Queens Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous Newsletter
1st Quarter 2021
105-29A Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, NY 11375
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 7 – 9 pm, Saturday 10 am – 2 pm
Office Telephone: (718) 520-5024
Mail: qiaa, p.o. box 754088, forest hills station, NY 11375-9088
Hi, My name is Eddie, and I am an alcoholic. Buckle your seat belts, you are in for the ride of your life!
Welcome to Flight 2021
Welcome to Flight 2021. We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your positive attitude and gratitude are secured and locked in the upright position. All self-destruct devices, pity, anger, selfishness, and resentment should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt, and discouragement should be put away. Should you lose your positive attitude under pressure during this flight, reach up and pull down a prayer. Faith will automatically be activated by prayers. Once your Faith is activated, you can assist other passengers who are of little faith. There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. God, our Captain, has cleared us for takeoff. Destination: Greatness! Wishing you a New Year filled with new HOPE, new JOY and new BEGINNINGS! Stay blessed! Welcome in 2021!!!
Welcome New Steering Committee Members
The QIAA Steering Committee is pleased to announce the installation of three new members: Chelsea M., Secretary; Martin M., Webmaster; and Darren S., Institutions Literature Coordinator.
Follow-up to the 2020 Virtual Share-A-Thons
The First Virtual Holiday Share-A-Thons went extremely well. For the Thanksgiving Share-A-Thon, we held 69 meetings hosted by 20 groups, with an average attendance of 48 people per meeting and a total collection of $528.71 in contributions. For The Holiday Share-A-Thon, we held 114 meetings hosted by 34 groups over two weekends, with an average attendance of 46 people per meeting, and a total collection of $1,585.75 in contributions. According to former QIAA Secretary, Emily M., both events welcomed people from all over the country and the world, including visitors from Canada, Trinidad, Sweden, Malaysia, and the UK, just to name a few countries. Twelve facilitators volunteered their services to maintain QIAA presence at every single meeting. Both were great events!
And now, for something completely different. Recently at my weekly pigeon meeting, facilitated by my sponsor Chris D., I was re-introduced to a letter that I distinctly remember reading years ago, as it was the topic for that week’s meeting. I found it so fascinating that I wanted to share this with my AA family.
Emotional Sobriety by Bill W.
This is the substance of a revealing letter which Bill Wilson wrote several years ago to a close friend who also had troubles with depression. The letter appeared in the "Grapevine" January 1953.
"I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA, the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.
Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security, and perfect romance, urges quite appropriate to age seventeen, prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven and fifty-seven.
Since AA began, I´ve taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover, finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse. Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round.
How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy and good living. Well, that´s not only the neurotic´s problem, it´s the problem of life itself for all of us who have got to the point of real willingness to hew to right principles in all of our affairs.
Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy may still elude us. That´s the place so many of us AA oldsters have come to. And it´s a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious, from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream, be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden ‘Mr. Hyde'[need to confirm that this correction is right] becomes our main task.
I´ve recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I begin to see many benighted ones, folks like you and me, commencing to get results. Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic spell. Considering the grief I´ve had with depressions, it wasn´t a bright prospect.
I kept asking myself "Why can´t the twelve steps work to release depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer ... "it´s better to comfort than to be comforted." Here was the formula, alright, but why didn´t it work?
Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.
There wasn´t a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away. Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so starkly revealed. Reinforced by what grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people, upon AA, indeed upon any act of circumstance whatsoever.
Then only could I be free to love as Francis did. Emotional and instinctual satisfactions, I saw, were really the extra dividends of having love, offering love, and expressing love appropriate to each relation of life.
Plainly, I could not avail myself to God´s love until I was able to offer it back to Him by loving others as He would have me. And I couldn´t possibly do that so long as I was victimized by false dependencies.
For my dependence meant demand, a demand for the possession and control of the people and the conditions surrounding me.
While those words "absolute dependence" may look like a gimmick, they were the ones that helped to trigger my release into my present degree of stability and quietness of mind, qualities which I am now trying to consolidate by offering love to others regardless of the return to me.
This seems to be the primary healing circuit: an outgoing love of God´s creation and His people, by means of which we avail ourselves of His love for us. It is most clear that the real current can´t flow until our paralyzing dependencies are broken and broken at depth. Only then can we possibly have a glimmer of what adult love really is.
If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand. Let us, with God´s help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.
Of course, I haven´t offered you a really new idea --- only a gimmick that has started to unhook several of my own hexes at depth. Nowadays, my brain no longer races compulsively in either elation, grandiosity, or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine."
NYIG is Pulling the Plug on Zoom License
Groups using the New York Intergroup Zoom license to conduct their virtual meetings will need to transition to their own account by February 28, 2021.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, AA groups in the NYC area lost the ability to meet in person. NYIG responded by helping AA groups to set up and host virtual meetings, providing accounts for videoconferencing at no cost, creating resources including online meeting listings and user guides, and providing help and technical support. Due to these things, NYIG entered an enterprise license with Zoom, employing a number of special workers.
Many groups and AA members expressed gratitude for how quickly NYIG acted to help them serve their groups and carry the message to the newcomer. Nevertheless, groups and AA members also expressed concerns. The Zoom license and contractor support represent significant ongoing expenses. Questions were raised about whether the provision of videoconferencing is consistent with our Traditions, such as anonymity, self-support, and group autonomy.
At our September Delegates meeting, the delegates decided that NYIG should discontinue the enterprise license when it is up for renewal in March and help groups to transition to their own virtual meeting accounts.
As a result, the groups currently utilizing the Zoom license under NYIG will need to transition by February 28th to give NYIG time to prepare. NYIG has provided the following helpful resources:
Many AA’s have heard the message of recovery through the meetings brought into detoxes and treatment centers. Although there are no hard-set rules, there are some guiding principles that have been proven to be effective in carrying a message of depth and weight. The following excerpt is from the pamphlet “A.A. In Treatment Setting” (A.A. General Service Conference - approved literature):
How does bringing A.A. to alcoholics in treatment settings help to strengthen sobriety?
Many happy sober A.A. members have found that the best cure for a “dry drunk” or a self-pity binge is working with another still-suffering alcoholic. Seeing other alcoholics recover, whenever they do, is almost as great a reward as our own sobriety. What better place to look for those still-suffering alcoholics than in a hospital or some other alcoholism treatment place? The idea is older than A.A. itself. In 1934, a sober alcoholic named Bill W. kept trying to help drunks in Towns Hospital in New York City. None of them seemed interested at that time, but Bill stayed sober. About six months later, Bill W. and another sober alcoholic, Dr. Bob S., visited alcoholics in a hospital in Akron, Ohio. Although at first re-buffed, they kept trying — in order to protect their own sobriety. It worked, and Bill and Dr. Bob thus became the co-founders of the “help-one-another” chain reaction now called Alcoholics Anonymous.
All over the world, ever since, hundreds of thousands of A.A. members have been visiting alcoholics in such places. Twelfth stepping and sponsoring sick alcoholics — where they are — has long been one of the important and happiest ways of keeping ourselves sober. Today, unlike the 1930s and 1940s, alcoholics can get professional treatment in many different kinds of places. Into practically all of them, A.A.s can carry our message of hope and recovery. Both tax-supported and private hospitals often have alcoholism units or detox wards. Walk-in, medical detoxification centers, halfway houses, rehabilitation centers, recovery homes, rest farms, and outpatient clinics treat alcoholics. Some organizations operate drying-out stations. Residences and missions of that type usually have alcoholics who need help. Private physicians, social workers, psychologists, and psychotherapists see many problem drinkers. So A.A. members who want to strengthen their sobriety or who want more A.A. joy in life can easily find it. It is in the hospital or other treatment facility nearest you, where many suffering alcoholics are.
Many of us in A.A. are certain there is no such thing as unsuccessful Twelfth Step work. If it keeps us sober, it is a success. If the other alcoholic gets well, that is a fringe benefit. All we have to do is be channels for the A.A. message. Just trying to help another alcoholic does seem to work wonders for us. It succeeds when everything else fails.
A few plain suggestions: DO’S and DON’TS
1. DO — Abide carefully by all the rules of the facility. A.A. members are guests of the treatment setting. DON’T — A.A.s should not try to claim special exemptions or privileges or try to manipulate the agency into making concessions.
2. DO — Make sure every A.A. promise is kept to the letter. DON’T — Do not make any commitment that cannot be met. Excuses do not speak well for A.A., but faithfulness and results do.
3. DO — Limit yourself to carrying your own honest message of alcoholism recovery. DON’T — Do not talk about medication, psychiatry, or scientific theories of alcoholism. This is the territory for professionals. Our own personal spiritual life does not make us experts on religion.
4. DO — Listen at least as much as you talk. DON’T — Do not argue about anything, with patients or staff. Arguments never win friends.
5. DO — Live by the spirit of A.A.’s Traditions. DON’T — Do not expect any professional agency to govern itself by our Traditions. They cannot and have no need to do so.
6. DO — Remember that you are A.A. to people in that facility. Your language, appearance, manners, and mood all affect other people’s opinions of our Fellowship. Your behavior can make sure A.A. is always welcome. DON’T — Do not give agency personnel or patients any reason to be unhappy about A.A.
7. DO — Always maintain a cheerful humility about how A.A. works. DON’T — Do not brag about A.A. Let results speak for us.
8. DO — Remember that you “are responsible.” Let the patients know about the benefits of sponsorship, as well as the temporary contact program which may be available in your area. DON’T — Do not just carry the message to the facility and leave it there. Thousands of times, these suggested Do’s and Don’ts have helped to keep A.A. relationships with professionals cooperative and cordial. When an A.A. takes responsibility for meetings in a professional facility, it is necessary to keep in frequent friendly contact with the facility’s officials to eliminate any problems before they arise.
And now an anecdote that aptly describes the sponsor/sponsee relationship:
A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He saw a person on the ground and yelled down to him, “Can you help me? I don’t know where I am.” The man replied, “Sure, I’ll help you. You are in a hot air balloon hovering 30 feet above the ground...between 40- and 41-degrees north latitude and between 59- and 60-degrees west longitude.”
“Wow, you must be an AA sponsor,” said the man in the balloon. “I am,” said the man, “but what gave me away?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically right, but I am still lost. Frankly you’re not much help at all and you might even have delayed my trip.”
“You must be an AA sponsee,” replied the man. The man in the balloon was amazed and said, “I am, but how did you know?”
The man on the ground said, “Well, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a lot of hot air. You are expecting other people to solve your problems and the fact is that you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow now IT’S MY FAULT!”
Special thanks to Chelsea M., John Francis B., my sponsee Atif C., and the entire QIAA Steering Committee. If you have any articles that you would like to submit, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Please limit to 1-2 pages and maximum of 2,000 words.