the belief in a higher power,
attendance at meetings, service, and daily adherence to the suggestions
included in the 12 Steps as best I understand them. This way of life
keeps me sober one day at a time.

I have travelled extensively, and make it a point to attend meetings as a
part of these travels. Last May, I attended several meetings in London
during my vacation there. The idea of a meeting like this one seems to me
to be simply another way for me to keep active in the program and share
my ESH with other alcoholics and to gain insight from them as well.

I feel that I am obligated to the fellowship to participate in any way I
can to help the alcoholic who still suffers.
                                                                    Grant
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The Lord's Prayer

My problem with public appearances is remembering that all gatherings are
not AA meetings. I once was invited to lecture a college class on a
subject I had some expertise in, and when the class was over invited
everyone to join me in the Lord's Prayer. After some hesitation, they all
stood up and joined me -by which time I had realized the faux pas and
tried to stop it all. We did proceed, though no one stayed after class to
bat the breeze with me.
                                                                   Bob B.
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To suppose as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the
rich behave, is like supposing we could drink all day and stay sober.
                                                     Logan Pearsall Smith
=========================================================================
........................A   M E M O   T O   G O D........................

                                                      No Address Required
Dear God,

As you know I have desired peace for a very long time. I don't remember
when I first started asking you to give it to me. I went through many
phases in my relationship with you. I listened to so many people who I
thought could tell me how to get what I wanted from you.

Corrie Ten Boom, C.S. Lewis and Charles Stanley taught me a lot about
what I needed to do to be more like you wanted me to be and about how
gentle your love is. (I'm goin to forego capitalizing the pronouns
referring to you. I think we have come far enough along that I don't have
to be superstitious about that anymore.) The Baptists and Charismatics
scared me into trying to be good, and some of the time it worked, but
mostly it made me feel guilty.

God, I want to thank you for hanging in there with me. You walked right
alongside me as I wandered aimlessly. You picked me up from the path of
certain danger. You touched me with your loving hands when I was hurting.
And yet, I was like an elusive child that doesn't want to be doctored
because it might hurt. While I searched for you and begged things of you,
I never accepted the one thing you wanted to give me--your love.

As always, you knew what it would take to get me to listen to you. You
knew I listen to people. You knew I could only take a few steps at a
time. So, you gave me little blocks to step up on, and as I climbed one
you would give me another. There came a time when I thought my journey
was hopeless, but you knew I was ready to start down the other side of
the mountain I had been climbing, and you gave me new friends. And then
you gave me Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh, God, I know that the people in AA are your agents. I knew when I got
there that you were involved in my being there. I have always wanted to
know what your love would feel like and experience your healing, and
through AA I have.

I thank you for putting AA here, not only for me but for all your other
children that it has and will continue to save. I used to think I
understood what the word savior meant. But now that I have been rescued
and am safely in your arms, I know what it means.

Thank you, God.
                Beth L.

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  Secrets diminish self-respect; they foster paranoia, and they make it
    impossible to have honest and open communication. Self-disclosure
   cleanses us; but an even greater benefit is that a commitment to it
  triggers careful forethought, and a needless or perhaps hurtful action
                               can be avoided.
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Glimpse of the future?

After an office business meeting finished (and the free booze done) I
wandered off not knowing where I was going, or where I was to finish. The
events of the day have dulled with the passage of time and not entirely
clear because I was in and out of blackouts. However, the most poignant
feature was the lower company I finished 	with that day and the
conversation I had with him.

After leaving the meeting I came across a person who, at that time, I
described as a 'skid row bum' - complete with the two coats tied with
string, odd shoes and a beard & hair probably covered with lice. That was
my perception of an alcoholic then.

I bought some take away food, which we both ate, and proceeded to take
him into a bar and bought us both drink. The only part of the
conversation I can recall to this day, as though it happened only
yesterday, is as follows...

'Why are you doing this for me? ' My answer, 'Because I can see me in you.'
Could I see the future or was the die cast for me?

I stopped drinking 14 years ago when I still had my wife, my dog, house,
sanity, job and a number of material possessions. Some other time I may
share things I lost.

To-day, I don't question that event but am grateful it happened and that
I went as far as my own personal gutter and no further.

                                                      Peter G., Scotland.

=========================================================================
DATELINE NORTH POLE

The latest land expedition to the North Pole discovered quite by accident
today the apparent reason that Internet mail between the U.S. and the UK
has been delayed in its electronic transit.

While searching for shelter from an onproaching blizzard, the
expedition's leader, Ian DeNile, discovered a small workshop loaded with
computer equipment and provisioned with candy snacks and tinned biscuits.
Inside he found an overweight, elderly, bearded man dressed in a garish
red suit in the process of intercepting various e-mail messages meant for
recipients in various parts of the United Kingdom and the United States.

It seems that the old gent, who refused to identify himself, had found
many of the messages were of great help to his pet reindeer Rudolph, when
read very slowly and the contents discussed one step at a time. Rudolph
suffers from periodic bouts of depression, exacerbated by his excessive
consumption of alcohol which he claims he needs to keep his red nose
shining brightly.

The old man explained to DeNile that quite by accident he discovered that
by reading selected messages from someone called MoM to Rudolph, the
reindeer seemed to understand that he had a problem and was willing to do
something about it. Many of the intercepted e-mail messages referenced a
book of large size which the red-suited man asked DeNile to purchase for
him. DeNile professed to know nothing about such a book, but did prevail
upon the old gentleman to send the messages along to their rightful
recipients.

Rudolph was last seen nodding intently as his master read a message
containing many first names of people with two birthdays.
                                                              Grant, USA.

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|   Fear not what is not real,      |     Peace when at all possible,   |
|   never was and never will be.    |     truth at all costs.           |
|   What is real, always was and    |                                   |
|   cannot be destroyed.            |     Martin Luther                 |
|                                   |                                   |
|   Bhagavad Gita                   |                                   |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


           /\/\/\/\/\/\   Earthquake Survivors   /\/\/\/\/\/\

Hi again, folks. Carole has asked me to tell her earthquake story for
her, since for reasons that will soon become obvious, she won't be able
to do it herself for some time to come.

She was, like all of us, asleep in bed when the quake hit. She reports
that although she's been through numerous quakes in her many years in
Southern California, this is the first one that had her screaming.

In her bedroom, nearly everything fell over--the headboard of her bed, an
upright chest, a bookcase (that came completely apart as well). When the
shaking stopped, there were cracks an inch wide in her walls, plaster
falling everywhere, every door out of true--virtually none can even be
closed in the entire apartment--and the bathtub had been moved over a
half inch! There were broken dishes galore in the kitchen--fortunately,
no broken foodstuffs too--and everything was on the floor that could be.
All the power was out, and the toilet tank had broken so there was water
(and blue water at that!) everywhere.

Immediately after the quake, her older son, Michael, tried to call her,
and when he was unable to get through, just came over and got her--he only
lives about 20 blocks away, fortunately. She didn't go back home until
later in the morning, to try to find out if her 3 cats were okay and to
assess the damage. Her younger son, Griff, came over and helped her pick
up the fallen furniture, and she at least carved a path through the mess,
but she was unable to sleep in her apartment; that was clear from the
beginning, even if her toilet tank hadn't broken. The tenants were all
assured that the building was structurally safe, but everyone remained
skeptical.

She spent a couple of days trying to clean up a bit, while also trying to
get some work off her desk--her computer had survived intact,
fortunately, although the monitor had fallen. But late this afternoon,
she came downstairs at only to find that her building had just been
yellow tagged, declared uninhabitable. Fortunately, a yellow tag allows
you to go into the building to retrieve your belongings; you're just not
allowed to stay there. So she called Michael, who was on his way out to
Simi Valley (a LONG ways away, alas) where he works, and left a message
with his boss to have him turn around and come home immediately, and then
she called me to tell me her apartment had just been declared
uninhabitable. I put on a pair of shoes, grabbed a heavy-duty luggage
cart to carry heavy stuff with, and hit the road for her place as fast
as I could get there.

We spent several hours--with Michael's help; he showed up half an hour
after I did -- going through her apartment trying to decide what was
important enough that it didn't dare be left behind. And as Carole pointed
out, it's hard to pick out the most important stuff when you can hardly
even FIND it because it's all been turned upside down and thrown every
which way! We're afraid that they could come along and red tag the
building at any time, and then we wouldn't be allowed in for any reason,
so everything important had to be gotten out while the getting was good.
It took a lot of trips up and down the crumbling staircase, and an
emergency call to my husband to bring over our cat carrier, but we got
the important stuff--and 2 of the cats, the third crawled behind the
built-in stove so we had to leave her behind for now--into our cars and
over to Michael's apartment.

So tonight Carole is staying with Michael and his lovely girlfriend,
Kathleen. Her cats are temporarily living in Michael's camping tent
trailer, set up in the garage, because they can't share the apartment
with Michael's cats. We'll hopefully be able to get back in on Friday to
get her furniture out, and another friend has located a storage space for
her to put her stuff in. And tomorrow she begins the fun of contacting
the building management, the rent control board, FEMA, and who knows who
else in an attempt to find out where she's going from here.

Carole's story is, unfortunately, a common one in many respects. But like
virtually everyone else in her shoes, she's taking it with grace and good
spirits, and just trying to cope with what needs to be done immediately.
She's got enough friends that she'll be okay -- but it's sure hard to see
such a special person go through such an awful time, simply because of an
accident of geography. For those of you who know her, she may not be back
online for a while, but she's going to be all right, and I know she could
use all the prayers and good wishes folks can share with her.

                              o o O O O o o

So that's Carole's story. Mine is just continuing on -- still no gas, so
no hot water, furnace, stove, or clothes dryer, but that seems pretty
unimportant in the overall scheme of things! At least we have a whole roof
over our heads, and in LA these days, that's a real treasure!

A couple of amusing earthquake stories: Everyone knows that the quake
registered 6.6 on the Richter scale, right? Well, there was a baby girl
born literally at the height of the earthquake, by flashlight, at one of
our local hospitals -- and guess what she weighed in at?
                                                     6 pounds, 6 ounces!!

A more personal amusing story: When our phones went back up Monday
morning, my son called his best friend, Michael, who lives about ten
minutes from us, and when he got their answering machine, left the
following message, "Michael, this is David. I was just wondering if you
felt the earthquake." We all heard him leave the message, and were
roaring with laughter in the background, needless to say!

One very strange thing is happening--we're all starting to wake up 3-5
minutes before each larger aftershock hits. For the past two nights,
there has only been one big aftershock that I wasn't awake for. It's
strange to see our animal instincts coming into play... but considering
how strong the "fight or flee" response is to the continuing jolting,
it's not surprising that our unconscious is attuned to the movements of
the earth. Just very strange!

On a more sobering note, more and more buildings are developing--or at
least finally displaying--major damage as the aftershocks continue. Early
this  afternoon (just for President Clinton's benefit, of course) we had
a 5.1 aftershock, and shortly thereafter, my husband and I ran into a
barricade being erected on a major thoroughfare--a six-story building was
rapidly settling, and the second and third story windows and structural
steel frame were bulging outwards; the windows had already all shattered,
scattering glass for half a block in every direction. Pretty scary.

There's going to be lots more of that happening, I fear. Everyone is
having MAJOR second thoughts about parking in underground garages or
getting into elevators!

And everyone is suggesting that the folks who run the new Metrolink
commuter train service planned this earthquake on purpose: Now that the
highway between Santa Clarita to the north of LA and LA proper has been
temporarily closed (the I-14/I-5 intersection that collapsed), the easiest
way to get to town is on the Metrolink train, and they've tripled the
number of trains in response to the suddenly wildly increased demand for
service. Sounds like a government plot to me!

That's the latest from LA. I hope everyone has been able to get through
to family or friends; if you're still experiencing problems, I'll be
happy to make phone calls and relay messages, so just email me with phone
numbers. Some of the areas are a lot easier to reach by local phone than
long distance.

Hmmm, it's been 9 hours now since the last big aftershock... could they
actually finally be decreasing??? I'm just glad to be able to share a bit
of our experience with all our online friends!
                                                                    Laura

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Don't do anything you can't share,
            and be prepared to discuss everything that you do.

                          Martin Shepard, M.D.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Adapted Serenity Prayer

      God, grant me the serenity
        to accept the person I cannot change,
          the courage to change the person I can
            and the wisdom to know it's _ME_.

----------------------------------o-O-o----------------------------------

   Tired of being told like it is?

   Still looking for that easier, softer way?

   Then you're ready for...

                          * RENT-A-SPONSOR!!! *

               * No reading * No writing * No deadlines *

Standard features include...

 1 Listening to your snivelling without constant reference to the Steps.
 2 Co-signing your excuses and rationalizations.
 3 Working only the steps YOU want in the order YOU choose!

                                 -o-O-o-

Yes, at RENT-A-SPONSOR, we know how UNIQUE you are,
                                                    and we DO understand.

                                 -o-O-o-

        Learn the secret of giving it away before you even get it.

    Why WALK the WALK when you can simply and knowingly TALK the TALK!

                                 -o-O-o-

                        REMEMBER,
                                  less is more!

                        Dial 1-(800) SPONSOR

     (Act now and get a free copy of our book "Staying Sober Alone")

----------------------------------o-O-o----------------------------------
MoM's Registration

A letter dated 28th January 1994 from the General Service Office (Great
Britain) says...

"Further to the letter received from Ralph R. I write to confirm that the
Meeting of Minds Group has now been registered at this office, although
as Ralph mentions the Group will not appear in the Where to Find."

So that's it, folks, this group is recognised as an AA group by our
Fellowship. Like all other groups, our primary purpose is "...to carry
its message to the alcoholic who still suffers." And our responsibility
is to do that within the guidelines of our 12 Traditions.
........................................................................
The Eclipse BBS

In the UK, a computer bulletin board system (BBS) has been set up by a
MoM member. Known as the Eclipse BBS, it can be used by AA members with
access to a computer and modem to make contact with the group. The UK
telephone number is 041-334 3566, and the BBS runs 24 hours.
----------------------------------o-O-o----------------------------------
Spreading the Message

I am surrounded by the insurance of AA. Do I make unreasonable demands on
my faith in AA by having too many accidents by crashing into bars,
cocktail lounges and other wet places? The only thing that happens when
we try to re-enter (or re-insure with) AA after a personal disaster is
that our premium goes up. Not in monetary terms, but in heightened mental
tension and reactivated conscience. We get our insurance cover for
nothing except a sacrifice of pride. If that pride comes back then we are
in danger of forfeiting our life-protecting policy and can only re-insure
with AA if we surrender our pride yet again.

While we are safe, if only for today, we can help others to stay under
our umbrella. If they choose to part company with our shield we can only
encourage them to stay dry by coming back under. We can't go out with
them. We would only risk getting soaked ourselves and therefore be able to
help no more.

I want to get a bigger umbrella. I want to get a safer insurance. I paid
all my premiums before I even came to AA and now, if I let it, AA will
protect me from floods and all other calamities, foreseeable or not. It is
the most comprehensive insurance that I have ever known. I try to get the
walls of AA insurance around me at all times. If I am surrounded by the
safe walls of my AA experience I am able to venture out with a mobile
shield when it is necessary to carry the message.

"And one of the ten lepers, when he saw that he was healed, turned back,
and with a loud voice glorified God. And he fell down on his face at
Jesus' feet giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus
answering said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?'"

If I do have a message I must take every opportunity possible to let
people know about my salvation. I wouldn't like to be one of the nine.

                                               Big A., Cumnock, Scotland.

************************************************************************
*                                    FOOT PRINTS                       *
*                                                                      *
*  ooooO           One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach   *
*  (   )           with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed     *
*   )  [   Ooooo   across the sky, sometimes there were two sets of    *
*    (_)   (   )   foot prints, other times there were only one.       *
*           ]  (                                                       *
*            (_)  This bothered me because I noticed that during the   *
*                 low periods of my life, when I was suffering from    *
*                 anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set  *
*  ooooO          of foot prints. So I said to the Lord: You promised  *
*  (   )          me Lord that if I followed you, you would walk with  *
*   )  [   Ooooo  me always. But I have noticed that during the most   *
*    (_)   (   )  trying periods of my life there has only been one    *
*           ]  (  set of foot prints in the sand. Why, when I have     *
*            (_)  needed you the most, have you not been there with    *
*                 me?                                                  *
*                                                                      *
*                 The Lord replied, " During your times of trial and   *
*  ooooO          suffering, when you seen only one set of foot prints *
*  (   )   Ooooo  it was then that I carried you".                     *
*   )  [   (   )                                                       *
*    (_)    ]  (  Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow, don't   *
*            (_)  walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me  *
*                 and be my friend and together we will walk in the    *
*                 way of God.                                          *
*                                                                      *
************************************************************************
                         v    v            v    v
                        \:/  \:/  Dianna  \:/  \:/
                       ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
                                

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
The results of the '92 survey was published in Box 459, and will soon be
available in pamphlet form.  Box 459 is GSO's monthly newsletter,
containing "News and Notes From the General Service Office of A.A. (R)"
You can get both from GSO directly, or from your local central office or
intergroup, if your group doesn't have them. I have the relevant issue of
Box 459 (Aug-Sep '93) here, and can give you the results of the survey. I
also have the last two:

                     1986  1989  1992
Sober over 5 years:   29%   29%   35%
Sober 1-5 years:      38%   37%   34%
Sober less 1 year:    33%   34%   31%
Av. period sober:     52m.  4+yr. 5+yr.
Meetings per week:    4     3     2.5
Has a sponsor:              85%   78%
Has a home group:           88%   83%
Women:                34%   35%   35%
Men:                  66%   65%   65%
Under 30 - women:           40%   43%
Under 30 - men:             60%   57%

Some other questions or answers vary between surveys. Of 24,000
questionnaires, 6,917 were completed by members in the US & Canada, and
returned to GSO. These surveys have been conducted every 3 years since
1968. The figures show that the average length of sobriety as well as age
is increasing, which may indicate that the number of newcomers joining
has decreased, especially younger ones.  At the young people's meetings I
used to attend, I notice the average age is now older, which seems to be
borne out here. Fewer are availing themselves of sponsors or home groups,
and attending fewer meetings, which might just be because they've been
sober longer and no longer need as much.  But that's all just speculation
on my part.

I also have the June-July issue of Box 459, which contains the estimates
of groups and members as of January 1, 1993:

                          Groups       Members
United States             50,325     1,135,395
Canada                     5,274        94,980
Correctional facilities    1,915        47,701 (1)
Internationalists                          252
Lone members                               435
Total	                   57,555    1,278,769
Outside US/Canada         31,700       770,185 (2)
Total	                   89,215    2,048,954

(1) US and Canada only.

(2) GSO has records for AA groups in 141 countries including the US and
    Canada. We can accurately state that we have reported members from
    129 countries. The estimated group counts in the US and Canada include
    only those that were asked to be listed at GSO; thousands do not.

                                                John H. in San Mateo, CA


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