July 2022

Dear Reader,

Wow, it’s July already, and we’re so happy that you have taken a few minutes out of your day to read our latest edition of Rocking Sobriety. So, it’s been a few months since our last edition. For this issue, our primary goal was to reach out to the local A.A. community in the Fort Wayne area and ask fellow members to share their stories, strength, and hope to help all of us stay sober.

In this issue, we have many great articles from local members, a YouTube share, a five-part series on the 7th Tradition Myths, and a few comics.

Finally, if you’re looking for the latest announcements in the A.A. community, please head on over to our Announcements page. Stay safe, stay sober, and we’ll see you next month.

Ryan M.

Local A.A. Articles

Living in the Moment

By John R.

“One Day at a Time” is one of A.A.’s little wisdoms that has been helpful for me from the very beginning, when I first got to these rooms. At first, it meant that I shouldn’t try to stay sober forever, because that’s way too big a job for me. It is a reminder to take life in bite-sized pieces, the wisdom that by just aiming to stay sober today, tomorrow will take care of itself. And it works very well! Eventually, the days became weeks, then months, then years of continuous sobriety, by just paying attention to this particular day.

As I have grown in the program and begun to really live these principles in all my affairs, I have discovered another, deeper layer of wisdom in this simple piece of advice.

Focusing on today means living in the moment. It means accepting that we cannot skip ahead in time, or fast forward to a better day we imagine is in our future. We cannot go back in time, or rewind to “do-over” past events to make them better. We are like rafts without oars, drifting on the current down the river of our lives. The truth is that the only way we can ever experience life is in this endlessly renewing, kaleidoscopic present moment.

Accepting this truth has helped me learn to let go of my fears for the future. There are actions I can take in the present moment that contribute to a future of serenity and peace. The obvious examples include not picking up that first drink, going to an A.A. meeting, working with others in recovery, and daily progress on my spiritual growth through the steps. Less obvious but equally important examples include looking for ways to bring joy to others around me and ease their suffering. One of the great mysteries A.A. has revealed to me is that the more I focus my attention on others, the less I cling to myself and my fears and anxieties about the future, and the more peace and serenity arise within me.

Acceptance of this truth has helped me heal the wounds of the past. By living every day in sobriety, with the goal to bring joy and compassion to others around me, this becomes a “living amends” to myself and my loved ones. One of the great pains we feel when we stop drinking is the awareness of how much we have hurt ourselves and the ones we care about the most. Recognition of the truth of our past actions is important, to inform us of what actions we need to take to make amends, and what harmful behaviors we need to let go of. But living in the present moment means we do not have to wallow in self-pity or ruminate on the miseries of the past. Instead, we can live each day in recovery in a way that brings joy and well-being to everyone around us and enable these old wounds to finally begin to heal.

“One Day at a Time” means to let go of the past, let go of the future, and fully embrace the wonders of the present moment. Each day that we immerse ourselves in can be a day of recovery. Eventually, the days become weeks, then months, then years, then a lifetime of peace and joy.

Your Lane or Mine

By Hope H.

Ahh, rage is my most pervasive test in the “first thought wrong” theory. It was a recent Friday when this test occurred. I was coming to the end of my workday, my workweek, and in just another 45 minutes, I could be home to my daughter, that hadn’t been feeling very well. I was not yet to the interstate when I looked up just in time to see a car attempting to pass numerous other cars, 4 or 5 maybe, and speeding right at me on this 2-lane road I was currently on.

The opposing lane of traffic was nearly bumper to bumper at a speed of at least 45, with no opportunity to try to escape this imminent threat between the vehicles to my left.

Regarding the shoulder to my right, it was narrow. I didn’t have much room to contemplate as I took my right tire off the pavement, missing a roll into the ditch by mere inches, as that car and mine nearly collided, and that other vehicle was now in a newly contrived 3rd middle lane.

With endorphins still flooding my neurological system, my first inclination was to turn my car around, follow him, chase him down, whoever he was. But as I started to, I caught myself and began to consider what was turning my car around and chasing down this unknown person to prove? What good would come of it?

Here it becomes necessary to provide a bit of backstory to lend a larger perspective of this illustration and even the known associated risks therein. Because if you know me, or maybe you have already quantified, I am a woman. I am of slight build and stand just slightly over average in height. Most of the time, I am peacefully diplomatic, somewhat reserved, and relatively kind. Even though I may not look the part, some years ago, I started carrying a loaded firearm, often in my car.

This situation came about because of an event that happened back when I was still under the effects of the proverbial pink cloud, a time when I was nearly assaulted within the constraints of my car. I was on another, very busy, two-lane street. I had safely just backed out of a driveway and into the far lane when an angry driver flew up over the hill, laying on his horn from behind.

I flipped him off, looking at him in my rear-view mirror, my middle finger standing slender, confident, and upright. I was poised, taken by surprise, as this derelict needed to be put in place by my indignant disapproval. He then came up next to me, into the opposing traffic, and then in front of me, to come to an abrupt stop suddenly.

With both lanes now congested, I had nowhere to go. I barely rolled my window as that man’s fists flew at me, striking my car several times. As he screamed all sorts of offensive names, his passengers, two other men still in the truck, did absolutely nothing to intervene in this situation. I felt helpless.

From the angle I was sitting in my car, I felt vulnerable and trapped. What if the window breaks? He will smash my face, maybe worse than it’s ever been. Will I recover? Will he kill me? Not a single person attempted to stop, turn around, or help.

To continue reading, please click here to view the entire article.

An A.A. Reflects upon
Pride Month

By John M.

As many of you know, last month was Pride Month, which reflects upon the liberation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the Stonewall riots of 1969. Today, for some people, inclusion, and LGBTQ civil rights are still controversial subjects.

Yet, for the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, our Tradition 3 tells us, “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking,” and Tradition 10 says, “A.A. has no opinion on outside issues.” Therefore, our fellowship will not be divided, and all who desire to stop drinking are welcome, including our LGBTQ friends.

As a gay member of A.A., I have come to identify with and deeply cherish the anonymous author of one of the personal stories in the Big Book, “Tightrope” (pp. 359-368). He may well be the first A.A. to “come out” to identify himself publicly as gay. He blazed a trail for LGBTQ people within the fellowship, and he is one of those who made certain the door of A.A. was open when I needed to walk into my first meeting. For that, I am genuinely grateful.

My ears heard what he had heard at his first meeting. “You don’t have to drink again,” and “You don’t have to be alone anymore” (pp. 364-365). We recover in A.A. not just by putting down the bottle but by picking up new A.A. friendships to expand our lives beyond the constriction of alcoholic drinking and isolation.

In finding A.A.’s solution, the author of “Tightrope” also found acceptance of himself as a gay person, first from his sponsor. This Christian minister offered him acceptance rather than condemnation. Second he found welcome from the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous itself. In A.A., he “was able to accept the idea of a force that moved in the rooms and animated A.A. members with a sense of unconditional love” (p. 367).

This experience of a Higher Power—the unconditional love expressed by A.A. members who welcomed him into friendship and fellowship—satisfied his spiritual needs. He accepted what he could not change about himself, laid down the bottle, and committed to fellowship and service. He founded the first gay A.A. meeting in his area and carried the message of recovery to other LGBTQ alcoholics.

The rainbow colors of the Pride flag reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community and the spectrum of human sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression. A.A. is an inclusive place where all who have a desire to stop drinking are welcome regardless of our characteristic identities.

At the risk of playing into gay stereotypes by quoting Broadway show tunes, “June is Bustin’ Out All Over!” As Pride Month concludes, let us reflect upon, welcome, and honor LGBTQ persons within our fellowship.

Did you know there is an LGBTQ meeting in Fort Wayne? The Unity Group is an open meeting held Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. upstairs at Wunderkammer Company, 3402 Fairfield Ave. All are welcome. Please join us.

YouTube A.A. Speaker
— Lindsey L.

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

YouTube Video

The 7th Tradition Myths

Over the next few months, Rocking Sobriety will be highlighting two-to-three 7th Tradition myths. These articles are a five-part series called “The Thirteen 7Th Tradition Myths.”

Myth: It is a good custom to contribute money at meetings we attend, even if it’s not a meeting of my home group

The long form of the 7th Tradition states, “The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members.” For this reason, many provide the vast majority of personal funds earmarked for A.A. specifically to their home group.

“The A.A. Group” pamphlet echoes Tradition 7 declaring “A.A. groups are fully self-supporting through their members’ voluntary contributions.”

Just as we are supposed to only hold group service positions and vote in our homegroup, so it is recommended we contribute the most financially to our homegroup.

Myth: If the church or building doesn’t charge us rent that’s okay because we’re A.A.

The 7th Tradition reminds us to pay our own way. Our Traditions are clear; We do not ask for special treatment because we are A.A. Doing so violates Tradition 12, which reminds us “to practice a genuine humility.”

In addition, some members believe accepting free rent implies affiliation, which contradicts Tradition 6. There is a reason for this. It is human nature to expect others to reciprocate favors once provided.

It’s bad enough some pastors occasionally visit groups soliciting attendance at worship services. But not having to pay rent makes them feel more comfortable doing so. In addition, if an A.A. group isn’t paying rent, a pastor or landlord feels more comfortable canceling the meeting at a moment’s notice to host other events. Similar problems arise if a group is paying preferred rates compared to other organizations meeting in a church or building.

At times members complain they accept free rent because they can’t afford the meeting space. If home group members choose not to contribute enough towards group expenses such as rent, they should be reminded of the importance of the 7th Tradition. If there are still insufficient funds to pay rent and other necessities, it might be time to consider closing the group.

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.