A newsletter from Alcoholics Anonymous San Fernando Valley Central Office
What is AA?
AA is a spirit. It cannot be touched, nor can it be completely
understood. It is as wide as the world, yet small enough to fit
snugly into the hearts of women and men. It has brought light whereonly darkness dwelt. It has given hope to the hopeless and help to
those who yearned in despair. It has nourished forgiveness in
those who knew no pity. It has given strength to the weak, and
humility to the strong. It has taught patience to the hurried and
action to the lazy. To youth it has given vision and to the aged,
promise. To the lonely, companions, and to the restless, rest. To
the sick it has been a doctor, and to the dying it has revived the
desire to live. It has no judgment against the unteachable, nor has it
praise for those who learn. To the outcast it has been a family, andto the childless it has given children. To the ignorant, wisdom, and
to the wise, tolerance. It has freely given to all men and women thatwhich is most precious. NOTICE TO OUR READERS In this month's Wit and Wisdom issue of the
1. The harder you fall, the higher you bounce. Recovery Times, the Contributions
2. Alcohol preserves most things; dignity isn’t one of them. Summary is
3. Your sole purpose in life may be simply to serve as a warning to
provided as a page insert within the
4. The smallest package in the world is an alcoholic all wrapped up
newsletter. The editors are revamping the newsletter
6. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. layout. Look for
7. Expectations are resentments under construction. more "new
8. There is a fine line between carrying the message and spreading
looks" in the upcoming
9. Don’t drive faster than your guardian angel can fly. Walnut Creek, CA Contra Costa Communique, November, 2001Upcoming Events SERVICE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE ********
Sept. 15, 2003 SFV H&I THIRD MONDAY
8PM Business MeetingGet Acquainted Workshop, 7pm,
******** ******** G.S. Districts #11, 16, 17 FIRST MONDAY 6pm, 11455 Chandler Blvd, N. Hollywood ******** G.S. Districts #2 FIRST TUESDAY ******** ******** G.S. District #1 FIRST WEDNESDAY 6:30pm, 7552 Remmet, Canoga Park ******** SFV Board of Directors ********
Oct. 11, 2003 G.S. District #7 SECOND SATURDAY Agua Dulce Woman's Club 33201 Agua Dulce Cyn Rd Sharon G. (661) 951-0372 ********
Oct. 13, 2003 SFV Intergroup SECOND MONDAY 6:30 pm Orientation 7pm Business Meeting Knights of Columbus Hall
Registration forms for the events above are at the
Service Opportunities Alcoholics Anonymous in the San Fernando Valley PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE - Provides information to the general public about what A.A. does and does not do. Could always use volunteers, especially young people and Spanish speaking A.A.’s for health fairs and to speak at various schools and businesses. Contact Central Office (818) 988-3001. HOSPITAL AND INSTITUTIONS COMMITTEE - Carries the message of Alcoholics Anonymous into hospitals, prisons & treatment facilities to those who are unable to get out to meetings. Meets the 3rd Monday of the month 8:00 PM @ St. Innocent's Church, 5657 Lindley Ave, Tarzana, CA. Info: Sarah G. (818) 894-9921. TREATMENT FACILITIES / CPC COMMITTEE - Meets the last Sunday of the month 4-5:00 PM 6531 Laurel Cyn, North Hollywood. Contact: Jeri B. (818) 846 9115 SAN FERNANDO VALLEY INTERGROUP - Elected Intergroup representatives maintain and develop policies for Central Office, and inform other IG Reps about Alkathons & fund raisers, etc. Meets second Monday, monthly, Knights of Columbus Hall, 14450 Valerio St., Van Nuys, CA. Contact: Central Office at 988-3001. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY CONVENTION - Planning and executing all phases of our annual convention, at the Burbank Hilton, Feb, 2004. Committee meets every 3rd Tuesday of each month; 7 PM at St. Innocent's Church, 5657 Lindley Ave, Tarzana, CA. CENTRAL OFFICE GUIDELINES FOR PUBLICATION OF ARTICLES All articles published in the Recovery Times will be reviewed by a committee of three (3) members. Articles must therefore be received by the 10th of the month for consideration of publication in the following month’s issue. Guidelines for publication are as follows:
Primary content must pertain to alcoholism, the recovery from thedisease of alcoholism, the 12 Steps or the 12 Traditions.
The committee reserves the right to edit all articles submitted.
As stated in each issue of the Recovery Times: “RECOVERY TIMES presents the experienceand opinions of members of A.A. (and occasionally others) on the subjects bearing on thedisease of alcoholism. Opinions expressed herein are not to be attributed to Alcoholics Anony-mous as a whole, nor does publication of any article imply endorsement of its content by theSan Fernando Valley Central Office or Alcoholics Anonymous. Articles from A.A. World Ser-vices, Inc. (AAWS, Inc.) and the A.A. Grapevine, Inc. (as well as other publications) appearingherein are reprinted with permission. The names ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS and BIGBOOK are registered trademarks of AAWS, Inc.”
Opposing views and rebuttals to articles published are also welcomed.Submit correspondence to: SFVCO Newsletter Committee 7417 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite E Van Nuys, CA 91405 HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your Birthday Gift to Central Office any A.A. members share their birthdays withMthose who need the same help and opportunity By sending a donation to Central Officeyou share your birthday with Recovery Timesreaders. Send a dollar ($1.00) a year - or $1.00for each year of your sobriety - or send as muchas you wish to give to celebrate your birthday. The amount doesn’t matter - it’s the “counting”that counts.May your special day be filled with joyfrom morning until night, and may the “24’s” thatlie ahead be especially glad and bright.The “Four Absolutes"
During its first years, Alcoholics Anonymous did
according to the whim or liking of each of us, and
though in Akron and Cleveland they still stuck by the
Rather, Bill W. and Doctor Bob, while leaning
O.G. absolutes., this was the gist of our message to
heavily on the evangelical Oxford Group, borrowed from
incoming alcoholics .when our present Twelve Steps
religion, medicine and psychology to forge a plan of
recovery spread by word of mouth and developed through
“Having arrived at Chapter Five, it seemed high
time to state what our program really was. I remember
running over in my mind the word-of-mouth phrases then
Absolutes” of the Oxford Group as principles for
in current use. Jotting these down, they added up to the
recovery. The Absolutes were Honesty, Purity,
six named above. Then came the idea that our program
Unselfishness and Love. Those principles can still be
ought to be more accurately and clearly stated. Distant
heard recited in AA groups in the Cleveland-Akron area.
readers would have to have a precise set of principles.
Bill W. pointed out in the book Alcoholics Anonymous
Knowing the alcoholic’s ability to rationalize, something
Comes Of Age that in December, 1938, when he wrote
airtight would have to be written. We couldn’t let the
the first draft of our 12 Steps for our text, AlcoholicsAnonymous, “Our people out there were still active
“I split the word-of-mouth program up into
Oxford Group members. In Akron and vicinity they still
smaller pieces, meanwhile enlarging its scope
talked about the Oxford Groups’ absolutes: absolute
considerably. Uninspired as I felt, I was surprised that in
honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and
a short time, perhaps half an hour, I had set down
certain principles which, on being counted, turned out to
(The Dayton Area Intergroup Breakfast speaker in
be twelve in number. And for some unaccountable
November said her Cleveland home group is the Four
reason, I had moved the idea of God into the Second
Step, right up front. Besides, I had named God very
Yet, while indebted to the Oxford Group for
liberally throughout the other Steps. In one of the Steps
support during his early sobriety, Bill W. became
I had even suggested that the newcomer get down on
increasingly uncomfortable with what he viewed as a
“When this document was shown to our New
“This dose (Four Absolutes) was found to be too
York meeting, the protests were many and loud. Our
rich for New Yorkers, and we had abandoned the
agnostic friends didn’t go at all for the idea of kneeling.
expressions,” he wrote in AA Comes of Age.
Others said we were talking altogether too much about
So his task was daunting when the first 100 AAs
God. And anyhow, why should there be Twelve Steps
agreed it was time to write about their program for
when we had done five or six? Let’s keep it simple, they
sobriety in a book that could reach far more suffering
alcoholics than those reached by word of mouth. He had
“This sort of heated discussion went on for days
to close a schism between the Akron-Cleveland AAs and
and nights. But out of it all there came a ten-strike for
the New York AAs, who in 1938, when the book writing
Alcoholics Anonymous. Our agnostic contingent.
finally convinced us that we must make it easier for
Bill W. described his dilemma in a July, 1953,
people like themselves by using such terms as ‘a
Grapevine article titled A Fragment of History: Origin of
Higher Power’ or ‘God as we understand Him.’ Those
the Twelve Steps. The article can be found in the book
expressions, as we so well know today, have proved
lifesavers for many an alcoholic. They have enabled
thousands of us to make a beginning where none could
“As we commenced to form a Society separate
have been made had we left the Steps just as I
from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles
originally wrote them .Little did we then guess that
our Twelve Steps would soon be widely approved by
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol.
clergy of all denominations and even by our latter-day
3. We got honest with another person, in confidence.
“This little fragment of history ought to convince
4. We made amends for harms done others.
the most skeptical that nobody invented Alcoholics
5. We worked with other alcoholics without demand for
“It just grew — by the grace of God.”
6. We prayed to God to help us to do these things as
It could be inferred the 12 Steps replaced the
“Absolutes,” but, for me, Honesty, Purity,
“Though these principles were advocated
Unselfishness and Love are shorthand for the Steps. Bill F.SALLY'S STORY
My name is Sally, and I am an alcoholic. When I attended my first A.A. meeting, I had many
years of alcoholic drinking and several years of prescribed tranquilizers under my belt. At the first
meeting I was deeply struck by the honestly, the variety of personalities and the individual gratitude
to the A.A. program. By the end of the meeting it was clear to me that “it can be done,” and I
hopefully began my recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.
I attended this A.A. meeting on the advice of my psychiatrist. My mental and emotional
anguish was quite severe and the doctor had I prescribed a tranquilizer which I was taking according
to the prescription. I never did adjust the dosage on my own.
One day at a time, I did not pick up the first drink. Just as other A.As had shared with me, life
did begin to take on more meaning and I was so deeply grateful that my alcoholic drinking was
behind me. I continued taking my prescribed dosage of a tranquilizer, despite the fact that I heard
many A.A. members share their own terrible experiences with tranquilizers, invariably discovering
that such medication led to a “slip.”
Six months into sobriety, I had a terrible day at the office and felt severely rejected in every
possible way. Overwhelmed by self-pity and anxiety, I tried every conceivable means to get rid of my
resentments. But I was unable to grasp any insight I had gained from therapy, nor did anything I ever
heard at an A.A. meeting penetrate. At the end of the day, I found myself in the restaurant where I
had done much of my drinking and ended up having several martinis.
The fact that I drank again was a stunning blow to me. I did not really want to drink, but I did
want to relax. The next evening, at a meeting of my home group, I looked around the room and it
occurred to me that everyone there was living the A.A. program in an honest fashion—everyone
except me. For the first time in my life I truly opened my mind and decided to follow suggestions. I
promised myself that I would speak with my psychiatrist about discontinuing the tranquilizers, as I
was convinced that somehow this medication had something to do with my relapse.
My psychiatrist was willing to cancel the prescription. During the weeks and months
immediately following, I came to see that I had been relying on tranquilizers to give me the bulwark
against anxiety that most of my fellow AAs were finding the Twelve Steps. It was apparent to me that
although I had been attending many A.A. meetings, reading the literature, and attempting to integrate
the A.A. way of life in myself, my own use of tranquilizers had prevented a real surrender. Actually, I
had been quite remote and isolated, attempting to control my feelings just the way I had once tried to
control my drinking. Discontinuing the use of the tranquilizer was crucial in recovering from the
disease of alcoholism. Through the A.A. program, I have learned to live comfortably without mood-
altering medication of any kind. Although it has not always been easy to be honest with myself, to
reach out to a Higher Power, and to surrender my self-centered will, I feel I am living proof that it is
The AA member-Medications & Other Drug – permission World ServicesBEING THERE
I have heard people in Alcoholics Anonymous say, “I don’t know if I was born an alcoholic,
but I know that when I started drinking, an alcoholic was born in me.” That’s how it was with me. Iremember being given a glass of wine when I was six or seven years old. It made me smile somuch that my cheeks hurt. I spent the next quarter of a century trying to feel that good again. Myalcoholism became my primary occupation, and I used my ability to play guitar and memorize folkand county songs to stay intoxicated for days and weeks at a time. Let me sum up the bottom Ireached as briefly as possible: I puked on people, places and things from border to border andcoast to coast. I once passed out in my own vomit on the steps of the post office. I tried A.A. in1972, but gave up on recovery after I two or three meetings. My daughter, Melody, was born inFebruary 1976. One year later I tried to control my alcoholism by using bootlegged antabuse that Igot from an acquaintance. For the next two years, I stopped drinking during various dry spells, butI abused other drugs daily. On July 11, 1979, 1 had what I pray to God was my last drink.
Since I have mentioned God, let me say that I spent most of my life as an atheist. In 1974, I
stopped my heart with an accidental overdose of a drug, and as a result of the grace of God andCPR, I survived. I like to say that when I took that overdose, the brain cells that got destroyed werethe ones that told me I was an atheist. But my discovery of the existence of a loving God whogranted me life did not help me quit drinking. The Twelve Steps and the Fellowship of A.A. taughtme how to use God to change my life.
Since I have become involved in the Fellowship, I have experienced a miraculous change in
the way I live and the way I think. At the very first meeting I attended in 1979, I heard a woman say,“If anybody in this circle has young children, and you don’t want to wake up one day and realizeyour child is twenty-one years old and you missed his life, keep coming back.” Melody was threeyears old at the time.
Today she is twenty-two. I have seen her first day of school, watched her participate in Girl
Scouts, star in school plays, become a Bat Mitzvah, be confirmed in the faith of her ancestors,graduate from high school and fall in and out of love for the first time. I pray each day that I willcontinue to see her grow as a person. I have held my son, Caleb, in my arms for the first hours ofhis life, seen him catch his first fish, score his first birdie on a golf course, become a Bar Mitzvah,and grow taller than I am. I have learned to respect my wife Elaine, who is an amazing mother,partner, friend, companion and constant source of inspiration and affection.
I have also known the blessings of sponsorship, and I ask God each day to help me honor
the memory of my beloved sponsor, Joe M., who continues to mentor me long after he has crossedover, his example of manhood is the goal I strive to become, for he was the first man I knew whotried his best to live up to the principles of love, honestly, purity and unselfishness each day of hislife.
Prior to meeting him I thought manhood was achieved through physical strength and
emotional toughness. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to share my guitar playing and folksinging in recovery. Over the years, I’ve sung songs about what life was like when I was a drinkingalcoholic and what it’s like now that I’m recovering. I have visited prisons, jails, halfway houses,schools, churches, and A.A. meetings all over Central Florida, where I live.
One of my most cherished memories comes from a time three or four years ago when I sang
at a halfway house. Afterward, a man in the group named Ben came up to shake hands. Caleb hadcome along with me that night, and when I introduced him to Ben, Ben said, “Your dad really helpedme to change my life.” I think about that moment often. My son could have grown up thinking abouthis dad as the missing, abusive, selfish brute who caused pain everywhere he went. Through thegrace of God and the Fellowship of A.A., my son knows his dad as a man who tries to help others. In the years since 1979, I have experienced so many blessings. The simple fact of my recovery isthat each day of my life I am moved to tears of gratitude by the miracle of one more precious day offreedom from the bondage of self. James P., Temple Terrace, Florida/Permission/Grapevine/August 2001San Fernando Valley Central Office Intergroup Representatives Meeting – July 12, 2003
Paul D Chairperson – Meeting opened at 7:05pmTreasurer’s Report; See Insert
Birthdays John 1 year, Laurie 2 years.Service Committee information see page 2 of the Recovery Times for more informationMotion to adjourn 7:30 PMThe long form of the Intergroup Meeting Minutes for July is available at Central Office or at the Intergroup Meeting. Next Meeting - August 11, 2003Prepared and submitted by: Marie B Recording Secretary
There is the story of 2 old-timers who made a pact that when one of themdied, he would come back and let the other one know if there was AA inHeaven. Eventually one of them passed on. About a week later the other guy awoke from his sleep and saw the image ofhis old friend at the foot of the bed. All excited - he said, “Well, tell me! Is there AA in Heaven?”His friend said “I have good news and bad news. First the good news, YES!There is AA in Heaven.”“Well?” was the reply - “What’s the bad news?”His buddy said “Mmm, ah, you’re the speaker on Saturday night.”
Submitted in memory of Jim L. of Camp Verde, Arizona
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Schedule of Benefits Booklet The Benefits and coverages described herein are provided through a Trust Fund, The Health Plan Trust for the Members of the Oklahoma Lumbermen’s Association, established by a group of employers, members of the Oklahoma Lumbermen’s Association. The Trust Fund is not subject to any insurance guaranty association. Other related financial informa
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