Friday, 4 November 2011
November 4 | AA 12 Steps In Action |
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…
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...
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…
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.
From A.A. COMES OF AGE
"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..."
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."