August 2023

Dear Reader,

Hello, and welcome to the August edition of Rocking Sobriety! We hope that you’re having a great summer so far. This issue features two fantastic articles by Chris K. and Lucia F., who share their experiences in the AA and Al-Anon programs. We encourage you to read their stories and gain valuable insights from them. Thank you for being a part of our community.

In this issue, we have a special treat for you — a local AA Speaker event led by Richard H. on YouTube, where he shares his personal journey. It’s sure to be an inspiring watch. We are wrapping up our series, “The 7th Tradition Myths,” with this final installment. We sincerely hope that you found this series informative and enlightening.

If you want to stay informed about the latest news and announcements related to meetings, please check out our Announcements page on our website. At Rocking Sobriety, we are dedicated to supporting and motivating those on the recovery journey. If you share a story or experience, we welcome you to contribute to our upcoming editions. To express your interest in submitting an article, visit the “Writers Wanted” section or contact our Fort Wayne Intergroup.

Stay safe and sober — and we’ll see you next time.
Ryan M.

Local News and Articles

The one question my first sponsor asked me that changed my life

By Chris K.

I often think back to my initial meeting with my first AA sponsor, Bill, way back in 1985. At that time in my life, I was an extremely wounded, unequipped and overwhelmed 24-year-old young man. As is true for all of us, I was finally at that point in my life where I was willing to do whatever it took to recover, although I wasn’t confident that I would be able to achieve and maintain long term abstinence and sobriety. By age 24, I had already been through eight in patient addiction treatment episodes, was dealing with a major life-threatening illness, and was in a chronic pattern of sincere efforts to stay sober only to be followed by repeated relapses.

Bill invited me into his house, and I poured out my heart to him sharing my feelings of guilt, shame and remorse over the harm I had caused myself and others as my addictions progressed. Bill told me that it was a good thing I felt guilty for causing harm because it meant that I had a conscience, empathy and a moral compass, all of which were necessary to work the 12 steps. He then asked me a question that initially stunned and baffled me. He leaned forward and asked, “In all the treatment centers you have been to, have you ever had a therapist ask you, when your primary and all your back up addictions speaks to you, are you truly grateful?”

My immediate response was, “No, I’m not grateful. Why would I be grateful? I have Stage Four cancer. I’m on probation. I’m broke. I’m living in a court ordered halfway house in New York City where the rats can move the furniture. I’m a good drunk and dope fiend because I’ve burned every bridge I ever had. Nobody is happy to see me if I knock on their door. That’s the craziest question I’ve ever been asked.” Bill sat back and said, “Now I know why you can’t stay sober. If that doesn’t change, you’ll never find peace and you’ll eventually return to active addiction in some form and ultimately your death.”

Bill told me that knowledge of myself would never divorce me from myself. He also said that from that point on, anytime my addictions spoke to me they were only trying to get me to slow down and ask myself three questions that wounded children and overwhelmed adults are often never asked: 1. What’s the story (what is happening right now)? 2. What am I feeling? and 3. What do I need? He said that going back to using was what I know, not what I needed. He said that if my story wasn’t heard, I would feel discounted. If my feelings weren’t validated, I would feel resentful. If my needs weren’t met, I would feel deprived. That’s when we experience a “dry drunk” and sobriety feels miserable.

Bill went on to share that somewhere along the way in my treatment episodes and contact with authority figures, I was taught to feel shame about my addictions speaking to me. He said that nothing heals with shame, fear, or negative criticism. If I could shift my paradigm and start embracing my addictions speaking to me as my spiritual ally or barometer, I could think of it as my “check engine” light that tells me when I need to slow down, get safe and “check under my hood” by asking myself those three questions. He said, “Once you discover the need, I know you have the humility to ask for help getting the need met in a healthy way because you’re sitting here with me.”

It took a while for that paradigm shift to internalize and crystalize, but I can honestly say that question saved my life and created a sense of hope that sobriety was possible and could be hopeful and joyful. I heard once that the important mentors and guides in our lives never truly die as long as we remember them fondly. Every time the plethora of my addictions speak to me, I think fondly of Bill and am grateful for the insight, joy and freedom he helped me foster.

I make an effort every day to pass onto others the wisdom, compassion and unconditional love that Bill showed me on that day and for the next 27 years he sponsored me until his death. My hope is that we all begin to celebrate our addictions as a necessary part of our life journey that inspires all of us to regaining our self-confidence and living out our true purpose on Earth, which is to be of love and service to each other with our talents, gifts and skills.

I “get to” … be a mom, a friend a spouse

By Lucia F.

I am Lu and am a grateful member of Al-Anon. I am grateful for every step it took to get to these rooms and this community, for without those steps I would have lost my family and my child. I am grateful for each and every alcoholic in my life.

I was an easygoing kid. My parents were loving but controlling, and I always felt I was doing something wrong. My mother was one of 3 daughters and was raised by aunts. She learned early that she had to take care of herself and siblings or no one else would. Mom adored her kids but was anxious we have no stress, problems, or hurt. Dad was raised by parents born before WWII.

They were isolated Midwesterners; certain the world would change Dad in unacceptable ways. My parents used and passed on the tools they were given. I learned I had to fix things myself and that controlling others was the way to go. I was always insecure that there must be something wrong with me or I would not have needed so much monitoring. Anger became my addiction of choice as I tried, without success, to control those I loved and their feelings and reactions.

I searched hard and found my “qualifiers.” These were people I was certain I could fix just given enough time and effort! I felt sure I could grind them down with truth. I always think it’s funny when I hear people say they have no trouble with alcohol in their lives when I can just swing a stick and … you know what I mean. My X, my sibling, my father-in-law, his father, everywhere, such opportunities! I became more and more certain control would make things right – even when all evidence was to the contrary.

When my wonderful husband and I adopted a child with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), I felt blissful to be a mom, certain that I could love and channel my child into better behaviors than the family of origin. My FAS child was not an easy kid and there was little skilled help for parents of FAS kids. I was certain though that every disability, both emotional and mental, could be dissected and fixed if only I worked hard enough.

Every circus and monkey was mine! Most days were a burden “I have to go do this,” “if I don’t fix that no one will,” “no one can do it right, so I have to.” My child’s wild range of emotions and behaviors surely were my fault. I was sure I was a failure because my child misbehaved. My rage almost divided my family and blinded me to the needs of all my children. Fortunately, we found community with other parents, we become stronger by mutual support and learned boundaries and hope as we went. I returned to the rooms of AA and Al-Anon and regained humility, humanity, sanity and serenity.

I believe each relationship, each situation, works on us as surely as a stonecutter chipping away. Each blow worked on my need for control, my inability to identify with my anger (some of which was borrowed from my parents) …I am grateful for “hitting bottom” … for it brings the joy of owning only my own shortcomings, laughing at my mistakes, and of the companionship of being able to sit by a friend-in-need without giving advice. I love to ask for help and not know all answers.

Today I “get to” rather than “have to.” I get to sit beside my child, spouse, or friend and listen. I get to encourage and empathize, not criticize. I get to share experience, not preach. I get to say, “I’m sorry” and make amends by changing my behavior. I get the freedom to make mistakes. My voice is equal, and my choice is connection with love. I get 1 vote. I am no longer certain of absolute truth (thank God!). I get to fall down. I get to forget. I get to get up, dust off, and walk on (and not carry my faults like a bag of shame). I get to be to be loved and confided in by my child. I get to keep the door open.

My favorite quote is “Truth may be vital but without love it is unbearable.”
— Caritas in Veritate

YouTube A.A. Speaker — Lead by Richard H. (Anonymity Protected)

Fort Wayne area A.A. member shares what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now.

See Video

The 7th Tradition Myths

Below is our final installment of the 7th Tradition myths. These articles are a five-part series called “The Thirteen 7th Tradition Myths.”

Myth: We need you more than we need you more money.

A.A. service activities require contributions to fund them and members to carry them out; We need you and we need your money. However, unlike other organizations, in A.A. the spiritual act of contributing is more important than the amount.

Myth: The General Service Conference recommends groups disburse excess funds in a 50-30-10-10 split.

There is no official recommendation from the General Service Conference. In this regard an A.A. group enjoys autonomy to contribute funds as it seems fit. Once funds accumulate above their prudent reserve, the members of a group vote during the regular group conscience or business meeting how it feels funds should be disbursed to various local A.A. service entities.

In addition, different local service entities have varying degrees of activity and financial needs which require local groups to determine how to allocate these contributions.

For example, a number of states, Canadian provinces, and rural areas totaling several hundreds of thousands of square miles have no intergroups. In these areas it is common for local A.A. Districts to assume the responsibilities of both a District and intergroup. In others, intergroups are very active and in others intergroups perform only basic services such as facilitating an answering service, providing meeting lists, and selling A.A. literature. Meanwhile some areas have autonomous A.A. service committees and a group may find itself contributing to more than four service entities.

Myth: There is no cap on what I can bequeath in my will to my local intergroup.

Shared experience proves time and again from a member’s estate causes problems. Significant ones.

Invariably internal controversy mounts, particularly if office staff unilaterally accept large contributions without consulting intergroup reps. Even if intergroup reps vote to accept such largesse as a one-time exception, they soon argue over pet projects further creating disunity and dissent. The Long Form of Tradition 6 forewarns such problems – “Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim.”

In all cases the resolution is the same – The intergroup invariably forces the deceased members’ estate to reopen in order to return funds. But this is not without spiritual costs from the controversy it creates within the local A.A. community.

On the lighter side

Writer’s Wanted

Submissions: The Rocking Sobriety newsletter welcomes feature articles, supporting articles, group histories, anniversaries, jokes, cartoons, and upcoming events as long as they relate to the A.A. experience and reflect an awareness of A.A.’s singleness of purpose. Submissions are reviewed by the newsletter committee and recommended to the editor for publication.

Contact us at the Intergroup office or email us at