Published by North Orange County InterGroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups, Inc.
1661 E. Chapman Avenue, Suite 1H
Fullerton, CA 92831
"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."
You can't keep it without giving it away! This basic truth sums up Step Twelve. The pioneers of AA learned this the hard way: the best way to stay out of the bottle is to help another drunk.
The early AAs tried many things to stay sober, from religion to therapy. Many of them were aware of their addiction to alcohol even before they came to AA, and yet they were powerless over that first drink that would set off a craving for more alcohol. Their brilliant insight, mentioned several times in the Big Book, was that they could stay sober by putting their spiritual principles into action through helping other drunks like themselves.
"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."
And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of HIM who presides over us all.
The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government, and that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.
A Christmas Message
From Bill W.
IN THIS year of world-shattering crises, none have more reason for Christmas gratitude than we who so well know how great our unexampled privileges have been. Each of us passed through his own hour of trial, then was lifted up by the Grace of the Prince of Peace into the bright awareness of God's goodness and love.
SUCH HAS been our marvelous privilege. This is why we can now say, no matter what betides, "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference."
So, dear friends,
Merry Christmas indeed.
GIVING Tuesday is a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. At NOCCO, this generosity movement helps alleviate the isolation and loneliness that many of us feel during this time. Carrying the message of help and hope gives us agency, dispelling feelings of powerlessness.
Whether it's talking to a newcomer, helping set up chairs for a meeting, showing up for a 12-step call, giving what we have to those who need our help, or making a financial pledge, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.
What is your gift?
Christmas Past, Christmas Present
An AA who relapsed compares that year's holiday to this one.
The Christmas before last was the worst. Four years ago, I gave up 13 years of sobriety to drink and abuse pain medication. For my decision to drink again I was rewarded with a divorce and a business deal that went sour. I had been warned that all the bad things that hadn't happened to me yet would if I went back to drinking but some how I chose to ignore that advice. Who was I to think that the rules of alcoholic drinking did not apply to me?
Thirty years ago when I went to my first AA meeting a few of the old timers said "kid I spilled more booze on my tie than you drank." Many more said, "alcoholism was like an elevator and you could get off before it went to the bottom floor." Of course I decided to listen to the minority and after a year of sobriety and my life getting better I drank for another 10 years. I figured I hadn't lost a wife, a job, or thousands of dollars and most importantly I couldn't drink a fifth a day which seemed to be the minimum for a true alcoholic. Never mind that I wasn't married or employed and I had always been broke. The capacity for alcohol would increase, it is one of the rules of alcoholic drinking.
Years later, I had been divorced and lost a job and blown lots of money on booze and had all the accidents that go with it. I was depressed and miserable and I realized that the only time I had been happy was as a member of AA. That was the place I learned how to be a decent human being so I came back. I was lucky to find a sponsor who would put up with me. I questioned everything and told him that I hated meetings and for a time quit attending them but somehow I stayed sober and managed to not get fired by him.
I read the literature and became very active with my home group and my life improved in every way. Financially, I had a thriving business and a beautiful home. I had been spared from many painful experiences. Then after 12 years of sobriety, I became disenchanted with the discussion meetings that I had been attending, but instead of looking for other meetings, I stopped going. My employment caused me to see many AA members who did not appear to be practicing the 12 Steps in all their affairs. I couldn't believe that they would be worse off drinking. I called other AA members hypocrites, but I who had gained so much from a Program I was now denouncing was the biggest hypocrite of all. I had graduated and it wasn't with a degree of humility.
When I drank again I only had two glasses of wine and I didn't turn into a pumpkin so I thought I must have licked this thing that was more psychological than physical. For a month I would have one or two beers and laugh that I couldn't drink more because I got sleepy. I hate to admit it but I was thinking about being the first
guy to comeback and stand up at a meeting to announce that I found a way to drink successfully.
Since this is a story about Christmas I will skip the drunk-a-log and get right to the worst yuletide I have experienced. I went from two glasses of wine to three bottles and five or six pain pills. My wife divorced me and so did many of my friends. I was unable to sleep through the night. I would wake from my stupor feeling sick and would drink medicinally to get a couple of hours sleep. I didn't view that as a morning drink until I had been sober a few months. All of the things my Higher Power spared me from the first two times now were beating me into submission because of my self-will.
In the past I had laughed at people who would drink and go to meetings. I could not understand some one who would drink and read the Big Book and now it was happening to me. Now I was desperate to stop drinking but I couldn't get what had come so easily to me before. I went to meetings and felt they weren't for me and I couldn't stop drinking. I cannot imagine a deeper sense of loneliness and hopelessness than knowing you are an alcoholic and that AA is the only solution for you and yet not connecting with meetings and the program. Suicide was looking like the only way out.
I believe my Higher Power was protecting me because I didn't get a DUI and I didn't physically harm any one but he was also teaching me about the desperation that I had not known before. I needed the education so that this time I would cling to the program like a drowning man would a life preserver.
Today I keep the focus on me. I acknowledge that we all have frailties and the only chance we have to overcome them is by staying sober. If a meeting doesn't appeal to me I search out ones that do. When I was drinking if I didn't like a bar I didn't quit drinking I simply found one that I enjoyed. Now I look for discussion meetings that strictly follow the Steps and speaker meetings so I get to know someone's whole story. I look forward to attending my regular meetings and I plan my life around them. Pain and progress have led me to love the program and Fellowship that I hated.
I celebrated Christmas sober for the first time in four years. I had time and energy to visit elderly friends. I felt love for the first time and began to feel worthy of it. I came to realize that many hurt feelings and anger were the result of my not feeling that I could be loved. My wife and I hosted a Christmas party and our home was filled with friends and there was no sickness or remorse the next day. We went to plays and celebrations and yet I had plenty of time to attend meetings.
I believe my higher power gave me two chances to join AA with less suffering but I refused the opportunities. The good news is that I made it back and have a new enthusiasm for the program and meetings. This year I look forward to celebrating another sober Christmas and being grateful for the best gift of all, recovery through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
—Anonymous, Toledo, Ohio
16 Relapse Symptoms
Sixteen relapse symptoms to watch out for:
For any time, any place, any where !
1. Exhaustion - Allowing oneself to become overly tired; usually associated with work addiction as an excuse for not facing personal frustrations.
2. Dishonesty - Begins with pattern of little lies; escalated to self-delusion and making excuses for not doing what's called for.
3. Impatience - I want what I want NOW. Others aren't doing what I think they should or living the way I know is right.
4. Argumentative - No point is too small or insignificant not to be debated to the point of anger and submission.
5. Depression - All unreasonable, unaccountable despair should be exposed and discussed, not repressed: what is the "exact nature" of those feelings?
6. Frustration - Controlled anger/resentment when things don't go according to our plans. Lack of acceptance. See #3.
7. Self-pity - Feeling victimized, put-upon, used, unappreciated: convinced we are being singled out for bad luck.
8. Cockiness - Got it made. Know all there is to know. Can go anywhere, including frequent visits just to hang-out at bars, boozy parties.
9. Complacency - Like #8, no longer sees value of daily program, meetings, contact with other alcoholics, (especially sponsor!), feels healthy, on top of the world, things are going well. Heck may even be cured!
10. Expecting too much of others - Why can't they read my mind? I've changed, what's holding them up? If they just do what I know is best for them? Leads to feeling misunderstood, unappreciated. See #6.
11. Letting up on disciplines - Allowing established habits of recovery - meditations, prayer, spiritual reading, AA contact, daily inventory, meetings - - to slip out of our routines; allowing recovery to get boring and no longer stimulating for growth. Why bother?!
12. Using mood-altering chemicals - May have a valid medical reason, but misused to help avoid the real problems of impending alcoholic relapse.
13. Wanting too much - Setting unrealistic goals: not providing for short-term successes; placing too much value on material success, not enough on value of spiritual growth.
14. Forgetting gratitude - Because of several listed above, may lose sight of the abundant blessings in our everyday lives: too focused on #13.
15. "It can't happen to me." - Feeling immune; forgetting what we know about the disease of alcoholism and its progressive nature.
16. Omnipotence - A combination of several attitudes listed above; leads to ignoring danger signs, disregarding warnings and advice from fellow members.
-- Akron Intergroup News, Dec 2020
Virtual Newcomer Packet
From the NOCCO Outreach Committee, a new 'Virtual Newcomer Packet' is now available on our website. A newcomer can answer the 12 important questions, read pamphlet materials, and access .pdf versions of the Big Book and 12x12 on our website.
550 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
18" x 24"
$20.00 plus tax
There are very few clear answers in the chaos of life ― particularly in 2020. But jigsaw puzzles are all about clear solutions, which can be very soothing. Makes for a great Christmas gift!
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: December 9, 2020 via ZOOM
Meeting ID: 860-4109-6976 | Password: Serenity
Group Contributions - November 2020
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.
Profit & Loss - November 2020
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.
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.
A Vision History of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Archival Journey
This is a limited edition publication of a new book from AA World Services being released in February, 2021.
Lavishly illustrated, this lively tour through AA's history is told in hundreds of iconic images never before published in one volume. Illuminating descriptions walk us through powerful moments in our shared history - from the people, places and things integral to AA's early growth, and forward to today's vibrant, international Fellowship. 4.75" x 3.75", 416 pages.
Note: A.A.W.S. encourages ordering of literature and other items via your local groups, intergroups and central offices. Click below to preorder your book. We will contact you when your book is available for pickup.
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, 2020, North Orange County InterGroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups, Inc. • 1661 E. Chapman Avenue - Suite 1H, Fullerton CA 92831