NOCCO: Anonymous Times Newsletter - August 2022 Issue

Newsletter Archive

Volume 22 | Issue 8        Web version

August

  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

www.aanoc.org 


August 2022 Issue


“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

amends

“Every A.A. has found that he can make little headway in this new adventure of living until he first backtracks and really makes an accurate and unsparing survey of the human wreckage he has left in his wake.”– Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 77

Terrified of facing the wreckage of your past? Looking at the shipwreck of your alcoholic life from the shore is one thing, but taking actions to repair and mend what is salvageable is a whole other adventure!

Step Eight of AA Alcoholics Anonymous helps recovering alcoholics to live in the greatest peace, in partnership with others and themselves.

While Step Four could be seen as your personal housecleaning, Step Eight is more of a social application of the shame reduction that was begun in Step Four, when you realized that you have hurt others as well as yourself because of alcoholic drinking.

While working Step Eight you’re just going to make a list of people you have harmed and the specific ways that you have harmed each one.

Remember, you have acted with courage working all of your previous steps in AA and staying sober! With Step Eight you have the opportunity to translate your experience of courage into developing a compassionate spirit.

BREAKING DOWN STEP EIGHT OF AA ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Step Eight of AA Alcoholics Anonymous is the beginning of the process of making amends, forgiving others and possibly being forgiven by them, in addition to forgiving ourselves. By making a list of the people we harmed and becoming willing to make amends, we take action toward healing the past with others and learning how to live in the world with our head held high, looking people right in the eye.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

Step 8 is mostly about identifying the damage you have done to others and listing those names. It doesn’t matter if the harm you caused was from selfishness, carelessness, anger, arrogance, dishonesty or any other character defect… it doesn’t even matter if you didn’t intend to cause harm.

You are going to make a completely thorough list, considering all the ways in which it is possible to cause harm to another person. Some situations are really obvious, for instance if you stole money from a person or business, or if you exhibited physical or emotional abuse.

The names on your list could be people you bullied, cheated on or treated coldly. Whether they are living or dead or will want to hear from you or not, it doesn’t matter. You are just making a list.

WARNING! DELAY IS DANGEROUS.

There will be fear and there are going to be people who come to mind who also caused you harm. A lot of people delay in starting to work on Step 8 because they aren’t willing to make amends to these people because they resent them too much. Even if you are so unwilling that you don’t even want to pray for willingness because you can’t imagine having any compassion for certain people, put their names on the list anyway. The truth is that forgiving someone who harmed us may mean swallowing some pride (without any alcohol to wash it down). But unfortunately not forgiving that person costs us our freedom

The greatest thing about recovery is that much to our own surprise we become willing to let go of resentment, blame and self-pity, and recognize that we are all just ordinary, garden variety, human beings.

So instead of getting caught up in those tricky old feelings, get out your pen and paper and put those names on a list.

STEP EIGHT OF AA: JUST PUT IT ON THE LIST!

Before you can rebuild relationships, you need to identify the relationships that were damaged. That’s why you are making a Step Eight list. You get to take responsibility for your own part, not someone else’s, and to clean up your side of the street.

This is not a list for you to keep in your head; it’s the kind that you need to put down on paper. Putting names on paper takes the ideas out of our heads, where they may have grown to massive proportions, and right-sizes them. You have already catalogued your character defects and moral inventory, and now you’re going to examine some of the same situations from another angle and perspective.

For your 8th Step list you should include every name you think of, even if you’re not sure that you owe any amends in that particular situation.

You can put your name on that list, with an awareness that the way we make amends to ourselves is the ongoing process of stopping irresponsible and self-destructive behavior.

When you feel it’s pretty thorough, take the list and break it into 4 categories with your sponsor:

  1. People to make amends to now. Once on a good sober footing.

  2. People to make partial amends to in order to not injure them or others.

  3. People to make amends to later.

  4. People we “may” never be able to make direct personal contact.

You’re going to get to practice the principle of courage while working the Eighth Step because you can’t restrict your list only to those amends that you think will turn out OK. Remember to be incredibly honest, even if what you discover in the truth is painful to accept. As one of the AA old timers in my home group liked to say “The truth is gonna set you free, …but at first it may sting a little bit.

FORGIVENESS AND A BUNCH OF COOL SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”– Bryant H. McGill

Spiritual principles abound in Step 8. Forgiveness, honesty, courage, willingness, accountability, humility and compassion are some of the biggies.

By listing who we believe we have harmed, we are holding ourselves accountable. By admitting we are human and have made mistakes, we develop compassion for ourselves. By forgiving those who have harmed us we are set free.

Extending a decent dose of authentic love requires humility, and knowing that these actions will not only help in your recovery but also benefit the greater good, requires a fair amount of trust.

REPAIRING BURNED BRIDGES: STEP EIGHT QUESTIONS & ACTIONS

Step Eight helps build awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people.

Here are some questions to help guide you through working Step Eight:

  • Are there resentments in the way of your willingness to make amends?

  • Are you hesitating in any way before working on the eighth step- if so why?

  • Why is it valuable to determine the exact nature of your wrongs?

  • Why is it so essential that you are very clear about your responsibility?

  • Are there people to whom you owe an amends who may be a threat to your safety or about whom you are concerned in some other way?

  • Why is simply saying, “I’m sorry” alone not sufficient to repair the damage that you’ve caused?

  • Why is only changing your behavior not sufficient to repair the damage you’ve caused?

  • Do you have amends to make that are financial and therefore you do not want to make them?

  • Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had already made these amends?

  • Do you have amends to people who have also harmed you?

FINISHING STEP EIGHT OF AA ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

There’s a level of honesty in working the 12 Steps that some members of AA exalt in, because of the freedom it brings. The reason one of our slogans is “happy, joyous and free!” is because without alcohol in our lives we have freedom to take a deep breath and exist in the day, relieved of that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop, the jig to be up, or the police to come knocking.

Remember that it takes time to heal from traumas. As addicts we want to rush to the end result. However there is no prize for doing any of the Steps as fast as you can. Impulsively rushing in to make amends without taking the time to work with your sponsor could be as detrimental as not making amends. It’s never too late, but sometimes it’s too early.

Remember this: focus on a comprehensive eight step list, then let prayer and meditation the time for forgiveness to come. When you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow.

You don’t have to look over your shoulder no-mo.

https://www.jasonwahler.com/12-steps-of-aa/step-eight-of-aa-alcoholics-anonymous


TRADITION 8

Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional.  We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fees or hire.  But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we might otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics.  Such special services may be well recompensed.  But our usual A.A. Twelfth Step work is never to be paid for.

CONCEPT 8

The Trustees of the General Service Board act in two primary capacities; (a) With respect to the larger matters of over-all policy and finance, they are the principal planners and administrators.  They and their primary committees directly manage these affairs.  (b) But with respect to our separately incorporated and constantly active services, the relation of the Trustees is mainly that of full stock ownership and of custodial oversight which they exercise through their ability to elect all directors of these entities.


A MESSAGE FROM BEYOND OUR BORDERS

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Steps
JANUARY 1971

8th Step

BY: F. M. | NEW CANAAN, CONNECTICUT

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

https://www.aagrapevine.org/magazine/1971/jan/8th-step

I CHOSE this Step to write about because it's the toughest one for me. I've had one hell of a time with the state of willingness. For, in order to be willing to make amends to others, you must first forgive yourself and be ready to make amends to yourself. And I am just beginning to see this in broad daylight. Formerly, I was half-aware that I had not really forgiven myself. It was what I call gauze-curtain, awareness; you see the problem dimly, as if through a veil, but you can't really formulate it. I think that many of us in AA have a hard time with self-acceptance. And the result is misery, whether it takes the form of repeated slips, depressions or psychosomatic illness, or failure in business or human relationships.

The other night, in our local discussion group, we batted this around a little. Somebody said that the first seven Steps lead into the Eighth. The surrender, the arrival at faith, the inventory all help us to forgive ourselves and gain enough self-respect and insight to be able to make amends and really mean it. Someone else said that joining AA and being sober were the biggest amends we could make.

I go right along with this, of course. In the years that I have been in AA, life has indeed been more manageable. Often, it has been very good. I've made a lot of wonderful friends. I've had a lot of fun. I've been able to help new people, and the rewards for this effort are unending. But every so often I used to get back into moods of self-debasement. "It's hopeless," I'd say to myself. "I simply cannot work this program; I can't stay put."

The poet Samuel Hoffenstein said, "Wherever I go, I take me along and spoil everything." Really, during those long moods of depression, I felt that I was walking across a mountain range in a snowstorm without a handkerchief. But throughout each time, I'd keep saying to myself, "I've gotten this far, and I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to get drunk. I'm going to find out what causes it, if it's the last thing I do."

So I kept trying. From the very beginning, I made all the amends I could, all the way from sending someone a green branch sewn all over with ripe black olives to calling an amendee on the telephone in Paris, when I was over there a couple of years ago. This apology was for something that had happened thirty-one years before. It was accepted, Everything was beautiful. . . . Only it wasn't.

I now know that I was hung up on the Puritan mystique: Sin is unforgivable; you're going to he punished forever. Other people's forgiveness, their loving forgiveness, the friendship of people in AA and not in AA who loved me and whom I loved--all this was unavailing. I was making myself into a special case; down deep, I believed I was beyond redemption. It went back beyond all the sordid, unsavory, tawdry, illicit, and ridiculous behavior of my drinking days. It went 'way back into childhood. I now see that nobody was to blame. I am learning to release this childhood conditioning and the insecurity that contributed to my alcoholism. The people who brought, me up had hangups, too. The God of my understanding, whom I found in AA, is not a punishing, revengeful God at all. I have begun to make friends with Him and thus with myself.

Thank God, I have a mind that is capable of learning and is willing to learn. Thank God for what must be over a thousand AA meetings by now and for every word uttered by every speaker. I have always learned something. I'm lucky in my AA friends. Hundreds of evenings of talk, several reservoirs full of hot coffee, truckloads of cream, carloads of sugar, ideas enough to fill all the shelves in the Library of Congress. Love and understanding of a kind that would quickly bring peace on earth if it were generally shared. When I look back, I can see that while I was walking across Snow Mountain, sniffling and hating myself, I never once walked alone. Thank God for professional help, too. I needed it, so I went and got it. Psychiatry is not a dirty word to me. After all, if I gashed my linger, I'd he in a doctor's office in ten minutes!

It has finally penetrated my head and my heart that I have a right to make spiritual progress. I have a right to be emotionally mature. I have a right to take pleasure in my own company, and that makes me more pleasant to be with. I have a right to become willing--deeply willing, entirely willing--to make amends to all those whom I have harmed. Because I can now accept myself the way I am, I can accept other people the way they are--not entirely, but to a much greater degree than in the past. My early amends were efforts to reinstate myself, to win back approval. My intolerance and anger were always followed by crawling apology. I had an insatiable need for other people's approval. Now, when apology is in order, my first concern is to make the other person happy. I come second.

I deserve not to be as self-centered as somebody with a terrible toothache. I deserve to have the grace to laugh at myself. To me, all this is part of the amends business, I wish I could reach out to every single one of you who are having a bad time with yourselves. I wish I could put the answer right into your hands like a present in a package. I can't quite do that. But perhaps this piece has given you a clue, a signpost, a hope, and a start along the road that you want to follow.

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Bill W. was an incredibly insightful and dedicated alcoholic, dedicated to sharing with still suffering alcoholics how diffIcult it was for him to achieve lasting sobriety and reassuring them there was a way that worked for him and thousands more. His article in this book on maintaining anonymity and the part he played when AA thought it would be beneficial to go public is an amazingly frank admission. He certainly deserved to be recognized as one of the most influential men of the Twentieth Century.

These essays, which he first wrote for the Grapevine magazine, discuss the spiritual principles that have helped millions of people recover from alcoholism and enriched the lives of countless others around the world.

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Neighborhood Notables


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August 2022
Saturday, 08/20/2022
Anaheim, CA 
Saturday, 08/27/2022
Orange County Intergroup Picnic
Costa Mesa, CA
September 2022
09/02/2022 to 09/05/2022
38th South Bay Round Up Convention
Redondo Beach, CA
Saturday, 09/10/2022
Fountain Valley, CA
Saturday, 09/17/2022
Brea, CA
October 2022
Saturday, 10/22/2022
NOCCO's Annual Halloween Bingo Party
Fullerton, CA
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Do you have something special to report for our monthly neighborhood notables?  Please email birthdays, celebrations, sober activities and other odds and ends to faithb@aanoc.org.

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InterGroup Meeting -  August 10 @ 7:30pm

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2025 International Convention

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As many of you may know, planning is already underway for the 2025 International Convention that will be held July 3-6, 2025, in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Given the impact and uncertainty of the Covid-19 virus, it is vital that we obtain feedback from the Fellowship as it relates to domestic and international travel, attendance at large events, and thoughts regarding an in-person event with a partial, limited virtual component, and incorporate the feedback in our planning. We anticipate that the following survey will be one of several dispatched during the planning process so that we may remain current with the thoughts of the Fellowship.

Kindly take a few minutes and answer the questions in the link below. Your responses are of great value in helping us to better plan for the International Convention. (All responses are anonymous.) 

Please Respond by October 31, 2022

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More from the 2025 International Convention

The 90th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous will be celebrated at the 2025 International Convention in Vancouver, BC, Canada, July 3 – 6, 2025.  Registration will begin in early 2024.

It is suggested that those who believe they have some past legal incident, such as a DUI or felony that could inhibit their attendance at the 2025 International Convention, seek assistance/information by accessing the Government of Canada link noted below.

Details on entry requirements are available here:

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Information for those who may have entry issues due to past criminal history:

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