Not My Real Name

I introduce myself in meetings by my first name because I believe newcomers take comfort in this practice. I know I did when I was new. I introduce myself by both first and last names when I address community groups as part of our public outreach effort. I use my full name when I share by email. My use of my name varies depending on the circumstance, but the concept of "personal anonymity" goes deeper than how many names I use to introduce myself. It reminds me that I don't deserve any personal credit for my sobriety or for anything good in Alcoholics Anonymous, past, present or future. Every drop of the good is supplied by the Source and I am merely a channel of this good.

It's easy for ego, the little self-promoter, to take credit for everything good that happens both inside and outside of our rooms. Ego says, "I did this, I did that, and you should do what I did." Ego's sobriety is a self-help program. It goes good for a couple of weeks, but it doesn't last. Spirit's sobriety is a God-help program. It's eternal. It's not about what I do, it's about what I am becoming. Your sobriety is attractive to me, not because you can quote the Big Book chapter and verse, but because you seem peaceful and happy. I sense that you fit comfortably in your own skin.

My name is not the truth of what I am. It is just a convenience like my email address. On the level of spirit, there is no Jeff, Sally and Bill there is only spirit. My sobriety is attractive when I let let go of my personal identity and simply let the qualities of spirit shine through.

Willingness to Grow

I inventoried my resentments the first time because I was afraid I would drink if I didn't. I took fourth and tenth step inventories throughout my early sobriety to try and quiet the alcoholic thinking and feeling that raged within. I inventory today because I learned that carrying a resentment makes it impossible to enjoy peace of mind and a useful contented life. I no longer want to give away my serenity to people and circumstances that pop up in my life. I no longer want to suffer the dull ache of self-centered fear.

Finding my part in a resentment, no matter how tiny, is like finding a gold nugget. It's like discovering a secret doorway to freedom. When I find my part -- when I see that "somewhere in the past, I set the ball rolling" -- I can take responsibility for my healing. I know too, that I will always be shown this truth if I am willing to look. None of us are victims or innocent bystanders. If I point one finger of blame at someone else, I always have three fingers pointed back at me.

I don't make startling discoveries about myself every time I inventory my resentments, but I grow anyways. The process of self-discovery, of putting pen to paper, is a demonstration of my willingness. My job is to be willing to be changed. Spirit does the rest.