by John G. | Lexington, KY
We’ve all had them. You wake up, terrified. So real. You had that drink. Still real: bottle under the bed? Who knows? What do I tell my sponsor? Can I go back? Oh, God… Shudder.
You just awakened from a drunk dream. And we’ve all had them, particularly in early sobriety. Many of us old-timers still have them occasionally; I do. But, if you’re early in sobriety, let me offer you a perspective on this aspect of getting sober.
Some years ago, my wife and I attended a meeting at a Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area of New Mexico while on our way to Taos. During the meeting, a young man confessed, trembling, he had had a drunk dream. The Navajo, I found out, take dreams seriously: dreams are part of their spiritual tradition. The meeting chair (who happened to be the tribal medical officer) asked quietly, “Was it a nightmare?” “Oh, yes,” the young man answered. “Horrible. You see, I…”
“Good.” The chair replied with a smile. “Huh?” The young man started. “But..” And then came an insight that I will pass on to you. “As long as your dream was a nightmare,” I remember the doctor saying, “you’re fine. This is your unconscious reminding you what drinking’s really like. It’s not a prophecy, but a warning.”
I’d never thought of dreams that way. When I told the story to a colleague of mine at the University whose research area is Neuropsychology, she found it fascinating, and confirmed it in the context of current brain research. Researchers currently see dreams, she told me, as unprocessed thoughts. When we dream in REM sleep, we put these often-confused thoughts into narrative form, in order to deal with them. Emptying the trash, so to speak.
Alcoholics, she added sadly, do not have REM sleep, so when they come to, not only do they have the physiological effects of a hangover, but their unconscious is still burdened with the conflicts of the day before.
“And then we do it again,” I added.
“Yep.” She shook her head.
“So the drunk dream isn’t a prophecy?”
“No. The dreamer can be everywhere in the dream. You’re all the characters, reflecting the complexity of your addiction. That’s why we don’t decode dreams anymore – ‘This means that’—but we ask how you, as the dreamer, feel. If you’re scared, that’s your unconscious telling you that you need to be. Now, if you were to wake up having enjoyed the dream, your sobriety’s in real danger.”
“Hmm,” I added slowly, remembering the Navajo meeting, “The terror we feel on awakening , then, is our emotionally, not intellectually, experiencing of the First Step.”
“What’s that?” my colleague asked.
“That we are powerless over alcohol, and that our lives have become unmanageable.”
“Sounds like you’re on to something,” she smiled. “Sounds like a drunk dream, that’s for sure. But I’d add one thing, based upon your story.”
“You may be powerless, but you’re no longer helpless. Your dreams are on your side.”
Celebrating the Miracle We All Are
THE PROMISES GROUP
855 ARDMORE GROUP
Big Book Milestones
BOX 459 Spring 2020 Newsletter
It is expected that the 40 millionth copy of the Big Book will be sold this year. To commemorate this milestone, a copy of the book will be presented to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at the 2020 International Convention in Detroit, Michigan.
The lead federal agency for research on alcohol, NIAAA’s mission is to generate and disseminate fundamental knowledge about the effects of alcohol on health and well-being, and to apply that knowledge to improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of alcohol related problems.
Over the years, in celebration of such milestones for A.A.’s basic text and to reflect A.A.’s gratitude for its many friends and supporters outside the Fellowship, ceremonial copies of Alcoholics Anonymous have been presented to individuals or organizations familiar and friendly to the A.A. Fellowship: The millionth copy was presented to President Richard Nixon in 1973; the two millionth copy to U.S. Health, Education, and Welfare
Secretary Joseph Califano in 1979; the five millionth copy to Ruth Hock (nonalcoholic), who typed draft after draft of the original manuscript, at the 1985 International Convention in Montreal; the ten millionth copy to Nell Wing, Bill W.’s longtime (nonalcoholic) secretary and A.A.’s first archivist, at the 1990 International Convention in Seattle; the 15 millionth copy to Ellie Norris, widow of former Class A (nonalcoholic) trustee chairman John L. Norris, M.D., in 1996; the 20 millionth copy to the Al-Anon Family Groups at the 2000 International Convention in Minneapolis; the 25 millionth copy to Jill Brown, warden of San Quentin Prison, at the 2005 International Convention in Toronto; the 30 millionth to Rebecca Patchin, past chair of the American Medical Association board of trustees at the 2010 International Convention in San Antonio; and the 35 millionth copy to Sister Judith Ann Karam of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, the religious order of Sister Ignatia, at the 2015 International Convention in Atlanta.
Bluegrass Intergroup Meeting Minutes: March 2020
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm by Chair A.G.
Non-AA announcements: There is a new Service Manual Review meeting at the Alano Club on Mondays at 6 pm.
The Twelve Traditions were read by A.G. The meeting was opened with the Serenity Prayer, followed by IGR introductions.
AA announcements: The pre-General Service Council Reports will be presented March 14 from 12:00 – 2:30 pm at St. Marks Episcopal Church in Louisville. These are items for GSC. Barbeque will be served.
Meeting Minutes: The minutes were reviewed and approved with two corrections (Chili cook off was by Voices of Hope and the Ridge Bridging the Gap meets on Sunday) upon motion with second and no opposed.
Finance Report: J.F. presented the Treasurer’s Report. Our Total Income was $7,227.21 and Expense was $6,894.24 for a net Income of $332.97. The Prudent Reserve is of concern. The PR was re-calculated at the February Steering Committee Meeting at $11,216.37. This is an approximate $3000 decrease from prior years. A number of inputs were eliminated (e.g. printing, supplies, cleaning) leaving only those required to keep the doors open (rent, utilities etc). Our Prudent Reserve Balance now is $9,466.77. Norm noted that we have not funded our PR all last year. Groups are asked to consider increasing contributions. Birthdays and Memorials are an opportunity to express gratitude to AA. There was a request to add a notice on the Website about these items.
It was noted that the Computers at the IG office are old and in need of replacement so there is an urgent need for increased income. A Hard Drive for backup is being sought. J. H. offered assistance. The Report was approved upon motion with second and no opposed.
Committee Guidelines: These were approved without dissent. After approval, it was discovered that some IGRs did not receive these by email. The Chair noted that this can be re-visited next month after a re-send of them and amended at that time if so desired. Until then, Committee Chairs have some guidelines.
Group Inventory: This was briefly discussed. B.S. requested that we re-visit this in a few months after Groups and IGRs have had time to contemplate this. This was agreed upon.
Events Chair: A few groups are contemplating undertaking the Picnic and Banquet. K. stated that Grace Happens Home Group is willing to act as Events Chair for 2020. This was approved unanimously.
Group Awareness: No Report (Absent). It was noted that J.F. is being active in attending groups.
Hospitals and Institutions: M. – The Ridge (Sunday) is at 1:30 not 2:00 pm. D.A. noted that in accordance with the approved Guidelines and having missed two consecutive meetings, M.T. is subject to removal as co-chair. This was approved unanimously. M.S. remains as chair.
Public Information: A.M. reported that he met with M.W. and attended the State Convention last month. He got a lot of information and is proceeding with his task.
Intergroup Scoop: J.H. is continuing to work on the Website posting of the Scoop with D.A. She noted that the Meeting Minutes included are not approved by the Intergroup. It was agreed to delay the inclusion of
Meeting Minutes until after their correction and approval at the IG meeting. There was discussion of whether to include initials or first name and last initial in the publication.
Website: D.A. reported that S.H. from the Area was assisting him in updating the Database to update meeting schedules. They want to ensure that the GSO data connected to the app was correct. He is seeking to secure the Website in order to do financials. The committee working on this is D.A., J.H., A.G. and M.
Literature: M.W. is reviewing pamphlets, especially those on welcoming committee members.
Intergroup Office: M.W. will re-send the Cte Chair Guidelines. She noted that there were no Public Information Kits available when A. and M. requested them. The new meeting for Women at Porter Memorial is on the Website.
District 28: B.S. – They’ll be doing a mock conference at the March Area Assembly in Owensboro (March 28 & 29). Delegate and Alt Delegate are giving preconference reports on March 14th in Frankfort and Mach 21st in Hopkinsville. See attached flyers. Only open committee chair currently is Accessibilities. We voted on details of reimbursing District 15 from summer Area hosting expense. Mike, District 15 DCM, was in attendance and a part of the discussion. A motion was made and passed that official time for monthly district meeting will be 5 pm – 6:30 pm. Any items not covered in that time period will be put on the following month’s agenda. AD Hoc Committee was formed to review the district’s guidelines and will be working out a time to meet. Ben is working on a mobile Grapevine display and everyone is to ask home group if they are interested in displaying it.
District 14: J.H. – The meeting is to be held this coming Saturday. They are reviewing questions from GSO for the General Service Conference.
District 15: L. – There was a GSR orientation meeting 3/1 at Christ the King and it is held each month on the first Sunday. There are two area conferences this year. Getting representatives reimbursed is at issue. They are working on improving attendance. They are also investigating organization of a Service Workshop.
J.F. noted that there is redundancy in the work of committee chairs for the Intergroup and those for the Districts. She encouraged IG committee chairs to contact and work with the District chairs.
Meeting was adjourned 8:05 pm by A.G. with the Responsibility Statement.
A New Department at GSO
BOX 459 Spring 2020 Newsletter
Writing in the October 1957 Grapevine, A.A. co-founder Bill W. observed that “while word of mouth and personal contact have brought in many a newcomer, we can never forget that most of us are able to trace our chance for recovery back to our friends in communications.” (The Language of the Heart, page 181) Bill was referencing press, radio and television, of course. But today, many alcoholics search for word of A.A. and communicate with each other via websites and social media, which means that A.A. has to keep up with this fast-changing mode of communication. On November 11, 2019, a new Communication Services department went into effect at the General Service Office. No longer a rotating staff assignment, the department will be responsible for development, implementation and analytics for the A.A. website, YouTube channel and Meeting Guide app, as well as for various communications, digital media projects and other initiatives. “The General Service Board expressed a need for more video, more modern communications, a refreshed website — and more to come,” says Clement C., senior manager of the department. “This was well beyond the bandwidth of the Communication Services desk, which was great when it began in 2015. But the needs of the Fellowship have outgrown it.” The new department will act as an internal agency supporting G.S.O., A.A.W.S., AA Grapevine and the General Service Board, an internal service hub to help provide more consistent messaging. It will also provide assistance to requests made by the staff assignments in the office (such as implementation of the C.P.C. LinkedIn page and the new Archives video project). Clement points out that communication lies at the very heart of what Alcoholics Anonymous is and what it does. “Our primary purpose is to carry the message to suffering alcoholics. For that you obviously need effective communications. People these days are so acclimated to multiple technologies that they become somewhat frustrated with the fact that they don’t see A.A. using the same technologies that they see in their everyday lives.” Greg T., G.S.O. general manager, agrees. “The Communication Services department will be greatly beneficial, not only by acting as a central hub within the General Service Office, but by allowing the office and the boards to communicate much more widely, rapidly and fluently about events and topics of interest to the Fellowship.” Clement says that the new department is intended to grow gradually, and will include a videographer, a media relations professional and a graphic artist — all there to provide a new level of service to the Fellowship as A.A. reaches out to help its members and communicates with suffering alcoholics everywhere.
Bluegrass Intergroup Steering Committee
Standing Committee Chair
HOSPITALS & INSTITUTIONS