a time of surrender


Even after years of continuous sobriety, Step 1 of the AA program is as relevant today for me as it was back in 1981.  They called it “self-will run riot” at the meeting tables.  We, if we were honest about our situation, could heartily agree with the unmanageable existence that had become everyday life under the control of alcohol.

But, there had to be more than merely admitting that we had a drinking problem and that our lives were unmanageable.  We had to change who we were, how we processed life situations.  We had to change our thinking and our priorities.  It was not easy.   Many did not make the transition and returned to old ways under the clutches of addiction.

So, you might ask, “what made the difference, why would some succeed while others slipped back into drinking?”

SURRENDER.  Surrendering to the wisdom at the meeting tables, to those who cared enough to share their stories, to those who sat up into the wee morning hours to guide us through moments of weakness, to the inspiration given in the writings of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and finally to a power greater than us – that Higher Power which appears under innumerable names and philosophies.  We had to surrender everything which told us that we were special and unique, separate from the gutter drunk or the teenaged hustler on the street corner.  We had to accept that “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

Have I surrendered today?  Have I turned over all my concerns, all my fears, all my prejudices, all my doubts and insecurities?  Have you?

We are told that we no longer need to live lives of continual turmoil.  We don’t need to worry about the stock market, about wars in distant lands, about turmoil in our country, about pandemics that could kill us because ultimately we do not have control over anything outside the heart and soul that comfort us.  We, if we have surrendered, trust in the goodness of humanity and the grace of a Higher Power.  It is the only pathway to internal peace.  Internal peace is the only pathway to a world of peace.  Worrying contradicts surrender and robs us of peace.  What’s our choice going to be?

A favorite passage from the book of Luke tells me:

“…can any of you, for all your worrying, add a single moment to the span of your life?”  LUKE 12:25-26



Nails it!  Never felt good enough.  Never fit in.  Never loved who I was.  Just a creep and a weirdo.  Became the prodigal, the runaway and misfit.  Lived in the far country carousing in spiritual poverty.  And then – on bended knee surrendered to the One who didn’t see a freak, didn’t see my ugliness, didn’t care what I had done.

This song is about rejection.  Rejection is painful.  Makes us feel useless and unimportant.  Makes us sad and depressed.  Unloved.  But, Lord, you are the Comforter, the Consoler, the Healer.  Please, today, work your miracles.  Comfort, console, heal and make us whole.

When you were here before
Couldn’t look you in the eye
You’re just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry

You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
And I wish I was special
You’re so ****** special

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

I don’t care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

I want you to notice
When I’m not around
You’re so ******special
I wish I was special

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

She’s running out again,
She’s running out
She’s run run run run

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You’re so ***** special
I wish I was special

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
I don’t belong here.

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

applause please

clappingIf you are sober today, give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.

It is quite a miracle, you know.  We, who could not put together two days of sobriety now embrace a lifestyle of sober-living with all the wondrous beauty and amazement which accompanies our daily reprieve from alcoholism.  We who could not live without our liquid fortification now enjoy days and nights free of the desire and the temptation.  We know, when we awaken in the morning, exactly what we did last night, whom we were with last night, where we  parked the car last night.  We know those things now because we did not saturate our brains with alcohol.  Give yourselves a hand.

The praises to a God of our understanding cannot be overstated for it indeed was an act of divine intervention.  All our efforts to practice controlled drinking, all our readings of self-help books, all our attention to heathy diets, all our promises to loved ones to quit could not defeat the curse of our common demon.  As much as we tried to be better as spouses, friends, employees, those efforts paled when that first drink of the day stood in front of us.  We finally admitted that we were powerless.

But, let’s not diminish the tremendous efforts on our part in the sobriety story.  Remember the field research we endured sitting night after night at our favorite watering hole romancing the bottle rather than a loved one at home.  And then the brilliance of that initial revelation that there was indeed a better way to live.  Sometimes it happened after an especially violent argument.  Or perhaps a dear friend urged us to “straighten up and fly right.”  A car accident, a lost job, a divorce, a financial crisis.  At some point the God of our understanding revealed God’s plan for our lives and we said, “Yes, I am willing to surrender.  I must surrender or I will die.”

That was just the beginning of another sobriety story joining the millions of other souls who had discovered a better way.  Chapter one of that story detailed the nights waking up in sheer terror after dreaming we had given in to the allure of alcohol and had been out drinking.  We roller-coasted from exquisite moments of clarity to abysmal thoughts of suicide.  We loved, hated, enjoyed, despised, hoped, despaired, laughed, cried and yet through it all we did not drink or drug.  The physical demands of our addictions lessened with each sober moment until after about 90 days, the challenge was essentially emotional and psychological.

Then began the realization that drinking was just the tip of the iceberg.  We had inflicted upon ourselves grave emotional damage that needed to be addressed in our new way of living.  We could no longer run to the bottle to hide the deeper, underlying defects of character which had plagued us long before we used alcohol as a cover-up.  Lifetime habits became glaringly problematic for us as sober men and women.  Facing necessary changes was grueling work which required a team effort.  You, your fellowship, and your Higher Power became that team.  For the first time in our lives, we understood the power of the nemesis called “self-will run riot.”  The intervention and ensuing miracles were acts of God, but we did the grinding work.

If you are sober today give yourself a hand.clapping




Blessed are the poor

Blessed are the poor in spirit ; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3

Yes, I know this verse has nothing to do with worldly wealth or spiritual deficiency.  But, I immediately thought of it when Trump came out with the following statement at an ego rally in Iowa.

“I just don’t want a poor person in top economic roles.”  Donald J. Trump


I could discuss politics with you until the cows come home, but that is not my blog’s intent.  Suffice it to say that possibly ‘the poor’ could add a great insight to an otherwise sightless administration.

In the verse attributed to Jesus by the book of Matthew, “poor” is translated from the Greek word “ptochos” meaning beggar or pauper.  In attempting to think as Jesus may have thought we could view the “poor in spirit” not as unenlightened or ignorant, but, as those who have become voluntarily bankrupt in ego, i.e., poor in ego, and are absolutely dependent on God for every need.  Just like a beggar with cup in hand, totally in need of alms, the one who relies not on “I” or “me” but rather on the grace and graciousness of a Higher Power has attained an attitude that surrenders control to the One who is in control.  This attitude is the kingdom of heaven cited in Matthew 5:3.

(refer to Ethan Walker 3rd, “THE MYSTIC CHRIST”)

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