Sunday, 9 October 2011

October 9 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

October 9 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Opinion and belief is often confused with truth. Just because we believe and have an opinion, it may feel true for us, does not mean it is true for them, whoever them/they may be. For example, Einstein’s theory about his relatives is no longer law; the Neutrinos have repealed it…

What is the spiritual angle to the way we live? If we can agree that spiritual is simply “the ability to cope with reality” and in fellowship keep sober, then we are okay. If we make it more, it helps less, if we impose our view and belief, it does not work, I prefer to work with what works today…

"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us." an obvious truth

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 9 2010 ~ often we are reminded of times past, and to the damage we endured in different parts of our life. A part of the acid test in sobriety is finding forgiveness for unspeakable acts of emotional cruelty to us and by us. Forgive, and learn or we repeat mistakes without realising. The steps, always about changing how we feel and live today...

October 9 2010 ~ It is a spiritual axiom [axiom: an established rule or principle or a self-evident truth]... Spiritual, our ability to cope with reality is always changing. Some days we are very able to deal with reality and other days, woes may pour down on us. Difficult days disturb us, how we feel and think, “Acceptance” is making best choices today...

Love not retribution... “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” A nursery rhyme: and most often a nursery crime in the making for many growing up in a difficult world. Learning how to endure insult and injury, and followed by the classic “I did not mean it.”

Usually when we react to emotional pain and we all learn how in our growing up in so many ways it is hard to resolve what response may be right as we live these moments. Some face torments head on, some resolve that words never hurt, some cover up and in the end we find a way to feel less pain and get on with life. There is no right or wrong response to words? I feel the words these days and the intent behind them. And I recall it all starts with a brave face, some better and some worse. Bullying and degrading behaviour is often sown into the fabric of life. And then ritualised bullying occurs all through our society and civilisation. Justifiable intimidation of individuals and nations happens every day as one set of beliefs hacks another set of beliefs into submission.

We may not be able to change the world, the outlook of another human being, and certainly not what has happened. We can change ourselves, our outlook and the way we respond to life today. We can find our own spiritual compass, our own values in living and make choices in our outlook and living.

Fortune can smile on anyone, any day and same applies in reverse. In recovery life we become more aware of what happens in this world and our part in all matters. How we choose to live, our outlook is open for change.
Simply put, humans with an open honest and willing attitude can change. It takes time to change, to learn to love rather than hate, to forgive most of all.

Forgiving is not for the feint hearted, forgiving is living with truth every day, that we can learn to live differently and to a spiritual path which is simply “truth, love and wisdom.” We may have been brutalised in the past, we may have broken all the rules of good conduct and whatever the moral codes we were taught. Once we know the difference in recovery and we know the path we have a chance to make good our living on a daily basis.

With truth, love and wisdom, our next right action is more likely to be peace and serenity. With hate, prejudice and retribution, our next justifiable action is more likely to be war and chaos. As an individual the choice of our next action will always define us. Step ten and a conscience help us make better choices and progress today.

AA Daily Reflections ~ "A SPIRITUAL AXIOM October 9 It is a spiritual axiom [axiom: an established rule or principle or a self-evident truth] that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. 12 & 12

I never truly understood the Tenth Step’s spiritual axiom until I had the following experience. I was sitting in my bedroom, reading into the wee hours, when suddenly I heard my dogs barking in the back yard. My neighbour’s frown on this kind of disturbance so, with mixed feelings of anger and shame, as well as fear of my neighbour’s disapproval; I immediately called in my dogs. Several weeks later the exact situation repeated itself but this time, because I was feeling more at peace with myself, I was able to accept the situation–dogs will bark–and I calmly called in the dogs. Both incidents taught me that when a person experiences nearly identical events and reacts two different ways, then it is not the event that is of prime importance, but the person’s spiritual condition. Feelings come from inside, not from outward circumstances. When my spiritual condition is positive, I react positively."

October 8 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

“It takes a Village to raise a child” and a “Fellowship to keep me sober”

I never had a village to help raise me, and indeed there was no real village for my parents either. My parents, one who seemed to understand life and feel it in the moment, one who seemed driven by expectations, dreams and disappointment. One an alcoholic, drowning their sorrows, the other trying their best to cope with life as it was and is today. One dead before their time: one alive and doing pretty well considering all the hardships and wonders over a long lifetime.

As an alcoholic in recovery, my outlook and attitude to the statement “it takes a village to raise a child” has become more meaningful. In active addiction, and learning life through all those years, I realise I had no village to help me find my path. I had a pub, a bar, night clubs and so many more influences which made me “king” in my own kingdom. It was a very small kingdom, just me. Back in the day I would have argued against the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. Because I felt I knew all there was to know about how to live my life and what to do with it. I could not see beyond my own experience and success.

Sayings like pride before a fall, did not apply to me, until I could not stop falling and falling. Addiction of any type seems to be based on lack of knowledge, lack of awareness. Ignorance is bliss, then we find we are heavily dependent and into addiction. No matter what our background is, addiction can happen and does happen to anyone from any walk of life.

I tried over and over to pull myself together and to pull my socks up. I tried to stop and failed. I did not know how to deal with addiction and my alcoholism.

Fellowship is and remains the key to my sobriety today. I am included, a part of something bigger than me. A society of people who: share experience, strength and hope to help others into recovery from active addiction one day at a time. We can carry the message and not the person. It takes a fellowship to help the newcomer. A newcomer can pull another back into the problem, which is why the fellowship works, “it takes a village of sober people to raise the newcomer out of the problem into the solution.”

Fellowship is essential in my opinion. The many in fellowship help the individual find their way. Fellowship cannot impose anything on the newcomer; individuals simply share their story of recovery. With enough people sharing, we find similarities and then we learn steps of recovery.

Like the village, fellowship is full of different relationships. Some good and some which can prove to be unhelpful if we think we know best. The most unhelpful can be a newcomer feels one person can fix them and their problems. We end up with two people and their problems are twice as difficult.

Experience shows it is the many voices and relationships based on fellowship which help a person find sobriety and keep sober day to day. Constant and always changing, that is fellowship as life changes, with hope we change and meet the challenges of life on life’s terms.

I have the benefit of a global and local village today, and being raised in fellowship, I am learning how to love, be loved and useful as life is and not ever how I imagined, one day at a time…

Today 2011

Spot check inventory in the moment reminds me I can change me and my attitudes, cannot change “them and their attitudes.” Better for me to accept powerless over everything outside of me and keep to freedom to choose what next for me, based on real life as it is today. A limitless lode!

I am powerless over them, at the same time, I may try influence? Often we do influence through being open, honest and willing to change our own attitudes and behaviour. My side of the street…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 8 2010 ~ Step ten is always our part in living, not about others. This is part of accepting the acceptable with esteem, and not accepting the unacceptable with an ego driven reaction. Some days it seems we need change everything in our attitude and behaviour, better we do than lash out in anger and resentments today...

October 8 2010 ~ when we were wrong promptly admitted it... clearing up the wreckage of the present is far easier than letting everything build up into ruinous mountains all over again. Step ten keeps us on track with our spiritual condition, making better choices, letting go righteousness so we can live free with choices today...

Benefit of doubt? Anger and resentments today... Let others be their own best friend! No matter what? Yes if we are ready to charge up our anger and resentments and let loose our barrage of venom. Or do we come to a place of serenity around our feelings? I doubt we are saints, but most often we react out of fear and loss of esteem rather than a more balanced view, where we resolve the personal conflict we have with feelings we feel.

Progress not perfection is part of who we are. And in my world, when anger sits inside me, I get overwhelmed with all the negatives life has to offer. It is me, to know in any one day, I can be happy or sad, love or hate a situation where I have a part in it. And always the steps help me today. Each and every day our situation does change, because the world changes around us. Nothing stays the same, so we are best utilising all we know to make god the life we have.

In recovery we need check out the reasons why we feel a particular way as life happens, I am still a big learner in this endeavour. I often let matters slip, don't necessarily challenge, when a gentle challenge now will inform me if matters are good or simply messy and unresolved. Not knowing is good to an extent, but without some foundation for continuing to let a life situation develop, we can be back in the land of fantasy pretty quickly. When we love we do forgive, or we hope that matters will come to the good because everyone involved is good too. The road to hell is paved with good intent.

Expecting others to have the same values, same awareness and same desire for mutually beneficial outcomes. Expectations that others will be treating us the same as we treat them are resentments under construction. And expecting others to be sensitive to our needs without being explicit is equally a disservice on my part. Praying that others will find their way and stop self harm and harming others, indeed harming me too is a fantasy, we need check out the truth, especially is we fear loss of the fantasy for reality.

Step nine, making amends for harm done by me. Step ten, not falling into the same old mire over and over... We only find we are doing this in hindsight and when we practice the step.

Step ten is always for today, we feel hurt, it is probably self harm by not being assertive when it is appropriate and when we procrastinate hoping others will see our point of view. Equally when we don't take account of others in our plans, especially when we are making choices which affect others, we need expect a rebuke for our carelessness with their feelings.

A daily challenge to keep to truth, be open, honest and willing to change, be clear on my feelings and find out how others feel, recognise truth, and when I cannot see the truth, enquire with due care. And forgive everything, and know sometimes people come into our lives for the right reason, and we move away from those who serve only their self interest and will harm us over time. We are not here to change others; we are here to live a life with good choices based on the truth of now, not what we think life ought to be.

People can change and that is their choice and not mine. Let other people learn by their own actions and not by my instruction, I simply do not know what is best for them. I am still learning what is best for me today, how to love, be loved, and useful in the moment of now...

Sometimes we procrastinate with the best of intentions. Often around those we love. Love can help us forgive everything, and equally allow us to overlook obvious truths we are probably better off sharing.


AA Daily Reflections ~ "and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59

I was beginning to approach my new life of sobriety with unaccustomed enthusiasm. New friends were cropping up and some of my battered friendships had begun to be repaired. Life was exciting, and I even began to enjoy my work, becoming so bold as to issue a report on the lack of proper care for some of our clients. One day a co-worker informed me that my boss was really sore because a complaint, submitted over his head, had caused him much discomfort at the hands of his superiors. I knew that my report had created the problem, and began to feel responsible for my boss’s difficulty. In discussing the affair, my co-worker tried to reassure me that an apology was not necessary, but I soon became convinced that I had to do something, regardless of how it might turn out. When I approached my boss and owned up to my hand in his difficulties, he was surprised. But unexpected things came out of our encounter, and my boss and I were able to agree to interact more directly and effectively in the future."

October 7 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Being in fellowship means I can be sober. And I have learned it is always the many in fellowship who help me day by day. Sometimes flattery and over confidence might lead me to believe I know better than you and everyone about how sober works. I don’t, it works now with help and support always…

Sharing with a newcomer last night, they find the advice and suggestions made by fellows in the rooms are often different and contradictory. I know every day is different, we all change and situations change. Listening for similarities and evidence identifies the sober way forward just for a day, what works today, may not tomorrow…

After Eights meeting tonight, warmth on a night where the autumn chill is setting in, leaves blowing in the wind... Seeing people I know, and newcomers, one behind me and one next to me. A few gentle words of encouragement for everyone new from the chair. And from me, a snatched conversation here and there. All ages and backgrounds, one primary purpose, love and compassion. To love, be loved and useful just for today. Now that is a kind of magic...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

October 7 2010 ~ dear diary, I had a great day, sober and ready, feeling good, I was in the moment most of the time, was able to make good choices and be truthful about my feelings and outlook with all concerned. I wrote a gratitude list, and a step ten, forgave myself and everyone as the day went along, happy in the moment!

October 7 2010 ~ a daily reprieve contingent on our spiritual condition. What would we do without step ten, and a gratitude list? Most likely wake up with yesterday’s news still irritating us, and what about today without some meditation and reflection for breakfast? It is our choice, fresh and ready or an emotional hangover today...

Be your own best friend first! Step ten, a daily reminder that when we are disturbed, the disturbance is inside us and not in other people, unless we they have been disturbed by us or other situations. The daily reminder is that we are responsible for how we feel now and continue to feel about people places and things. Acceptance of how things are right now is simply a starting point. It can go something like this:

Asserting our situation (my outlook): First ask myself, how am I feeling? Second why am I feeling this way? And third, what can I do? This is a look inside our own feelings and why and what to do. For example, I feel lonely right now and out of sorts, I have been isolating and not in touch with fellowship or family or friends. Answer, make a call, go to a meeting, call family or friends make a plan to see them. A way to stop feeling lonely and remind ourselves we need to make the effort not them! Expecting something is resentment under construction.

Empathy with others (our collective feelings and outlook): First ask this question together, is this situation disturbing both us? Why is it disturbing? And what can we do about this? For example, a missed call, a missed meeting with them. We start with, how we feel, “I care about you, and I am sorry I missed talking with you.” We acknowledge the value we place on the relationship and how we feel about them. We then share what has disturbed us, and can talk about the situation without undermining their esteem…

Esteem and Confidence
Trying to be our own best friend, so we may befriend others is difficult. A tough ask when we have felt less than useful and have not built our esteem through positive attitudes and behaviour. This is what the twelve steps offer us in practical ways. A way to live sober and find our path. We will stumble, make lots of positive mistakes, misunderstand everything from time to time and feel lost. And as we gain experience, we learn it is okay to feel disturbed and find out why using step ten.
Step Ten – Assertiveness and Empathy
Assertive How Am I Feeling Why What Can I Do
Empathy How Are We Feeling Why What Can We Do

As we learn to be assertive about our feelings, we can develop esteem and confidence, as we learn about each other’s feelings, we develop empathy. Step ten is finding proportion and balance in our living and in situations which are disturbing and also when it is all running smoothly. We practice and write step tens to develop our process of self-examination and how to change out outlook, attitudes and behaviour. Easy to suggest, and difficult to do!


AA Daily Reflections ~ "DAILY MONITORING Continued to take personal inventory. . . . . TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 88
The spiritual axiom referred to in the Tenth Step–”every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us”–also tells me that there are no exceptions to it. No matter how unreasonable others may seem, I am responsible for not reacting negatively. Regardless of what is happening around me I will always have the prerogative, and the responsibility, of choosing what happens within me. I am the creator of my own reality. When I take my daily inventory, I know that I must stop judging others. If I judge others, I am probably judging myself. Whoever is upsetting me most is my best teacher. I have much to learn from him or her, and in my heart, I should thank that person"

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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