Thursday, 6 October 2011

October 6 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

October 6 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Spot check inventory: How am I feeling? Why? And what can I do? At any time of day these three questions are about self appraisal. Why I feel happy, or sad, or joyous or concerned and often simply uneasy. Then I smile at myself and check it out, ask a friend face to face, phone a friend. And always remind myself to see the situations as others may see it too. Self aware and "self less" we see the bigger picture today...

Life story, step four, and day story step ten... "When I have done the steps, will I have a life beyond my wildest dreams?" Today and every day I need a reality check! The steps are living principles, timeless agents and a part of me. This emotional and spiritual life where feelings fit reality and I can cope with life as it is. Open to providence and no longer a prisoner of expectations, freedom to choose in this imperfectly perfect moment of now...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 6 2010 ~ "If you really knew me, would you be able to love me?" Secrets keep us stuck, covering up, putting energy into useless deceptions. When we deny the truth of who we were and are to ourselves, spiritual progress is impossible. In good conscience forgive yourself, free yourself, and tell yourself the truth, after all, it is just for a day...

October 6 2010 ~ Fear says, "you dare not look." Every day we all make decisions, some work out, some do not go the way we imagined. Usually we fear what we perceive as weakness and failure. The strength in sharing misfortune is our gift and wisdom, the strength of sharing everything is there is nothing to fear today...

Wanted dead or alive? Me alive today!

Who am I? Always a good question for me and for you? And if you really knew me, would you love me? Questions like these rattle around inside us as we fear life, fear people and fear showing ourselves completely. Self-prejudice is always a good starting point to foster fear, self-hate, self-deprecation and worse turning away from real life as we apply the same prejudice to everything we touch. We live a lie and find solace in the lies of others. Like the office party; or a social function, where we need be jolly because we are supposed to be jolly. Jolly exhausting without a drink, and jolly liberating if we have had a bucket of our favourite alcoholic tipple.

“Fear knocks on the door and faith answers.” Indeed in recovery life, we develop our faith, courage and confidence to tell the truth as we know it right now. Fear of telling the truth, not to rock the boat and to protect ourselves means we keep doing half hearted, half dead to us activities which are closing us down. In work life we feel obliged often to tow the party line. Sometimes through economic necessity we need work and toil to make money to keep a roof over our heads. Until we see a choice to move on and keep faith with ourselves. In family life, here is the nub of where we feel a white lie will suffice. Open, honest and willing we develop our spiritual living, and when we lie we hinder our spiritual living.

Our programme of recovery through practice of the twelve steps is hard work in early days and hard work every day. Emotional and spiritual wellbeing for ourselves and others is made possible by telling the truth as we know it right here and now today.

When a partner says “do I look fat in this?” how do we answer? The real answer lies in our spiritual being today… “I love you as you are, and yes you do…”

Fear! Of hurting someone unnecessarily? Or just simply unable to tell a simple truth? Or what is the payoff for the deception to us and the other person? Lies start small, and get big! A fat lie.

Every time we tell a lie, big or small we may reason our way forwards, but the feeling is always there, fear of truth.

Truth liberates everyone, and stops self-prejudice, and prejudice generally. We find we cannot be intolerant, and in step ten, tolerance and love are seen as key. Tolerance for the way we are and still making progress, and tolerance and love for others still making progress.

Of course tact and diplomacy, asking others to judge themselves if they must, but not asking us to validate them with lies. It is an art not a harsh statement, it is tact with care, and it is always about spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Life is an art and not a science, although many of us tried and failed the thinking scientific route and drank out of frustration and resentments at the world. Love is a feeling, as the song goes by Boston.

Spiritual is always now based on truth, and love is a feeling we have just now, and life is always in the present. So much time spent covering up the past, covering up in the present with an imagined brighter future means we have lost touch with now, and we miss the colourful life around us. And as we dream of the future, we make no choices to let it happen.

In the now, our choices let us make steps towards our preferred living situation. Always now, based on truth. Never a fantasy. Life is hard and difficult, and forever rewarded in the now spiritually and emotionally, it is never the destination which is inevitable.


AA Daily Reflections ~ "FACING OURSELVES October 6 And Fear says, “You dare not look!” TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 49

How often I avoided a task in my drinking days, just because it appeared so large! Is it any wonder even if I have been sober for some time, that I will act that same way when faced with what appears to be a monumental job, such as a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself? What I discover after I have arrived at the other side–when my inventory is completed–is that the illusion was greater than the reality. The fear of facing myself kept me at a standstill and, until I became willing to put pencil to paper, I was arresting my growth based on an intangible."
October 5 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Have I a gratitude list for today? I wake up and wonder how it is I am alive! I feel pain, and it is okay and familiar physically. I feel right sized emotionally and coping in the moment of now. Spot check inventory always handy and available, when I respond rather than react today…

I am always taken with the sharing and honesty we find in recovery. Into reality... and hoping that as we prospect this new day, truth, love and wisdom prevails...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 5 2010 ~ Self-preservation, automatic responses to similar situations, old baggage’s can be a real nuisance, most often people who remind us of how we were back then, as we point the finger at them, or give them the finger, usually some fingers are pointing back at us on our own hands. Drive carefully with our new wisdom today!

October 5 2010 ~ Baggage of a lifetime... we need be careful sifting through our personal inventories of attitudes behaviour and stored wisdom. We might feel able to let go what no longer works, it is never too far away and can kick off with the right ingredients today, namely people, places and things! Vigilance and humour good today...

A head full of memories some useful and some we might wish to forget. Some say they have lost decades to alcoholism and addiction; memories are thin at best or nightmares at worst. Today I hope to cherish, and in a difficult world, learning is always now. To have compassion and passion, to love, be loved and useful. Peeling back the veneer, the hotbed of reality, can do, cannot do and wisdom in the moment of now...

Today is all about baggage in the daily reflections. Old ways of living and old ways of responding to success, failure or simply days we felt had nothing much in them, can keep coming back to haunt us. We need remind ourselves we were always there in those days back then. And back then has a lot of wisdom which still works today. We may be “reborn” developing new ways to live, and we need keep a hold on wisdom which works.

I was a driven individual in my drinking days and in many ways still feel driven today by feelings, the motives these days are different. Olden days were full of fear, feeling it was not cool to have “fear” as a companion and pushing it away. Show no fear, face up, brave face, and fight rather than flight. Somehow all my feelings became merged under a thin veneer of ego, propped up by feelings pushed down and an ocean of attitudes and behaviour and alcohol to take the sting off anything.

The edge was taken off certainly, and when feelings came through, the good ones, love, faith, courage and esteem, they were welcome, but without the counterbalance of the downside, there were no real measures for me. It was black and white and no real colour. Peace and happiness were a blur as the next right thing to do with work and home life, finding love and finding the next collectible experience. I missed the point completely, because all I knew was success, or bleak failure covered over in the oblivion of fixing me in my dislocated world.

Loss death and addictions were required to find rock bottom, an anxiety state two years long, a breakdown and desolation. Those who have been there know and those who have not hopefully need not. Rock bottom is as devastating for each who experience rock bottom, there is no competition a rock bottom is a low as it need be, deep unfathomable, we are lost in bleakness.

Step ten seems a way to keep our balance in an extreme world, where people are driven to extremes. Always driven, tutored into finding the “x “factor, some magic which pulls us from the cliff edge to safety. Or worse seeking some fleeting moment in time where we are recognised and worthy. Most who seem to catch the public eye and expose their “x” factor will later flounder as normality seems overwhelmingly flat.

And with all the torments endured, to find ourselves free of being noticed, free of being anything but ordinary in an ordinary life, balanced being restored daily in practising some simple steps we find ordinary living remarkable, most of the time. Of course, as we progress and get older, colour in life becomes richer and more emotional. In early days the colours of life crash in, up and down and then settling as each day we uncover or simply discover our world as it is, and not imagined.

Emotional and spiritual progress, subject to current life conditions, needs met, and wants forgotten.

We cannot stem the progress of time physically, and many of us find we get natural aging slowing down our abilities. And some of us get a raft of complications and diseases, and we don’t mind, as we say another day above ground is a success. We seem happy with our lot.

And some days, even though we may have had some close calls, and brushes with the afterlife, we will feel some resentments and anger, because we don’t hide from our feelings today. Life is always a balance in the moment of now…

AA Daily Reflections ~ "YESTERDAY’S BAGGAGE... For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 88

I have more than enough to handle today, without dragging along yesterday’s baggage too. I must balance today’s books, if I am to have a chance tomorrow. So I ask myself if I have erred and how I can avoid repeating that particular behaviour. Did I hurt anyone, did I help anyone, and why? Some of today is bound to spill over into tomorrow, but most of it need not if I make an honest daily inventory."

October 4 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

"Let me live vicariously through you" experiencing life through sympathetic participation in the experience of another [a vicarious thrill]. The “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” My old mask gone and with the help of step ten, no need for Mr Hyde today…

Spot check inventories? Love them and hate them, it’s what goes on inside me I need be concerned about in the moment. When I take my inventory and not yours, serenity is possible in the heated or tranquil moment of now. Progress and never perfect for me…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 4 2010 ~ so easy to look at others and their behaviour, our twelve step tool kit let loose, undermines people places and things. Steps to improve our outlook: and our attitudes and behaviour. As we see our part in living, we learn to forgive and love ourselves, and then forgive and love, even the unacceptable? A question for today...

October 4 2010 ~ a necessary pruning? Step ten all about our attitudes and behaviour, our reactions and responses to life today. My step six defects, judging and blaming others, based on fear, a brave face, ego to cover up. Step seven, courage faith and confidence to look at my part in life. At sixes and sevens, step ten helps always today...

Refreshed and reminded of times past, times now and the promise of facing life on life’s terms, because I have fellowship. Sunday night meeting “lest we forget,” a great meeting for me and my fellows seemed to be okay. Some may have been upbeat, some down, some indifferent, some with something to say. I can say I was there and I was not alone, as to what else goes on, it is anonymous. It was good to see many friends, and got me wondering about other friends. As always we turn our attention to newcomers, and we remind ourselves the most important person in the room is the newcomer. Even if they don’t seem too good to know, we are better for knowing them. A.A. All about… us, not me!

Steps and always the steps bring us back to earth, where all humans dwell. The traditions hold the fellowship together, unity service and recovery, the steps to develop our spiritual progress.

In emails some discussion of spiritual matters made me realise that evolution is key to us humans wherever we are. The spiritual journey enhanced by our ability to live in reality. As some believe we have choices in the life we choose before we get here, it is also subject to evolution, we are evolving whatever our state of being may be, and it is always in the now, subject to the choices we have based on reality… And reality is where we are, here and hereafter is my guess. I do not know anything for sure, except “now.”

After last night, I was upbeat, and then the inevitable drag this morning, counterbalanced by a ride out on my electric bicycle to see the world, life is very painful walking and cycling unaided is not possible due to on-going injuries. Colourful and busy, seasons are changing and as daylight gets shorter, fellowship meetings help keep me from the dark. Easy does it for me, good things have been happening, at the same time a deep sadness as life is changing as it may.

Gentle moments for today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "A NECESSARY PRUNING we know that the pains of drinking had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 94
I love spending time in my garden feeding and pruning my beautiful flowers. One day, as I was busily snipping away, a neighbour stopped by. She commented, “Oh! Your plants are so beautiful; it seems such a shame to cut them back.” I replied, “I know how you feel, but the excess must be removed so they can grow stronger and healthier.” Later I thought that perhaps my plants feel pain, but God and I know it’s part of the plan and I’ve seen the results. I was quickly reminded of my precious A.A. program and how we all grow through pain. I ask God to prune me when it’s time, so I can grow."
October 3 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Life is... a roller coaster in the moment of now! Emotional and spiritual, these are the twelve steps. Knowing how I am feeling [emotional] and coping in the moment of now [spiritual]. From aged five to forty five, I did have feelings, kept them to myself, and now? You know everything…

Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly we make progress in the imperfectly perfect moment of now. Our mood and feelings impact on our thinking and actions today. All feelings are good, and if I know how I am feeling, I do know the difference. Everything, from sh1t to Shinola plays its part today!

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 3 2010 ~ joyful and sad, pain and pleasure, right and wrong "yin and yang" see-saws and counterbalances, balance appears to need a fine edge or we swing to extremes. Life happens, sometimes stormy and sometimes calm we have choices. As we accept life is difficult, we find what is possible in recovery with help, support and challenge today...

October 3 2010 ~ pain and pleasure our touchstones... we may prefer life to be black and white; experience teaches us life happens in colour. If we do the right thing we expect the right outcome? There is the expectation and the resentment under construction. No one deserves... nothing is predictable; we “feel” life sober as it is today...
To a friend: - grief and closure…
Very kind words to me, and appreciated. Life is always difficult, until we accept it the way it is. A mutual friend reminded me that expectations are resentments under construction. And also reminded me that we need be careful when we feel we deserve something, same applies.

One other matter which I realise you may be dealing with is loss. My Dad gone many years now, I loved him dearly and cherished him, and was never able to share this truth with him, mainly because I was just like him, a product of my upbringing and cut off from my feelings a lot of the time.

The good news, is I talk to him now, talk about him to family, we share a lot about how awful he was and how awful his life turned out, and in many ways how wonderful he was too. He died about three months sober, after being diagnosed as terminal.

We hear the word closure often.

I don't feel we need closure; we need understanding for how we became who we are today. And our ancestors have everything to do with how we turned out. I don't blame my Dad for anything these days or feel angry that he is gone. Actually he is not gone or dead. He lives on in his children. I talk to my Dad from time to time usually when I am alone, laugh and cry, see how life is in these conversations. It is part of living, our cherishing and loving and having memories, some awful as I said and some wonderful too.

People with a firm belief in god have conversations with god. I have no firm understanding on anything about god. What I do understand is we have a conscience and an inner voice which is always with us. The inner voice if you like is a dialogue we have about our daily life. If there is a god, and a hereafter we can access this wisdom. My Dad for all his faults wanted the best for us, as does the inner voice and whatever it may be connected to.

In my own way, I feel conscience the inner voice speaks with our feelings, love being the main voice we hear. Our conscience and inner voice want the best for us. If we ask the questions about what next, share our fears and faith in making the best choices we can, based on our real situation, we find peace in our next actions. No guarantees because life on earth is subject to nature and providence.

Meditation and prayer are not exclusive to those who are religious. Meditation and prayer is the dialogue we have with the universe, a way of seeing the world we live in, everything we are and everything we love. Love is eternal, no past tense, everything lives on…

AA Daily Reflections ~ "serenity after the storm... Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress. How heartily we A.A.’s can agree with him. [12&12]

When on the roller coaster of emotional turmoil, I remember that growth is often painful. My evolution in the A.A. program has taught me that I must experience the inner change, however painful, that eventually guides me from selfishness to selflessness. If I am to have serenity, I must STEP my way past emotional turmoil and its subsequent hangover, and be grateful for continuing spiritual progress."

Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-Living" "Service"

"Step 10: continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it"

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime...

October 2 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Every line caused by age, every scratch, every scar, a life time etched into innocence. Every ding and dent of experience is evidence and proof of life. Beautiful to behold, we wear our history with grace in recovery. No need to hide who we are today…

A drinking career 35 years long, and in work 35 years of saying yes, asked and answered in work, successful and when I stopped drinking, everything stopped. “Back in the day:” a void and a feeling of emptiness. Now, more truth, love and wisdom flows, an open honest and willing outlook today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 2 2010 ~ hurt and happiness all can happen in the moment. Everything is going on, one moment serenity, the next, memories remind us of old times and we wonder when the spinning head will slow down. As the mountain of history has shaped us, we take it step by step today and we find more level ground and we progress today...

October 2 2010 ~ learning a new approach to our living, acceptance of life the way it is, drowning out the inner voice which is tormented by a want to fix is difficult. It is difficult for anyone open, honest and willing to change. We feel life in the moment without filters, emotions are embraced, understood. We feel, we think and we respond to this day...

I promise you changing our outlook and our way of living is difficult at first. We need to change, and acceptance is the answer:

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

AA Daily Reflections ~ "the acid test... As we work the first nine Steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions? [12&12]

I know the Promises are being fulfilled in my life, but I want to maintain and develop them by the daily application of Step Ten. I have learned through this Step that if I am disturbed, there is something wrong with me. The other person may be wrong too, but I can only deal with my feelings. When I am hurt or upset, I have to continually look for the cause in me, and then I have to admit and correct my mistakes. It isn’t easy, but as long as I know I am progressing spiritually, I know that I can mark my effort up as a job well done. I have found that pain is a friend; it lets me know there is something wrong with my emotions, just as a physical pain lets me know there is something wrong with my body. When I take the appropriate action through the Twelve Steps, the pain gradually goes away."

October 1 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Spot check inventories, help us make progress rather than hinder ours or anyone else. My part in matters, what is disturbing me? Usually if our feelings are genuine and based on the current situation, we can modify our behaviour, make a good choice, walk in others shoes, as long as we don’t get blisters today…

Today I may be able to see your point of view, especially if I take time to do a spot check inventory. The inventory will help me decide and make a better choice, to continue to be included in the situation or “get the hell out of Dodge” due to an emergency in the moment of now… [Imminent justifiable anger usually]

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 1 2010 ~ Step ten our personal inventory of our conduct, not other people. As we live the steps often we can see the apparent "horrors" in other people's attitudes and behaviour, or rather we see in others what we hate in ourselves. Step ten always our part, always needing forgiveness for ourselves and others today, cherish always...

October 1 2010 ~ Am I the problem or part of the solution... We will make mistakes, hopefully as many as we need to make sense of problems and what the solutions in our conduct need to be made. Solutions to our part in life: not contingent on what others do or do not do. Our choices improve as we find solutions today...

New month, new step, October all about step ten: Our personal daily inventory

Sometimes we can measure our success as “another day above ground.” This was said recently to me as a member of the fellowship walked by where I live in London. Indeed, today is another day above ground, and I have a toolkit to help me keep sober today.

Step ten is our personal inventory to help us make the best choices we can as we live sober. Step ten is about us and our sobriety, our attitudes and ways of behaving when life is good and when life is simply difficult. The danger of step ten like all the other steps is we can so easily slip into judging others and taking their inventory. We can see the problem and the solution is what others need do to make our lives work more easily.

A step to improve the quality of our spiritual living, open and honest, we are willing to change. And this step involves reflection on what has worked today and what has not worked. Understanding the problems and living in the solutions we have. Better choices and a better outcome. As we reflect on each day, we are meditating too. Meditation is part of our spiritual development. Meditation and prayer are more deeply understood as we live step eleven.

Always, steps are about our personal development, our toolkit to live life well, needs met and our wants tend to disappear. Needs met! Steps are not a way to get something we want, wants tend to be what we imagine life should be.

Wants and expectations undermine our living, and often said by many in recovery, “wants and expectations are resentments under construction.” Resentments and anger, serve no one long term. We will get angry and resentful often, that is a problem all humans face, and as we work through our step ten daily, we see solutions and or we learn to let go, see our part in matters, developing our realistic choices by the day.

Step ten helps us understand life. We always have the serenity prayer to helps with our needs and wants in any moment:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference”

Words from others on step ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. This step has absolutely no connection with step four. Note, in step four, it calls for a searching and fearless Moral inventory. This step calls for a personal inventory. This step is our daily check on ourselves.

Excerpt from a recovery website: "At night, after you are in bed and the day is over; review your day and pray. Think about your day, what you have done, who you were with and what has transpired. If you find something that you are not proud of apologize. Do not permit these things to go unattended. It is not the so-called "big" things which seriously affect the alcoholic in their new life, but the "little" things. Diligent practice of the 10th every day reinforces that character defects quickly became damned obvious on a daily basis. Admitting a wrong is difficult, we have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have turned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally. That is the miracle of it. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense."

AA Daily Reflections ~ "lest we become complacent... It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. [Big book]

When I am in pain it is easy to stay close to the friends I have found in the programs. Relief from that pain is provided in the solutions contained in A.A.’s Twelve Steps. But when I am feeling good and things are going well, I can become complacent. To put it simply, I become lazy and turn into the problem instead of the solution. I need to get into action, to take stock: where am I and where am I going? A daily inventory will tell me what I must change to regain spiritual balance. Admitting what I find within myself, to God and to another human being, keeps me honest and humble."


Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-Living" "Service"

"Step 10: continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it"

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime...

"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. The A.A. Steps & Traditions are neither rules, regulations, nor laws. Perhaps the secret of their power lies in the fact that these life-giving communications spring out of living experience and are rooted in love." ~ "We find it amazing that the newcomer can start the A.A. program without any specific beliefs or, for that matter, without any beliefs whatsoever. All a person needs is the open-mindedness and the willingness to believe that WE BELIEVE this program works..."

Step Ten, AA 12 Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps AA, Addiction And Recovery, Addict, Alcoholic, Alcoholism, DonInLondon, Life Works

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