Friday, 11 November 2011

November 10| AA 12 Steps In Action |

November 10 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Fellowship: organised chaos and an anarchic democracy kept me coming back, a place where I truly belong, freedom to find out who I am just for today...

A sense of belonging took a while when I first got to AA. Full of fear, putting on a brave face and shame and guilt could have catapulted me back out into drinking. A few people shook my hand, said it was going to be okay. I would feel awful for a while, but there was hope. Courage, faith and self esteem have grown to help me live one day at a time, and face the music and dance…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 10 2010 ~ a sense of belonging is wonderful when life is wonderful. And what is wonderful even when life seems full of disaster, I am not alone anymore. With fellowship and community, I learn what I can do today, and what I cannot. Open, honest and willing to live reality rather than fantasy today...

November 10 2010 ~ from exclusion to inclusion is a great feeling. To be a part of life and know we are no longer alone. Fear of being found out kept me isolated a long time, a brave face meant you did not really know me. Now it is okay to be me, feel life as it is and have a sense of purpose today, to live the life I have...

Attraction Rather Than Promotion

We had a Prime Minister come to power in the UK who stressed the need for “education, education and education!” And that I can relate to, because education is the key in changes we need keep making as life keeps changing. Or we get stuck.

Alcoholics Anonymous is unity and strength in numbers, we benefit and lean on the many who share experience strength and hope. What we see is what we get, we find those in fellowship who are like minded in their recovery and identify with them. For every person we may relate to on a personal level, there will be another we cannot fathom. And so we find attraction rather than promotion is a key to sobriety. We all lean on fellowship, if we rely heavily on one person, the burden becomes too much.

Tolerance and love, part of our spiritual living. I can recall hearing many denounce AA over the years, many in the meetings absolutely livid that “Alcoholics Anonymous” is a cult, a bunch of weird people with 12 steps and 12 traditions and a lot of “god botherers.” This is not my experience of AA, but sometimes we might wonder what we are. In straightforward terms sometimes we look for the differences and not the similarities, because we do not want what some people have. I choose to look for similarities, starting with “sober today.”

Why? The Critics

We become open to criticism when we forget what the fellowship is, nonprofessional, and simply people sharing on a daily basis what is working and not working. AA is as good as it is today because we are AA and sometimes we fall short, and sometimes we get it just about right. What we see is what we get.

Daily – one day at a time

We neither over promise nor under sell; we share reality as we see it. The hazards we face daily are the same as anyone else, so in truth the people we see daily in fellowship are AA. And sometimes we do not sparkle, because that is life.
Unity Service and Recovery

Everything is summed up in the AA preamble we read out in meetings:

“ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety”

This is attraction to reality and not promotion of a fantasy!

AA Daily Reflections ~ "A SENSE OF BELONGING" Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 105

That’s what it is – belonging! After a session of meditation I knew that the feeling I was experiencing was a sense of belonging because I was so relaxed. I felt quieter inside, more willing to discard little irritations. I appreciated my sense of humour. What I also experience in my daily practice is the sheer pleasure of belonging to the creative flow of God’s world. How propitious for us that prayer and meditation are written right into our A.A. way of life."

November 9 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Our inner voice of reflection, meditation and prayer can drive us mad. My inner voice now very focussed on looking for answers outside me, where reality flows and the answers to my problems today. “The truth is out there” and happy to learn, feel life as it is and live reality. Accepting life is difficult; no battles to fight can do and cannot do and wisdom to learn the difference works today…

“Sharing is by raised hand and I get to choose,” said the secretary. He chose his mates, old timers and all men, except for a female visitor. With hand raised I looked him in the eye on several occasions, he held my gaze and picked others. If he had picked me, his friends would disapprove, fear of not fitting in and political correctness. Step six a key and step seven always the answer, “faith.”

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 9 2010 ~ from dark to light is a way to describe my transition from active alcoholic to recovering alcoholic. From bleak times to living in reality. Even when life is most challenging and there can be a major catastrophe, I need not drink. A sober head learning wisdom, support from fellowship and from family and community, life balance is possible today

November 9 2010 ~ prayer and meditation opens me to a world of wisdom, working on solutions and not creating problems. I can pray and meditate for good rather than self interest. Prayer and meditation is something we all do informally when that inner voice is talking to us. When we pray or listen for answers we connect to god or simply good conscience today...

Are You Willing?

A daunting prospect in the extreme for anyone: in a haze from alcoholism or addiction to be willing to consider giving up what seems to make life possible. Even when we have experienced so much devastation to our emotional and physical health, we cannot see what sobriety can be, we have lost touch with reality. Or simply the reality of addiction has distorted our ability to cope with reality.

From the pages of AA Chapter five:

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.”

Broken down humans are not particularly capable of grasping anything simple, like the idea stop drinking and go to meetings, because the cravings of addiction simply make us want what we cannot do without, “a fix.”

Zealots [People with a hard core message and no compassion]

It is true, that we rarely see a person fail if they thoroughly follow the simple instructions for sobriety. BUT with recovery I have often found the best way to encourage a person to be open, honest and willing to change is to share experience strength and hope and not to tell them what to do. If I had been told what to do, I would have done the opposite.

Attraction Not Promotion

Attraction is sharing and being open, honest and willing, so a newcomer is listening to what has worked for others and not a barrage of “truisms.”

Promotion is like the medicine man with his snake oil. An elixir to cure all maladies we may encounter. And I know in sobriety, recovery is today and just for today, contingent on my ability to deal with life today, contingent on my mood and spiritual outlook. Simply reality and always reality is the gift we get sober.

Just because you are sober, you don’t have the right to tell me what to do, but if you share experience strength and hope with me, I may be able to listen.

Willing To Go To Any Lengths?

On my first day sober, was I willing to go to any lengths when I was asked by a potential sponsor? The answer was an emphatic yes, I said yes out loud, and in my head I waited for him to say more and then work out if he was a zealot on a mission, or an ordinary bloke who wanted to help. I was ready to bolt and head for the pub if he mentioned god or anything like it.

Keep Coming Back

Were his words, and see if anything catches your attention and if it seems confusing, ask me about it. He said it is a programme of attraction, not promotion, and he could not tell me anything, or I would get drunk. He was right, drunk and death seemed a better prospect.

I did keep coming back, I did feel like drinking for a while, I did listen, and ask him for help when I could not understand. And when anyone mentioned anything I might not agree with, he simply said, be yourself and learn what works for you. He is dead, from natural causes, but he was right, attraction not promotion...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "STEPPING INTO THE SUNLIGHT" But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun. AS BILL SEES IT, p. 10 sometimes I think I don’t have time for prayer and meditation, forgetting that I always found the time to drink. It is possible to make time for anything I want to do if I want it badly enough. When I start the routine of prayer and meditation, it’s a good idea to plan to devote a small amount of time to it. I read a page from our Fellowship’s books in the morning, and say “Thank You, God,” when I go to bed at night. As prayer becomes a habit, I will increase the time spent on it, without even noticing the foray it makes into my busy day. If I have trouble praying, I just repeat the Lord’s Prayer because it really covers everything. Then I think of what I can be grateful for and say a word of thanks.

I don’t need to shut myself in a closet to pray. It can be done even in a room full of people. I just remove myself mentally for an instant. As the practice of prayer continues, I will find I don’t need words, for God can, and does, hear my thoughts through silence."

November 8 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Good news, we humans are always full of feelings about life and thinking about life. Our feelings about our situation influence how we think and we ponder, reflect and meditate naturally all day long. We can be processing a thousand reflections and be happily getting nowhere. Or consider one reflection and take it somewhere. Sober and free to consider our choices today…

Prayer and meditation, for the believer, the agnostic and the atheist is an automatic process. Whatever we call it, we have an inner voice which speaks to us. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes so fast we cannot keep up, and sometimes so slow we cannot bear it. So maybe it is a good idea to practice what is certainly a never ending story, “what are we going to do now?!”

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 8 2010 ~ an individual adventure in living a unique and authentic life with prayer and meditation? Yes is the answer for me, I can pray and meditate to be right sized in my emotional and spiritual balance. Feelings based on my current situation, spiritual in my ability to cope with real life today and just for today...

November 8 2010 ~ how we are feeling today is dependent on how life is today if we are living in the moment. Old experiences can make us push feelings aside or revel in them and we can swing to extremes very easily. Our thinking and memories can hinder our spiritual progress to experiencing real life right sized today...

Over Thinking – Under Feeling

How to live and emotional and spiritual programme, there is only way, and that is your way. The good news is we find our balance in living as we progress in our spiritual and emotional outlooks by experiencing life as it is, real life today and find how we can be included, have freedom of choices and feel open to be loved, love people and useful.

Over thinking makes for elaborate tortures where we try fit everything and control everything, especially how we feel about things. It can be ruinous to our emotional and spiritual balance on a daily basis. Indeed every time we start a sentence with “I think,” we are skipping over the obvious. We have already felt something about our situation, because our thoughtful response has already been impacted by our mood and our emotional balance.

Under feeling is a reaction to our life experiences which can shape our general outlook. The world is a good place, the world is against me. We push away emotions which do not fit with our mood or suppress emotions which we do not wish to share because we might feel vulnerable if we did share them.

“I think…” I should, we should, and you should
“I feel…” good or bad, happy or sad, great that you asked me

Assertive “How am I feeling?” [Mood] “why?” and “what can I do?”

Empathy “How are we feeling? [Mood] “why?” and “what can we do?”

I have discussed with many professionals what happens in our day to day activities, what comes first, feelings or thinking. The answer is heavily biased to feelings come first, our mood and emotions are always with us and we can ask ourselves the obvious question, “how am I feeling now” before we start the thinking process.

Automatic Thinking!

Once we have found the answer to life we can be very dogmatic and difficult to change. Automatic thinking is based on being right, and not taking account of the rest of the world and what the world is doing. We can be very irritable with people, places and things which do not fit our automatic thinking. That we have the answer and you do not. Caution always comes to the fore when we become emphatic and unreasonable in our outlook based on our ability to be right.

Emotional Flexibility

If we can understand our mood and feelings in the moment, then our thinking can be very helpful. We find ways to express our feelings and our thoughts adjust to fit our current experience.
The ability to cope with life is contingent on our spiritual condition, our feelings and our responses to what is going on.
Of course I may be completely wrong, simply the evidence of life will teach me where the truth is today.


AA Daily Reflections ~ "AN INDIVIDUAL ADVENTURE" Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width or height. Aided by such instruction and example as we can find, it is essentially an individual adventure, something which each one of us works out in his own way. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 101

My spiritual growth is with God as I understand Him. With Him I find my true inner self. Daily meditation and prayer strengthen and renew my source of well-being. I receive then the openness to accept all that He has to offer. With God I have the reassurance that my journey will be as He wants for me, and for that I am grateful to have God in my life."

November 7 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

I have learned that sobriety is a one day programme, I wake up and start sober and need remind myself of step one, two and three. Powerless over alcohol, people, places and things today or life becomes unmanageable. A return to old ways is insanity, and help is always on hand to keep well. Letting go and not knowing the answers opens me up to asking for help.

Spiritual living has been described as “the ability cope with reality.” Good, bad and indifferent, life experience drunk or sober is always a spiritual journey. The quality of my spiritual experience is always contingent on me being open honest and willing. Learning the truth of now and with humility asking for help is key.

Living the truth of now is my spiritual foundation. Sharing experience strength and hope is a two way street. Truth is always evolving as we human beings evolve and make progress. If people in the world do not know my truth, all of it, they are disabled by me and fear of being found out as less than perfect. I prefer open, honest and willing so I can get the help I need today

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 7 2010 ~ guilt and shame nearly killed me back then in addiction to alcohol. I refused to believe I was ill and had a malady that I could stop my drinking through self-will and willpower. When I realised I could not stop self-harm and harming others, I asked for help. Humility saved my life and made possible recovery one day at a time...

November 7 2010 ~ good conscience, I feel we all have a conscience. Once I realised I needed help I let go self-obsession and self-harm. I can let go and let good happen with help today, and just for today, I have this choice. I have learned to let go self-will and self-harm in recovery. I do not fear the word god; god is truth love and wisdom for me today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "LET GO AND LET GOD" praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 96

When I “Let Go and Let God,” I think more clearly and wisely. Without having to think about it, I quickly let go of things that cause me immediate pain and discomfort. Because I find it hard to let go of the kind of worrisome thoughts and attitudes that cause me immense anguish, all I need do during those times is allow God, as I understand Him, to release them for me, and then and there, I let go of the thoughts, memories and attitudes that are troubling me.
When I receive help from God, as I understand Him, I can live my life one day at a time and handle whatever challenges that come my way. Only then can I live a life of victory over alcohol, in comfortable sobriety."

November 6 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Elemental living helps me accept that life is difficult always and if I accept life is difficult, I need often ask for help to improve my conscious contact with reality today. I need to look beyond my opinions and beliefs to find the truth of now. I keep learning how to love and be loved back without conditions. And I need experience to develop wisdom, and hear your wisdom of life too. Truth, love and wisdom, all elements improving my freedom and choices today…

“Going with the flow.” For me it feels like waking up and saying out loud, “hello world what’s new?” Of course there is no answer I can see or hear. And at the same time my inner voice answers, “routines, I am sober, wash, coffee, check my blood sugars, insulin and a morning reflection on life.”

Great chair yesterday, included waking up from drinking and using dreams. Rare yet vivid dreams where we are drinking and the horror still thick as we wake. And then breaking through into reality and the relief the experience; simply a dream. The shock “OMG” moment, “was that real?” And then we share about the dream. Expression is key to letting go and letting out a tormenting reminder and freedom and relief of sober reality.

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 6 2010 ~ if I could keep a positive outlook all the time, I certainly would be joyful and happy. Life is full of up and down moments which are beyond my control. When I can feel my emotions as they are and in the moment of what is happening, feelings tend to be "right sized." I don't need to pretend anymore, I feel life as it is, not as I might wish today...

November 6 2010 ~ going with the flow is much easier for me now. No longer tortured by addiction, each day I can wake up with a clearer perspective, reflect that I am part of life, included as I may be and as my life is developing day by day. Prayer and meditation keep me balanced, able to cope as life changes every moment. Hopefully no catastrophes today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "GOING WITH THE FLOW Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him… TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 96

The first words I speak when arising in the morning are, “I arise, O God, to do Thy will.” This is the shortest prayer I know and it is deeply ingrained in me. Prayer doesn’t change God’s attitude toward me; it changes my attitude toward God. As distinguished from prayer, meditation is a quiet time, without words. To be centred is to be physically relaxed, emotionally calm, mentally focused and spiritually aware. One way to keep the channel open and to improve my conscious contact with God is to maintain a grateful attitude. On the days when I am grateful, good things seem to happen in my life. The instant I start cursing things in my life, however, the flow of good stops. God did not interrupt the flow; my own negativity did."

November 5 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Reflection and meditation… when there is no answer, I need look outwards for another question. It is not so much about right and wrong, it is about what will be the solution, just for today…

Life… to love, be loved and useful. Natural living where our instincts and conscience find balance: when we feel at one with ourselves and our surroundings, all our senses alert and tuned into now. There is peace in not knowing what happens next, and open and willing, and as our universe speaks, I may listen today…

Serenity: today in not knowing the answers. Fear craves certainty, faith waits with patience as each question comes so will the answers. And when there is no answer, all I need do is ask another question, and then find what works for today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 5 2010 ~ faith is... the ability to cope and experience peace of mind. My faith in living improves each day in recovery when I face reality. And faith is living life, not being afraid of joy, and not being afraid of sadness. An emotional and spiritual journey of recovery and discovery made possible one day at a time...

November 5 2010 ~ “grant me my wishes” or “live life as it can be today.” Faith grows when we can live to good conscience and be realistic today. Real, open honest and willing to learn, we need not be looking over our shoulder to see if we might be found out, shame and guilt fade as we laugh and learn, learning we are human today...

Step Eleven "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” there are hundreds of specific types of meditation. The word, 'meditation,' means many things dependent upon the context of its use. People practice meditation for many reasons, within the context of their social environment.

Meditation is a component of many religions, and has been practiced since antiquity, and the in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous the same is true. As there are as many people in the fellowship, we all practice some form, formal or informal of meditation and prayer.

In my experience we all pray and meditate, to what end, and whether we know it or not, we have our conscience talking to us all the time. That inner voice which is serene or chatting at a thousand thoughts a second or somewhere in between, something is going on in our heads.

My meditations and prayer – I can only speak for myself on this step

For me, meditation and prayer are about how to love, be loved and useful. And how to cherish people, and life in general, looking at the big picture of life as it is, real life right now. And what I can do and cannot do today. Useful in my world is being useful to me and others in the communities where I live. Being able to love others as they are right now, and not some idea or fantasy and let them be themselves. To love myself was often very hard, because I always felt I ought to improve me and my situation to an ideal I could never define. So to love myself is to take an interest in living and enjoy the good and look to help when life is difficult for me and those I love.

We have an inner voice, which can tell us life is good and we are part of our communities. Or the inner voice may reflect our anger and resentments and the unfairness of life today. Or somewhere in the middle I find most days.

The most effective prayer for me any day at any time is the serenity prayer:

To God or and Good Conscience:

“Grant me the Serenity
to Accept the things I cannot Change
Courage to Change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the Difference”

AA Daily Reflections ~ "THE QUALITY OF FAITH” This ... has to do with the quality of faith… In no deep or meaningful sense had we ever taken stock of ourselves. . . . We had not even prayed rightly. We had always said, “Grant me my wishes” instead of “Thy will be done.” TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p.32
God does not grant me material possessions, take away my suffering, or spare me from disasters, but He does give me a good life, the ability to cope, and peace of mind. My prayers are simple: first, they express my gratitude for the good things in my life, regardless of how hard I have to search for them; and second, I ask only for the strength and the wisdom to do His will. He answers with solutions to my problems, sustaining my ability to live through daily frustrations with a serenity I did not believe existed, and with the strength to practice the principles of A.A. in all of my everyday affairs."

November 4 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Everything happens in sobriety: births, marriages and deaths, careers, redundancy, money, no money, belief in something and belief in nothing. Usually needs met and wants forgotten. Sober, anything can happen, and in recovery we live life, in the malady we are the living dead…

Appraise, pray and meditate. All part of what we do, we feel a certain way about our situation and then we think about what to do. Fear of being open honest and willing, will lead to fearful outcomes, faith and being open honest and willing, more likely to lead to better outcomes, inclusion and happiness…

Our inner voice speaks to us all day long, working out how we feel, how our situation is, and what are we to do. Some suggest it is our conscience. If it is, life seems to work when we take account of the big picture and how fit, but when self-interest rules our outlook, expectations can cause resentments. When we set our expectations to zero, life is full of surprises and beyond those wildest dreams…

Issues of later sobriety meeting last night: The principle share made clear how important it is to share truth, be open and let people know our situation day by day. Secrets keep us stuck. Faith helps us let go shame and guilt, fear keeps us in the dark. Fear the problem, faith the solution always today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 4 2010 ~ in fellowship meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, what you see is what you get. Attraction to experience strength and hope, wisdom shared, truth shared about recovery today. We don't promote or over promise, we cannot or we fall into delusions and fantasy. Open, honest willing to share life as it is, not as we might imagine today...

November 4 2010 ~ over time I have come to understand the usefulness of prayer and meditation. Asking in good conscience through prayer and meditation helps me to see the big picture of life and the choices open to me are realistic today. Focus and clarity comes through reflection and asking for help where I may find it moment by imperfectly perfect moment...

Higher Power In Fellowship – A personal view because we all have one and it is right for each of us

I belong in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sober today and likely to get to bed without a drink. I went to a meeting and there were many people there, from a few days sober, to decades sober. We share experience strength and hope with each other. At the beginning of the meeting, just this meeting, we say our name and how long we have been sober. My first time at this meeting I was just a few days sober and now it has become years. Still I listen with care to newcomers, those still feeling the horrors of drink and where it took them.

Although we have different amounts of time sober I am always struck by the equality we have in sobriety. After all we live in this one day, in the present moment. At the same time, the years, decades or simply our first day sober, we have something to share about life, our feelings and our path of living.

Fifty people in a room, fifty days of experience sober plus all the experiences of the years alive either drinking or not drinking, we share what is important to us. What is making life work and what is making life difficult. So fifty people, adding up their sobriety wisdom turns out to be not just fifty days of today, it is fifty people times their days weeks and years of sober life. And in an hour we have hundreds of years of sobriety to draw upon if we ask for help; there is probably someone who can help.

Is there higher power than me in my life today? Of course always the sum of our wisdom in fellowship exceeds that which resides in one person. It may seem obvious, and yet we can forget that the man or woman who walks into the meeting has first-hand knowledge of what we do not wish back in our lives. And we can share what sober life is about, just for today.

A power greater than us will not make life easier, it often means we need work harder at our living and learn and change as life changes. The good news is we have the tool kit today:
Meetings, suggestions and principles to live well and have a bigger life than we could have imagined and we all work hard, even when we think we do not.

Our higher power is experience strength and hope, learning and developing our emotional range, understanding our spiritual life is contingent on our sobriety, and that spiritual is our ability to cope with real life as it is today, good or bad, easy or difficult.

Truth, love and wisdom are elemental for us humans I feel. Finding out the truth often needs to be checked out because we are all good at selecting what we feel is right and ignoring the obvious everyone else may see. Love is something we learn about every day is so many ways. And wisdom is forever changing. Ghandi suggested that God is truth, love and wisdom. I hope I keep learning truth, more about love and with humility knowing that my wisdom is just as far as I have understood today.

Humility is my connection to the higher power, whatever the higher power may be so I may keep on learning and live life today. Sober it is infinitely better, I am part of life rather than judging it, and making the choices open to me with a free spirit and more open mind as life affords…

AA Daily Reflections ~ "A DAILY DISCIPLINE NOVEMBER 4 when they [self-examination, meditation and prayer] are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 98

The last three Steps of the program invoke God’s loving discipline upon my wilful nature. If I devote just a few moments every night to a review of the highlights of my day, along with an acknowledgment of those aspects that didn’t please me so much, I gain a personal history of myself, one that is essential to my growth, or lack of it, and to ask in prayerful meditation to be relieved of those continuing shortcomings that cause me pain. Meditation and prayer also teach me the art of focusing and listening. I find that the turmoil of the day gets tuned out as I pray for His will and guidance. The practice of asking Him to help me in my strivings for perfection puts a new slant on the tedium of any day, because I know there is honour in any job done well. The daily discipline of prayer and meditation will keep me in fit spiritual condition, able to face whatever the day brings – without the thought of a drink."

November 3 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

A wonderful morning, being part of a solution and part of a process, courage and faith, able to be a friend and be there for another human is as good as gets. To love be loved and useful today…

Listening and meditation: or listening and reflecting on the big picture of what is happening around me. I can see my part in life, from starting over and learning everything anew. And then asking for help to find my path, with humility to learn I do not bow and scrape, simply asking for help, clarity and seeing what I can and cannot do. As I put in the action and practice, make mistakes, make progress and listen and learn, life runs more smoothly today...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 3 2010 ~ in another time I was trained to observe and listen, to evaluate and make judgments based on evidence. In the past life became so distorted I could hear nothing but the rush to oblivion drink provided. Today I can review, reflect and be more aware of how I am feeling, why and what to do. No longer alone, I can listen to wisdom today...

November 3 2010 ~ yes, yes, I hear what you say... And in my mind I am shouting just shut the **** up. Because the chatter in my head is bad enough without your advice! I need a meeting, to listen and calm down. Sometimes we shut out everything when the pressure is on and simply a meeting in fellowship can quiet fear, I can share and start again...

Today I am feeling pretty good spiritually; I am more in the moment, more able to live now. And although I may be suffering quite a lot of pain physically, I feel good enough for now. Why? Today I am not alone even in solitude…

Breaking the patterns of the past is not easy, some things we have learned to do to the point we do not know we are doing the. We have rituals and all sorts going on. From lucky charms, to warnings in rhymes, we can be very superstitious creatures.

In recovery we learn that sober we can face most of what happens, we have nothing to fear often, except the fear of fear. We don’t know what we fear but that feeling creeps in somewhere. And then we can have a committee in our heads chattering all sorts. We don’t deserve what is happening, we do deserve better and when this happens we are not in the present, we are either recollecting old times, or and fantasising about future times.

Maintenance Steps – living life sober one day at a time

Step ten, eleven and twelve, described by many as the maintenance steps keep us on a sober outlook just for a day. Step ten to see where we are disturbed in our daily living, and is often counterbalanced by our daily gratitude list. Step eleven is all about reflection and meditation and prayer as we practice as individuals. And our spiritual wellbeing is contingent on our attitudes and behaviour on a daily basis as we put the steps into our daily living.

Is it difficult to get sober? Some find it easy, I found it difficult. Is it easy to keep sober? Some find it easy, I find it a daily challenge which I can relish and love, or find horrible and hate as life happens.

So much easier sober today, I forget alcohol, but when I do have recollections I am always firmly glued to the present where life will work as well as it can and not the horror of back then in addiction.

AA Daily Reflections ~ "FOCUSING AND LISTENING" NOVEMBER 3 There is a direct linkage among self – examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Page 98

If I do my self – examination first, then surely, I’ll have enough humility to pray and meditate – because I’ll see and feel my need for them. Some wish to begin and end with prayer, leaving the self – examination and meditation to take place in between, whereas others start with meditation, listening for advice from God about their still hidden or unacknowledged defects. Still others engage in written and verbal work on their defects, ending with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. These three – self – examination, meditation and prayer – form a circle, without a beginning or an end. No matter where, or how, I start, I eventually arrive at my destination: a better life."

November 2 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Where did the fear start? No safe place, home felt uneasy unpredictable. A wrench in my gut and an argument ensued. Me: hiding from the anger which came with the drink. For decades, unresolved feelings pushed away and far down inside. Faith listens today, fear may rise, but I am no longer crippled and hiding in the dark…

Principles of: “truth, love and wisdom.” The truth of now: how to love be loved back; and then wisdom from everyone around me, all happening in the moment of now. Now this is the higher power working in reality and being able to cope with all my feelings as life happens…

Back in the day, events would happen; I would be uneasy and not sure. Always felt like my feelings were playing catch up. I would walk away numb, and then feel extremes of emotion and drink to stop reality impinging on my world. From fear and fantasy: to faith in reality, spiritual progress just for today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 2 2010 ~ "I can't believe it’s happening to me!" A good start to my day, with connection to fellowship already made. A friend calls and my spirits lift. I may not feel a hundred per cent, far from it just now, but I am connected and a part of something bigger than me, life as it is and choices to make. A ray of happiness sparks me up today...

November 2 2010 ~ Optimism with faith and courage... even when we face the darkest of days, when life is bleak, we can find faith and courage in making the best choices open to us. Faith and courage often comes from others we can turn to, friends, family and fellowship. Life is always spiritual and now in the present moment...

Real optimism is when we know the next steps and choices open to us. Often in a moment of anxiety we can freeze and have an “I can’t believe it moment” which is a shock to the system in a good or fearful way. Good shocks to the system can be as paralyzing as bad shocks to the system!

We can find the next steps and path as long as we can keep a hold on reality and what is happening. We learn how to do this every day, or we are prone to get stuck in old feelings and thinking.

When something good happens after a long period of ordinary life which may feel like drudgery, we are not sure what to do. In the olden days for me, I would celebrate with a drink, these days more likely a cup of coffee, a chat with a friend and try keep my feet on the ground rather than imagine happy times are here to stay. I do not invest time in speculating beyond the present, I need keep a weather eye to possibilities and how they might happen, if I put the action into the next step.

When a bad event happens, I also need get myself back to reality after a nasty shock. And sometimes that can be very difficult if a major change has happened.

Powerless over people, places and things is all about step one of the recovery steps for me in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. If I were to try manage other elements besides me, I always know these days the result is unmanageability, I can manage choices I have based of real life, not on a life I might imagine or wish for.

Courage and Faith

All about optimism and being realistic too, with courage and faith we can see a way forward to good outcomes. This does not mean we limit ourselves, this means we can see a way forward. And often we consult those who can help and those we trust, whoever they may be.

Prayer and Meditation Daily – Step Eleven in Alcoholics Anonymous

Good Conscience – Higher Power - God - Suggestions from another source

“Step Eleven is all about communication with your Higher Power. Many refer to prayer as talking to God, and meditation as listening. Both are required for a strong relationship. Read all you can from outside sources about prayer and meditation. Experiment with it and find what works best with you.

Try to establish a daily routine for prayer and meditation. The best times are when you wake up and right before going to sleep. The book "Alcoholics Anonymous" gives instructions for what do to when you wake up and before going to sleep. Keep track of your progress by writing in a journal. There is lots of wiggle room to allow you to discover what works best for you.”

Spiritual is often described as the ability to cope with reality, what is going on in our lives just now. Prayer and meditation can help us focus and gain clarity on best choices open to us. We live now and need focus on now. Prayer and meditation helps us develop our best choices. The serenity prayer helps in every real life situation, what we can do and cannot do, and learning the wisdom to know the difference.

“To God” – and or in “Good Conscience”

“grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference”


AA Daily Reflections ~ "KEEPING OPTIMISM AFLOAT" the other Steps can keep most of us sober and somehow functioning. But Step Eleven can keep us growing. . . . THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p. 240

A sober alcoholic finds it much easier to be optimistic about life. Optimism is the natural result of me finding how to gradually be able to make the best, rather than the worst, of each situation. As my physical sobriety continues, I come out of the fog, gain a clearer perspective and am better able to determine what courses of action to take. As vital as physical sobriety is, I can achieve a greater potential for myself by developing an ever-increasing willingness to avail myself of the guidance and direction of a Higher Power. My ability to do so comes from my learning–and practicing–the principles of the A.A. program. The melding of my physical and spiritual sobriety produces the substance of a more positive life."

November 1 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Asking for help was my real moment of clarity. I said to myself “it cannot get any worse and asking for help won’t do me any further harm and I am tired of hiding and my will power is done.” If god works through people, or conscience tells me I need ask for help, why not? Nothing I tried worked anymore…

Living on the edge is highly addictive with the high and low roller coaster chemical extremes, naturally manufactured or ingested. We are a chemistry set, with much more, often set to self-destruct in the pursuit of happiness...

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

"Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

"Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. Al-Anon Addition: We need guard with special care the anonymity of all A.A. members.
When discussing their personal recovery with the media, members who are identified by their full names -- such as the case of those who are already well known in the media -- they should not also identify the specific name of their 12 step recovery group.
If members wish to discuss the benefits of membership in a specific 12 step group, such as Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous, they then should not identify themselves except by first name only.


Many recovering members have the attitude "When I was drinking, everybody knew I was the town drunk, why should I hide my identity now that I am recovering?"

The answer is, for the good of the fellowship. The example is given of a famous athlete or television personality -- a role model for youth -- who gets into recovery and announces to the entire world that A.A. has saved his life. What happens if that person relapses? The kids say, "Well, so much for A.A.!"

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion or a church.

Steer clear of A.A.’s who try to con you into believing in their understanding or name of God as being "right". They are at variance with the steps and traditions of A.A. However, it is quite proper to lend ones own conception of the Spirit to another member until they are comfortable with their own conception—which could be the same one, still.

A.A. has no formula or dogma about God that you must or should accept. (Although careful reading of the Big Book and the 12 & 12 do offer some pre-conceived notions that you may or may not adopt. Some of these are that God is one, all-powerful, universally present, forgiving and loving.)

It is quite acceptable to use the A.A. Group as a Higher Power for a while, or to borrow an understanding from another A.A. member or a church. But, eventually the Spirit you come to have conscious contact with will be that which is manifest to you personally.

You may or may not "understand" your God. The extent to which you have a mental grasp of the name or nature of God is not what is being talked about. " Understanding" refers to the choosing, not the knowing.

The point of the phrase is that the name and nature of the Higher Power you came to seek in Step 2 are yours and yours alone. Your Spirit will be revealed to you as you come nearer to your Spirit.

The method of prayer & meditation: We often hear it said in meetings that the speaker "hits his knees every morning." Not being brought up Catholic or Muslim, we envisioned that slapping of the knees might be spiritually significant in A.A. When we discovered that the act of prayer was being referred to, we asked why A.A. tells us to get on our knees to pray. We were informed that A.A. makes no such suggestion. In fact, reference to praying on the knees, in the original draft of Step 7, was explicitly removed to prevent the misconception that such a practice was suggested. Moreover, to be on one’s knees as a prior condition to prayer will prevent prayer at many opportunities during the day. If you or your sponsor think that you should be on your knees for correct prayer, then by all means do so. It might just be the best way to pray.


"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..."

DonInLondon 2005-2010

November 1 2010 ~ November and step eleven, prayer and meditation. I am free today to make choices based on the reality of now. Prayer is not wishing for something impossible, prayer is hope based on the possible and practical. Meditation is listening... what is your meditation today?

November 1 2010 ~ We cannot change the wind? Some elements are beyond our powers to change, indeed for me I am happy to be powerless over people, places and things. At last I see more clearly what I can do today and cannot do today. Freedom of choice and my consequences delivered as life is and as I learn who I am today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "I CANNOT CHANGE THE WIND" NOVEMBER 1 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. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

My first sponsor told me there were two things to say about prayer and meditation: first, I had to start and second, I had to continue. When I came to A.A. my spiritual life was bankrupt; if I considered God at all, He was to be called upon only when my self-will was incapable of a task or when overwhelming fears had eroded my ego. Today I am grateful for a new life, one in which my prayers are those of thanksgiving. My prayer time is more for listening than for talking. I know today that if I cannot change the wind, I can adjust my sail. I know the difference between superstition and spirituality. I know there is a graceful way of being right, and many ways to be wrong."

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