NOCCO: Anonymous Times Newsletter - March 2021 Issue

Newsletter Archive

Volume 21 | Issue 03          Web version


Anonymous Times

Published by North Orange County InterGroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups, Inc.

(714) 773-HELP

 1661 E. Chapman Avenue, Suite 1H

Fullerton, CA 92831 

March 2021 Issue


Step 3

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

Step Three is like opening of a locked door.  How shall we let God into our lives?  Willingness is the key.  Dependence as a means to independence.  Dangers of self-sufficiency. Turning our will over to Higher Power.  Misuse of willpower.  Sustained and personal exertion necessary to conform to God's will.

Tradition 3

"The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking."

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism.  Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover.  Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity.  Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

Concept 3

As traditional means of creating and maintaining a clearly defined working relation between the groups, the Conference, the A.A. General Service Board and its several service corporations, staffs, committees and executives, and of thus insuring their effective leadership, it is here suggested that we endow each of these elements of world service with a traditional "Right of Decision."


The Third Step: 

Making The Decision and Being Willing

If you have been working your 12-Step program and actively attending meetings for any considerable length of time, you understand that each step revolves around a powerful theme or concept. While every step that is worked is important, the first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are the key to a meaningful and long-term recovery.  With the first two steps, you need to be admit powerlessness over your addiction and make the conscious effort to turn your addiction and the pain and suffering that accompanies it over to a power outside of yourself.

While these first two steps are essential, it is the Third Step of Alcoholics Anonymous that sets into motion and actions and behaviors that are needed for you to truly address and overcome your alcohol addiction. In this third step, you must make the decision to turn over your will and your life over to God or a higher power of your understanding to help you break the cycle of addiction that has kept you stuck. While making this important decision seems easy enough, saying that you will do something and actually doing something about it are two entirely different things. 

Action, Not Words

When people get to the Third Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, most will think that the third step of AA says that we turn our will and our life over to the care of God or the higher power of our design. This line of reasoning is not entirely correct and can trip you up as your progress through the program.  The true meaning of the Third Step of Alcoholics Anonymous is that you need to make a decision to turn both your will and life over to the care of God.  Click below to read on...

Read More: Making the Decision

Tradition Three

An Essay by Bill W.

From the February 1948 Grapevine


The Third Tradition is a sweeping statement indeed; it takes in a lot of territory. Some people might think it too idealistic to be practical. It tells every alcoholic in the world that he may become, and remain, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous so long as he says so. In short, Alcoholics Anonymous has no membership rule.

Why is this so? Our answer is simple and practical. Even in self-protection, we do not wish to erect the slightest barrier between ourselves and the fellow alcoholic who still suffers. We know that society has been demanding that he conform to its laws and conventions. But the essence of his alcoholic malady is the fact that he has been unable or unwilling to conform either to the laws of man or God. If he is anything, the sick alcoholic is a rebellious nonconformist. How well we understand that; every member of AA was once a rebel himself. Hence we cannot offer to meet him at any halfway mark. We must enter the dark cave where he is and show him that we understand. We realize that he is altogether too weak and confused to jump hurdles. If we raise obstacles, he might stay away and perish. He might be denied his priceless opportunity.

So when he asks, "Are there any conditions?" we joyfully reply, "No, not a one." When skeptically he comes back saying, "But certainly there must be things that I have to do and believe," we quickly answer, "In Alcoholics Anonymous there are no musts." Cynically, perhaps, he then inquires, "What is this all going to cost me?" We are able to laugh and say, "Nothing at all, there are no fees and dues." Thus, in a brief hour, is our friend disarmed of his suspicion and rebellion. His eyes begin to open on a new world of friendship and understanding. Bankrupt idealist that he has been, his ideal is no longer a dream. After years of lonely search it now stands revealed. The reality of Alcoholics Anonymous bursts upon him. For Alcoholics Anonymous is saying, "We have something priceless to give, if only you will receive." That is all. But to our new friend, it is everything. Without more ado, he becomes one of us.

Our membership Tradition does contain, however, one vitally important qualification. That qualification relates to the use of our name, Alcoholics Anonymous. We believe that any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. Here our purpose is clear and unequivocal. For obvious reasons we wish the name Alcoholics Anonymous to be used only in connection with straight AA activities. One can think of no AA member who would like, for example, to see the formation of "dry" AA groups, "wet" AA groups, Republican AA groups, communist AA groups. Few, if any, would wish our groups to be designated by religious denominations. We cannot lend the AA name, even indirectly, to other activities, however worthy. If we do so we shall become hopelessly compromised and divided. We think that AA should offer its experience to the whole world for whatever use can be made of it. But not its name. Nothing could be more certain.

Let us of AA therefore resolve that we shall always be inclusive and never exclusive, offering all we have to all, save our title. May all barriers be thus leveled, may our unity thus be preserved. And may God grant us a long life--and a useful one!

Wilson, William.  The Language of the Heart.  New York: AA Grapevine, Inc. 1988.  Print.  Reprinted.

March 1971

To:  Bill

From:  Anonymous

Who taught me that the AA way of life is
Humble, not necessarily meek;  
Accepting, not necessarily passive; 
Loving, not necessarily possessive; 
Honest, not necessarily ruthless; 
Moral, not necessarily righteous;
Enviable, not necessarily smug;
Spiritual, not necessarily religious;and
Attractive, not necessarily irresistible.


Do You Have Extra Change Weighing You Down?


We are a full month into this COIN DRIVE and collected $824 in coins during the month of February to help support the continuing operations at NOCCO.

Collect the loose change (or bills) that pile up around the house.  Bring in a handful, a baggie, a coffee can and drop your change into the Lemonade Jar at NOCCO.  

We offer curbside pickup!

We offer home pickup!

Let US help YOU to help OURS!

Click Here to Support Coin Drive


Crayons Are My Hobby

BY: E.C.L.


February 1949


THIS morning I got a thrill from these words in a Christmas thank-you letter from a friend: "You s-m-a-r-t thing! I love my barn. How did you find your talent?" No, I didn't build her a barn for her farm, but had the unmitigated nerve to send her for a Christmas present a framed picture of a red cow-barn cuddled among the trees on a Connecticut hillside--a picture I had created in pastels, copying from an original watercolor my friend had admired.

How did I find my "talent"? I really haven't any talent, but I do have a lot of fun creating in colors on paper, although I don't know the first thing about art, and nothing about techniques of drawing or painting. In fact, I never could draw a straight line, and withdrew on several occasions from art classes in which I had enrolled in abortive attempts to try to learn how to put on paper what appealed to my eyes. It was hopeless, I just couldn't draw and it was no use wasting my time. So, when I came into A.A. in a desperately despondent mood, and was generally jittery, unhappy, and lonely, and old-time A.A.-ers suggested I could give myself a lift by buying a 50-cent box of paints and dabbling in water colors, I rolled my eyes in horror and shrieked, "Not me. I can't draw a straight line, and trying to paint would only add frustration to depression and definitely would drive me to drink. I'm unhappy, but I'm sober and just can't paint." They argued with me to no avail.

HOWEVER, after I'd been dry about four or five months, suddenly one night without warning or urging, I did my first picture. I had learned that you don't have to draw a straight line in order to paint pictures, and I learned it in a rather round-about way. I had been doing some stenographic work for an art publicist, and in taking dictation for a news release about a painter of modern, imaginative pictures, the light dawned. Certainly these pictures bore little if any resemblance to reality, and certainly there were no straight lines, or, seemingly, any bother about "composition," "prospective," and other irksome (to me) details of creating a picture. "Well," I thought to myself, "if this woman can be a famous artist smudging a lot of colors around at will, maybe I could do it, too, just for fun." But, of course, I didn't know how, and spurned any idea of another attempt at art lessons.

None-the-less, the idea must have stuck in the back of my mind, for the next day on my lunch hour while prowling through dear old Woolworth's, I spied a large stack marked "Drawing Paper--25¢." Why not? So I bought it and fudged around the counters until I found some crayons in nice bright colors for 10 cents, and thought I'd take 'em home and maybe some day do something.

THAT evening at home I spent a miserable hour and a half turning my effects upside down and inside out looking for a mislaid fountain pen (and not finding it). A boresome task and I was tired, frustrated, and all-rubbed-the-wrong-way--one of those times when it would be so soothing to sit down and have a good drink! And don't think I didn't think of that--because I did. But something made me think of the crayons and paper and I sat down at my window, that happily affords a glorious view of the Empire State Building, which glistens and sparkles like a mammoth Christmas tree at night, and started smearing black crayon all over the white paper, then splashing it with spots and splurges of yellow and orange. I became completely absorbed in trying to put down my impression of the glow and glitter of the lights of the city at night, without worrying about form or prospective, or lost fountain pens or anything. An hour passed like a few minutes, and, to my utter amazement, I had what was to me an exciting impression on paper of the night scene that gives me so much pleasure to look at night after night. True, it was crude and far from a work of art, but I liked it--and it was fun to do. And I felt completely relaxed and rested, even a little elated--and only an hour before I had been in that dangerous and uncomfortable gosh-how-I'd-like-a-drink mood. Don't know what amazed me most, the fact I had actually made a picture that resembled something, or the fact that I was so refreshed and relaxed. Anyway it's great fun, and I heartily recommend it as an interesting, inexpensive hobby.


"Crayons Are My Hobby". 1949.  5 Mar 2021

Outreach Corner


NOCCO Hotline

(714) 773-HELP (4357)

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  3. Phones answered by NOCCO volunteers ready to support those still suffering.
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NOCAA Women's Banquet 

Ladies -

The North Orange County AA Women's Banquet is back on for 2021.  If you bought tickets or tables for last years Banquet, the committee wants you to know that your tickets will be honored for 2021.  This banquet is completely sold out for 2021.

Should you have any questions, please call:

  • Jennifer P (714) 882-9059
  • Kristin H. (562) 313-1038
  • Cathie R. (714) 310-1562
  • Karen M. (714) 356-0736

More details will be forthcoming as the date gets closer.

Thanks for your patience and we look forward to seeing you again in June!

NOCAA Banquet Committee



Unitemized Bill

There are no dues or fees in AA because the alcoholic has already paid the price 


AA MEMBERSHIP COSTS nothing, never has, and never will--in dollars and cents. We know only too well, though, what "qualification" for AA has already cost most of us by the time we are ready to admit we need help. Materially we had nothing--or almost nothing--left.

But material cost is not the subject of this article. It is true that most of us paid a small fortune for the liquor we drank, and another small fortune to the courts, not to mention the money lost when we were unable to work. But the true price we paid will never show on a neatly tabulated and itemized bill. The true price is engraved forever on countless scarred souls, and can be plainly seen in the eyes of any suffering alcoholic: loss of self-respect; failure in every endeavor; shattered families; hate when we sought love; disgust when we sought understanding; and, finally, the awful awareness that sanity was fast departing. These are the things for which we can never name a price, but we can never forget that the price was paid.

Perhaps this is why "there are no dues or fees for AA membership." Those of us who are willing to follow twelve simple steps will receive benefits which all the money in the world could not buy. Sobriety? Sure, but sobriety is only the beginning, a miraculous beginning to those of us who have already known the end. Temporary sobriety is cheap. It can be bought at any hospital or sanitarium, by those who can afford a few weeks in bed; it can be forced on us behind steel bars; in fact there were many, many times when we had

sobriety for weeks or even months, for reasons not of our own choosing. This sobriety had no lasting qualities, no real hope behind it; it was merely a lull, a short drying-out period between binges--and how well we knew that it could not last.

To dry out and no more can never be enough for any alcoholic. Take the alcohol away from an alcoholic and you have nothing. . .just a shell of a man, existing in a vacuum, coming from nowhere and going nowhere. This is fact, not theory. His whole life has centered around alcohol. He cannot for a minute imagine a life without it, for he knows with a certainty born of experience that he will be unable to face the everyday problems of life without this crutch he has come to rely on so heavily. Take his crutch away and, like a cripple, he cannot stand.

When this same alcoholic comes to AA, however, he soon finds that he no longer has to stand alone and unaided. He is given something more substantial than a crutch on which he may confidently place his dependence. At first it is the kindness and understanding of all the recovered alcoholics who have lived his life of misery themselves. Then he learns to stand on his own feet by practicing the AA program . . . slowly at first, because he is just learning to walk unsupported but, in time, he is ready to try climbing all the Twelve Steps. Perhaps he falls once, or twice, or several times. If he learns to be honest with himself and is willing to continue trying, he manages to hang on, and gets up to go on, stronger than before.

Along the way he meets more understanding friends, offering their help. Soon he learns to laugh again, his faith in God is renewed and his eyes are opened to the simple but beautiful things in life. His world gradually changes from one of fear, remorse, suspicion and futile dreams to one of kindness, fellowship, confidence and long-sought-after fulfillment.

Through our Twelve Steps we find a completely new way of life, of which sobriety is only the foundation, not the end result. True happiness, peace of mind and bright promises of even more become reality and not the hopeless dreams we once had. We in AA know without doubt that God has truly smiled on us. . .not for a price, but for love.


"Unitemized Bill". 1960. 1 Mar 2021

There's More to Quitting Drinking than Quitting Drinking

$15.00 plus tax

Alcoholism is both a drinking and a thinking problem.  Recovery can't take place without abstinence, but abstinence alone is not recovery.


By Dr. Paul O.


Dr Paul passed away in May of 2020.  He has probably been the secretary of a morning meeting somewhere in heaven ever since.

You Can't Make Me Angry

$15.00 plus tax

By the time you put this book down, you will be convinced that people and circumstances don't make us angry; we make ourselves angry.  People Can't make us angry - unless we let them.  we alone are responsible for our feelings.


InterGroup Meeting - Mar 10 @ 7:30pm

Please join us at the next NOCCO InterGroup Meeting.  InterGroup Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm.  

Next Meeting:  March 10, 2021 via ZOOM

Meeting ID: 860-4109-6976 | Password: Serenity


Group Contributions - February 2021

To help support local essential services, the General Service Conference suggests that individual groups, through an informed group conscience, adopt a specific contribution plan.  Click below to see all of the Group Contributions from last month.

Click for Group Contribution Detail


NOCCO Profit & Loss - February 2021

Each month, NOCCO provides accounting detail of income and expenses to indicate net profit or loss over the last month.  This information is available to any group or member.  Click below to see the financial detail from last month.

Click for P&L Detail

The Story Of a Grapevine Meeting

A few years ago, a few of us were complaining about how there wasn't a meeting close by on Wednesdays. About the same time, the pastor of my church sent around a questionnaire asking what the church could do to help our community. "Rent us space for a Wednesday night AA meeting," was my reply, and in no time he was showing me the coziest little meeting room a group could ever ask for.

Now the question was, What kind of a meeting should it be? No one got very excited when I suggested another Step meeting or a Big Book study. But when I mentioned a Grapevine meeting, that got some nods. My wife, who's also in the Fellowship, made up a cute leaflet, D. donated a coffee pot, our ever-supportive district committee member advanced us some literature, and we opened the doors in April 2000.

That first night, with ten minutes until start time, it was just my wife and me. Being a man of deep faith, I instantly panicked: "A Grapevine meeting? Whose stupid idea was that?" Seconds later, in walked a half dozen stalwart AAs and the room came alive with the language of the heart.

After some discussion we arrived at the following format: A volunteer picks an article from a current issue, or from one of the Best of the Grapevine volumes, reads it aloud, speaks about it for a few minutes, and then we go around the circle until the hour is up.

I thought we'd be reading lots of Tradition and Step articles, but people tend to gravitate toward the stories. And that's fine with me. I can get didactic in Step meetings, trying to boil everything down to a formula, searching for The Answer. Stories remind me that life isn't black and white; it's full of mystery, and that I will never have it all figured out. It wasn't until Bill W. stopped preaching at drunks and started telling his story that he had much success. It's funny: the men always assume the article we're talking about was written by a man, the women, by a woman, but we don't find out until the end, unless it was written by that "Anonymous" character. It's also interesting to hear where the author is from--Oh, so that's how they do it in Australia? Often an article will seem as if it was written yesterday. Then we find out it's decades old. When I listen to an alcoholic's story, it awakens my humanity. I start to be able to understand my own story. Most Grapevine stories are grounded in what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now. And that anchors a discussion so that a meeting doesn't turn into a group therapy session.

My favorites are the stories about AA travelers who really need a meeting and, against all odds, find one. They reassure me that AA always is there when I need it. I also love the stories about damaged families who recover together, with fathers passing it on to sons and sisters to brothers. They give me hope. And I enjoy the stories that describe those moments of deep surrender. They remind me of where the Power can be found.

Not long ago, there was some thirteenth stepping going on, and several members were feeling outraged about it. That week, the volunteer chose to read an article she found on the Grapevine website called "Give the Girl a Chance." Needless to say, a lively discussion followed. It helped that the issue got aired, and because it was done within the context of a story, the finger-pointing was minimal. The Grapevine archives are a real resource for any problems a group is having.

On September 12, 2001, we met as usual, and that itself was a great comfort. The bars were full, but so was our Grapevine meeting. We're located just twenty-five miles from Ground Zero, and we were all feeling the repercussions of that tragedy. That night we read Bill's article "On Fear," from Language of the Heart. In the article, Bill talks about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and how AAs found the strength to deal with that. I will never forget that meeting and how we all helped each other through that difficult time.

Our group has tried to be of service by getting the magazine into jails and institutions and raising awareness of the Grapevine. It amazes me that only one out of ten members of AA subscribe. As one member put it, "The people who saved your life put out a magazine. Surely you can find $18.00 to support it."

I'm getting didactic again. I've lost the feeling of a story. We probably won't be reading this article at our meeting. But hey, it takes all sorts of articles to fill a Grapevine issue, and all sorts of meetings to fill out an AA schedule. Think about adding a Grapevine meeting to yours.


"The Story of a Grapevine Meeting".  2003.  1 Mar 2021

NOCCO Appreciates Your 7th Tradition Support

Even though meetings, 12-step services and operations have shifted to a virtual environment, expenses continue to accumulate during this crisis, which underscores the importance of practicing the Seventh Tradition. We still stock literature, handle 12-step calls around the clock, and assist those with a desire to stop drinking. Your generous support is critical and appreciated.

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Venmo: @nocco-aa

I am Responsible. 

When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. 

For that, I am responsible.

Thanks to all contributors who support NOCCO.  

© Copyright, 2021, North Orange County InterGroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups, Inc. • 1661 E. Chapman Avenue - Suite 1H, Fullerton CA 92831


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